Need Camping Advice for Banff/Jasper

Old Jun 17th, 2004, 08:29 PM
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moo
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Need Camping Advice for Banff/Jasper

Planning to tent camp in Banff/Jasper in mid July. Has anyone been to any great campgrounds -please include good site #s- or any campgrounds to avoid? What time is good to arrive to reserve a site? Two families travelling together. Is July a rainy month? We may hit Yoho and Kooteney as well. Any advice for camping there? Thanks for your help.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 09:38 PM
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I can't give too many specifics but I would just strongly recommend National and Provincial Park campgrounds - their sites are usually more wooded and private than privately-owned places, although they may not have as many facilities. Lots of nice ones in the Banff-Jasper area.

Here's a site with a list of Canada's national parks - it has links to the individual park sites:
http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/list_e.asp

This site has a list of Alberta's Nat'l/Provincial Parks plus links:
http://www.out-there.com/cmp-abL.htm

It's hard to predict weather - July is not a traditionally "rainy" month but it's likely that it will rain some of the time - not usually for more than 2 days in a row, though. The past couple of years, I believe, have been very, very dry, drought-like in fact - a real problem for the farmers. this year so far has been a bit colder and wetter.
The mountains, no matter how warm the daytime weather, get pretty chilly at night.

I'll bet that if Judy in Calgary sees your post she will have tons of good advice... she's the resident expert on that part of the world.
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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Thanks for the compliment, Taggie, but my experience in this area is a bit thin. When it comes to tenting in the national parks, we've only done back country camping in Banff National Park (i.e., hiking for a day to reach a campsite).

We have done front country camping (i.e., where you can drive your car to the campsite) in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, which is in Kananaskis Country, southeast of Banff. There we have tented in the Boulton Creek, Interlakes and Lower Lakes campgrounds.

According to the Banff National Park website, there are 13 campgrounds in BNP, but there are only 4 that have showers, namely, Tunnel Mountain, Two Jack Lakeside, Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise.

That information comes from this web page:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/v..._E.asp#camping

One cannot reserve a campground in the national parks. I've heard that in the busy summer season one needs to get to a campground around noon to secure a site.

From what I can tell from BNP's website, a campsite at a campground that has showers costs about C$22 a night. (That is over and above the national parks entry fee that everyone has to pay regardless of where they're staying in the national parks.)

The information about fees comes from this web page:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/v...s_E.asp?park=1

Jasper National Park...... Yippee! I see it says that Jasper is one of eight national parks that is testing a campground reservation service for the first time during the 2004 camping season. The web page on that is:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/visit/reserv_e.asp

Oh dear, not so fast. The only campgrounds in JNP that have showers are Whistler and Wapiti. At this point, the reservation system is operating with respect to Pocahontas Campground only. In 2005 the reservation system will be extended to Whistlers, Wapiti and Wabasso. But that doesn't help someone vacationing in 2004.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/visit/visit2_e.asp

According to its website, Yoho National Park has 4 campgrounds, of which only one, Kicking Horse, 3 km east of Field, has showers. A site costs C$22 per night. The website states that, during the busy summer season, the campground usually is full by noon.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/visit/visit8_e.asp

Kootenay National Park operates 4 camgrounds of which only one, Redstreak, has showers. A site there costs C$22. Prior reservations are not available.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/kootena....asp#Redstreak

In Kananaskis Country, where the campgrounds are in Provincial Parks, there is a campsite reservation system. As far as I can tell, Boulton and Elkwood are the 2 campgrounds that have showers. A site costs C$17 per night.

http://www.kananaskiscamping.com/index.html

As Taggie says, the temperature does drop down at night. The average daily low temperature in Banff in July is 45 deg F. We have Ensolite (foam) pads on which to rest our sleeping bags when we go back country camping. When we go front country camping we use air mattresses. We fill the mattresses by means of an air pump that operates off our car's cigareete lighter.

Maybe I'm a wimp (my kids say I am), but I need a really warm sleeping bag, one that is rated to at least -5 deg F.

Banff averages 14.5 rainy days in the month of July. Only an average of 2 inches of rain falls during the month, however, so the rain mostly is in the form of light showers.

The national parks operate a "Bare Campground Program." This means that all food and food-related items have to be stored in a hard-sided vehicle, trailer or motor home or in the campground's food storage lockers. They may not be stored in a tent or tent-trailer. The purpose of the program is to avoid attracting bears to the campground.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/visit/visit15_E.asp

Our tenting stints usually last 3 days. That is the longest period for which we have figured out how to pack and store food without electrical refrigeration. A period longer than that would require a higher level of organisation than we have attained.
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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ltt
 
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i tented at tunnel mountain in banff. i did not have high expectations as it is so large but, the tenting area was actually pretty good. our site was pretty well treed and could not see people on either side of us.
my favorite in jasper is snaring river but it is very basic with pit toilets and no showers. nice site though. no electricity so it's mostly tenters.
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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For Banff NP, the campground near Cephren Lake is the best one I have seen. It has shelters for cooking and it is in the trees. The official name is Waterfowl Lakes Campground.

The campgrounds in Yoho are near the highway and tend to fill up with trailers and RVs. My suggestion is to drive the extra distance to Takkakaw Falls. It is tents only because you need to carry your equipment and supplies in a wheelbarrow to your tent site. It is not far and the path is fairly level.
The camping areas in Kootenay tend to be less crowded.
The Lake Louise campground is near the village center, but far enough away to be out of the way. I have only driven through it. It looked fairly flat and shaded by trees.

For Lake Louise, the earlier the better.
Takkakaw campground usually has openings during the day. But I usually walk through in the morning or about 4 pm before everybody starts hunting.

If you require a shower, the ones I have seen don't have them.
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Old Jun 19th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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In Jasper, the campground at Whistler's is my pick. Lots of great sites with space, a shower building, bathrooms in each site "circle", and really nice trees, as well as elk wandering around(okay, they're more annoying than great, but what can you do - it's THEIR home!)

It's been years since we tented, but 25-II comes to mind as one of our preferred sites there.

July is a varianble month for rain - depends on if we're having a drought year. Reserving about mid-day is best, I think - the one-nighters have left, and the next crop of campers is still en route.
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