Backcountry camping reservation launch: January 24, 2019 at 8:00 am MST

Online 24/7 at: reservation.pc.gc.ca
By calling: 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)

Backcountry camping reservations | Wilderness passSafety and regulations | Trail report | Warnings and closures 


NEW Online reservations for backcountry camping

As of January 24, 2019, backcountry reservations for designated campgrounds in Kootenay National Park can be made through the Parks Canada Reservation Service. Any dates for the entire hiking season may be made as of 8am MST, January 24, 2019. There will no longer be a 3 month limit window.

Quick facts about the backcountry reservation system:  

  • To make a reservation, visit reservation.pc.gc.ca or call 1-877-737-3783.
  • Reservations or same day permits will also be available at a Parks Canada Visitor Centre if preferred.
  • A non-refundable reservation fee applies.
  • Demand is highest in July and August, book early to avoid disappointment. 
  • Reservations for overnight stays in the backcountry that are not entirely at designated campgrounds must still be made by contacting a Parks Canada Visitor Centre. (This includes but is not limited to random camping, bivouacing, Alpine Canada huts, and nights outside the national park boundaries etc...)
  • Maximum group size is 10 people, including guides and leaders.

For backcountry campground trip counselling and general information, not available at reservation.pc.gc.ca, contact or visit a Parks Canada Visitor Centre

Wilderness Pass requirements

A Wilderness Pass is required for overnight trips in the backcountry at any time of year. 

Quick facts about Wilderness Passes:  

  • Making a reservation in advance, as opposed to same day permits, are recommended to avoid disappointment.
  • Daily wilderness passes may be purchased and fees may be paid at reservation.pc.gc.ca.
  • Your fees support the ongoing maintenance of campgrounds, trails and other backcountry facilities.
Current fees

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

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

Safety and 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.

Food

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.
Fires

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!)  
Weather

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

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.

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

Stewardship

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!