Located in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, Jasper National Park attracts visitors from all over the world. Covering more than 11,000 km2 (4,200 sq. miles), Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies. Jointed by Banff National Park, its lakes and mountains are equally impressive. Both are hot spots for camping in the summer months, and the hiking in Banff and Jasper is second to none. So, where do you camp in Jasper National Park?
With breath-taking scenery, spectacular glaciers, and magnificent wildlife, it’s no surprise it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. If you have never ventured to Jasper, it’s definitely a place you should add to your bucket list. I’ve visited UNESCO’s Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska several times. In comparison, Jasper is just as majestic but a lot more crowded.
Like most National Parks, buildings and construction are kept to a minimum to ensure the park’s natural beauty is maintained. Since hotels are at a premium, many come to Jasper as backpackers.
Whether you arrive with just a small tent or traveling in style with a motorhome, there is a large selection of campgrounds. Keep in mind that most campgrounds remain open for the summer only.
Should you find Jasper and Banff overly crowded, consider camping at Yoho National Park further south. While it has fewer campgrounds, it attracts fewer people but still has amazing hikes to breathtaking waterfalls and picturesque lakes.
Whistlers Campground is the largest camping ground in Jasper National Park with almost 800 camping spots. As large as it is,
Recently, Whistler’s Campground underwent a major overhaul of its buildings, an upgrade to 50 amp electrical, widening of roadways, and improvement to campsites. Campers can enjoy its new facilities in 2022.
Over the years, I have stayed at Whistlers Campground many times. It has always been my “go-to” place to camp in Jasper National Park, seeing as it gives access to many of Jasper’s hikes and trails. Don’t expect to have too much privacy with over 700 campsites in the summer.
Interestingly enough, the campsite is built in the valley and takes up a large footprint along the highway. Its location is also the migration path for some animals like elk. So, don’t be surprised to see a large herd of elk walk through the campground at any moment during the day.
Bears are sometimes a problem as hundreds of barbeques are fired up in the evening, causing enticing smells up into the woods. Can you blame the bears for wanting to crash your barbeque?
During one of my stays, a persistent black bear came down into the campground at 5 pm every evening. I witnessed it destroy my neighbors’ barbeque like it was a house made of cards. Park wardens had to tranquilize it and move it away from the campground.
Wapiti campground is located on the Athabasca River and across the highway from Whistler’s Campground. It’s unique in that it offers year-round camping for hardy campers. So if you’re driving from Banff to Jasper, consider staying at Wapiti.
Complete with electrical hook-ups, hot showers, and fire pits, it has 362 sites in the summer and 75 in the winter. Since it’s only 5.5 km to the tiny town of Jasper, you could bike it into town.
Wapiti Campground can accommodate most sizes of campers and trailers. Again, this campground is on the elk migration path so expect to see elk wandering through at any given time. Those that don’t stay at Whistler’s generally choose Wapiti to camp in Jasper National Park.
Located next to the Athabasca River, this quiet campground has 228 campsites with flush toilets, fire pits, and some with electrical hook-ups. Some spots along the river offer pristine views of the rushing water, which will lull you to sleep at night. Wabasso Campground is best suited for tenting, campers, and trailers under 27 feet.
Kerkeslin is another small campground with just 42 sites. These shady sites are away from the highway, so it’s peaceful for those that like some solitude. There is no electricity or flush toilets. You could say this is a “roughing it” campground, lol.
Honeymoon Creek Campground
No, this campground is not reserved for honeymooners. This is a small campground with only 35 sites. If you’re lucky enough to get sites 30 to 35, you will back onto the picturesque lake. Honeymoon Creek is warm enough in summer to swim in the lake.
Jonas Creek Campground
Jonas Creek offers 25 campsites close to the creek with 11 walk-in sites for those that like a little bit of solitude. Like Mount Kerkeslin, this site has no electricity and no flush toilets.
Icefields Tent Campground
Very close to the world-famous Columbia Icefields, this tenting-only campground offers 33 sites with the most spectacular views you could imagine. Almost all camping sites offer glacial views across the valley.
Like Icefields campground, this amazing campground lies across the highway from the Columbia Icefields. Where else can you camp and have fantastic views of glaciers from your tent or trailer?
While this 46-site campground is best suited for campers and trailers under 27 feet, you can also tent here. Keep in mind; you are close to an icefield, where the weather can be unpredictable.
In July, I had camped when the day temperatures reached 36 Celsius (97F) and woke up the next morning shivering cold with snow on the ground. Prepare for drastic weather changes and bring a warm sleeping bag and layers because the glacier’s winds can be bitterly cold.
Wilcox Campground is a great place to camp in Jasper National Park for those that love the outdoors and majestic mountains. If you’re https://foreverkaren.com/cruising/cruising-ducks exploring the Columbia Icefields, this campground gives great access without a lengthy drive.
Wilcox Campground is a favorite place during the day for a must-do hike in Jasper National Park. The Wilcox Pass hike is almost 10 km and takes you up into the alpine meadows for Mt Athabasca’s spectacular views (3,491m), Snow Dome (3,456m), and a 180-degree view of Athabasca Glacier. While the Columbia Icefields is a significant tourist destination with thousands of people riding the snow buses onto the Athabasca Glacier, you’ll enjoy a unique view of the glacier without the crowds of tourists.
Pocahontas campground is not located on the Icefields Parkway but Highway 16, 45 km north of Jasper. It’s a significant size with 140 campsites for both tents and smaller RVs. Its amenities include flush toilets, fireboxes and are wheelchair accessible. The campground’s location is perfect for those that wish to visit Punchbowl Falls and Miette Hot Springs.
Snaring campground, as the name suggests, is located on the Snaring River. It offers 62 sites from quiet, well-treed sites to open and sunny spots, perfect for RVs and trailers under 27 feet. There are some spots along the river with beautiful views of the river and the rugged peaks above.
Camp in Jasper National Park
Always remember when camping, you are in bear country. Keep your food, toiletries, and items that may attract animals secure in a vehicle or hard-sided camper when not in use. Tent trailers are not secure for food storage. Neither are coolers. Some campgrounds provide bear-proof food storage, a necessity for those who are backpacking or tenting.
Read notices in campgrounds as they have important updates on fire hazards, trail closures, and bear warnings.
If you prefer to reserve your campground, you can reserve sites at Wapiti, Wabasso and Pocahontas campgrounds online at reservation.pc.gc.ca or by telephone at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783). All other campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Happy travels ~ Karen