When to go | Where to goWhat to bring | Safety and stewardship

Backcountry permits

A backcountry permit and campground reservations are mandatory for anyone planning an overnight trip into the backcountry of Banff National Park. It specifies the campgrounds you have booked, as well as the number of people and tents in your group.

  • For shorter trips, you can purchase your Backcountry Permit based on a nightly rate ($9.80/person/night).
  • If you will spend more than 7 nights in the backcountry of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, and Waterton Lakes national parks this year, an Annual Wilderness Pass ($68.70) is a better choice.
  • Booking campsites and shelters is still required with an Annual Wilderness Pass
  • A non-refundable reservation fee applies to all bookings ($11.70).
  • 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 these trip ideas and the brochure Backcountry Trails in Banff National Park
  2. Book: Make your Reservation and buy your Backcountry Permit or Annual Wilderness Pass. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance. Demand is highest in July and August. Book by phone 403-522-1264 (Lake Louise) 403-762-1556 (Banff) or in-person at a Banff National Park Visitor Centre.
  3. Purchase: 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 checklist, safety and 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.

Climbing, mountaineering and glacier travel

Mountaineers require a Backcountry Permit to bivouac, and may do so in non-vegetated areas only. Alternatively, the Alpine Club of Canada operates several mountaineering huts in the park that are ideally located for mountaineers. Parks Mountain Safety

National park passes

You will also require a National Park Day Pass or annual National Park Discovery Pass to enter Banff National Park.

Fishing permits

To fish in Banff National Park, everyone aged 16 or older is required to have a National Park Fishing Permit. Children under 16 do not require a permit but must be accompanied by a permit holder. These permits can be purchased at a Parks Canada Visitor Centre or at most local retail outlets that sell angling supplies.

  • Fishing is permitted during specified seasons in most back country lakes, rivers and creeks, however some areas are catch and release only. 
  • Seasonal closures may be in effect for some lakes to allow fish populations to recover from over-fishing and these are generally not posted at the lake, so you must be familiar with the regulations.
  • Always dispose of fish offal in fast moving streams or the deep part of a lake from which the fish was caught. Never dispose of fish along stream sides, lake shores or move fish or fish parts between water bodies. 

For regulations view our digital brochure or pick up a copy of the Fishing Regulations Summary brochure from any Parks Canada Visitor Centre.