Backpacking Canadian Rockies Vancouver Area Vancouver Island

2022 BC Backpacking Reservation Dates You Need to Know

British Columbia has hundreds of options for gorgeous backpacking trips. Most are free or require a permit, but for a few special trips, you need to make reservations in advance. If you’re planning ahead of time, these are the BC backpacking reservation dates you need to know for 2022.

The most spectacular trips are often ones that are in popular or fragile places, so they often have reservation systems in place. And nothing sucks more than finding out a trip you want to do is booked up! Put these dates in your calendar! (Or if you’re like me, agonize over which trip to pick since they all sound amazing!)

I’ve got reservation dates for you for 8 different trips in British Columbia including Vancouver Island, the Vancouver Area, the BC Interior, and the Canadian Rockies. Plus I’ve also got details on how to reserve and my top tips for getting those hard-to-get reservations.

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission with no extra cost to you. Thanks -Taryn

Quick Calendar

Trail/ParkWhen to ReserveWhere to Reserve
Bowron Lake CircuitTBA – likely March 2022Online or Phone
Berg LakeTBA – may not open in 2022Online or Phone
West Coast TrailJanuary 21, 2022
Online or Phone
Rockwall TrailJanuary 28, 2022Online or Phone
Lake O’HaraFebruary 3, 2022 (camping)/March 1-30, 2022 (bus lottery)
Online or Phone
Garibaldi Provincial Park2 months before your tripOnline or Phone
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park2 months before your tripOnline or Phone
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park2 months before your tripOnline or Phone

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West Coast Trail Reservations for 2022

West Coast Trail camping: the view from a tent at Thrasher Cove Campground
Morning at Thrasher Cove Campground on the West Coast Trail. Photo: Laura Zajac

What: This 75km (46.5 mi) trail is full of beaches, coastal rainforest, ladders, and boardwalks. It is probably the most popular multi-day hike in Canada, which is why it is at the top of my list for 2022 BC backpacking reservation dates. Want more info? I wrote a whole series of posts about the West Coast Trail. Start with my West Coast Trail Guide, then check out my section-by-section overview, itineraries, campground guide, packing list, transportation, and coastal hiking tips posts.

When to Reserve: January 21, 2022 at 8 am PST

Where to Reserve: Online or by phone. More info on the Pacific Rim National Park website.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $24.50. There is a $130.31 fee to hike the trail, plus two mandatory $20 ferry crossings and a National Parks entry fee.

Do You Have to Reserve? Yes. There are no walk-up or stand-by permits available.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Reservation: You need an account on the Park’s website so create one ahead of time so you don’t get slowed down on reservation day. Be ready with your preferred start dates, start location and a few alternates. 

For better odds, avoid July and August which are the busiest. If you don’t get a reservation, keep checking back for cancellations.

READ NEXT: Your Guide to the West Coast Trail in British Columbia

Garibaldi Provincial Park Reservations for 2022

Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Find out how to reserve campsites in this park: BC Backpacking Reservation dates you need to know
Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Note: The Elfin Lakes Shelter is currently closed due to the pandemic.

What: South West BC’s premiere alpine backpacking destination with several trailheads and campgrounds to choose from. Reservations are required for all the campgrounds as well as the Elfin Lakes Shelter. For more info on trails and destinations, check out the BC parks website or my book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia.

When to Reserve: Two months before the first day of your trip. (Historically, you could reserve up to 4 months before your trip.)

Where to Reserve: Online via Discover Camping or via phone at 1 800 689-902 or 1 519 826-6850.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $6/night per tent pad, up to a max reservation fee of $18. You will also have to pay a per person backcountry fee of $10 for campsites and $15 for the Elfin Lakes Shelter. If you book via phone there is an extra $5 surcharge.

Do You Need to Reserve? Yes. There are no stand-by or walk-up permits available.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Reservation: Make your reservation as early as possible. For better chances avoid long weekends or pick a mid-week trip.

If you can’t get a reservation for the Garibaldi Lake campground, consider booking Taylor Meadows or Helm Creek and then hiking over to Garibaldi Lake for the day.

Get my book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia – it has details on six different backpacking trips in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park Reservations for 2022

Joffre Lakes near Whistler, BC
The view from second Joffre Lake

What: This super-popular lake near Whistler has a backcountry campground next to a glacier lake. It’s a short 5.5km hike from the trailhead, so it’s one of the easier backpacking destinations close to Vancouver. For more info on the trail, check out the BC parks website or my book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia.

When to Reserve: Two months before the first day of your trip. (Historically, you could reserve up to 4 months before your trip.)

Where to Reserve: Online via Discover Camping or via phone at 1 800 689-902 or 1 519 826-6850.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $6/night per tent pad, up to a max reservation fee of $18. You will also have to pay a per person backcountry fee of $5/person/night. If you book by phone there is an additional $5 surcharge.

Do You Need to Reserve? Yes. There are no stand-by or walk-up permits available.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Reservation: Make your reservation as early as possible. For better chances avoid long weekends or pick a mid-week trip. 

Get my book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia – it has all the info you need to backpack to Joffre Lakes

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Reservations for 2022

A canoe on the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit. Find out when to book this trip with this list of BC backpacking reservation dates
Canoeing on Bowron Lake

What: The Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit connects numerous lakes and rivers through portages to make a roughly square-shaped 116km (72 mi) route. It takes about 6 to 10 days to complete. (Yes I know this is a canoe trip, but it’s a similar wilderness experience and the only canoe trip in BC that requires reservations, so it made the list of BC backpacking reservation dates.) To plan your trip, see my complete Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit paddling guide.

When to Reserve: TBA – likely in March. (In previous years reservations opened on Oct 1 the year before your trip. In 2021, reservations opened on March 1.)

Where to Reserve: Online via Discover Camping  or via phone at 1 800 689-902 or 1 519 826-6850.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: The reservation fee is $18.00 per vessel (plus tax) and there is also a $60 per person canoe circuit user fee. If you book via phone there is an extra $5 surcharge.

Do You Have to Reserve? Yes. There are no walk-up or stand-by permits available.

Tips and Tricks For Getting a Reservation: Book online as it is faster and you won’t have to wait on hold. Reserve as early as possible since this route is popular with international travellers.

Know how many canoes and people will be in your party before you make your reservation as only a set number of canoes and people may depart per day.

July and August are the busiest and if you opt for June or September you’ll have much better chances. If you don’t get a reservation, keep checking back for cancellations.

READ NEXT: Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit: Paddling in British Columbia

Berg Lake Reservations for 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park in the Canadian Rockies

NOTE: The Berg Lake Trail suffered severe flooding damage in July, 2021. It may not open in 2022.

What: The Berg Lake Trail is a 23km backcountry trail into a gorgeous glacier lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park on the BC side of the Rocky Mountains. It’s called Berg Lake since the glacier calves icebergs right into the lake. For more info check out my super detailed guide to hiking the Berg Lake Trail and the BC Parks website.

When to Reserve: TBA. The trail may not open in 2022. (In previous years reservations opened on Oct 1 the year before your trip. In 2021, reservations opened on March 1.)

Where to Reserve: Online via Discover Camping or via phone at 1 800 689-902 or 1 519 826-6850.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $6/night per tent pad, up to a max reservation fee of $18. You will also have to pay a per person backcountry fee of $10/person/night. If you book via phone there is an extra $5 surcharge.

Do You Have to Reserve? Yes. There are no walk-up or stand-by permits available.

Tips and Tricks For Getting a Reservation. Reserve as early as possible since this route is popular with international travellers. There are 7 campgrounds on the trail and you need to book your whole itinerary in advance, so be sure to have a few options for first choice, second choice, etc.

Since this trail books up so far in advance, there are often cancellations as people change their minds. Keep checking back to see if spots open up.

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Berg Lake Trail

Rockwall Trail Reservations for 2022

Descending the Rockwall Trail to Floe Lake. Find out when you to reserve the Rockwall Trail as well as other key BC backpacking reservation dates for 2022
Descending from Numa Pass to Floe Lake on the Rockwall Trail

What: The premier backpacking destination in Kootenay National Park is the Rockwall Trail.  It’s a 55km multi-day high alpine backpacking route through the Rocky Mountains. It passes by alpine lakes, incredible wildflower meadwos and the famous rockwall with cliffs up to 900m tall. For more information, read my Rockwall Trail Guide.

When to Reserve: January 28, 2022 at 8am MST.

Where to Reserve: Online via the Parks Canada Reservations Service or by phone at 1-877-737-3783.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $11.70. You’ll also need to purchase a wilderness pass for $9.80.

Do You Have to Reserve? Yes. There are no walk-up or stand-by permits available.

Tips and Tricks For Getting a Reservation: You have reserve each of your campsites on the trail so have a few different itinerary options prepared before you book.  For better odds, avoid July and August which are the busiest. If you don’t get a reservation, keep checking back for cancellations.

READ NEXT: Rockwall Trail Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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Lake O’Hara Reservations for 2022

View of Lake O'Hara and Mary Lake from the All Soul's Alpine Route in Yoho National Park
The view of Lake O’Hara and Mary Lake from the All Soul’s Alpine route.

What: Lake O’Hara is a truly spectacular spot set among alpine lakes and hanging valleys in the Rocky Mountains inside Yoho National Park. You can base yourself at the campground and head out on a different and spectacular hike each day. And the best part? You can take a shuttle bus on a private road right to your campsite! If you can’t get a camping reservation, you can also just take the shuttle bus up for the day. For more info and some drool-worthy photos, check out my Lake O’Hara Camping and Hiking Guide.

When to Reserve Camping: February 3, 2022 at 8am MST

When to Reserve Day-Use Shuttle Bus: Enter the online lottery online between March 1 and 30. Look for an email in April or May from Parks Canada to see if “won” a spot, then pay the reservation and bus fees to confirm. You can enter the lottery as many times as you like, but it costs $10 for each entry.

Where to Reserve: Reserve camping or enter the day-use shuttle bus lottery on the Parks Canada Reservation site

How Much Do Reservations Cost:  Camping Reservations cost $11.70. You’ll also need to pay for $9.80/person/night for camping and $14.70 for the shuttle bus. It costs $10 to enter the day-use shuttle bus lottery. If you’re successful, you’ll need to pay a reservation fee of $4.50 per ticket for 1 or 2 people, or $11.50 for 3 or more people. You’ll also need to pay $14.70 for the bus.

Do You Need to Reserve? Yes. There are no stand-by or walk-up permits available.

Tips and Tricks For Getting a Reservation: You need an account on the Park’s website so create one ahead of time so you don’t get slowed down on reservation day. Be ready with your preferred dates and a few alternates. For better odds, avoid August which is the busiest.

For day hiking, you can put up to 6 different bus days and times on your application. Use them all! And maybe consider putting in more than one lottery application. 

READ NEXT: Your Guide to Camping and Hiking at Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park

Mount Assiniboine Reservations for 2022

Magog Lake in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. Find out how to reserve campsites on this trail: BC Backpacking Reservation dates you need to know
Magog Lake Sunrise” by Jeff P on Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0.)

What: Nestled at the base of Mount Assiniboine in the Canadian Rockies is a cluster of small lakes, plus tons of hiking trails to gorgeous views. The core area of the park at Lake Magog has a popular BC Parks backcountry campground. To get there, choose from several different hiking trails or charter a helicopter. There is lots more info on camping and hiking on the BC Parks website. Note: The info below applies only to the BC Parks campground.

When to Reserve: Up to 2 months before your trip. (Reservations are required for trips between June 26 and September 30.)

Where to Reserve: Online via Discover Camping or via phone at 1 800 689-902 or 1 519 826-6850.

How Much Do Reservations Cost: Reservations cost $6/night per tent pad, up to a max reservation fee of $18. You will also have to pay a per person backcountry fee of $10 for campsites. If you book via phone there is an extra $5 surcharge.

Do You Need to Reserve? Yes. There are no stand-by or walk-up permits available.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Reservation: Make your reservation as early as possible. For better chances avoid long weekends or pick a mid-week trip.

JOIN THE BACKPACKING TRIPS IN BC FACEBOOK GROUP

So there you have it: 2022 BC backpacking reservation dates for 8 different trips. How many of these hikes have you done already? Tell me in the comments. I’ve done all of them except Mount Assiniboine. But the real question should be: which of these trips do you want to do most? (My answer might be all of them. Eep.)

PSST! Heading to Washington? Check out the 2022 Washington Backpacking Reservation Dates

BC BACKPACKING TRIP GUIDES:

BACKPACKING TIPS AND ADVICE:

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather
    January 3, 2020 at 11:39 am

    I think I’ll try for lake ohara in September. Seems like it will be the easiest option with a 3 year old and a new born!

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 5, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Lake O’Hara is a great option for kids. The campground is great and if you have a baby carrier, you should be able to explore lots of hikes. Have a great time!

    • Reply
      Dave
      January 22, 2021 at 6:53 am

      Lake O’Hara is very hard to reserve. Plan on getting online the second it opens and make sure you have at least an hour to spare.

  • Reply
    John
    January 1, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Nice list, thank you!

  • Reply
    Sally Chung
    January 26, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Looks like they’ve changed Mt. Assiniboine reservation times. Says up to 2months in advance now, and even this will probably change is my guess.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 27, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks for flagging that Sally. Things are changing fast this year. I’ll update the post to reflect the new time frame.

  • Reply
    Paul
    April 15, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Taryn, a question on Rockwall Trail; Is access to Numa Creek campground fm Trailhead closed or the camp grounm ground is closed too ?

    cheers

    Paul

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      April 16, 2021 at 8:31 am

      Hi. The Numa Creek trail is closed from the trailhead to the junction with the Rockwall Trail. But the Numa Creek campground is open. Parks Canada plans to open the Numa Creek trail this year though.

  • Reply
    Andrew Duncan
    November 24, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Noticed above you mention Washington Backpacking reservation dates for 2022 however when clicking on your link it’s 2021 permits and reservation dates. Doubtful they will be identical from one year to the next if that’s what you are saying. Perhaps you could clarify?

    Thanks.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      November 24, 2021 at 8:31 am

      Ah sorry Andrew, I update the posts annually and haven’t updated the Washington one yet as many of their dates haven’t been announced yet. But the 2022 version of the post should be live in a few weeks.

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