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Banff National Park

Backpacking 
1500 km of trails, 50 backcountry campsites, 2 trail shelters. 

As a backcountry traveller, you will be able to visit natural wonders seen by only a small percentage of visitors.

Prime backpacking season extends between mid-July and mid-September. Many passes are still snow-bound until late June, with most trails accessible only at lower elevations or on drier, south facing slopes. Trails tend to be muddier during the spring. Towards the middle of July, most passes are open.

Where to GoWhat to Bring | Permits and Reservations | Safety & Stewardship

Trail Report | Warnings and Closures
 

Where to Go

Backcountry Camping

Designated backcountry campgrounds are equipped with bear poles, pit toilets, and pads for your tent. In more popular and accessible areas, you may find amenities like outhouses, rustic picnic tables and metal fire grates at sites where campfires are allowed. Camp in designated campsites as indicated on your Wilderness Pass. For a detailed outline of random camping areas within the park, see the Backcountry Visitors Guide brochure (PDF)

Trail Shelters

Rustic trail shelters are provided at Egypt Lake and Bryant Creek . They can be booked in the same way as campsites with an added surcharge on your Wilderness Pass ($6.80). Dogs are not permitted in backcountry shelters

Permits and Booking 

  • You must carry a Wilderness Pass with dates, campsites, number of people and tents ($9.80/person/night).  
  • A reservation fee applies to all bookings. ($11.70).
  • An Annual Wilderness Pass ($68.70) allows unlimited backcountry camping for a year in the mountain national parks.
  • Booking campsites and shelters is still required with an Annual Wilderness Pass (shelter and reservation fees apply).
  • Maximum group size is 10 people, 5 tents. 
  • The maximum length of stay at one site is 3 consecutive days.


How to Make a Backcountry Booking
  1. Plan: helpful resources include trip ideas and Backcountry Visitors Guide brochure (PDF)

  2. Book: make your reservation and buy your Wilderness Pass. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance. Demand is highest in July and August.


    By phone
    403.522.1264 | 403.762.1556

    OR

    In-person at a Banff National Park Visitor Centre.


  3. Purchase: a National Park Pass is required for entering the national parks and a National Park fishing license is required for angling. Fees

  4. Take a Hike! review the Backpacking Equipment ChecklistSafety & Etiquettetrail conditions, closures and other pertinent information sections before your trip and enjoy!

  5. Share: we'd love to hear about your journey. Feel free to send us a comment or picture to our Facebook or Twitter page.

Please note the following:

Random camping is only allowed in the specific remote random camping areas, and bivouacking is only allowed on summits that cannot be achieved in a single day. Please speak with a Parks Canada representative to discuss these options.

Continuing beyond park boundaries?

Alberta Parks and Protected Areas - Kananaskis Country
tel (403) 678-5508

B.C. Provincial Parks
tel (250) 489-8540