The best camping near Cranbrook, British Columbia.
Camp by the lakes and mountains that encircle this commercial centre in the Kootenay-Rockies region.
The largest community in the East Kootenay mountains, Cranbrook is most appealing as a base for exploring surrounding peaks, lakes, rivers, and hot springs. Learn about the region’s gold rush days while camping at Fort Steele Heritage Town, or explore a darker chapter at St. Eugene Mission, a former school where Indigenous children were once separated from their families andRead more...
The largest community in the East Kootenay mountains, Cranbrook is most appealing as a base for exploring surrounding peaks, lakes, rivers, and hot springs. Learn about the region’s gold rush days while camping at Fort Steele Heritage Town, or explore a darker chapter at St. Eugene Mission, a former school where Indigenous children were once separated from their families and culture. Today, the converted resort features educational exhibits, a hotel, and a full-service campground. Campers can also choose from several lakefront provincial parks around Cranbook, including Jim Smith Lake, Moyie Lake, Norbury Lake, Premier Lake, and Wasa Lake.
Where to Go
Rafting, hiking, and skiing draw active travellers to this community, a 25-minute drive northwest of Cranbrook. Kimberley’s main street, The Platzl, highlights the town’s German heritage, and it’s also home to fun eateries and pubs.
An hour’s drive east on Highway 3, Fernie is a magnet for outdoor adventurers. Beyond its compact downtown, where Victorian-era buildings now house restaurants and cafés, Fernie has plenty of trails for hiking and mountain biking. Fernie Mountain Resort, for skiing and snowboarding, is right outside town. Camp at the local in-town RV resort, or pitch your tent (or park your camper) under the trees in nearby Mount Fernie Provincial Park.
BC’s Hot Springs Highway
Highway 93/95, which runs north from Cranbrook toward Kootenay National Park, is known as British Columbia’s “Hot Springs Highway” for the area’s numerous mineral springs. Some, like Fairmont Hot Springs (which has two campgrounds), are large and commercial, while others, such as remote Lussier Hot Springs in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park (where campers can choose from five different camping areas), are more natural.
Kootenay National Park
Bordering both Banff and Yoho National Parks, Kootenay National Park encompasses grasslands, canyons, and mountains, with more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) of hiking trails, three front-country campgrounds, and six backcountry camping areas. Radium Hot Springs, the town at the park’s southern entrance with a mineral pool of the same name, is 145 kilometres (90 miles) north of Cranbrook.
When to Go
In the Cranbrook area, and throughout British Columbia’s Kootenay Mountains, the best months for camping are July through mid-October. These summer and fall days are generally sunny and warm, with little rain. In October, snow can begin to fall, particularly at higher elevations, and the Kootenays are cold and snowy—great for skiing and other winter sports—from November through March. Spring weather is often unsettled, and you should prepare for rain, especially during the month of June.
Know Before You Go
- As a main commercial center in eastern British Columbia, Cranbrook has plenty of places where you can stock up on food, gear, and camping supplies. Baker Street downtown has more independent shops, while big box stores line the larger roadways.
- Check your watch: Cranbrook, along with a number of communities in eastern British Columbia, is on mountain time. It’s the same time as Alberta, but an hour later than on the BC coast.
- For remote camping, consider sites along the Forest Service roads outside Cranbrook, including Palmer Bar Lake, Cooper Lake, and Summer Lake. Most of these camping areas are free.