big.bend.campground

The Big Bend Campground along Jasper’s Fortress Lake trail (km 7.8) is an excellent destination for an early-season overnight (read June). The campground has been recently upgraded and the scenery speaks for itself. But you can expect competition for this prime site, so make use of Jasper’s new online reservation system to book this and other prime backcountry campsites. Photo © Rogier Gruys (click to enlarge)

Backpackers planning trips for Jasper National Park’s backcountry this summer can go online as of today (January 28) to reserve campsites. The new website provides a quick way of insuring the campsites you need for overnight excursions. The new website, www.pc.gc.ca/bookjasperbackcountry,  is the first of its kind in the mountain parks.

So I would be ready for efficient booking for this summer, I went online last night at www.reservation.pc.gc.ca and set up My Parks Canada Reservation Account (MPCRA), selecting the Government of Canada GCKey option. (If you don’t already have an account using a Sign-in Partner, i.e. financial institution, or a GCKey, you will have to fuss around on the site awhile to figure it out.) Now I’m set to make reservations for Jasper’s backcountry as well as popular front-country campgrounds in all the mountain parks, special guided walks to the Burgess Shale and Stanley Glacier, and the Lake O’Hara bus.

But Jasper is the only mountain park booking backcountry campgrounds. These include the new paddle-in campground at Hidden Cove on Maligne Lake, and recently-renovated Big Bend, Saturday Night Lake and Athabasca Island campsites.

The one-time reservation fee is $11.00 ($2.50 less than reserving by phone) and covers your entire trip plus one night in a front-country campground, if you so desire. The usual $9.80 per person per night, backcountry pass (i.e. Wilderness Pass) is required unless you have an annual pass ($68.70) or are a youth under age 16 (free). The best approach is to go online at Parks Canada Reservation Service to get  step-by-step guidance for planning your trip and reserving sites, either online or via the traditional 1-877-737-3783 call centre.

And if you’re still confused, call the Jasper Information Centre at 780-852-6177 or email at jnp.backcountry@pc.gc.ca. Jasper still has the best “live-person-at-the-other-end” service in the mountain parks.