Wednesday, January 05, 2022

2022 Campsite Reservation Guide for Alberta and BC

Here we go again! We're still making plans for ski getaways and now it's time to start thinking about the summer camping season as well. Ready or not, it's time to pull out that calendar and to start planning for the May long weekend - and beyond.

Summer will be here again before we know it! Time to start planning


National Park Reservations 


National Park campsites can be booked online for the entire 2022 camping season beginning in January and February this year. (which is a change from last year when you couldn't make reservations until April.)

Reservations will open in January and February for visits between April 2022 and March 2023.

And unlike with provincial parks, there is no 90 day or three month window. You can book any site for a stay during the entire camping season once reservations go live. 

Below is the reservation launch schedule for national parks near Calgary:

Banff National Park - Wednesday, January 26th, 8am MST! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 28th at 8am.)


Jasper National Park -  Monday, January 31st, 8am MST! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of February 2nd, also at 8am!)


Waterton Lakes National Park - Tuesday, January 25th, 8am MST!


Kootenay National Park, BC  - Monday, January 24th, 8am MST! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 28th at 8am.)


Yoho National Park, BC - Monday, January 24th, 8am MST! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 28th at 8am.)


Mount Revelstoke National Park, BC - Wednesday, January 19th, 8am PST! (backcountry campground reservations can be made on the same day.)


Glacier National Park, BC - Wednesday, January 19th, 8am PST! (backcountry campground reservations can be made on the same day.)

Soon! We'll be camping in the sunshine again soon.

Special Reservations for Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park: 

Backcountry Campsites at Lake O'Hara 
can be reserved online for the entire summer season as well starting on Thursday, February 3rd, at 8am MST!


*Note that reserving spots on the bus to Lake O'Hara for just a day has gone to a lottery system. You can enter the lottery between March 1 - March 30, 2022. More information on the lottery will be found here on the Lake O'Hara website. - To enter the lottery, follow the link above from a computer. It won't work from your phone without a lot of searching.


Special Reservations for Shuttles to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise:

Reservable shuttles to Moraine Lake and the Lake Louise lakeshore will be online again for this summer.  Reservations can be made starting in the spring of 2022 for the entire summer.

As of now, the date is still TBD so watch the Banff NP website.


For full information on reservations in all parks:

Visit the Parks Canada website. You can also visit individual parks from this link to read up on the campgrounds.

We love camping in the national parks!

Making a Reservation on the Parks Canada website


As of 2021, Parks Canada has gone with a queue system for campsite bookings. I suspect they will repeat this system again for 2022 because it kept their website from crashing.

The basic process for booking sites is as follows:
  1. Log in to your Parks Canada account on the day that you can book sites for your chosen park BEFORE 8AM. 

  2. You will be placed in the queue and given a random number. You won't know what number you have until 8am when they shuffle everybody in the queue. You may be number 50, you may be number 5000. It is 100% random. 

  3. It does NOT matter if you join the queue at 7:30 or at 7:59. There is no rhyme or reason for your place in the queue.

  4. Make sure you have at least one to two hours of free time to make your bookings. If you have to work, try to find somebody else who has free time that morning to make your bookings for you. If you end up with a high number in the queue, you may be waiting for over an hour to get on the website to make your bookings.

  5. You can not choose your campsite before joining the queue. You can try, but everything will be shuffled at 8am and so anything you had done before this time will be lost. You should still know which sites you are trying to book, but have it written beside you on a piece of paper.

  6. You won't have much time to make your bookings (especially if you have multiple bookings to make.) Make sure your credit card information is handy and know what you're trying to book before you log on to the website.

  7. Most people try to get more than one number in the queue to increase their odds at getting a good number. This is only possible though if you have more than one computer/laptop in the house. You can not just open multiple tabs in the same browser. Every browser shares the same number in the queue. 

    You can however open different browsers on the same computer to get more than one number in the queue. (Example, log in with both Chrome and Safari.) 

    Note, if you do get multiple numbers in the queue, please go with your best number and then close all other browsers so that those numbers can be released to other people trying to book. 

  8. Make sure you're actively monitoring your browser as your number counts down!! If you miss your time to book your campsites, you'll have to join the queue again and you'll be at the back of the line. 
Reservations may be stressful at the time, but worth it come summer!


Other Tips for Getting the Site you Want!


  • You will want to book campsites the day that the reservation system opens for each park and at 8am sharp if planning on camping on weekends during the summer season. There will be more flexibility if camping mid-week or in the spring/fall months.

  • Tag team with friends to get sites you really want (especially if you are looking for sites side by side.)

    Make sure you exchange all booking info. with your friends ahead of time because you can't hold more than one permit in your name for the same date/campground. If booking for friends, you'll want their full name and address. You'll also want to know the size of their trailer or tent along with how many people they will have on their site. (And if you are booking for friends who haven't committed yet, you can change the name on a campsite permit before you show up.)

  • There are still several first come first serve campgrounds in the national parks if you don't get a site.

  • Consider private campgrounds if you can't get into a national park campground or choose provincial park campgrounds just outside the national park.

    For example, in Waterton, you can camp at nearby Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. For Banff, we like camping outside the park gates at the Bow Valley  Campground. There are many private campgrounds in the Radium Hot Springs area if you can't get into Redstreak as well.

  • Make sure there is a fire pit on the site that you are reserving. Some sites in Banff and Jasper do not allow fires.

AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Parks Reservation Service Website 


The Bow Valley Campground is an excellent choice near Banff National Park 


Alberta Provincial Park Reservations


BIG CHANGES have happened here so read carefully!

Starting January 11, 2022 Alberta Parks online reservations on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca will now be a year-round service. 

There is still a 90-day booking policy for regular campsites and backcountry campsites, but there is no more "opening date" for reservations. Simply count back 90 days from when you wish to begin camping, and mark that date on your calendar. Example: If you want to camp over the May Long weekend, arriving on Friday, May 20th, you would want to make your booking at 9am on February 19th! 

Also note that comfort camping can be booked 180 days in advance! That means that on January 11th you'll already be able to book these sites up to mid-July!! 

How it works in a nutshell: Beginning at 9:00 am on January 11th, individual and backcountry campsites can be booked, in campgrounds that are open, up to April 11th (90-days in advance) and comfort camping can be booked up to mid-July (180-days in advance.)

Wake up to gorgeous views in Alberta Provincial Parks 

Group camping areas can also be booked 180 days in advance starting on January 12th! This means you'll be able to start looking for group sites for arrival dates through mid-July on the 12th, depending on each campground's opening and closing dates. 

Why the changes? "Having the start of reservations differ according to each campground’s season opening date and the advance booking window (90 or 180 days) will help reduce the volume of online users and promote fair opportunity and access for all Albertans." - Alberta Parks 

Online bookings open at 9 am for each launch and can be made at the Alberta Parks reservation site

** And note that Alberta Parks has also gone to the queue system so you may have to wait to get onto the parks reservation website in the morning.


Group camping at Twin Lakes, Crimson Lake Provincial Park


Special Tips:


  • Follow many of the same tips as per national park bookings above. Tag team with friends (especially for group bookings) and pay very close attention to those 90 or 180 day windows!

  • Make sure everything is in your calendar with reminders! I even put reminders beside my computer, my coffee pot, and my bed the night before making a campsite reservation so that I don't accidentally forget.

  • If you don't get the site that you want, there are plenty of first come first serve campgrounds. Many campgrounds also have a small number of  FCFS campsites. A Full List of FCFS Campgrounds can be found here.

  • Consider booking a group site if you have at least 5 families coming with you. You'll get your own private campground or group area and will have lots of room for the kids to run around and play.

    Note that most group sites do not have power or services for RVs so you'll have to either bring generators or camp off the grid as we do. Most group sites can be booked with a payment for 5 units but some require payment for 10 units so make sure you check the details before reserving a site. Full info. on group camping can be found here.


Spring Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Important Links:

Alberta Parks Online Reservation Information

Comfort Camping in AB Parks  

Backcountry Reservations


AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Reservation website 


Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is a beautiful place to camp in Kananaskis 


British Columbia Provincial Park Reservations


As in 2020 and 2021, BC Parks anticipates a spring timeline for accepting 2022 reservations for all reservation offerings (including group sites/picnic shelters).

"BC Parks is committed to providing parks users advance notice prior to opening reservations for any offerings or parks. Updates will be posted on bcparks.ca, BC Parks’ social media (Facebook and Instagram) and through government news releases." - BC Parks 


Beach life at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, West Kootenays

In previous years, bookings could be made 4 months in advance. Last year it was changed to 2 months, and BC residents were given priority. For 2022 it's anybody's guess as to what the procedure will be. 

Long weekend camping will most likely stay the same (read below:)

NOTE RE LONG WEEKENDS: If you want to camp in a BC provincial park over a long weekend, you must make your reservation for all nights of the long weekend.

You can NOT plan to show up on the Saturday (even if in the middle of a road trip where you're traveling outside the normal weekend period.) You must be able to camp in the park Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night of the long weekend, and you must show up on the Friday night! You can not book for Friday, planning to show up on Saturday (or hoping to cancel the Friday later.)

Follow this link for more information on operating and reservable dates for each park.

Following is the  full Covid policies for the 2021 camping season. The new policies for 2022 have not been released yet.


AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Discover Camping in BC.



Camping at Surveyor's Lake in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park


Other Suggested Reading 


Camping Super Guide - This is a quick guide to all of my popular camping stories for easy reference and reading. I add to this page regularly.

Notable stories to check out:

How to Choose a Good Campsite (Family Camping Made Easy) 

 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another handy guide!
    Did you ever seen Lake O'Hara cancellations come up in 2021? I watched it all last summer and never saw any. I'm guessing parks never released them or the bots got them :(

    ReplyDelete

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