After spending five nights in Jasper National Park's Wapiti Campground, I was ready stay another ten. Maybe even more.
It's the first campground I've stayed at where I could see myself sticking around for an extended stay. It all started with our handpicked campsite, RR22, which sits at the very edge of along the Athabasca River. From this rather perfect campsite to the incredibly clean and updated facilities - Wapiti is where I'll be returning to on my next summer camping trip in the Canadian Rockies.
About Jasper National Park
The largest of the national parks in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper has nearly 1000 kilometers of trails and is the second largest Dark Sky Preserve on the planet. It shares one of the most beautiful drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway, with it's neighbor to the south, Banff National Park. From beautiful water carved rocks, to glaciers, and sand dunes - Jasper has a plenty of scenic diversity to interest all sorts of folks.
Of course, I'm particularly a fan seeking out amazing hikes and Jasper's Wilcox Pass ranks as one of my top choices in the Canadian Rockies. As with the other national parks in the area, wildlife can be spotted all over the park. We had both bears and elk wander through our campsite during our five night stay.
To book the site you see in the first picture with the view you see above, I marked the day campsite reservations opened on my calendar and immediately booked site RR22 for it's perimeter location. One of 278 unserviced campsites, this site included a fire pit, picnic table, and had plenty of flat space for a medium tent with room for our truck and two canopies to cover seating near the fire and the picnic table.
In terms of privacy, there is some coverage around some sites - but don't expect to feel like you're the only person camping here. Site RR22 is nice because you get a fair amount of privacy on two of four sides. However, that privacy comes at the price of having the river trail run through the back of the site and an informal path near the one of the sides. In mid-August, during high tourist season - the trail was never crowded and folks were generally very friendly. Parsley (our Vizsla pup) made quite a few friends from hanging out near that trail - including some we ended up seeing in other parts of the Canadian Rockies during the second week of our trip.
What makes Wapiti really stand out as a fantastic place to camp are the restroom facilities. A basic washroom with hot water, flush toilets, and a dishwashing station are located in the middle of most of the site loops, including RR. There are also two restrooms which have hot shower facilities. Here's the special tip; on your way out of camp in the morning drive to the shower facilities located in the AA loop. It's basically a large overflow parking lot of RV-ers and it has a tremendous view of Pyramid Mountain. The brand new gym-like shower stalls aren't heavily used in the early mornings - I never had to wait in line once. It's a push button system, so you'll have to keep pushing a button to keep the water on but it's easy enough. This washroom also has mirrors and outlets - if you're so inclined as to indulge in drying your hair while camping (I admit to partaking once or twice).
In addition to these facilities, there are also several kitchen shelters, telephones, trash and recycling receptacles, and a wood pile for purchase.
- Plan your trip well in advance for the following year and reserve a site which backs the Athabasca River in either the RR or FF loop when reservations open for the season.
- Where ever you end up in the campground, drive to the shower facility in the AA loop early in the morning on your way out for the day to clean up.
- Be aware of wildlife, particular in the outer loops.