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 and provincial parklands.
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.
Season dates for most campgrounds in the North depend on weather, i.e. freezing temperatures can freeze water-lines. 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 these areas experience. If you have difficulty sleeping in light, you may want to bring blackout shades for your RV or a sleeping mask for camping.
The current print and digital editions of The MILEPOST® have more detailed information about all private and public campgrounds in northwestern Canada and Alaska at their roadside locations.
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 3,000 campsites within the 119-unit state park system. Camping is available at 40 state recreation sites, 5 state parks (Chugach, Denali, Chilkat, Kachemak Bay, Wood-Tikchik), 14 state recreation areas and a state historic park. State campgrounds, as a rule, 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 $28 per night. Day-use parking fees are $5 to $10 per vehicle. Boat launch fees are $5 to $10 per day. There are also fees for dump stations and firewood.
State campgrounds and recreation areas are all operated by private contractors and there are no longer annual camping passes to purchase for entrance. To obtain 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. Phone the Anchorage Public Information Center at (907) 269-8400 with any questions.
BLM maintains 15 campgrounds; fees are charged at some. Unless otherwise posted, all undeveloped BLM public lands are open to free camping, usually for a maximum of 14 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; 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 include: Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords (accessible by tour boat); Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Skagway; and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Click for more information.
U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are available in Alaska’s 2 national forests: Tongass and Chugach. USFS campgrounds charge a fee of $6 to $24 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 toll-free 1-877-444-6777. For information on all recreation in Alaska’s national forests, visit here or click 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, Box 2139, MS 519, Soldotna, AK 99669, phone (907) 262-7021.
Alaska camping information can also be obtained through the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers or call toll-free 1-866-869-6887, (907) 644-3661. Forest service campground and cabin reservations may be made online.
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 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. There is a 14-day limit in any 30-day period, per Yukon Government Campground. A camping permit ($12/night) and nightly self-registration is required. Visitors may purchase daily campground permits in advance at many highway lodges, gas stations, retail stores, in liquor stores (outside Whitehorse) and at all Environment Yukon offices. Or visitors may pay the camping fee when they self-register at Yukon government campgrounds. (Instructions are posted.) There are no dump stations in Yukon Government campgrounds. The Yukon Parks web page lists all government campgrounds, recreation sites and dump site 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, 2014).
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.
For more information on BC Parks, click here. Reservations can be made 24 hours/day online. Or phone toll-free in Canada 1-800-689-9025, 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. Click for information regarding RVing in BC. For information on BC’s recreations sites and trails, go to 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 toll–free at 1-800-252-3782.
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 check only. Fred Henne, Prelude and Hay River Territorial parks have a 14–day limit during peak season. Firewood is available for a fee. Visit (go to Where to Stay), or 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. Go 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 supplied for free, but bring your own ax to split kindling. “Serviced” campgrounds have caretakers/hosts.