New Rules For Reserving Your B.C. Camping Site This Summer

If you’re planning to go camping this summer in BC this is for YOU! Making your BC Parks Camping Reservation will never be the same! What you need to know.

Are the new BC Parks Camping Reservation rules good or bad for you?

Well it all depends on who “you” are is the conclusion I’ve come to.

One thing’s for sure though… the voice of the BC resident has been heard and reserving your BC campsite will never be the same again. Will it be enough though to satisfy the thousands of BC campers crying out in the wilderness to let us pitch our tents?

Time will tell…

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The BC Parks reservation process is a nail-biting event for us every year with razor tight results.

Why? Well, reserving your favourite BC Parks camping site is akin to a gladiators’ horse chariot race mixed in with the Daytona 500.

Coffee in hand, eyes blood shot, friends we want to camp with on the phone listening in, and Gretta and I circled up around the kitchen table with our laptops open at 6:30am exactly 3 months in advance of our desired dates. No one is allowed talking. Full concentration is needed for this monumental task at hand.

Sure, we have our secrets that were whispered to us in passing. Secrets that promise to increase our odds of success… secrets that were so top secret that you essentially had to take a blood oath to get them. Even telling you that we have secrets we may have risked our very lives.

But would it all be enough?

Would our BC campsite reservation be approved?

We’ve trained for this morning, we’ve done finger clicking speed exercises, we are full of caffeine and ready to go. The crumpled up paper is laid out before us with circles around our 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th preferred choice campsites.

A drop of sweat drops onto the keyboard as the clock rolls over to 6:55am.

7:00am! Our clicking finger presses down on the keyboard like a bolt of lightning… AND… AND…. AND….

Nope… the whole campground booked up in a millisecond. We let out a gasp of utter disbelief as to how this happened and we wonder to ourselves how we are going to tell the kids the camping trip is cancelled.

Who could we blame for this utter failure? Surely not ourselves.

Did we not click the “reserve” button faster than every other person out there engaged in a cyber war with us on the BC Parks camping reservation website?

Was it the evil campsite scalpers booking all the BC campsites up before us to re-sell them to rich camping hungry people from around the world?

Is it that the province of BC didn’t have enough foresight to build more campgrounds?

Or was it that BC Tourism is just that awesome that they created the problem of inspiring too many of us to become campers?

Regardless of the trials we had to persevere and the obstacles we had to overcome in booking our campsite we have been one of the lucky ones who have prevailed against the odds and somehow clawed ourselves into a BC Campsite.

But will this summer be different with the BC Parks camping reservation rule changes?

Our friends at BC Parks got together and cooked up a plan that has changed the game entirely. Good luck everyone! And happy BC Camping this summer!

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Changes to Camping Reservations for the 2017 Season

Taken directly from the BC Parks Website –

“We made some important and significant changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service for 2017 stemming from feedback we received during the 2016 season. These changes include the ability to make reservations earlier in the year and some new policies to enhance fair and equitable access to reservations for everyone. Please read below for more details.”

Eliminating “opening day” for reservations and extending the rolling reservation window from three to four months

  • “Opening day” (previously March 15) for reservations no longer exists.
  • Starting January 2, 2017, reservations can now be made four months in advance of a desired arrival date (previously BC Parks had a three month rolling window). In other words, on January 2nd, reservations (if available) can be made for any arrival date of May 2nd or sooner. Sites will then be available each day, 4 months in advance (ie, On January 3rd, you can book up to a May 3rd arrival, January 4th up to May 4th arrival etc).
  • BC Parks Camping Reservation reservable dates vary by campground, but many come into effect starting mid-May. Customers should check the BC Parks website to determine what date their desired campground is open for reservations.

New policy to prevent the reselling and/or transferring of reservations

  • BC Parks Camping Reservation Service is addressing the issue of reselling and/or transferring reservations by removing the ability of permit holders to change the name on their reservation.
  • Starting January 2, 2017, customers will be required to provide one or two permit holder names that cannot be changed at a later date.
  • At least one of the permit holders must be present during the stay and identification may be required to keep the reservation valid.

Restricted booking policy to stop the practice of “overbooking” in BC Parks Campgrounds

• BC Parks Camping Reservation Service is addressing the practice of overbooking – when a customer makes a reservation to include more nights than are needed and later cancels the dates that they never intended to use, in order to secure a desired date before that date is released on our rolling window.

  • Starting January 2, 2017, reservation holders who book on or within 7 days of a “release date,” will not be permitted to change their arrival date.  The release date is defined as the maximum time in advance of a trip that a customer can make a reservation on Discover Camping (example – a customer who wants to book a frontcountry reservation for an August 1 arrival date, will have their booking restricted if they book between April 1 and April 7. If the customer books for an August 1 arrival date on April 8 and after, their booking will not be restricted).
  • This policy only applies to customers who try to change their arrival date. Customers will still have the ability to change their departure date.
  • Customers who book within this 7-day period and want to change their arrival date, will have to cancel the reservation and re-book. Cancelled inventory will be released the next day at 7am (PST) and will be available to all customers making a reservation at this time.
  • Customers, who book after the 7-day restricted booking period, will be able to change their arrival date and their booking will not be restricted.

Seven day maximum allowable stay pilot project in five provincial parks

Given the high demand for camping opportunities in certain provincial campgrounds, BC Parks Camping Reservation Service is implementing a pilot project to shorten the 14-day maximum stay policy to 7-days in five high-occupancy campgrounds during the peak season (June 15 to Labour Day inclusive).

  • Provincial campgrounds included in this pilot project are: Martha Creek (near Revelstoke), Mount Fernie (near Fernie), Porteau Cove (near Vancouver), Loveland Bay (near Campbell River) and Ellison (near Vernon).
  • These campgrounds were selected because they have exceptionally high demand with a relatively limited number of campsites.
  • Reducing the maximum time a party can stay in these campgrounds is projected to create more than 1,000 campsite/night vacancies, freeing up space for customers to stay at these high-demand campgrounds.


  • Do I need to make reservations for camping in September , in BC Canada? - Reply

    • Hi Noreen! It all depends on what campground you are looking at. In our experience early September yes for more popular campgrounds. Late September no you don't. Hope you can make it over to Vancouver Island! - Reply

      • what about early june? do I need reservations ore not when I don‘t look for a special one? thanks - Reply

        • Hi Cynthia, since reservations open 120 days from a desired start date many of the popular BC campgrounds can fill up. We recommend making reservations as early as permitted. If you are looking at a less popular campground they may still have availability in early June. Happy camping! Book today :) J - Reply

          • thanks a lot, I will ? -

  • years ago no reservations were need. first come first serve. cancel reservation system. - Reply