Is wild camping allowed in Canada?

No Tolerated! Yes

Wild camping, also known as boondocking, and standing free with a motorhome are partly allowed in Canada. In cities, provincial and national parks, it is strictly prohibited. However, on public land, it is permitted with a few restrictions.

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Written by: Phil
Get to know the whole team
Last researched: Spring 2021

Wild camping is always allowed in Canada if it is not prohibited. However, there is generally a nationwide ban on wild camping in cities, national parks, and provincial parks. If you do spend the night in one of these areas and get caught, you can expect hefty fines.
On public land (National, Forest) and areas that are not privately owned (Crown Land), wild camping is generally allowed. Since lots in Canada can be quite large, you should make sure that you do not camp on private property or ask the owner for permission in advance.
Depending on the province or territory you wish to visit, there may be additional prohibitions that further limit the possibilities of wild camping, also known as 'backcountry camping.' However, some provinces allow camping under special conditions in isolated provincial and national parks. You can find more information about this further down the page.

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Wild camping in the Canadian provinces and territories

Each province in Canada has its own rules for wild camping or backcountry camping, as some regions in Canada call it. To give you a better overview, we have taken a closer look at the provinces and show you what the individual rules are.

  • Alberta

    Wild camping in Alberta is also called 'Random Backcountry Camping.' The following rules and guidelines apply:

    • Wild camping is allowed in Wildland Provincial Parks with some restrictions depending on the park. You can find a list of these parks here: Wildland Provincial Park
    • Your camp must be at least 50 meters from the nearest trail
    • You must be at least 60 meters from the water 
    • You have to store gasoline and sewage at least 100 meters from the water
    • Do your morning toilet at least 100 meters from the water
    • Pitch your tent on the non-overgrown ground
    • Don't wash your clothes in streams, rivers, or lakes
    • Stay at least one kilometer away from official campsites, roads, Provincial Parks and Provincial Recreation Areas

    Speaking of Provincial Parks and Provincial Recreation Areas, wild camping is not allowed here.

  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

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Tips and tricks for wild camping in Canada

Rest areas and parking lots
Everywhere in Canada, there are rest areas where you can take a break and stay overnight, depending on the province. Also, it is possible to spend the night in some parking lots if you cannot find a suitable place. This overnight stay in parking lots is also known as boondocking. For both rest areas and parking lots, if you see a "No Overnight" sign, you should not spend the night in the lot, as this can be very expensive and, in any case, will result in trouble if you get caught. Also, you may have to purchase something in some stores or restaurants, to spend a night in front of it.

Dangers like bears and fire
Wild bears are a danger you should not underestimate when boondocking in Canada. Before you set up camp for the night in a place, you should check in advance if there are bears in the vicinity. If you want to spend the night in such an area, you should not leave any leftover food lying around, especially overnight, so that you do not attract the animals. If you do see a bear near a trail, make as much noise as possible to scare it away. It is also best to buy an anti-bear spray, which you should use only in the last instance. When using it, be sure to watch out for the wind so that you don't get the spray yourself.

10 interesting, bizarre and funny facts about Canada

When you hear Canada, most people think of moose, bears, maple syrup, ice hockey, and Mounties in their red uniforms. But Canada has a lot more to offer. For example, did you know that Canada is the second-largest country in the world but has only 3.6 inhabitants per square kilometer? We have collected a few more facts for you.

Fact #1 - Lakes
Canada is the country with the most natural lakes in the world. So many that it has more lakes than all other countries combined.

Fact #2 - Coastline
Speaking of superlatives, Canada has the longest coastline in the world. It totals 243977 kilometers.

Fact #3 - Forests
Canada's forested areas are also of enormous proportions. About 50% of the country is covered by forest.

Fact #4 - Nunavut
The territory of Nunavut was only established in 1999 and has a special license plate: It has the shape of a polar bear.

Fact #5 - Santa Claus address
You can send your letter to Santa Claus, North Pole H0H 0H0, Canada, and get a reply from Santa.

Fact #6 - Temperature rise
Pincher Creek experienced an incredible 41°C (-19°C to 22°C) temperature rise in one hour on January 10, 1962.

Fact #7 - Rain
If you like rain, you'll love Ocean Falls in British Columbia. It rains here an average of 330 days a year.

Fact #8 - Television
On average, a Canadian watches 21 hours of television a week. 128000 households even have a TV in their bathroom.

Fact #9 - Head of State
Canada is a parliamentary monarchy and has a queen as head of state. Which queen? Queen Elizabeth II.

Fact #10 - Maple syrup
Canada and maple syrup go hand in hand. Quebec produces approximately 77% of the world's supply.

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