The Wilderness experience in Waterton
Lakes National Park is one of the best in the
world. The spectacular unspoiled wilderness
of Waterton Park offers users
superb opportunities for solitude,
personal and physical challenge, freedom and
All primitive campgrounds have dry
toilets, lake or creek water sources,
fishing, hiking and photography
potential. Each site has a 12 person and 4
tent maximum (with the exception of
Boundary Bay which has a maximum capacity of
9 people and 3 tents). Most have fire
grates and some have open kitchen shelters.
Locations are on the Park Visitor Guide.
To camp in ANY backcountry area, visitors MUST book a
site and purchase a Wilderness pass from the Visitor
Reception Centre. The
maximum stay in the backcountry is 14 days with no more
than 3 consecutive nights at any one campground. Passes
must be picked up no earlier than 24 hours in advance at the
Visitor Reception Centre, open 10 am to 6 pm during the
months of May and September and open from 8 am and 8 pm
during July and August.
be made in person or by phone, using Visa/MasterCard through
the Visitor Reception Centre (403-859-5133) from May to October and through
the Warden Office (403-859-5140) during the off-season. Refund requests
must be made NO LATER than 24 hours before the scheduled departure
date in order to be refunded. We do not give refunds
for adverse weather conditions.
- Parasites carried by humans and some
domestic and wild animals can get into
any surface water (lakes, streams, rivers)
and may contaminate human water supplies
that come from these sources. In humans, they
sometimes cause severe intestinal
illness. When using surface water or water
from taps where a caution is posted (i.e.. at
picnic areas and Belly River campground), it
is recommended that you boil, filter or
use iodine tablets in your water before
drinking it or using it to brush your teeth.
- The bear poles are provided at each
wilderness campsite for campers to sling
their food and garbage; visitors will require
10 m or 25'-30'of rope in order to do so.
- Pit toilets are provided at each campsite,
though campers are reminded to bring their
own toilet paper.
- Campers must place their tents on the tent pads (2.7m2/9'x9')
provided. There is a maximum of one tent
allowed per pad.
- The use of gas stoves is recommended. Where
open fires are permitted, campers must use
the wood provided. Should there be none, campers
are permitted to collect drift wood and blown
down trees, leaving the live trees for the
enjoyment of others.
A "Wilderness Pass" charging wilderness visitor
a nightly fee, was implemented in 1994 in Banff,
Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks. This was extended
to include Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks
and Waterton Lakes National Park in 1996. This
Pass represents an investment in wilderness protection
and helps ensure that this quality experience will be
available for years to come.
Some important things to know about the Wilderness Pass
- Wilderness Pass revenue will be applied directly to
wilderness maintenance and services.
- Implementation of the Wilderness Pass helps Parks
Canada ensure Canadians will continue to
benefit from their system of National Parks. The
purchase of this Pass partially shifts the
financial burden for support and maintenance of
the wilderness from the general taxpayer to
those users who benefit directly from the
- The Annual Pass is valid for one (1)
year from date of purchase. To relieve
the burden to families using the wilderness,
children 16 years and under will not
be charged the fee. It is anticipated that
small incremental increases to the cost
of the Wilderness Pass will continue for the
next few years as Parks strive closer
- The purpose of the Pass is to partially off-set the
cost of trail maintenance, and campground
maintenance. Revenue from the Pass is not
sufficient to support the cost of trail
reconstruction, Park Warden patrols, resource
studies, or the variety of other services
that are provided.
- We encourage visitors to plan their trips as many
of our popular trails and campsites are full
during the summer. A reservation system exists for
some of our busiest campgrounds. An
additional fee is required for this service but it
is a way to avoid disappointment.
- All commercial operators will contribute to the
support and maintenance of the wilderness
through separate agreements or through their
clients' purchases of the Wilderness Pass.
- Wilderness users and other stakeholders will
continue to be consulted through visitor
surveys and personal contact. We appreciate any
comments and constructive suggestions with respect
to wilderness fees. Survey results show
people agree with paying part of the
cost of wilderness opportunities.
- Refunds are available under certain circumstances.
For specific information check at park information
- While visiting you will likely see Park Wardens
patrolling. They will also be checking for
your Wilderness Pass so please make it available
- Wilderness travel, while rewarding, can be
strenuous, know your physical
limits. Remember, your safety is your
For those visitors who frequent Canada's National Parks,
may we suggest:
The Annual Wilderness Pass
The Annual Wilderness Pass is good for one year from date of
purchase and is valid in Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay,
Waterton, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.
Youth 16 and under - free.
For further information please contact:
Waterton Lakes National Park - (403) 859-2224