Do you know what “random camping” is? Random camping means camping on public land that isn’t a designated campground. This type of camping is free, apart from the pass you need to buy here in Alberta. There is a ton of public land around Canada that allows you to camp in the wilderness without finding and booking a spot at a designated camping facility.
Alberta has the Public Lands Camping Pass that is required to random camp on public land. The pass is required year-round, so don’t assume you don’t have to worry about it during the off-season. The pass allows you to park and stay on public land along the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains from Grande Prairie to Waterton Lakes National Park.
What it is
In essence, it’s a pass that you can buy for either 3-days or an entire year for super affordable. It allows you to park in designated public areas and camp in the wilderness. Your money from purchasing the pass goes to improving recreation experiences and conserving Alberta’s landscapes. It helps fund infrastructure, education conservation, public safety, and more. It’s a win-win!
Enforcement officers do enforcement. Campers are required to shop their proof of payment via a printed pass on a mobile app, and non-compliance could result in a fine.
While it may not seem as free and easy as random camping sounds, it’s just one single pass that covers so much of our province. All you need to do is scoop up the pass (again, it’s affordable) and head out to an area within the pass’ boundaries. Let’s talk about those boundaries.
Where it Applies to
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much ground this pass covers. As we mentioned, the pass allows for random camping on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains from Grande Prairie to Waterton Lakes National Park, west of Highway 43 and 22. A pass is required to random camp in the Porcupine Hills Public Land Use Zone.
On top of that, it includes Willmore Wilderness Park and a whole slew of Agricultural Crown Land. There are interactive maps that will help you identify exactly where you can go and safely/legally camp after buying your pass.
If you’re considering a camping trip or road trip in Alberta, you should let the Public Lands Camping Pass help you plot out your route.
How to Buy the Pass
You can buy your pass online or through the mobile app. You can also buy one at locations around Alberta that sell hunting and fishing licences. The pass must be purchased by campers 18 or older, costing $20 per person for three days or $30 per person for annual access.
If you plan on camping multiple times this coming year, $30 is quite the steal!
This story is brought to you by Great West Media Content Studio. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.