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Self Registration Camping Questions

Louisville, KY
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114 posts
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Self Registration Camping Questions

We will be visiting the area from the USA and normally use a credit card for everything. When campgrounds use self-registration is there some way we can charge the fee (i.e. does a ranger finally come around to collect?) or do we need to convert dollars into Canadian currency prior to camping for the night. If so, where and how do we do this? We'll be driving up from the Glacier/Waterton Peace Park area.

One other camping question: You need to buy a fire "permit" in order to have a campfire? Just wondering what is involved with this and again, I suppose we'll need to have Canadian currency?

I've no problem with using Canadian currency but thought it would be one less hassle if we really didn't need to.

Thank you for any info you can provide.

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

It's been a while since I camped at a campground with self-registration, but here is the procedure as I recall it. You pick up a combination envelope/self-registration form at the campground entrance. Find an empty campsite and set up there. Fill out the envelope (making sure to hold onto the tag portion for your campsite) and put the tag portion on your campsite post, and put the envelope with money (Canadian currency please) in the secure storage drop box at the registration station where you picked up the envelope. There may or may not be a campground staff person (Canadian parks don't have rangers) who comes around to collect the next day. The registration station should tell you what to expect.

The registration station will also tell you what the situation is with campfires - if they're permitted or not, where to find firewood, and if there is a fire permit fee. It really depends on the forest fire hazard status when you're there and on where you're camping.

If you're coming from Waterton-Glacier, I recommend taking Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) and Hwy 40 (Kananaskis Trail) to Banff rather than Hwy 2. You will find good campgrounds at Chain Lakes Provincial Park on Hwy 22, and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Mt Kidd RV Park on Hwy 40.

Louisville, KY
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2. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

I was actually thinking about heading west on Hwy 3 and accessing Hwy 1 just west of Banff. Will I miss anything doing this? We're much more interested in the natural beauty of the area then we are seeing towns in the area. Thanks for your reply.

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

If you are planning on coming up along the west side of the Rockies, through British Columbia, I can't really compare the two routes as I'm not as familiar with Hwy 95 in BC as I am with Hwy 22/Hwy 40 in Alberta. However, the BC route does go through a number of fairly large, tourist-friendly towns such as Fernie and Fairmont Hot Springs. The Alberta route is a bit more rural; the biggest town you would go through is Pincher Creek. The Cowboy Trail (Hwy 22) section has scenery similar to that just outside of Waterton; the Kananaskis Trail section goes through the mountains of Kananaskis Country, a provincial recreation area geared primarily toward camping and day use. K-Country has only one hotel and a few scattered lodges and guest ranches for accommodations for non-campers.

The BC route goes through the Rocky Mountain Trench and parallel to the Columbia River for most of its length; if you're interested in geology or geography, you may find it's a must-see:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_Trench

http://tinyurl.com/44frzoy

However, as a traveller I find the route oddly dissatisfying because it travels through this huge U-shaped valley in the mountains. I've only been that way a few times, though. And your mileage may vary, of course ;-)

Edited: 22 August 2011, 21:29
Louisville, KY
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4. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

Hwy 22 and 40 sound good to me. Thanks for the tip and friendly advice.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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5. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

Self-registering at a campground is simple. You fill out the paper-work and provide payment: your choice of cash or a credit card number. You just drop it in to the secure drop-box.

Louisville, KY
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6. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

banfflakelouise,

Not sure I'd want to write my credit card number down for someone I don't know to see. It's a shame to have to worry about doing that, but you just never know. I think we'll just stop in Banff and exchange some money. Thanks, anyway for the info.

Rockies BC
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7. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

Now now CountryWife, taking Hwy 93/95 has its compensations! I personally love the view, with the Purcells rolling along on your left and the Rockies marching along on the right. And it's always nice to stop for a dip at either Fairmont or Radium (my preference) hot springs. But then the view along Hwy 22 is also lovely, just different.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

And I also really enjoyed the Crow's Nest Pass through to Sparwood, as well as the section of Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Banff, so lots to offer in either direction!

The cost of the self-registration camp grounds is pretty low, so you don't need to have a lot of cash on you.

9. Re: Self Registration Camping Questions

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