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The Six Least-Trafficked Campgrounds Near Banff National Park

by Gail McGlamery

The campgrounds surrounding Banff National Park offer the most inexpensive way to lodge while providing campers with the best scenery and access to nature. The 13 Banff National Park campgrounds offer 2,468 sites and they are very affordable.

The demand for campgrounds peaks from June through September, with July and August being the busiest. Most of the campgrounds operate on a first come – first serve basis. It is advisable that campers without reservations arrive at a campground early to have the best chance of getting a site.

Here is our list of Banff campgrounds where you have the best chance to grab a spot.

Two Jack Main Campground

Two Jack Main Campground, the larger of the Two Jack campgrounds, is just 12 km from Banff. Camp in the wilderness, beautiful wooded area, secluded campsites (380). There is lots of wildlife. This campground is situated on the scenic Minnewanka Lake loop drive. Explore the ruins of Bankhead, sheep in the area may be on the roadways, so drive with care.

Services include:

  • Kitchen shelters,
  • Flush toilets.

There are no showers available. The main campground is open from mid-May through mid-September.

Two Jack Lakeside Campground

The smaller and more intimate of the two campgrounds, across the road is a small (77) site campground. Awake to the sound of water flowing and birds cooing. Showers are available.

Services include:

  • 74 wooded secluded campsites,
  • Kitchen shelters and dishwashing stations,
  • Flush toilets,
  • Heated showers.

The Two Jack campgrounds are available on a first come, first serve basis, so arriving early is recommended. Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Clouds swirling around the mountain peaks

Castle Mountain Group Campground

Castle Mountain Group Campground is 32.0 km from Banff. Church groups and boy scouts love this campground. Tenting only.  See magnificent Castle Mountain and explore the heights of Johnston Canyon. Two hiking trails start close by. Operated by reservation only.

Services include:

  • 43 wooded sites,
  • Flush toilets,
  • Kitchen shelters.

Some cool luxuries of this campground: it is located close to a small store, gas bar and restaurant. Open mid-May through early September, sites are available first come, first serve basis.

Protection Mountain Campground

Protection Mountain Campground is 48 km from Banff and has 89 sites. This is a great area for hiking and there is lots of wildlife.

Services include:

  • 89 sites,
  • Flush toilets,
  • Piped cold water,
  • Kitchen shelters,
  • Fire rings and firewood,
  • Recycling bins, and
  • Food storage.

Protection Mountain Campground also features the Campground Host volunteer program. The Protection Mountain Campground operates from late June through early September, with sites available on a first come, first served basis.

Getting out into the woods and enjoying the peace and quiet

Mosquito Creek Campground

Mosquito Creek Campground is 83 km from Banff. This campground sits underneath the majestic cliffs of Mount Hector, 24 km north of Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 north). There are 32 unserviced sites and you can check out the sandstone cliffs of Bow Peak. The beautiful, rugged cliffs of Mount Hector dominate the southeast skyline. Flush toilets, no showers. Open all year.

Services include:

  • Well water (hand pump)
  • Dry privies,
  • Kitchen shelter with wood cook stove, and
  • Fire rings and firewood.

Waterfowl Lake Campground

Waterfowl Lake Campground is 73 km from Banff. With 116 sites, the bubbling Mistaya River enters Waterfowl Lake. A trail leads to Cirque and Chephren lakes for great hiking. No showers here. Open from late June through early September.

Services include:

  • Flush toilets,
  • Piped water,
  • Kitchen shelters with wood cook stoves,
  • Fire rings and firewood,
  • Food storage,
  • Recycling bins, and Sanitation station.

Banff National Parks campgrounds garner an enormous amount of traffic. Please pick up after yourself and never leaf food behind. Open containers and available food will attract bears.

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