Safety | Trail report | Warnings and closures 

Enjoy hiking all the more knowing your campsite is waiting for you. Reservations are required for backcountry camping:

1. Purchase a wilderness pass 

  • A Wilderness Pass is required for overnight trips in the backcountry at any time of year. Daily or annual Wilderness Passes, valid for 1 year from the date of purchase, are available. Your fees support the ongoing maintenance of campgrounds, trails and other backcountry facilities. 
  • Purchase your pass from any Parks Canada visitor centre.

2. Reserve a campsite 

  • Camping is permitted only at designated campgrounds. 
  • Backcountry campsites can be reserved starting March 1, 2018 for the coming season. A non-refundable reservation fee applies
  • Maximum group size is 10 people, including guides and leaders.
  • Reserve your campsite by calling  the Lake Louise Visitor Centre or the Kootenay Visitor Centre starting March 1st 2018. Demand is highest in July and August.

3. Pick up a fishing permit (optional) 

Current fees

For your convenience, all passes and permits are valid throughout Kootenay, Banff, Yoho and Jasper national parks. Complete fee schedule 

 Item   Daily rate   Monthly rate   Annual rate
 Wilderness pass  $9.80  n/a   $68.70 
 Camping reservation  $11.70  n/a  n/a
 Grazing  $1.90 / horse  $24.50 / horse  n/a
 Fishing  $9.80  n/a  $34.40


Horses and mountain bikes
The backcountry campgrounds in Kootenay are not accessible to mountain bikes or horses. For biking, horse camps and grazing locations, please refer to biking or call a visitor centre


Safety & regulations

Manage risk

Safety is your personal responsibility. Be prepared for possible hazards and always exercise caution.

  • Know your physical limits.
  • Inform friends or family of your itinerary.
  • Ensure that you have adequate food, water, clothing and equipment for your trip. 
  • Be prepared for at least one day more than your planned trip.
Bears and wildlife

Please do not feed or approach wildlife. It is unhealthy for them and alters their natural behavior. You should always:

  • carry bear spray
  • know what bear signs look like
  • make noise to let the bears know you’re there

More information about bears and safe hiking practices is available in the Bears and people and Bare campsite brochures.


To make your campsite less inviting to bears and other wildlife:

  • You must use the food storage cables or lockers provided to suspend or secure all food, garbage, toiletries (e.g. deodorant) and cooking equipment 
  • Prepare meals in a designated cooking area, away from your tent 
  • Strain food waste from your dishwater and pack it out
  • Pack out all garbage including food waste, diapers, tampons and sanitary napkins
Drinking water

It looks pristine, but is it? Follow these tips to keep it fresh:

  • Boil, treat or filter all water before drinking it.
  • Do not wash yourself or your dishes in streams and lakes. Carry the water to your campsite and wash there. 
  • Dispose of grey water on land, well away from water sources and campsites. 
  • Minimize use of soap, including biodegradable soaps.

Campfires are allowed only at campgrounds where fireboxes are provided – Numa Creek and Helmet/Ochre Junction. Keep fires small and use only the wood provided. In all other campsites, a backpacking stove is required.

Human waste

Have to go but can’t find an outhouse?

  • Select a spot at least 70 m (seven bus lengths) away from trails, campsites and water sources.
  • Dig a shallow hole with a stick or heel of your boot.
  • Cover the hole with soil or rocks afterwards.
  • Pack out used toilet paper (really!)  

Never underestimate the power of weather in the mountains. Check the local weather forecast before you leave, but be prepared for anything.

  • Conditions can change from minute to minute and place to place.
  • Generally, the higher you go, the colder and windier it gets.
  • Ultraviolet radiation is also stronger at higher elevations.
  • A toque, warm jacket and sunscreen may all be required on any given day during the summer.

Pets are welcome in the backcountry but must be leashed at all times. To a wild animal, your dog is a canine – a predator. Wildlife may flee, endangering themselves or their young. Alternatively, they may respond aggressively, endangering you and your pet. The best way to care for wildlife and your pet is to leash your animal companions.


Rocks, fossils, horns, antlers, wildflowers, mushrooms, nests and all other natural or historical objects in a national park are protected by law. Please leave them in their natural setting for others to discover and enjoy. Thank you!