Camping in BC. Campsites & Campgrounds in British Columbia, Canada

Camping in BC

Camping in British Columbia

BC Provincial & National Parks
Rules and Camping Etiquette
  - Facilities
  - Fees
  - Hazards
  - Camping Items
  - Contact Information
BC Recreation Sites
Sites and Facilities
  - Etiquette
  - Rules and Regulations
  - Forest Fires
  - Wildlife
  - Forest Roads
  - Contact Information


British Columbia is approximately 952,260 square km (367,660 square mi.), this includes 18,000 square km (11,160 square mi.) of inland water and is the third largest province in Canada. It is made up of snow-covered mountains, rolling hills, alpine meadows, plateaus, glacier fed lakes, swift flowing rivers, lush forests, grasslands, and miles of rugged fiord coastline. B.C. is ready made for exploring. The geography and adventures are so diverse that few other places in North America can offer the variety British Columbia can. It is an outdoor recreational haven.

Camping in British Columbia is fast becoming the main outdoor recreation of locals and tourists alike. Within the borders, there are more than 400 different provincial parks for day use and camping. Four of the six national parks offer developed camping facilities. Hundreds of BC Government recreation sites, located throughout the province, offer rustic camping, boat launching and often maintained trails. Each year, more people are enjoying the natural scenery, space and more than 10,000 camping spots in B.C.

Camping means different things to different people. Some enjoy camping in tents, others in recreational vehicles (commonly known as RV's). Whether you enjoy camping with few facilities or in your home-away-from-home RV, the beauty of the great outdoors is waiting to be experienced. British Columbia was created for camping and campers!

British Columbia Provincial Parks:
North by Northwest Peace River/Alaska Hwy Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
High Country Okanagan BC Rockies
Kootenay Country Vancouver, Coast & Mtns Vancouver Island

National Parks:
Kluane Jasper Banff
Yoho Kootenay Waterton Lakes
Pacific Rim Glacier Mt. Revelstoke

Rules and Camping Etiquette:

  • Park Gates are closed from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. No outside visitors allowed after 11:00 p.m.
  • Always store food in the vehicles in airtight containers.
  • Light fires in the provided metal fire pits.
  • Camp only in the designated areas.
  • Use BC Parks garbage bins that they provide in the campsites.
  • Take only how much wood you will use.
  • Enjoy the flora and fauna in the parks. Look, smell and photograph, but never pick or cut.
  • Remove all garbage and clean the campsite before leaving.
  • Do not use the fire pit as a garbage disposal.
  • Keep pets on a leash.
  • Check out time is midday. Maximum length of a stay is fourteen days per year in anyone park. A party is considered a family from the same address. No one under the age of sixteen is allowed a campsite.
  • One camping vehicle per site, unless an additional vehicle is being towed, or a member of the group is commuting to the park in a different vehicle.
  • Never take powerboats near a swimming area.
  • Alcohol is allowed at your campsite, unless this privilege is abused.


Most campgrounds in British Columbia have the basic facilities. This includes water, wood, pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits. Some larger campgrounds can offer showers, flush toilets, sani-stations, wheelchair access, group camping, visitor's centres and interpretive programs. The camp spots are made tidy after each visitor leaves, garbage is collected on a regular basis, and washroom facilities are usually clean and well maintained.


At fee sites, fees are collected only from approx April to October. Camping fees vary from site to site depending on the facilities. Attendants, in most parks collect the cash only payment in the early evening hours. Fees are resonable. There is a charge for firewood in national parks. Whether camping or not, they charge an additional fee in national parks.

For current details and reservation information visit the following websites:

Park Hazards (Wildlife):

British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of wildlife. Depending on the season, you are apt to see cougars, bears, moose, deer, sheep, goats, whales and many small animals. There are also hundreds of different bird species that make their home in B.C.

Bears are the most prevalent and dangerous of the wildlife in the parks of British Columbia. BC has almost one-quarter of all the black bears in Canada and close to half the grizzlies. People and bear encounters are very rare, but always keep in mind that you ARE in bear country. Be prepared and take the necessary precautions. Never approach or feed a bear.

Necessary Camping Items:

Some people take everything (including the kitchen sink) camping. The RV campers, whether using a camper, fifth-wheel, or a motor home have the opportunity to enjoy all the comforts of home. These units have sleeping accommodations, stoves, fridges, furnaces and everything a camper needs, and then some. Nevertheless, whether you enjoy camping in a tent or a RV unit, certain items can help make your experience fun. These items include aluminum foil, an axe, a barbecue, camera and film, candles and/or a lantern, a flashlight, a first aid kit that includes calamine lotion and insect repellent. Make sure you have garbage bags, matches and newspaper for the campfire, rope, sunglasses, hat and sun screen, a tarp, towels, and rainy day activities.

For Information on BC Provincial Parks contact:
BC Parks
For Information on National Parks contact:
Parks Canada: National Parks in BC
For Information on Bc Recreation Sites contact:

BC Recreation Sites:

The Recreation Sites & Trails BC offers a host of exceptional recreation opportunities. While some of the Province's most spectacular recreation features are located in parks, many more recreation resources are found in the rugged and real backcountry. Recreation sites and trails are public campgrounds and trails located on Crown land outside of parks and settled areas.

The backcountry provides an abundance of great places to have fun and enjoy nature through activities such as camping, boating, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, ATVing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and exploring. So get to know BC's backcountry - it's the perfect place to experience the wonders of the outdoors and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Camping in a BCrecreation site is different from camping in one of BC's Provincial Parks or in a National Park. These forest sites are rustic and usually off the beaten track. They are enjoyed by folks, who wish to get away from it all and enjoy outdoor activities.

Recreation sites provide a simple, rustic camping experience. Generally located in remote areas and accessed by gravel forestry roads, recreation sites provide only basic facilities, such as fire rings, picnic tables, outhouses, and, where appropriate, boat-launching ramps. Sites are small and usually near a lake or river. The recreational trails are designed for all types of usage from hiking and horseback riding to skiing and snowmobiling.

Potable water is not available, and there is no electricity at recreation sites. At a limited number of recreation sites with on-site operators, supervisory services are provided.

There are two basic types of recreation sites:

  • Sites with fees
  • Sites without fees


Sites and Facilities:
Search a database of sites and their facilities at:

Some recreational sites have litter barrels supplied, while other sites are "User Maintained" which means packing out all your garbage. These sites are for everybody to use, so please leave it clean. They do not provide firewood. Bring your own or gather it. Burn only dead or downed trees, do not cut trees. Most boat launches are for small car top boats. Persons can launch trailered small and medium sized boats where there are ramps.

Site Locations & Information:

For complete information and an interactive map of BC Recreation Sites. Visit their Website:


There are some do's and don'ts when using recreational sites and trails.

  • Try not to damage any of the vegetation.
  • Respect fire closures.
  • Do not cut live trees or branches.
  • Build your camp fire in the fire ring and never leave a fire unattended. Always use your ashtray when driving forest or wilderness roads.
  • Clean fish well away from your camp. Dispose of entrails in a very hot fire or puncture the bladder and drop into deep or rushing waters.
  • Never empty sewage from trailer or camper along the road or near water. Use sani-stations.
  • Keep pets quiet and on a leash.
  • On leaving, make sure the site is clean and tidy.
  • Keep the noise level down and refrain from activities that may annoy others.
  • If there are no litter barrels, take your garbage with you.
  • Never vandalize or destroy forest recreation sites and trails.

Rules and Regulations:

The following rules and regulations apply to all persons using recreation sites and trails.

  • Never use or discharge a firearm on or near the site.
  • Never use a vehicle or equipment that will interfere with other people using or enjoying the site or trail.
  • You are allowed to stay or use the site or trail for only 14 consecutive days, unless you have written permission
  • No person will continue to make noise or permit an animal to misbehave, after being asked to stop.
  • Never put up a sign or structure on a recreation site or trail, unless you have been authorized by a forest service officer to do so.
  • Do not leave garbage on a site or trail.
  • Never leave fish or game offal, entrails, hides or bones on a site or trail.
  • All pets must be on a leash and under the control.
  • Never endanger other persons, and do not damage property or the appearance of a site or trail.

Help Prevent Forest Fires:

Humans cause approximately half of all forest fires, do your share to help and prevent this needless damage to our forests and environment. Use the provided fire rings, watch for flying sparks and keep campfires as small as possible. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure the campfire is out before you leave. Do not smoke while walking, butt out on a rock or dirt. When driving use your ashtray. Always respect fire closures and other forest restrictions.


Forest recreation sites and trails are off the beaten track, so people can enjoy the wilderness. But this can bring people into conflict with the wildlife, specially the black bear, the grizzly bear and the cougar. Always practice wildlife safety. Take necessary precautions and follow a few simple rules. Never feed bears. Do not store food in your tent. Pitch your tent away from where you cook and store your food. Never have your tent near heavy brush, the lake shore, stream banks and animal tracks. Keep your campsite clean and never bury garbage. Never surprise bears. Do not hike alone, keep your distance when taking photos and never come between a mother bear and her cubs. Keep pets on a leash and leave the area if you spot any bear and cougar tracks, droppings, or signs. Do not run from a bear, instead back away slowly and try to stay calm.

Using Forest Roads:

The forest service build forest roads primarily for industrial traffic, but the public uses them. These roads are classified according to their surface and travel conditions. The paved and gravel roads are good in all weather. The rough roads are a gravel or dirt surface and passable with a two-wheel drive, and the very rough roads are passable with a four-wheel drive. Due to weather, usage and maintenance, road conditions can change quickly, so be prepared. Roads can be closed during an extreme fire hazard season and during industrial use. Not all forest roads are maintained during the winter. If not familiar with the area or the route, check with the nearest forest district for road conditions.

Forest road travel is different from public highway travelling. Not matter where you travel, always drive with extreme caution. Before starting on a forest road, check your vehicle, fuel and supplies. Always obey road signs, and give logging and industrial traffic the right-of-way or pull off the road. Drive with your lights on, especially on dusty roads. Always watch for animals, rocks, downed trees and blind corners when on a forest road. Stay in your vehicle if any wildlife is near. Always be very careful if travelling or camping in forest recreation areas.

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Camping in BC. Campsites & Campgrounds in British Columbia, Canada