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Your Guide to Canmore Camping

Camping within close proximity of a town makes it much easier to stock up on groceries and even visit local restaurants for a break from cooking. You can enjoy Canmore camping with several campgrounds within close driving distance to town. There are even some Canmore campgrounds right in the heart of this scenic mountain town.

Canmore has plenty to offer campers, with campgrounds nestled along the Bow River, plenty of hiking opportunities nearby and biking options for all cycling enthusiasts.

If you are looking to be closer to a town, camping near Canmore in any of these campgrounds we’ve included is a good alternative to camping in Kananaskis. For campgrounds close to Calgary, the Willow Rock Campground and Bow Valley Campground are good options.

view of Canmore from Ha Ling peak
View of Canmore from Ha Ling Peak

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Making Your Canmore Camping Reservations

For some Canmore campgrounds, first come first serve camping in Canmore may be limited in the 2021 season. Check with each Canmore campsite before arrival.

Reservations for Alberta Parks individual campsites can be made up to 90 days in advance of arrival.

Individual campsite reservations begin on March 4th in 2021. The times are staggered by region, but for the Canmore campsites listed here in Bow Valley Provincial Park the reservations can be made starting March 4th at 11 am. See here to confirm the launch times by region.

BE PREPARED – booking a Canmore camping site is usually an exercise in frustration, but it’s best to be prepared in advance:

  1. Read all the information on online reservations published by Alberta Parks here.
  2. Create your account well before making Canmore campground reservations.
  3. Log in on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca before 9am on the day you’ll be making your reservations. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-877-537-2757.
  4. Know your dates and specific sites prior to booking.
  5. You’ll have more luck camping mid-week than on weekends (especially long weekends).
  6. Have a back-up plan.

Keep in mind that changes and cancellations happen for Canmore campgrounds all the time, so check back periodically for campsite bookings.

Canmore Campgrounds

Camping in Canmore, or in one of the campgrounds near Canmore, gives campers the best of both worlds. With easy access to town and amenities while still enjoying time in nature near the Bow River, these campgrounds around Canmore are worth a look.

tent camping canmore

Three Sisters Campground

The Three Sisters Campground is one of the campgrounds near Canmore. It’s located in nearby Dead Man’s Flats, only 11 km from Canmore. Similar to the Bow River Campground, this campground is located along the Bow River.

The Three Sisters Campground has 36 unserviced sites for RVs and tents.

Amenities: Three Sisters Campground amenities include a hand launch for non-motorized vessels, vault toilets, and fire pits. Firewood is available for purchase on site.

Reservations: FCFS for camping between June 1 to October 12.

view of Canmore from Wind Ridge hike
View of Canmore from Wind Ridge hike

Bow River Campground

Located just 5 km east of the town of Canmore, the Bow River campground is aptly named given its proximity to the Bow River.

Bow River Campground has 7 unserviced sites and 59 power water sites for tents and RVs.

Amenities: The Bow River Campground amenities include vault toilets, fire pits, secure food storage and showers. Firewood is available for purchase on site.

Reservations: No FCFS in 2021. Make reservations for camping between April 16 and October 31.

fire burning in fire pit - Canmore Campgrounds

Lac des Arcs Campground

Another option for camping near Canmore, the Lac des Arcs Campground is only 14 km from Canmore. The Lac des Arcs Campground is located on the shores of Lac des Arcs.

Lac des Arcs campground has 30 unserviced sites suitable for tents and RVs.

Lac des Arcs Campground Map

Amenities: Lac des Arcs Campground amenities include vault toilets, fire pits and a playground. Firewood is available for purchase on site.

Reservations: No FCFS in 2021. Make reservations for camping between April 30 and October 31.

Willow Rock Campground

If you are looking for a campground near Calgary, the Willow Rock Campground is located off the TransCanada Highway about 30 km east of Canmore.

The Bow Valley Provincial Park has plenty to offer campers looking to hike or bike in the area. There are 4.2 km (one way) paved bike trails that can be accessed from the Bow Valley Campground or the Bow Valley Administration and Information Centre. Kid friendly hikes in Bow Valley Provincial Park area of Kananaskis include the Montane trail, Middle Lake and Many Springs trail.

Amenities: Willow Rock campground has 124 sites split between unserviced (90) and power (34). There are several amenities including showers, flush toilets, vault toilets, sewage disposal, fire pits and a playground. Firewood is sold at the campground.

Reservations: FCFS for camping between June 1 to October 12.

view from Middle Lake trail from Bow Valley Provincial Park Kananaskis
View from Middle Lake trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Bow Valley Campground

Bow Valley Campground is a large campground located just off Highway 1X only 30 km east from Canmore. This campground near Calgary is right on the Bow River with some impressive mountain views. It has plenty of amenities and things to do nearby.

Accessed from the campground is 4.2 km of paved trails. Nearby easy hikes include the Montane Trail, Middle Lake and Many Springs trails.

Bow Valley Campground Map

Amenities: Bow Valley campground has 173 sites split between unserviced (36), walk-in tenting (6) and power/water (131). There are showers, flush toilets, vault toilets, sewage disposal, fire pits and a playground. Firewood and groceries are available for purchase at the campground store.

Reservations: No FCFS in 2021. Bow Valley campground reservations can be made for camping between April 30 to October 11.

view of the Bow River from the Bow Valley Campground
View of the Bow River from the Bow Valley Campground

Wapiti Campground

Located right in the town of Canmore is the Wapiti Campground. This Canmore campground is just off Bow Valley Trail next to the Travel Alberta – Canmore Information Centre. The Canmore Wapiti campground has sites for both tents and RVs.

Wapiti campground has 88 sites split between unserviced walk-in tenting sites and power RV sites.

Amenities: Wapiti campground amenities include vault toilets and fire pits. Flush toilets and showers are currently closed. Firewood is available for purchase on site.

Reservations: FCFS for camping between June 1 and October 12.

Spring Creek RV Park

Spring Creek RV Park is located right in the town of Canmore on Spring Creek Gate. This Canmore RV camping has sites for RVs only and tenting is not allowed.

Amenities: Spring Creek RV Park amenities include flush toilets, showers, playground, fire pits and sewage disposal. Firewood is available for purchase on site.

Reservations: Reservations required for year round camping.

Things to do While Camping in Canmore

Camping around Canmore gives great access to all the Canmore attractions, including Canmore area hikes, Canmore bike trails, and the best Canmore restaurants and ice cream.

For easy hikes near Canmore, hike Heart Creek trail and the Heart Creek Bunker. Hiking Grassi Lakes is also popular with families. For in-town options, the Canmore walking trails around the Bow River and the engine bridge are an easy option with beautiful views.

A father shows his toddler where the Great Horned Owl is nesting behind the Grassi Lakes Canmore
Grassi Lakes hike with kids

For a more challenging day of hiking, popular Canmore hikes like hiking Ha Ling Peak and hiking EEOR are only a 20 minute drive up the Spray Lakes Rd (AB-742). Other Kananaskis hikes not far from the town of Canmore that are worth checking out are hiking Yamnuska mountain and hiking Wind Ridge.

For mountain biking in Canmore, head to the Canmore Nordic Centre. Canmore also has plenty of paved pathways for biking or try some of these kid-friendly bike trails in Banff, Canmore and Kananaskis.

Canmore bike trails with view of Three Sisters
Paved bike paths in Canmore

Visiting Quarry Lake is popular in the summer as is kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding in Canmore on the Rundle Forebay Reservoir.

where to paddle board in Canmore - Rundle Forebay Reservoir
Paddle Boarding on Canmore Reservoir

With a short drive from Canmore to Banff National Park, take the time to hike up Johnston Canyon, hike Stewart Canyon or enjoy any of these worthwhile easy Banff hikes.

Hiking with kids in Banff National Park - Stewart Canyon Hike
Hiking Stewart Canyon in Banff National Park

Canmore Camping Tips

Canmore Camping with kids
  1. Download trail maps in advance of heading out for the day of hiking. Many of the hikes around Canmore won’t be within cell service range. Make sure you download any trail maps in advance.

  2. Educate yourself on camping and wildlife. Never leave any food or attractants out.

  3. Have bear spray for hiking and always make plenty of noise.

  4. Research your availability of water at the campsite.

  5. Be prepared for cold nights. The temperatures in the mountains can still get below freezing especially in the spring and fall.

  6. Pack rain gear and don’t be afraid to pack mitts and toque. You might want them even in the summer!

  7. Always check if fires are allowed or if there are any bans on fires. Make sure your campsite has a fire pit. Camping isn’t quite the same without a fire.

  8. Pack all your hiking gear to have the best days out on the hiking trails.
We recommend wearing a good pair of hiking boots while on the East End of Rundel hike near Canmore

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Your guide to Canmore Camping. Included is Canmore Campgrounds, both near Canmore and in this scenic mountain town, and the best things to do while camping near Canmore.

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