Camping

Parks Canada operates three vehicle-accessible campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park: Townsite Campground, Crandell Mountain Campground and Belly River Campground. They offer an excellent opportunity to celebrate nature and explore the great outdoors, each providing a unique experience.

While staying, you may wish to take in one of our special activitiesprograms or events.

Our campgrounds are in a special place: a national park conserved as much as possible in a natural state. Enjoy the experience and help us maintain it for generations to come.

General information

Some useful information about camping in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Where to camp

Townsite Campground
Townsite Campground

Open April 14 to October 9 (weather dependent).

Located at the south end of the Waterton townsite, this campground offers 90 water, sewer and electrical sites, 45 electricity sites, as well as accessible, unserviced and walk-in tent sites.

The campground also has hot showers, flush toilets, food storage and kitchen shelters. There are no individual firepits.

This open, mowed-lawn campground, exposed to winds from Upper Waterton Lake, is an excellent place for RVs or for those who wish to be within walking distance of the town's amenities. The campground is 100% reservable so reservations are advisable if you want to be sure of a site. Mule deer, bighorn sheep and ground squirrels are commonly seen in the campground.

All spots on the Townsite Campground can be reserved by visiting the Parks Canada Reservation Service.

Equipped camping at Townsite Campground
Try out one of our Equipped Campsites

A new experience is available at Townsite Campground in 2017: Equipped Camping (available July 1 to August 31).

In partnership with MEC, the park has one Equipped Campsite available for reservations and nightly rental.

Equipped Campsites provide an opportunity to camp even if you don’t have camping equipment - or simply want to avoid the hassle of organizing and packing everything for your camping trip.

They include:

  • 6-person tent (set up)
  • 6 sleeping pads (1.5 inches thick when fully inflated)
  • Stove and propane 
  • Lantern
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Pots, pans and dishes
  • Camping permit

What you need to bring:

  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Food, garbage bags, paper towels, dishwashing soap, oven mitts
  • All personal items (clothes, toiletries, etc.)

The same rules apply to Equipped Campsites as in other areas of the campground. A maximum of six persons will be accommodated at each site. 

Upon check-in, visitors will be asked to complete a rental agreement form and Parks Canada will take a credit card number or card imprint. No money or credit card authorization (additional to the original reservation fee and rental fee) will be taken unless any of the equipment is found to be damaged or lost.

A non-refundable reservation fee of $11.70 is applied to each reservation. A camping fee of $70.00 per night per equipped campsite will be charged. Both reservation fees and camping fees are due when a reservation is made.

To reserve your stay in one of the Equipped Campsites, contact the visitor centre, by either phoning 403-859-5133 or by emailing the park.

Special requirements:

  • Check-in times are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Check-out time is 11 a.m.
  • To prevent wildlife incidents, campers must keep a "bare" campsite. All food and related items must be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or a bear proof food locker.
  • No food preparation, food or drink storage, eating, drinking, or cooking is allowed inside the tent.
  • The maximum number of people per campsite is 6.
  • All vehicles (maximum 2) must be parked in the parking lot.
  • Smoking is not permitted within the tent.
  • Pets are not permitted within the tent.
Crandell Mountain Campground
Crandell Mountain Campground

Open May 18 to September 4 (weather dependent).

Things you should know about Crandell Mountain Campground:

  • Maximum Length of Stay: 14 nights
  • Maximum Persons per Site: 6 people
  • Maximum Vehicles per Site: 2 (e.g. one RV and one regular vehicle). We do not permit 2 RVs/motorhomes/tent trailers or truck campers on the same campsite. All vehicles must fit on gravel pad or park in alternate location nearby.
  • Maximum Camping Units per Site: Max 2 tents or 1 RV/camper and 1 tent

Campsites at Crandell Mountain are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. Located along the Red Rock Parkway in the scenic Blakiston Valley, this campground is set in a pleasant montane forest.

It offers 129 unserviced sites, flush toilets, piped cold water, kitchen shelters and some fire rings (a fire permit is required and firewood is available but campfires are only permitted in the designated fireplaces), food storage, recycling bins, and a dump station. All sites are back-in, and loops may be tight. We recommend that only camping units shorter than 9.5 meters / 30 ft use this campground. Crandell Mountain offers some shelter from our predominantly southwest winds, and Crandell Lake is a short 2 km hike from the campground.

Mule deer and black bears commonly wander through the campground so our Bare Campsite Program is an important part of the management of the area. Our native vegetation is easily damaged. To maintain the trees and undergrowth please avoid disturbing the area outside your designated campsite and place your tent on the gravel pad. Efforts to plant native vegetation are restoring some damaged areas.

Belly River Campground (primitive)

Open May 12 to September 25 (weather dependent).

These campsites are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. Located along the Chief Mountain Highway, 26 km from Waterton townsite, this self-registration campground offers 24 unserviced sites flush and dry privies, food storage, kitchen shelters, fire rings and fire wood (fire permit required). Bring your own drinking and cooking water, as no potable water is available at this campground. A pleasant area of mixed aspen forest, this primitive campground lies right beside the Belly River and is favoured by those campers wanting a more secluded experience. Foxes, bear and deer are common through the area. A campground host program operates in this campground.

Belly River Group Campground

Open May 12 to September 30 (weather dependent). 

Group camping is available by reservation only at Belly River Campground for groups with a minimum of 25 people. Please contact us for more information or reservations.

Privately-operated campgrounds

Waterton Springs (403-859-2247) and Crooked Creek (403-653-1100) are two privately-operated campgrounds near Waterton Lakes National Park.

Campground host program

People from around the world visit Waterton Lakes National Park to relax, experience the great outdoors and learn about our natural heritage. You can join them by volunteering as a host at one of our campgrounds.

Campground hosts greet visitors and provide them with information. They volunteer for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week (including weekends). In return, hosts have free entry to the park for a year, a free campsite while they volunteer, a site tour and many other benefits.

You must volunteer for a minimum of two weeks and provide your own self-contained camping unit (RV, truck camper or tent trailer). For more information contact us.