Banff summer reservations snapped up quickly, leaving many campers out in the cold

Some 9,300 reservations were made in the first four hours in the race to book a campsite at Banff National Park — leaving many eager campers disappointed.

Banff campsites saw 55% increase in reservations compared to last year

Greg Danchuk, the visitor experience manager for Banff national Park, says there are around 1,700 to 1,800 reservable campsites in Banff National Park (Canadian Press)

Many eager campers hoping to lock in their summer plans were left disappointed Wednesday when reservations at Banff National Park filled up quickly.

Within the first four hours in the race to book a campsite, 9,300 reservations were made — a 55 per cent increase from opening day last year.

Joe Henschel says he had the Parks Canada website up on his computer ready to go right at 8 a.m. He had a weekend in June at the Two Jack Lakeside campground in mind, but the spots disappeared quicker than he thought possible.

"Within three minutes, every single one of the campsites that I was looking at were gone," he said.

Henschel got on the phone with an agent and says even she was laughing at how quickly the sites were being booked.

Joe Henschel had his heart set on a June weekend at Two Jack Lakeside campground, but had to settle on one mid-week night. (Natasha Frakes/CBC)

In the end, Henschel settled for a single night, midweek.

"It's sad for me, but more sad for my kids," he said.

"Now I'm thinking we're going to have to go down to Montana, go to Yellowstone in Wyoming or somewhere so that [my kids] can have an experience that I had when I was a kid."

No priority system

Greg Danchuk, the visitor experience manager for Banff National Park, says there is no priority with the reservation system and there is a limit on the number of reservations a person can make.

Danchuk says the Two Jack Lakeside campground only has around 75 sites and they fill up quickly every year, but there is still availability at other campgrounds.

"There are other campgrounds, there are other campsites that are available in the national park and other national parks," he said.

Danchuk say disappointed campers should keep a watchful eye on their favourite sites for cancellations.


  • An earlier version of this story said that within the first four hours in the race to book a campsite, 93,000 reservations were made. In fact, it was 9,300.
    Jan 12, 2017 8:51 AM MT

With files from Natasha Frakes