The Icefields Parkway, also known as Highway 93 North, runs from Lake Louise to Jasper for 232 spectacular kilometres passing through Banff and Jasper National Parks. With 11 campgrounds along the parkway, it’s easy to slow down and explore the region.
On the Icefields Parkway there are some roofed accommodation options for those of you not into camping. Scroll to the bottom of the post for some suggestions. Note that all these places fill quickly in the summer – and they’re pricey because of demand.
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Here’s what you need to know about the Icefields Parkway campgrounds.
There is no cellphone coverage along the parkway but campgrounds have pay phones. For payment, have exact change or a credit card. You won’t find any WiFi either. Check ahead with Banffand Jasper National Parks for the status of any campgrounds you are interested in. Some campgrounds get closed for a summer because of upgrades.
Mosquito Creek Campground, Banff National Park
Location: 24 kilometres north of Lake Louise.
Open: June 8 – October 9, 2023 – first come, first served
Cost: $17.99 plus $8.80 for fire permit and firewood
Facilities: 32sites with a cooking shelter. No power, electricity or flush toilets.
Pluses/Minuses: Campsites are wooded and private. Despite the name the mosquitoes are no worse than anywhere else. Nice areas around the river. Try for campsite #1. Some highway noise.
Note: There is a great hike out of this campground that starts on the other side of the highway. It takes you to North Molar Pass and ultimately to Fish Lakes but if you want to go that far do it as an overnight backpacking trip.
Silverhorn Creek Campground, Banff National Park
Update: It appears my beautiful walk-in tent campsites are no longer.
Location: Approximately 56 kilometres north of Lake Louise.
Open: June 2 – October 9, 2023. Can be reserved online.
Fees: $16.05 plus $8.80 for firewood
Facilities: 45 campsites – best for large RV’s and trailers. No longer tent friendly as sites are now close together. A big disappointment as this was my favourite in 2016. No running water. There was a bear pole and bear locker for walk-ins but I don’t know if that is still there.
Pluses/Minuses: No highway noise anywhere. Great birding. Now sounds like it’s been taken over by the RV’s.
Waterfowl Lake Campground, Banff National Park
2019 update thanks to a camper: There are now lovely walk in tent sites and tent sites near the lower lake.
Location: 60 kilometres north of Lake Louise.
Open: June 22 – September 4, 2023 – first come, first served
Facilities: 116 sites; tents near the lower lakes and lovely walk-in tent sites.
Fees: $16.05 plus $8.80 for firewood
Pluses/Minuses: Great hiking trails from the campground. The lakes are beautiful with excellent views. Small amount of highway noise. Excellent choice.
Facilities: 51 sites with food lockers for walk-in campers. No picnic shelters. A secluded and rustic camping experience.
Pluses/Minuses: Private campsites. Reportedly the worst mosquitoes – according to a park employee.
Wilcox Creek Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 107.5 km south of the Jasper townsite, just past the trailhead for the Wilcox Pass hike. It’s only 3 km south of the Icefields Centre.
Open: June 14 – September 18, 2023 – first come, first served
Price: Unserviced with firepit – $24.85
Facilities: 46 sites but no tent only areas, four cooking shelters, five dry toilets, one bear-proof storage locker. No power, electricity or flush toilets. Best suited for motorhomes and trailers under 27 feet.
Pluses/Minuses: Private campsites. No real views. Highway noise. Great access to some hikes like Parker Ridgeand Wilcox Pass.
Icefield Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 106 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite. It’s only a kilometre south of the Icefields Centre.
Open: June 14 – October 9, 2023 – first come, first served
Price: Unserviced with a fire pit $24.85/night
Facilities: 33 sites – tents only. There are also walk-in campsites that are very private. Two cooking shelters, three dry toilets, bear-proof storage lockers. Rustic – in a good way. No power, electricity or flush toilets.
Pluses/Minuses: Walk-in campsites are very private.Some glacier views if you get a lower campsite on the road plus they have more privacy. Campsites are crowded at the top of the loop. Some highway noise.
***Note: Icefields Centre RV camping is allowed from May 17 – October 9, 2023 on a first come, first served basis. There are 100 unserviced sites.
Jonas Creek Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 78 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.
Open: June 7 – September 18, 2023 – first come, first served
Price: Unserviced – $24.85/night with a fire pit
Facilities: 25 sites including 11 walk-in sites that require a stiff walk up into the woods. One cooking shelters, six dry toilets, two bear-proof storage lockers. No power, electricity or flush toilets. There is a bike camping area.
Pluses/Minuses: Walk-in campsites are very private and quite lovely!Campsites #8 and #9 are close to Jonas Creek.No views. Lots of highway noise if you don’t do walk-in camping. Motorhomes and trailers should be under 25 feet.
Honeymoon Lakes Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 52.5 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.
Open: May 17 – September 18, 2023 – first come, first served
Price: Unserviced with fire pit – $24.85/night
Facilities: 35 sites. Two cooking shelters, four dry toilets, two bear-proof storage lockers. No power, electricity or flush toilets. Best suited for motorhomes and trailers under 27 feet. There is a bike camping area.
Pluses/Minuses: If you can score campsites 30 – 35 then you will back onto this very pretty lake. All other campsites are wooded but with decent privacy. The lake is warm enough for swimming. The lake is great for poking about in a canoe or kayak.
Mount Kerkeslin Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 36 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.
Open: May 31 – September 4, 2023 – first come, first served
Price: Unserviced with fire pit – $24.05/night
Facilities: 42 sites – no tent only walk-in sites. One cooking shelter, four dry toilets, one bear-proof storage locker. No power, electricity or flush toilets.
Pluses/Minuses: Campsites 7, 8 and 9 are closest to the Athabasca River. The river is very accessible and a great place to hang out. Most campsites do not have highway noise.
Wapiti Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 5.4 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.
Open: May 17 – October 9, 2023 are the summer dates. There are winter options here as well. Reserve online.
Facilities: 363 campsites in summer + 75 winter campsites with lots of amenities like showers, flush toilets and sani-dumps. Can accommodate most sizes of motorhomes and trailers.
Fees: Unserviced with fire pit – $36.80/night; electrical with fire pit – $41.81/night; electrical only – $33.01/night
Pluses/Minuses: Its close enough you can ride your bike into Jasper or walk the trail along the Athabasca River. More privacy than Whistlers Campground.
Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
Location: 3.5 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.
Fees: Unserviced – $28; Unserviced with fire pit – $36.80; Walk -in without a vehicle – $23; Electrical with fire pit – $41.81; full hookup – $39.04; full hookup with fire pit – $47.84
oTENTiks: There are 21 reservable oTENTiks (simple accommodation with bunk beds) from June 7 – September 18, 2023.
Facilities: 781 sites – and over 100 have power, water and sewage. It’s the largest campground in Jasper National Park. There are Otentiks here you can rent. It has showers, flush toilets, playgrounds and an interpretive trail.
Pluses/Minuses: It’s family friendly for bike riding. The campground is like a small city so although most campsites are private, noise can be an issue. The staff try very hard to keep that in check in the evening. It’s an affordable option to staying in Jasper.
Location: 17.6 km south of Jasper on Highway 93A (not the Icefields Parkway) beside the Athabasca River
Open: May 17 – September 18, 2023 – Reservable
Fees: Unserviced with firepit: $32.25; Electrical with firepit: $38.50
Facilities: 231 sites; electrical sites for small RV’s under 35 feet
Pluses/Minuses: Dead and dying trees affected by pine beetle have been removed so the campground looks quite different compared to the past without the trees. Way less sun protection too. Close to the Athabasca River – so lots of nice views
Check-in times for camping along the Icefields Parkway
Campsite reservations cannot be made for any campgrounds along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park except for Rampart Creek Campground. Check-in time in the Banff National Park campsites is between 3 – 8 PM. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis, so show up early.
In Jasper National Park, most of the campsites are first come, first served BUT with no specific check-in time. The large campsites near Jasper do have a reservation system in place. Check out for all campsites in both parks is 11 AM.
You can stay for up to 14 days in the campsites.
How much do campsites on the Icefields Parkway cost?
It depends if the campsite is serviced or not – and whether you want to buy firewood. Bring exact change as you put the money in an envelope and then deposit it in metal container. Credit cards can also be used.
Where should you gas up?
Before you head out on the Icefields Parkway gas up in Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper depending on what direction you’re heading.
The only option along the parkway is at The Crossing Resort in Saskatchewan Crossing, 80 kilometres north of Lake Louise, and 152 kilometres south of Jasper. They also offer an RV septic dump, fresh water, treatment products and automotive supplies.
Where can you buy food on the Icefields Parkway?
In the village of Lake Louise there is a small grocery store, a liquor store and a couple of cafes you can hit before you start the drive. At The Crossing Resort you can buy snacks and meals – but they are expensive.
At the Icefields Centre there is a full restaurant. Look for Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge near Sunwapta Falls. You can sit down for a meal or choose from ready-made sandwiches, salads etc. The food is good and you can buy an espresso drink here.
Rules in the National Parks
To stay in a campground on the Icefields Parkway you must have a valid Parks Canada permit.
If you stay at a campsite display the camping permit (obtained when you pay). A maximum of six people can stay at one campsite. Site occupants are the only ones allowed to stay after 11 PM.
If you plan to have a fire, ensure you’ve paid for the privilege. Use the wood that has been provided at the campsite and use the fire rings provided. Campfires aren’t permitted during quiet time.
Quiet hours are 11 PM to 7 PM. They are strictly enforced.
Generators can only be used between 9 AM – 10:30 AM and 5 PM – 7 PM.
Other campgrounds to consider in Jasper National Park are Snaring Campground (62 unserviced sites that are first come, first served from May 17 – September 25, 2023), 17 km northeast of Jasper off Highway 16 and Miette Campground (140 sites reservable from June 14 – September 4, 2023) at the east boundary of Jasper National Park,
Alternatives to camping along the Icefields Parkway
If you aren’t into camping there are some options from hostels to hotels to cabins. Most fill quickly in summer so reservations are recommended.
We forgot our tent poles in Calgary. Let’s just say there was a lot of swearing when that dawned on us and then a look at our options; drive six hours return back to Calgary to get them (no); check into the hotel at the Columbia Icefields (probably booked and expensive so no) or rig up something – which is what we did in the end.
We did bring three tarps of varying sizes though one leaked as we quickly found out since it was raining at the start. Although we didn’t have protection at the sides of our tent – and it sagged, it did keep us bug free and mostly dry.
My advice: Don’t forget your tent poles, tent, stakes, tarps or rope. Find a campsite with closely spaced trees. (This is walk-in campsite #1 at the Icefield Campground.)
Further reading about things to do in Jasper National Park