During our stay in the Canadian parks, we opted to camp inside the park boundaries. To maximize the daylight for hiking and seeing the sites you’ll want to be as centrally located as possible.
Castle Mountain Campground in Banff
Centrally located was what made this area perfect for our say in Banff. Visit the original post here: Banff Visit Day 1 & Campsite review.
Wilcox Campground in Jasper National Park
Wilcox campground was primarily chosen as our planned destination purely on driving distance to relocate from Castle Mountain without spending all day driving. Spending our morning taking in the lower part of the Icefields Parkway, locate camp, and enjoy lunch. Follow that up with an afternoon at the Icefields Centre visitor to kick off our Glacier viewing journey.
Wilcox campground is located just south of the Icefield Centre. The campground had vault toilets, food lockers, trash collection on each loop. Most of the camp loops were a terraced set of 10 sites all facing the parkway with a view of the mountains or trees. They were spaced very well offering privacy we don’t usually see in a paid campground.
There is no cell service at the campground however, LTE using Google Fi was available at the Icefields Centre. Plus the centre offered free Wi-Fi inside. We enjoyed a couple of surfing sessions during our stay.
The park campgrounds require a paid fire permit to have a campfire of $8 CAD and with our raining evenings, we opted to not hang out in the cold wet through dinner hour! The campsite was 15.70 CAD cash or credit card. The credit card was new and made things simpler . We found an ATM earlier just to make sure we had cash on hand since the previous campground only accepted cash.
Wilcox campground was also one of the only camping areas with free dump and potable water. Popular spot to stop on your way out of the campgrounds. Super convenient especially after dry camping for over a week.
Wilcox gave us a great home base for a couple of nights to continue further up the scenic parkway drive. See the full parkway post here: Traveling on the Icefields Parkway.
Rainy weather activities
With rain and drizzle occurring throughout our Jasper stay we opted to simply hang indoors in the evenings. How to stay occupied with no data connection? Reading or videos? We’d had enough of those, so it was time to dig into something different. Muffin baking and puzzle making as the clouds glowered was on the agenda. This poor puzzle was a used recent that occupied our time. Obviously, sometimes the oldies aren’t always goodies. 🤨
Another plus to this campground is the Wilcox Pass trailhead parking is just before the campground entrance making it an ideal moderate hike for the campers. The parking was always congested in the afternoon for this particular trail. AllTrails notes that this moderate hike is 5.8 miles with 1712 elevation gain.