From what to pack to campground etiquette—here’s the lowdown on various things that you need to remember before going camping in Banff National Park.
Canada’s oldest national park, Banff National Park is a popular destination for those looking for a camping or hiking spot without having to drive a long way. Located at a 1.5-hour drive away from Calgary in Alberta, this national park is a sprawling space spread across 6,641 square kilometers, and features varied terrain including mountains, valleys, forests, meadows, and water bodies. Millions of people head to this national park every year to spend some time outdoors and experience the lush greenery and wildlife of the area. In addition, there are a host of summer and winter activities available at Banff, making it the perfect destination for people of all ages and preferences. Be it hiking, bird watching, fishing, canoeing, or even skiing, a trip to the Banff National Park means a fun time for everyone.
Another activity popular with most travelers is camping in Banff National Park—and that’s no surprise, considering the rich and diverse natural beauty of the place. In addition, the 13 campgrounds with 2,468 sites plus a variety of services make camping in Banff National Park a memorable and fun experience for every visitor. However, a camping trip requires some preparation in advance. Every park has its own set of rules and regulations, so it is a good idea to visit the website or enquire on the phone and be aware of the rules that will be applicable for your camping trip. There are a few more things that you need to keep in mind, and we list them down so that you have a handy guide for your camping in Banff National Park trip. All you need to do now is enjoy the experience to the fullest, as the greatest advantage of planning ahead is that you can avoid any last-minute glitches that may spoil your holiday mood.
How to Plan and Prepare for Camping in Banff National Park
- Visit the Banff National Park website and go through the different camping-related points listed there. The map link on the website helps you to decide which area of the park you would like to camp in, and then you can choose your campground accordingly. To choose the perfect campground, go to the Campground Reservation Service link and you will find the descriptions of each campground available. Compare the campground amenities so that you get exactly what you were looking for. For example, some campgrounds are reserved for camping in tents only, while few others have shower facilities. If you want some additional information about the facilities and services while camping in Banff National Park, you can contact the park rangers on the phone.
- Once you have chosen the campground to go camping in Banff National Park, check for reservations. If you are going for your camping trip on a weekend or on holidays, it is safer to make campsite reservations as Banff is a popular weekend destination for the residents of Calgary. Alternately, if you have missed out on making a reservation and are all set to go camping in Banff National Park soon, you can plan for an early arrival at the park. As most of the campgrounds in this park operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, reaching well ahead of time will mean that you have a better chance of getting to camp on the site that you like.
What You Need to Pack for Camping in Banff National Park
- Clothing: The weather in Banff is unpredictable and at times deceptive, so pack in clothes that will help you dress in layers. Warm clothes are a must (don’t forget your hats and mitts) as you might need to adapt to cold weather all of a sudden. Also, carry waterproof clothing such as pants and jackets, and umbrellas. To keep you warm and cozy at night, remember to pack a groundsheet that you can use in your tent, sleeping mat or a warm sleeping bag, and extra blankets.
- Pack in plenty of food containers and cooking utensils. Keep in mind that camping in Banff National Park means that you are in grizzly bear country, so opt for bear-proof containers and storage that will remain safe when you are not at the campsite. The park rules require all food and utensils to be stored either in a vehicle or inside bear-proof lockers when the campsite is unattended, so carrying your edibles in boxes and bags suitable for this purpose will make your job much easier. Also, pack in dry and less-odorous food items so as to reduce the chances of attracting curious animals.
- Carry adequate drinking water and water containers so that you do not get dehydrated while you are out hiking or enjoying some other activities. Enquire about the places where drinking water is available before you set out to explore the area, and fill your water bottles accordingly. When packing your bag to go camping in Banff National Park, consider including a camping water filter. While water is usually available in the backcountry, it may be contaminated so it is always safer to purify it before drinking.