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Waterton Campgrounds Camping in Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Campgrounds: Camping in Waterton Lakes National Park

Ready to dive into the beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park firsthand? Well, camping is your ticket to the ultimate adventure! 

We’ve got your back with a complete guide to all things camping in Waterton. From what to pack to the best campgrounds, we’ve got the scoop to make your trip a breeze. 

Time Zone

Canada Standard Time (GMT-5)

Things to Know

Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English 

Calling Code: +1

How to Get to Waterton

By car: 

  • From Calgary: Take Highway 2 south to Fort Macleod, head west on Highway 3 to Pincher Creek, and finally south on Highway 6. This route takes about 3 hours.
  • From Banff National Park: You can start by taking Highway 1 east for a scenic 380 km route. Then, turn south onto Highway 40, passing through the Highwood Pass to reach Highway 22. 

You can also go further east and take Highway 22 south, where you’ll pass the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Then, continue east on Highway 3 to Pincher Creek and south on Highway 6 to the park.

  • From Lethbridge: Drive south to Cardston on Highway 5, and then head west to the park on the same highway. This drive can take around 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  • From British Columbia: Travel via the Crowsnest Pass on Highway 3 to Pincher Creek, then continue south on Highway 6. If you’re coming from Fernie, BC, it’s roughly 204 km to the park, taking around 2 hours.
  • From Glacier National Park, Montana: Go north through Cardston on Montana Highway 89 to Highway 2, then go west on Highway 5 all year. If you’re coming from St. Mary, Montana, it’s about 80 km to the park, taking about 1 hour.

By air: The two closest international airports to Waterton are Calgary International, about a three-hour drive away, and Kalispell, Montana, which is around 3.5 hours away. If you’re looking for a regional airport, Lethbridge County Airport is your best bet, about a 1.5-hour drive from Waterton townsite.

Best Time to Go

The best time to check out and camp at Waterton Lakes National Park is in July and August. The weather is usually warmer, drier, and more predictable during this time, and there are many fun activities, events, and programs to enjoy. 

It’s no surprise that these two months attract over half of Waterton’s annual visitors!

What to Know When Camping in Waterton

Media from nadine_abi_kheir

Address: Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1 403-859-5133

Opening hours: 24/7


If you’re planning to camp in Waterton during the busy season, here’s a pro tip: make sure to book your spot well in advance, even if you’re considering backcountry camping. Trust us, making a reservation will save you from any last-minute stress and guarantee you a spot to set up camp. 

What to Wear or Bring When Camping in Waterton

Just a heads up about the weather in Waterton Lakes National Park – it’s usually nice but quite unpredictable. In spring and summer, daytime highs range from 15° to 30°C, but nights can get chilly, dropping below zero. And get this – it can rain, snow, or even hail anytime! 

So, to make sure you’re all set for your camping adventure, here’s what you need:

  • Warm clothes (bring layers for changing weather)
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Hats and mitts
  • Groundsheet for your tent
  • Sleeping mat
  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Extra blankets
  • Bug spray
  • Camera (drones not allowed)

What Should You Keep in Mind When Camping

Make sure you’re a mindful campground neighbour by following these simple guidelines:

  • When washing dishes, use the outdoor sink or bring your basin. Avoid bathroom sinks. Dispose of dishwater in designated areas, not on bushes or the ground.
  • When it comes to doing laundry, it’s best to use your tub. Afterward, just dump the water down the outdoor sink or at the sani-dump, and avoid using the bathroom sinks since there are laundry facilities – you’ll find them on the townsite.
  • When it comes to keeping your kids safe, it’s crucial to always keep an eye on them. Campgrounds can be vast, and it’s easy for children to wander off or accidentally wander into someone else’s campsite. 
  • When heading to the campground facilities or your spot, it’s best to stick to the roads and paths. Cutting through someone else’s campsite can be bothersome to fellow campers and might harm delicate plants. 

Best Campgrounds in and around Waterton

Townsite Campground

Media from erinwalters13

Address: Wind Flower Ave, Improvement District No. 4, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1 877-737-3783

Opening hours: 24/7

Fees: $-$$

If you’re planning to explore the park for a few days, you’ll love Townsite Campground! It’s in the heart of Waterton Townsite, making it incredibly convenient. It has 238 sites for the taking (including 142 serviced and 96 non-serviced), so you’ll have more chances of securing a spot.

Now, what makes it a crowd-pleaser? Easy access for one – simply drive up and settle in. And it’s a stone’s throw away from the lake and town. 

Plus, they’ve got the facilities – you’ll see everything from dump stations to showers, and they even have wheelchair-accessible spots.

As for pricing, it ranges from $25 – $42.50 per night, depending on the inclusive services. So, if you’re looking for a great base to explore the park, Townsite Campground has got you covered!

Pro tips:

Just a heads up, Townsite Campground fills up fast, especially during the peak camping months from June to September. Be sure to snag your spot as soon as you can!

Bertha Bay Backcountry Campground

Media from danika_k_stone

Address: Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1 403-859-5133

Opening hours: 24/7

When you roll up to Bertha Lake, you can’t miss the campground! Remember to reserve it at Waterton’s visitor center or call them directly if you’re eyeing a spot there.

You can reach it with a simple 2-km hike from the townsite, offering a nice balance of privacy and nature that you won’t find in town. And don’t worry, it’s still pretty easy to get to for most folks!

You’re in for a treat at this backcountry site! First off, there’s this awesome new dock that adds a whole new level of fun. The water’s crystal clear, and you can even take a jump off the dock – a definite bonus. 

Not to mention, the tent pads are comfy and well taken care of. Oh, and let’s talk about the outhouse – it’s not your typical porta potty, thanks to its neat design, and it’s practically odourless. 

Pro tips:

Just note that the bear bins and food prep area are positioned a bit close to the tent pads for our liking. So, it’s important to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for bears in the area.

Belly River Campground

Media from liv.a.little93

Address: Improvement District No. 4, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1 403-859-2224

Opening hours: 24/7



Let’s talk about another drive-up camping option in Waterton Lakes National Park – Belly River Campground. Here’s the deal: it’s first come, first-served, so no reservations needed.

During the hustle of July and August (peak season alert!), securing a spot can be a bit of a race. The campground tends to fill up fast, usually packing in by early afternoon.  

It’s worth noting that Belly River Campground isn’t directly in the national park; it’s along Highway 6 near the U.S. border.

As for amenities, each campsite has a fire pit, picnic table, and food storage. Trash bins are conveniently placed every 4-5 sites, and there’s a communal enclosed kitchen. 

The bathrooms? They’re super clean. But, here’s the catch – no power and fresh water available.

Pro tips:

Hey, if you’ve got a crew of 25 or more and want to lock down some camping spots from mid-May until Labour Day, just give them a ring!

Crooked Creek Campground

Media from redredwine_96

Address: AB-5, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1 403-653-1100

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Fees: $$

Just 5.6 kilometres east of the Waterton National Park gates lies Crooked Creek Campground, offering 79 campsites to travellers like yourself. You’ve got options here, with both serviced (30-amp/ pull-through /back-in) and unserviced spots available, so reservations are highly recommended.

Here’s the lowdown: they’ve got free WiFi, a shower facility, flush toilets, a cook-shack with power and a wood stove, on-site laundry, and even a child-friendly atmosphere. Plus, there’s a cash-only store for your essentials – firewood, ice, and snacks.

If you’re into hiking, fishing, or golfing, you’re in luck – all nearby! And it’s pet-friendly; just keep those furry friends on a leash. 

Pro tips:

So, here’s the scoop on prices – camping starts at $30 per night, and they ask for a 2-night minimum stay. And hey, you can start booking your spots from May 1st to September 30th.

Payne Lake Recreational Area

Media from bestravisk52

Address: Cardston County, AB T0K 1N0

Phone: 403-653-2522 

Opening hours: Open April to the end of December

Fees: $


Alright, let’s talk about this beautiful lakeside gem – it’s nestled in Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area, just 25 km west of Cardston on Hwy. 5 (or 18 km east of Waterton Lakes National Park). 

The campground is open from April through December and offers 46 unserviced sites. You’ve got your pick of scenic Lakeview spots or more secluded forest hideaways.

Now, here’s the fun part – there’s a ton to do! Think hiking, canoeing, power-boating, and fishing. It’s first-come, first-served, with camping spots for $24 per night. They’ve got firewood for sale right on-site, too.

So, whether you’re all about that lakeside view or craving some shady forest vibes, this place has got you covered. Plus, you can fish for trout, hike, sail, windsurf, canoe, or even take a spin on a powerboat – the options are endless!

Pro tips:

You’ll find firewood available during peak season but not during the winter months, so come prepared.

Waterton Reservoir Campground

Media from xbarstar

Address: Pincher Creek No. 9, AB T0K 1E0

Phone: +1 877-537-2757

Opening hours: Season: May 10 – Sep 30

Fees: $


Check out this stunning waterfront campground at Waterton Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area! It’s just 52 km northeast of Waterton Lakes National Park along Highway 505.

This place is a gem with 25 unserviced campsites, and it’s first-come, first-served. Especially in the summer, it’s a hit because you can camp right by the water.

Think of all the fun stuff you can do – swimming, paddling, waterskiing, windsurfing, fishing, and more! It’s the perfect spot for water lovers and a great pit stop for anyone exploring the southern Rockies nearby.

Pro tips:

Take note: there’s a water pump available, but it’s not safe for drinking – perfect for washing up, though! If you’re looking to quench your thirst, consider bringing a filter and boiling the water for a safe sip.

Fort Heritage and Frontier RV Park

Media from  chloeneus

Address: AB Hwy 5A 280028B, Mountain View, AB T0K 1N0

Phone: +1 403-394-8676

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Fees: $-$$


Located about 15 kilometres from Waterton Lakes National Park, you’ll find the Fort Heritage and Frontier RV Park – a great spot for RVs and caravans. It’ll cost you between $27 and $33 per night, and they’ve got a tenting area for $23 a day.

On top of that, they’ve got powered RV pads along with grassy areas for both RVs and tents. And let us tell you, the views are spectacular – think open vistas of the Rocky Mountains and rolling plains landscape. 

Plus, there’s plenty of space to roam around and a beautiful lake to chill out by.

Now, onto the facilities – they’ve got clean and well-maintained porta-potties and even a water wagon for freshening up, like washing your face or brushing your teeth. Sounds like a pretty sweet setup, eh?

Pro tips:

Just a heads up – if you’re checking in or out on a Sunday, you’ll need to use the self check-in/out kiosk. Their regular paid business operations are closed on Sundays, so keep that in mind!

Boundary Bay Backcountry Campground

Media from iamjofro

Address: 23HR+P9, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0

Phone: +1-877-737-3783

Opening hours: 24/7


Let’s talk about Boundary Bay – it’s right on Upper Waterton Lake, marking the border between Waterton Park and Glacier Park. This campground sits along the Lakeshore Trail, with a boat dock nearby and Boundary Creek feeding into the lake just across the US border.

Here’s the kicker – you can’t reach this campground by road. But don’t worry, you’ve got options! 

You can hike using the park’s trails or zip over by personal watercraft. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet spot to spend some time by the water.

Pro tips:

Hey, just so you know, you’ll need a fire permit at Boundary Bay, and it’s $11.00 per night.

Police Outpost Provincial Park

Media from  kmrv_mr

Address: Mountain View, AB T0K 1N0

Phone: +1 403-653-2522

Opening hours: Season: Apr 1 – Oct 10

Fees: $

Police Outpost Provincial Park is near the Alberta-Montana border, and it got its name from a Northwest Mounted Police outpost dealing with whiskey runners. Nowadays, campers get to enjoy spacious spots perfect for tents and RVs.

There’s plenty to do here – you can hike through the poplar forest, go canoeing, and try your hand at fishing on Outpost Lake. Birdwatching and wildlife viewing are also popular activities. 

Picture yourself spending lazy days by the water, fishing from your boat or canoe, or simply relaxing by the shore. It’s a fantastic spot for observing water birds and other wildlife.

Just a heads up – you’ll need reservations for any of the 46 unserviced campsites. So, if you’re looking for a blend of history and nature for your next adventure, this could be the perfect spot for you!

Pro tips:

Note that the water from the onsite pump/tap is for stuff like putting out campfires. Sometimes the pump doesn’t work too well, so it’s a good idea to bring your water for drinking and other needs.

Prairie Peaks Campground

Media from  prairie.peaks.campground

Address: 280052, AB-505, Hill Spring, AB T0K 1E0

Phone: +1 403-360-6824

Opening hours: May 15 – October 15

Fees: $$-$$$


Imagine pulling up your RV where the plains meet the stunning peaks at Prairie Peaks Campground – it’s a gem located northwest of Hill Spring, near the Waterton Reservoir. Just about 50 km from Waterton Lakes National Park, this spot is open for business from May to October.

Now, let’s talk amenities – they’ve got you covered with spacious RV sites, full hookups, potable water, and even a playground. Need a little water action? 

There’s a pond for fishing, canoeing, or a refreshing swim. And here’s the exciting part – pickleball courts are on the horizon, along with laundry facilities and a small movie theatre.

It’s the ideal spot for families to kick back and then head into the national park for a day packed with adventures!

Pro tips:

We suggest staying in the A loop, especially if you have a trailer with a rear window. That way, you can simply back your trailer in and bask in the beautiful mountain views. 

How Winter Camping Works in Waterton

Media from watertontourism


If you’re up for winter camping in Waterton Lakes National Park, you’ve got a couple of options to consider.

First off, there’s random or non-designated camping, but that’s only allowed during the winter season (from November 1st to April 1st). If you’re keen on this, you give them a call to get the details sorted.

The other option is camping in the Pass Creek Day Use Area. It’s right by the entrance road, near the Red Rock Parkway junction. 

And get this – it’s first-come, first-served, so there’s no need to stress about reservations or permits (make sure you’ve got a valid park pass).

Tents or RVs, take your pick – both are welcome here. Plus, they keep the area snow-plowed during winter, so you can still enjoy the great outdoors. 

While there’s no electricity, you’ll have access to open washrooms and fire rings to cozy up around (they even provide the firewood). 

Pro tips:

Blakiston Creek is a natural water source. Remember to give it a boil and filter before using it, just to be on the safe side!

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