Canadian advice

already planning for a Canadian trip in September.

I know the US system of National Parks, State Parks, national forest, and BLM land for camping…I don’t know how it works in Canada for a US citizen.

I have to hike in Olympic NP and Cascades NP for my quest but while so close we want to hike in the Nat.Parks and Provincial Parks in British Columbia…I know you can just up and camp anywhere but is there any government land that is equivalent to our nat. forest system where you can camp where you want? Of course we’ll need passports to cross into Canada but will there be permits we can buy ahead of time that will allow camping?

Since it will be after the kids are back in school I’m thinking it wont be hard to camp at the NPs and PPs of Canada but sometimes you aren’t near them, thus the need to know about other camping possibilities.

Thanks in advance for any clues.

In Canada there are National

– Last Updated: Apr-06-08 2:04 AM EST –

Parks and Provincial Parks, not all of which have places to camp. Long Beach (Green Point) park on Vancouver Island is very busy and if you are interested I recommend you make reservations quickly. Certainly the main holidays get booked up long in advance. Reservations for National Parks can be made on the internet as can BC Provincial Parks. Prices are getting higher. Of course there are plenty of private parks which are more expensive and lack privacy. National parks site at:

thank you for the answer, but another
question…in the USA we have national forests where you can camp anywhere you want for little or no monies…is there anything like that in Canada?

Courtesy of the Queen
Basically, yes, most of Canada is “Crown Land”. This is land that in a very theoretical sense belongs to the Queen of England (and is managed by the Federal Government - who is overseen by the Govenor General, the Queen’s representative).

You are allowed to camp on Crown land unless a local jurisdiction specifies otherwise by law.

There may be specific local regulations, such as fire bans or vehicle use bans or hunting/fishing bans on certain areas at certain times.

I would guess that on over 60% of Canada’s land area you could camp wherever you want.

If you have a specific area in mind, perhaps locals could let you know. I only know Manitoba.

I agree with Mr Canoe head. To
add to his answer, some crown land is also leased by lets say forest companies or other resource users and some of those companies prevent campers etc from using that piece of land.

maybe more to it

there are numerous websites with info about this, some more relevant than others. it seems that the free bit pertains to residents of Canada. poke around on the web, get some phone numbers and call for clarification.

Non resident fees
Can’t speak for BC or other provinces but here in Ontario, non residents are charged a nightly fee. I’m guessing BC would have something similar.

I think it is $10 per person per night. That could get kind of expensive eh!

There are ways around it - again speaking for Ontario. If the services of an outfitter are used, the fee is waived. The wording is so vauge that I have heard of some renting a small tent for a minimal fee for the duration of a trip and then leaving with it their vehicle. All that is needed is the receipt.


free to anyone who wants to camp

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in crown land if there is no ownership issues. Free to camp where there is no park. Could be beside a logging road or gravel pit with a party right next door but no cost.

Forest Service Sites
If you are going to BC, be aware of the existence of Forest Service Rec sites. These are free, primitive campgrounds along logging roads, many of them situated near lakes, streams, paddling put-ins, etc. and open to all members of the public (including non-residents). The logging companies established them years ago on crown land. There is a series of guidebooks called the “Backroad Mapbook” series you can purchase in any BC bookstore or on BC Ferries that gives you detailed information on all the backroads in the province, including these free campgrounds.

We may have a Queen soon too!
We’ll call the national forests Hillarylands.

High Tide Line
In Canada, anything below the high tide line is public property, so people can’t lay claim to entire stretches of beach. They’re all public below the high tide mark.

Only exceptions I know of are shellfish leases (and one exception for an island in Indian arm in Vancouver).

BC Provincial Parks
Here’s a link to the BC Provincial Parks website. The park listing all indicate which ones allow camping (either free/next to free wilderness camping or car camping spots).