Skip to content
Backcountry Glacier Calving


Backcountry of the Canadian Rockies


When most people think of the Canadian Rockies, they picture towering mountains, emerald-colored glacier-fed lakes, and rugged backcountry. You can find all of those things here, and much more. If you’re looking for an adventure, look no further than the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies. There are miles and miles of trails, some easy and some difficult. Whether you’re looking for a short day hike or to spend several days or a week exploring the wilderness, the Canadian Rockies backcountry has something for everyone.

There are hundreds of trails that lead you through everything from low alpine meadows speckled with a myriad of wildflowers, up gentle slopes through beautiful forests, to scrambling the high bluffs of jagged mountain passes echoing the thunder of glacial calving as huge chunks of millennia aged blue ice break off and fall from the high rockfaces. I managed to capture the last part of one such calving on a hike by Six Glaciers. The sound was thunderous! The backcountry is the best way to escape the crowds and experience some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

Reserve RV, Frontcountry & Backcountry Camp Sites Here 

For a more visual representation of the Frontcountry sites see, Campgrounds in Banff National Park where you can see descriptions of the sites, hookups, and what size RV’s can park there.

Create an account before selecting your preferred visit, by clicking on Sign In and using one of your sign in partners or

Call: 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)

Be prepared for long wait times on the phone.

Strongly suggest you reserve online months ahead of time, preferably at the very start of the reservation season to schedule any campsites or accommodations you may have in mind for the summer.

So how do you decide where to go trekking? This depends on your level of experience. If you are a seasoned backpacker in optimal physical condition and thrive on adventure, and you crave to camp under the expanse of the Milky Way in a star-filled sky, and you’re fully prepared to rough it, then backpacking in the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies is the place for you. See, Canadian Rockies Adventure Destinations, for several suggestions on Multi-Day trips through the backcountry.

Parks Canada has a wealth of information on all manner of trails, backcountry permits, and maps, shuttles, and reservations for accommodations. Their website can be a little challenging to navigate. I’ve added several links below to save you time.

Backcountry IdeasThis page will show you different backcountry multi-day trips, all of which are amazing at varying levels of difficulty. The four day or more trips will take you on some of the most epic adventures of a lifetime.

Free Brochures: Including one for backcountry camping though I don’t like the pdf. It’s hard to see much unless you zoom it up on your computer. 

I’ve come to find AllTrails to have a great deal of information on individual trails of all caliber ranging from several hours to several days. You can see photos of the areas so that you know what to expect and better help you decide upon your journey. The application is very affordable and can be installed on your phone, allowing you to take their pre-downloaded offline maps with you into the wild.

Backcountry CampingScroll down to “Backcountry Trails in Banff National Park”.

I suggest you download this onto your phone. It is quite simply a brochure, but will definitely prove helpful with locations for Parking at the beginning of trailheads, gondola locations, as you may want to start your hike from higher up, backcountry campsite locations where fires are permitted and not permitted (Remember To Bring Your Own Stove) as well as shuttle service and commercial accommodations.

For the Advanced Scrambler, I cannot emphasize this enough, there are a few Scrambler Guides for Cascade Mountain, Rundle Mountain, and Mount Temple that include emergency contact information for helicopter rescue, gear and safety suggestions, as well as invaluable trail information to bring you back safely.

Banff National Park Camp SitesThese pages have everything you need to reserve the frontcountry campsite for you in the Banff, Yoho, Jasper, Glacier, and Kootenay National Parks

Camping-101 in the Rockies: Some great tips.

Will-Z-Lk. Louise-unsplash

You may only have time for shorter Day Trips or are more interested in staying in lodges, motels, local campsites or your own RV.

With this in mind, I have searched out what I believe to be some very helpful resources that will meet each of your preferences, all with a wealth of information and experience in the Canadian Rockies.

Parks Canada Permits are required throughout Canadian National Parks, even when visiting for only one day.

The Discovery Pass will grant you access to over 80 destinations across Canada for a whole year, rather than having to purchase daily passes during your visit, possibly saving you money when visiting more than one location for days at a time.

The other option is to purchase a pass by the day for the duration of your trip. The price is about $22.00 per car per day. Buy the pass at the Banff Gate or any Parks Information Center. 




Keep in mind that I may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. I am endeavoring to find you the best of the best as well as alternate options. I try to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.