Alaska and Canada have both government owned and privately owned campgrounds. With few exceptions, these campgrounds are located along the road system, and most roadside campgrounds accommodate both tents and RVs. Wilderness camping is also available in most state, federal and provincial parklands.
The MILEPOST® logs all public roadside campgrounds, and includes facilities (water, firewood, tables, firepits, etc.), camping fees, length of stay limits and other information. The MILEPOST® highway logs also include private campgrounds. Keep in mind that government campgrounds generally do not offer hookups or other amenities, and may not be able to accommodate large RVs and 5th-wheelers. Additionally, each location may have hours when their electricity and/or water services are curtailed. Be sure to read posted notices or inquire with campground host, if you are concerned. Out of respect for other campers, please use your generators judiciously. Many choose to stay in state, provincial, territorial or government campgrounds because they prefer peace and quiet. Season dates for most campgrounds in the North depend on weather, i.e. freezing temperatures can freeze the provided water services.
Campgrounds are open from mid- to late-May until early September. The farther north the campground, the shorter the season.
NOTE: Campers are urged to use established campgrounds. Overnighting in rest areas and turnouts may be unsafe and is illegal unless otherwise posted. Something else to consider before adventuring out is the midnight sun in these areas. If you have difficulty sleeping in light, you may want to bring blackout shades for your RV or a sleeping mask for camping.
The MILEPOST® indicates both private and public campgrounds with tent symbols in the highway logs.
Government agencies offering recreational campsites in Alaska are the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), Alaska State Parks, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS).
Alaska State Parks. The largest state park system in the United States, DNR maintains more than 2,400 campsites within the 121-unit state park system units, such as; state recreation sites (SRS), 5 state parks (Chugach, Denali, Chilkat, Kachemak Bay, Wood-Tikchik, Afognak Island and Shuyak Island), State Recreation Areas (SRA), State Historical Sites (SHS), State Historical Parks (SHP), State Marine Parks (SMP) and a Bald Eagle Preserve. State campgrounds do not accept reservations, although state campgrounds operated by private contractors may have a reservation system in place.
Camping fees (subject to change) range from $10 to $45 per night. Day-use parking fees and boat launch fees vary. There are also fees for dump stations and firewood. Check here for a list of fees and locations.
State campgrounds and recreation areas, some of which are operated by private contractors, no longer have an annual camping pass program. Many areas have a daily-use fee station located on site, or to obtain an annual day-use and boat launch passes, click on Parks Pass under Fees for details,, then click either online parks pass order form or paper park pass order form. Annual park passes may also be purchased in person (see list of locations online). Paper forms are mailed with check or money order payable to the State of Alaska, to DNR Public Information Center, Alaska Park Pass, 550 W. 7th Ave., Ste. 1260, Anchorage, AK 99501. Online passes may be purchased with a credit card. Decals are mailed within 2 business days of receipt of online request. Requests for passes can also be faxed to 907-269-8901 or phone 907-269-8400. Or, you can phone the Anchorage Public Information Center at 907-644-3661 or call 866-869-6887.
BLM maintains 11 campgrounds; fees range from $6-$12/night and ½ price with golden age or park passport permit. Unless otherwise posted, all undeveloped BLM public lands are open to free camping, usually for a maximum of 10 days per stay. The Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office is located at 222 W. 7th Ave., Suite 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7599; phone 907-271-5960 and has a public information center, open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (closed holidays) at 605 W. 4th St.; 907-644-3661. In Fairbanks, stop by the BLM office at 1150 University Ave., phone 907-474-2200. In Glennallen, stop by the BLM office at Mile 186.5 Glenn Highway. Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, phone 907-822-3217.
The National Park Service maintains 6 campgrounds in Denali National Park and Preserve (see DENALI NATIONAL PARK section); fees are charged. Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and Golden Access passes, while still honored at most campgrounds, have been discontinued and replaced with America the Beautiful, annual, military, senior and access passes. Other national parks included in The MILEPOST® are: Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords (accessible by tour boat); Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Skagway; and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. For more information, click here.
U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are available in Alaska’s 2 national forests: Tongass and Chugach. USFS campgrounds charge a fee of $8 to $28 per night depending on facilities. There is a 14-day limit at most campgrounds. Some campsites may be reserved. For more information and reservations, visit the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS), phone 877-444-6777. For information on all recreation in Alaska’s national forests, click here and here.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages camping areas along Skilak Lake Road and Swanson River/Swan Lake Roads within Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Contact the Refuge Manager, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 2139, (Ski Hill Rd), Soldotna, AK 99669, phone 907-262-7021; or click here.
Provincial and territorial government campgrounds and recreation sites as well as private campgrounds are readily available along the Alaska Highway and connecting routes in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territory.
Yukon has more than 50 territorial government campgrounds and recreation sites located along its road system. These well-maintained campgrounds have picnic tables, firepits, firewood, outhouses, well water, a picnic shelter and often, boat launches.
A camping permit is $12/night with a maximum of 14-days allowed in any one campground. Campgrounds are first come-first served. Visitors may pay the camping fee when they self-register at campgrounds. (Instructions are posted.) There are no dump stations in Yukon Government campgrounds. The Environment Yukon website has all government campgrounds, recreation sites and sani-dump station locations.
British Columbia has an extensive provincial park system, with camping available at more than 340 vehicle accessible campgrounds. Park gates are generally open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Camping fees range from $10 to $30 per camping party per night, depending on facilities. There is a 14-day limit for most parks. Some campsites may be reserved; click here for a list of provincial parks accepting campsite reservations (campsite and yurt reservations begin March 15, 2016).
In all provincial parks, conservancies, protected areas and recreational areas, generators are restricted to use between 9 a.m.–11 a.m. and from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. Generators must be placed on designated campsite pads and not in surrounding vegetation. Generators will not be allowed in walk-in campsites.
Click on the link for more information on BC Parks, or here. Reservations can be made 24 hours/day online here. Phone 800-689-9025, or outside Canada 519-826-6850, weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PDT) and Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information regarding RVing in BC, click here. For information on BC’s recreations sites and trails, click here.
Alberta also has a provincial park system with 108 provincial parks and recreation area campgrounds and 79 forest provincial recreation areas. Online booking for provincial parks is available. To receive a campground guide, call Travel Alberta at 866-427-3582.
Northwest Territories operates more than 20 public campgrounds, many with walking trails and natural features, such as waterfalls. Fees range from $15 to $32 per night and payment is in Canadian currency or by Canadian cheque only. Fred Henne, Prelude and Hay River Territorial parks have a 14–day limit during peak season. Firewood is available for a fee. Click here (go to Where to Stay), or click here for reservations.
Multiple day-use areas are available for highway travelers to enjoy an open-air picnic or stretch their legs.
There are also 4 national parks in NWT operated by the federal government: Tutkut Nogait, Aulavik, Nahanni and Wood Buffalo. The only national park with highway access, however, is Wood Buffalo. Click here for more information.
Across Canada, a park sticker, available at entrance stations, is required for motorists staying overnight in the national parks. National Park campgrounds may have electrical service (standard 60 cycle). Firewood is often supplied for free, but bring your own ax to split kindling. “Serviced” campgrounds have caretakers/hosts. For more information, click here.