Winter camping

Glacier National Park

Overnight parking at the Illecillewaet Valley and Illecillewaet Campground trailheads

All visitors leaving vehicles at these trailheads when staying at an Alpine Club of Canada hut or in the backcountry require an overnight parking permit for their vehicle, available free of charge.

Winter Backcountry Camping

Winter backcountry camping is allowed only in Winter Unrestricted Areas, some restrictions apply (see map below). Backcountry camping is not allowed in Winter Restricted Areas or Winter Prohibited Areas. Plan ahead! Review the random camping checklist following the map.

Winter backcountry camping map

Random camping checklist

Get your permits and passes:
  • A backcountry permit, national park pass and Winter Permit (if travelling through a Winter Restricted Area) for every person in your group.
  • An overnight parking permit for each vehicle left at a trailhead. Overnight parking permits for certain parking lots can only be obtained by phone at 250-837-7500 or at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, and specific exit routes will be explained to you at the time.
Trip planning:
  • Check that your intended route is in an area that allows random camping (see map above). Carefully plan your route using online resources, maps, guidebooks and information from Parks Canada.
  • Understand safe exit routes and what to do in the event of highway avalanche control closures during your trip. We encourage all users to talk with a visitor service attendant by phone or at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre when planning a random camping trip.
  • Always have a Plan B in case of closures or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Ensure your group has an understanding of the risks and the knowledge, tools and experience necessary to travel and camp in avalanche terrain, including self-rescue and identifying safe camp locations. Learn more about winter backcountry safety.
  • Pack it in, pack it out - be prepared to appropriately manage waste including garbage and human waste, and wildlife attractants while in the backcountry.
  • You are responsible for your own safety.
  • Research your trip to be sure you have the skills and experience it will demand of you.
  • Be prepared for extreme weather conditions, deep snow and complex avalanche terrain.
  • Phone coverage is unavailable in most areas; an alternate means of communication is recommended.
  • Random camping requires route finding, first aid and backpacking skills, experience and equipment.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

Visitors staying at huts operated by the Alpine Club of Canada and parking overnight at the Illecillewaet Valley trailhead also require overnight parking permits and must verify whether planned routes require Winter Permits.

There is no winter frontcountry camping in Glacier National Park and sleeping in vehicles in parking areas is prohibited. Snow clearing and winter maintenance of parking areas occurs overnight.

Learn more:

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