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Camping in Waterton Lakes National Park

Townsite Campground
Camping in a special place: Waterton Lakes National Park © Parks Canada / Matt Semel

Waterton's campgrounds 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 Parks Canada's special activitiesprograms or events.

To reserve your spot visit the Parks Canada Reservation Service (available from April 3, 2014, 8am MT).

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 our children and grandchildren.

General Information

Parks Canada operates three vehicle-accessible campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park:

Townsite Campground

Townsite Campground
Townsite Campground © Parks Canada

Open May 10 to mid-October (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. Portable firepits / firerings (including propane-fuelled) are not allowed in this campground. 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 website.

Crandell Mountain Campground

Crandell Mountain Campground
Crandell Mountain Campground © Parks Canada

Open May 15 to September 1 (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.

Tipi Camping at Crandell Mountain Campground

Tipi Camping at Crandell Mountain Campground
Tipi camping at Crandell Mountain Campground © Parks Canada

Available late June to September 1 (weather dependent).

Parks Canada has five traditional tipis set up in Crandell Mountain Campground. The same rules apply to tipi camping as in other areas of the campground. A maximum of six persons will be accommodated at each site. A fire permit is required and firewood is available but campfires are only permitted in the designated fireplaces. Fires are not permitted in the tipi.

Campers need to bring sleeping bags, pillows, extra sleeping mats if needed, food and cooking equipment, grooming items and whatever other items you need to enjoy overnighting in a tipi in a national park.

A non-refundable reservation fee of $11.70 is applied to each reservation. A camping fee of $55.00 per night per tipi will be charged. Both reservation fees and camping fees are due when a reservation is made.

To reserve your stay in one of the tipis, contact the Visitor Centre starting May 10, by either phoning 403-859-5133 or by emailing the park.

Belly River Campground (primitive)

Belly River Campground
Belly River Campground © Parks Canada

Open May 10 to early September (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 Programme operates in this campground.

Belly River Group Campground

Open mid-May to early September (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.

Camping in Waterton Lakes National Park: Things to Know

Camping in Waterton Lakes National Park
Crandell Mountain Campground © Parks Canada

Busy Season
Demand is heaviest from mid-June through September, with July and August being the busiest. Crandell Mountain Campground usually fills by early afternoon. As all sites in Townsite Campground may be reserved in advance on the Parks Canada Campground Reservation Service, sites are usually well booked. To ensure you have a site in Townsite Campground, you may wish to use the Parks Canada Reservation Service.

Check-out
Check-out time is 11am in our three campgrounds. Please leave your permit with the attendant or deposit it in the box at the kiosk.

Permits
Campers must register (at kiosk or self-registration) with their camping unit prior to setting up camp. Both a camping permit and park pass, valid for the length of stay, are required. A nightly fire permit is also required each night you have a fire. Please display your camping permit in a visible location.

Fires
Fires are permitted only in camp kitchens in Townsite Campground. All sites at Belly River Campground have campfire grills. A fire permit for each night you have a fire must be purchased at the self-registration booths at the campground. Crandell Mountain Campground has sites with campfire grills and some which are designated no fires. A fire permit is required and firewood is available but campfires are only permitted in the designated fireplaces. 

Please do not monopolize the common kitchens located throughout the campgrounds. Never store food or equipment in these buildings. Camping in shelters is not allowed, nor are pets permitted within the shelters. Alcohol may only be consumed on your campsite. Please refrain from using kitchen shelters during quiet hours.

Quiet Hours
Quiet hours are from 10pm to 7am. Generator use is limited to 7-9am, 11am-1pm, 5-7pm. Loud partying and rowdiness are not permitted at any time.

Pets
Please keep pets on a leash at all times. Don't leave them unattended outside, especially at night, as they can attract carnivores such as bears, cougars, wolves, or coyotes, and may be attacked. If they must be left out, confine them in a kennel with a secure top. In consideration of other campers, please clean up after your pet.

Be cautious when walking your dog. The mule deer may have fawns and will aggressively defend them, especially in spring. They may attack without provocation, and can seriously injure or kill a dog. If you see a deer, leave the area immediately.

Wildlife
Animals rely on every part of this landscape for their survival. Their travel routes, natural food sources, mating grounds, and resting sites don't necessarily stop at the campground boundary. This means you may encounter wildlife at any time. Be aware of your surroundings, especially at dusk and dawn, or in densely vegetated areas.

Read Keep the Wild in Wildlife for advice on safe viewing practices. Please immediately report all bear, cougar, or coyote sightings to park staff.

Campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park have a "Bare" Campsite Program in place. A special effort is being made by park staff and campers to ensure that no wildlife attractants are left unattended at any sites in these campgrounds. The Bare Campsite Program is in place for your safety, and to help keep the wildlife in our national parks alive and wild.

Anything that has an odour or could be considered food may attract wildlife to your site. Place garbage in bins, avoid cooking inside tents and tent trailers, and store all food supplies, including coolers, in your vehicle.

When people leave their food out, bears and other animals attracted to it can lose their fear of humans. Once an animal gets used to human food, it becomes a risk to public safety, and may be destroyed. By keeping a bare campsite, you're playing an important part in preventing the creation of problem animals.

Dump Stations
Townsite and Crandell Mountain campgrounds offer dumping stations.

Showers
Showers are available at Townsite Campground only, but may be used by those registered in Crandell Mountain or Belly River campgrounds.

Accessibility
There are both serviced and electrical wheelchair accessible sites and washrooms available in Townsite Campground.

Learning Opportunities 
Interpretive programs are available in the Townsite and Crandell campgrounds during the summer months. These programs are included with your park fee and everyone is welcome.

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 week-ends). 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.


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