It might be well below zero, but that doesn’t mean you have to opt out of the great outdoors. With a little extra planning (and a lot of warm clothes!) you can embark on an unforgettable winter camping trip–even during the coldest months of the year. Whether you prefer to tent camp, “glamp” in cabins or yurts, or even enjoy winter RVing in your home on wheels, Canada offers parks open throughout the winter with maintained roads, trails, and campsites just waiting to be claimed. Wondering how to make camp in the winter? We’ve got you!
For many, camping in the winter is the perfect opportunity to snag a great campsite at one of Canada’s most popular national parks–Banff, for instance–without the crowds, and without placing reservations months in advance. Here are some of our favorite campgrounds for winter camping!
Algonquin Provincial Park
Nestled in southeastern Ontario, Algonquin National Park offers stunning winter forests, sanded and ploughed roads, and trails maintained throughout the winter for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and winter hiking. The best part? This park is also home to seven heated yurts at Mew Lake Campground and a number of (generally well ploughed) camp spaces for tents or trailers. The truly intrepid winter campers among us enjoy backcountry trekking and camping at Algonquin, as well; just use a ski trail to enter the park, then strike off in search of the ideal secluded winter camping spot. Just make sure to purchase a permit first!
Killarney Provincial Park
While social distancing orders are still in effect, you have to play it safe and camping is the way to go. When you camp out in your RV, you can stay a safe distance from other groups without compromising on the fun. You can use your own bathroom, cook at your own campsite, and even bring along tons of camping games to keep your group busy between adventures. Just remember to bring the masks to wear around others in case you end up in a crowded area.
Banff National Park
Dreaming of camping at Banff again next year? Don’t wait for the summertime. Banff offers several options for winter camping, and you’ll get to enjoy it all without the summertime crowds. Look for locations available to reserve in the Tunnel Mountain area; you’ll find yurts, camp sites, and even trailer parking during the winter, along with readily available facilities that aren’t typically provided at other Banff campground areas.
Jasper National Park
The largest park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park has a lot to offer. It’s a dark sky preserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it offers several options for wintertime camping. The Wapiti Campground is located close to Jasper’s town center, and it offers a few key features: running water, electrical hookups, and access to kilometres of both cross-country and downhill ski trails; this is a popular place to enjoy a winter RV trip. The Whirlpool Winter Hub is another option that offers even more central access to trails, but it doesn’t offer running water or power.
Silent Lake Provincial Park
Many regard Silent Lake as a hidden gem–especially for winter camping. Cabins available for rent here are remarkably cozy and well-designed and come complete with a microwave, mini-fridge, propane fireplace, and dining table and chairs. They also offer yurts, some with propane heat and some with small wood stoves. Roads are typically very well ploughed, and with over 40km of groomed cross-country ski trails at hand, you might never want to leave.
Kluane National Park
If you’re ready for a Yukon camping adventure, consider Kluane National Park, where backcountry camping options are practically endless. Prepare to be awed by the vast wilderness surrounding you as you ski or snowshoe through Kluane’s forests in search of the perfect backcountry camp site. This is one area where you’ll want to take along a GPS or satellite phone–and, of course, make sure your winter wear is up to snuff before you head out.
If you’re planning a winter RV trip this year, make sure your RV is properly insured before you head out–especially if you typically only go RVing in the summer. Then double-check our guide to the best gear for winter RV adventures for a few more resources!