Camping is the ideal way to immerse yourself in British Columbia’s natural beauty. Whether you are spending a weekend at the lake or embarking on a wilderness adventure, there’s nothing like camping in B.C.
This page provides an overview of:
Types of camping
There are three main types of camping available in BC Parks:
‘Frontcountry’ means an area within 1 km of a park road or a highway. Frontcountry campsites are generally accessible by car and have facilities to help you and your whole family camp in comfort.
Frontcountry campgrounds offer unforgettable outdoor experiences for all ages and levels of outdoor experience. They are ideal for day-hiking adventures and many also have access to lakes and beaches.
For a quick introduction to frontcountry camping, watch the Camping 101 video, below. Thank you to our partners at Canucks Autism Network for working with us to make this video.
‘Backcountry’ means an area more than 1 km away from any highway or park road. Our backcountry campgrounds offer ideal launching pads for experienced outdoorspeople heading out on multi-day hiking expeditions.
Outside formal campgrounds, many parks offer backcountry tent pads and other rustic facilities. More remote parts of the backcountry, commonly known as the ‘wilderness’, have no facilities. Open camping is allowed in some wilderness areas.
Looking for an adventure in B.C.’s backcountry? We can help you camp safely and responsibly. For more information, see our backcountry guide.
For larger camping parties, groupsites are available at frontcountry and backcountry campgrounds. There are two types of group camping:
- Regular group camping for parties that include at least 15 people who are 16 years of age or older
- Youth group camping for parties of 12 or more, associated with a school, recreation centre, or youth organization in B.C.
Maximum group camping party sizes vary between parks. For information on availability of groupsites, maximum party sizes, and whether you need to book ahead, find the park’s webpage.
You can use many frontcountry and backcountry campsites on a first come, first served basis. Advance booking is required for some of the most popular parks, and we recommend that you book ahead whenever possible.
Our reservation service makes booking quick and simple. Book your next camping adventure online today at camping.bcparks.ca:
Alternatively, you can call the reservation service at:
There is an additional $5 charge for all bookings, changes, or cancellations made by phone.
Depending on the specific park and type of camping, you may need to:
Reserve a campsite
You can reserve frontcountry, backcountry, and group campsites at many parks across B.C. All camping reservations must be made through the reservation service, either online or by phone.
Reservations are required at frontcountry campgrounds in many BC Parks. At frontcountry campgrounds that do not require booking ahead, reservations are often available.
Some of the most popular backcountry areas and activities also require camping reservations. To learn more about reservations for a specific backcountry destination, click below:
- Joffre Lakes
- Berg Lake Trail
- Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit
- Mount Assiniboine
- E.C. Manning Park: Buckhorn Campground
You can book a reservation for regular group camping and youth group camping in many BC Parks. Most parks with groupsites require advance groupsite booking, especially during peak periods.
Some parks offer first come, first served group camping. As groupsites are relatively limited, we strongly advise that you book ahead when possible. To learn more about reserving a groupsite, see the group camping page.
Register for a camping permit
You need a camping permit to stay at any reservable frontcountry or backcountry campground. Permits are also required for camping in some more remote backcountry areas that do not have reservable campgrounds.
For reservable campgrounds, you can get a permit one of two ways:
- If you make an online reservation, simply print out your confirmation email
- Otherwise, get your permit when you check-in at the campground
You must display your camping permit at your campsite or tent pad throughout your stay.
For camping in backcountry areas that do not have reservable campgrounds, a backcountry camping permit may be required. For most backcountry areas that require a permit, it is possible to self-register at major trailheads.
Some parks accept advance registration for backcountry permits. Not all these parks have self-registration facilities, so we strongly recommend registering in advance where possible.
Some parks require a fee for backcountry registration. You can pre-pay this fee at parks that accept pre-registration, so you do not need to bring cash. You must bring cash when visiting a park that requires self-registration at the trailhead.
Even if you register in advance, a backcountry camping permit is not a reservation. It does not guarantee you a spot in any specific camping area.
Most camping trips require you to pay some fees, especially if you are booking in advance for a popular destination. Fees vary between parks. Find the park’s webpage or download the camping fees and information supplement [PDF] for details.
Fees for booking in advance
When making a reservation, you will pay all fees by credit or debit card, including:
- Camping fees, which pay for the use of campsites and other facilities
- Transaction fees, which help us maintain the reservation service
Fees for first come, first served camping
When camping without a reservation, you can usually pay camping fees in cash directly to the park operator when you arrive. At any campground that does not have on-site staff, a box is provided where you can deposit fees in cash.
Discounts and exemptions
We offer reduced camping fees for seniors and people with disabilities. These can be applied to reservations and first come, first served camping. For reservations, you must choose the discounted rate at the time of booking.
To learn more about discounts and exemptions, or anything to do with fees, see the camping fees page.
We are committed to keeping BC Parks safe and beautiful for everyone to enjoy, but we need your help. For a detailed overview of safe, responsible frontcountry camping practices, see our camping and day-use guide.
Leave No Trace
In backcountry areas, extra care is needed to protect nature. If you are planning to explore the backcountry, please familiarize yourself with and follow Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.