B.C. campsite reservations open Tuesday for the 2023 season

B.C. campsite reservations open Tuesday for the 2023 season
Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod

We’re only a few weeks into winter, but camping season is already on the horizon for British Columbians looking to enjoy provincial parks.

B.C.’s online camping reservation service, camping.bcparks.ca, launches Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 7 a.m. PT for the 2023 season with changes to improve the user experience, according to the Ministry of Environment.

This year, the service is moving to a four-month rolling window for front-country and backcountry reservations, meaning on Jan. 3, bookings will be available for arrivals up to May 3, and on Jan. 4, May 4 arrivals will be available, and so on.

The four-month booking window, however, does not apply to group sites and picnic shelters, which remain on a 12-month window.

The incoming camping season follows an exceptionally busy, record-breaking year when more than 317,000 reservations were made through BC Parks in 2022, marking an increase of 26.5 per cent since 2019.

READ ALSO: ‘Exceptionally busy’: BC Parks sets reservation record with more than 317,000 bookings in 2022

“Through our ongoing visitor engagement, we’ve heard the majority of campers prefer a four-month rolling window, allowing people to book a site well in advance of their visit,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s environment minister, in a news release announcing the changes.

“We will continue to listen to public feedback so we can improve people’s park experiences, and everyone can easily access the many beautiful parks and backcountry areas our province has to offer.”

In March 2022, officials unveiled a new BC Parks reservation service to improve visitors’ experiences from computer to campsite, debuting the site after, in recent years, the old one crashed due to an influx of visitors.

“Providing a more reliable, responsive and easy-to-use reservation service will better meet the needs of people wanting to access and connect with nature by easily identifying available camping opportunities in provincial parks,” Heyman said at the time.

When reservations were made available in March 2020, for example, the ministry said 50,000 people were online trying to book a campsite resulting in an overwhelming spike in site traffic that prompted technical difficulties.

Kelly Greene, preliminary secretary for environment, says provincial officials continue to expand opportunities for camping and improve accessibility so more people can experience all B.C. has to offer.

In fact, BC Parks says it’s investing $21.5 million to expand and enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, including adding new campsites and trails and upgrading facilities across the province.

“We are fortunate to live in a province that has an abundance of spectacular parks for people to connect with nature and learn about Indigenous Peoples’ history and culture,” added Greene in a November release.

Of the around 10,700 campsites that BC Parks manages, approximately half of those are available on a first-come-first-served (FCFC) basis, while most that have reservations also maintain some FCFS sites.

More campgrounds are also being added for the 2023 season, including Gwillim Lake Park near Chetwynd; Yahk Park near the Kingsgate border crossing; and Allison Lake Park near Princeton, BC Parks says.

Meanwhile, reservations for Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit opened for the entire 2023 season on Dec. 1, 2022, while bookings for a limited number of sites at Kinney Lake Campground will open on a four-month rolling window at 7 a.m. on Feb. 27.

A list of campground operating and reservable dates are online.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!