Camping

Alaska and Canada have both government and private 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, provincial and territorial 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, federal, provincial and territorial campgrounds because they prefer peace and quiet.

Season dates for most campgrounds in the North depend on weather, i.e. freezing temperatures can freeze waterlines. Campgrounds are generally open from mid- to late-May until early- to late-September. As a rule, the farther north the campground, the shorter the season.

Keep in mind that although campground information may indicate the presence of water pumps, they are sometimes not working or users may have to boil the water (the text will note that when the information is available to us). Always carry your own water as backup and/or be prepared to purify or boil water if necessary.

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.

 

Alaska

camping in Alaska

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 are $5 to $10 per vehicle. Boat launch fees are $10 to $20 per day; dump stations $5 to $10 and firewood up to $8 per bundle where available.

Many areas utilize a fee station located on site. To obtain an annual pass for camping, day use or boat launches,  click on Fees, then Parks Pass for details. You may fill out the online parks pass order form or the mail-in 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, or with credit card. Send to DNR Public Information Center, Alaska Park Pass, 550 W. 7th Ave., Ste. 1260, Anchorage, AK 99501. Online passes are purchased with a credit card. Decals are mailed within 2 business days of receipt of online request. For more information phone (907) 269-8400, or the Anchorage Public Information Center at (907) 644-3661 or 1-866-869-6887. State campgrounds and recreation areas operated by concessionaires do not honor the annual camping passes.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains 11 campgrounds along the Steese, Richardson, Denali and Dalton highways; fees range from $6–$12/night and half-off discounts for those with the America the Beautiful (annual) or Senior passes. 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 222 University Ave., phone (907) 474-2200. In Glennallen, stop by the BLMoffice 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; fees are $12–$27. Passes such as America the Beautiful (annual), Access, and Senior passes, provide discounts; military and seniors are also offered discounted rates. Other national parks included in The MILEPOST® are: Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska and Kenai Fjords, accessible out of Seward; Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Skagway; and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.

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; primitive campgrounds have no fees. 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) or phone toll-free 1-877-444-6777.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages more than 120 campsites in camping areas along Skilak Lake Road and Swanson River/Swan Lake Roads within Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Fees are $5–$10 per night and America the Beautiful and Senior pass holders receive half-off discounts. Contact the Refuge Manager, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 2139, (Ski Hill Road), Soldotna, AK 99669, phone (907) 262-7021.

Canada

camping in Canada

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.

NOTE: Use firewood responsibly and do not carry it from one campground to another (thereby transferring devastating bugs or invasive species).

There is a 14-day limit in any 30-day period. Campsites are first-come, first-served. A camping permit ($12/night CDN) is required, and you may purchase your daily campground permits in advance or self-register when you arrive (instructions are posted). There are no sani-dump stations in Yukon Government campgrounds. The Environment Yukon web page  lists all government campgrounds, recreation sites and sani-dump station locations. You may download and/or print the sani-dump station locations.

All Yukon government campgrounds abide by the policy that quiet hours are from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

For more information, contact the Parks Branch at (867) 667-5648; in Yukon/NWT 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5684; email.

British Columbia has an extensive provincial park system, with over 10,000 campsites, 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 $11–$35 CDN per camping party per night, depending on facilities. There is a 14-day limit for most parks and a 7-day limit in 5 of the busiest parks. Some campsites may be reserved; visit website for a list of provincial parks accepting campsite reservations.

In all provincial parks, conservancies, protected areas and recreational areas, generators are restricted to use between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 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.

Reservations may be made online. Phone in Canada 1-800-689-9025, or outside Canada (519) 826-6850, daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PDT); (closed Christmas and New Years Day).

Alberta provincial park system includes 108 provincial parks and recreation area campgrounds and 79 forest provincial recreation areas. Online booking for provincial parks is available beginning each February  or phone 1-877-537-2757. Fees are $5–$26 CDN per night, additional fees for hook-ups, sani-dump, showers. There is a 16-day-consecutive limit for stays in campgrounds (5-days for group campsites). Quiet hours are 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.  To receive a campground guide, phone Travel Alberta 1-866-427-3582.

Northwest Territories operates more than 20 public campgrounds, many with walking trails and natural features, such as waterfalls. Fees range from $15–$32 CDN per night and payment and must be in Canadian currency/Canadian cheque. Fred Henne, Prelude and Hay River Territorial parks have a 14–day limit during peak season. Firewood is available for a fee. Online reservations are available in mid-April 2017.

Multiple day-use areas are available for highway travelers to enjoy an open-air picnic or stretch their legs.

NWT has 4 national parks: Tutkut Nogait, Aulavik, Nahanni and Wood Buffalo.  The only national park with highway access is Wood Buffalo. Stop by a Parks Canada office or check their website for details on fly-in trips to remote parks.

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 supplied for free, but bring your own ax to split kindling. “Serviced” campgrounds have caretakers/hosts. Go to Parks Canada for more information.