Camp for Free in B.C.

Free Camping in British Columbia is available at over 1100 forest service sites across the province. Enjoy the links and other information on this page to help you find your next free camping campsite. Also consider the "cons" to free camping as there are no services at most free campsites. Noise levels and rowdy behaviour is not managed, so be prepared to leave for alternate campsites or ignore music you may not enjoy.

Written By Clayton Kessler

On April 28, 2009

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Free Camping In BC – please post your experience below!

View campgrounds near you and Free Camping campsites in the campround directory.

Over 1100 British Columbia Recreation Sites have been created throughout B.C. These campsites, many of which are free campsites are located near great hiking and fishing areas. Several hundreds Forest Recreation sites, now simply called “Recreation Sites”, and 200 trails are managed through service contracts or partnership agreements.

The Agreements are administrated through the BC provincial government division – RSTBC (Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.) in partnership with recreation groups, First Nations, forest companies, regional districts, private organizations and other entities. Of course, many visitors and other groups volunteer their time and services to help maintain recreation sites, trails and facilities across British Columbia.

There are three types of recreation sites:

  1. Managed with fees,
  2. Managed without fees, and (Free)
  3. User maintained. (Free)

At Canada/s Campground Directory, ( by visiting the home and allowing your geo location to be used when asked, all the Recreation campsites we have listed, will show on the resulting map on any screen. The results will show Free and Managed recreation sites, Provincial Parks, National Parks and my some of my own crown land places to camp for free.

Get the most updated information on Recreation sites and Provincial parks by visiting the official website  link that I have listed on each individual profile page for the campground that can be viewed after clicking the icon that represents it on the Campground Directory map at

Camp for Free on Crown Land.
Crown Land – administered by each province

Camping in Canada on Crown Land is always free.
(Yes this is True…Free Camping – one reason why I love Canada!)

When camping on Crown Land your power source is always close – just plug into the nearest current bush :-)…or just get one of those nifty solar panels that you can plug into!

The way to camp on crown land is to drive to a place you can safely park at. A good area to park is usually on some logging road. Try not to park on highways as your car may get damaged and more importantly could actually be a danger to other motorists. Once you have found a parking area just backpack to a vista or nice secret fishing hole and enjoy the great outdoors. …and bears…and cougars…bugs…etc (Don’t forget the toilet paper. Oh …and always flush!)


  1. Dan


    I’ve actually just recently come into a body of fascinating rights that I was never aware I had. Canada is freakin’ awesome.

  2. Nathan Sherred

    Dan, what are you talking about?

    How can I find a map of crown lands?

  3. Rose


    Thank you so much for your help!

  4. Clayton

    Free Camping in the Fraser Valley and Okanagan? I haven’t been to free camping areas in the Fraser Valley like I have been in the Okanagan so when a Tracks and Trails visitor asked about Free Camping that you could get to without a 4X4 in the lower mainland and Okanagan I figured I would post the question here and hope for some help.

    I will ask that the areas could be narrowed down as I know of many spots in the Okanagan and I be there are zillions in the Fraser Valley?

  5. Analise

    Great. This is one of the few sites that I keep visiting. The articles are very educational and wholesome. Keep on maintaining this site. You are doing a very good job.

  6. San Francisco Hiking

    I think more camping sites should be free. Local governments would increase nature awareness if they lowered the barrier to actually going camping.

  7. darius

    well as my question applies
    a small group of us are considering a 1 year hiatus camping fishing etc.
    1 member is status treaty of the nisgaa coastal tribal nation in BC they will be with us, so from what i understand with that we are covered for fishing etc is there a specific time limit as per camping law on crown land etc..of course i understand no permanent structure is allowed etc so its 50% living on the boat n 50% on land there a requirement to place site at tourism etc, we are plannning on going by boat along the coast in the spring any thing other that could be relevant or you could think of please let me know thanks..

  8. Leonard Kessler (Dad)

    I wanna go fishin….so I’ll be lookin thru you info till I find
    the best spot….Thanks Clayton (Son)
    Wap Lake is a beautiful place. The fish are smart and seem to know how to evaid your hook. But some people have caught Nice fish there. Dad
    Wap Creek running South from Wap Lake into Adams Lake has a very strong current in it. It can be very dangerous. Mom

    • Clayton

      Thanks Mom and Dad! You are the best! Hey Mom, does Dad mind if that story goes public…:-) tell it all right here if he doesn’t! PS – Dad – I think I will be canoeing at Oyama Lake – you can come down from Lumby over the Aberdeen Plateau and meet Suzanne, the boys and I there on the weekend! Bring yer hooks mr!

    • Steph

      lol, your parents are the cutest 🙂

      • Clayton

        Thanks Steph.
        Yeah Mom and Dad are pretty great!:-)
        So the story of Dad in Wap Lake is just a short story. Maybe they can add to this, but Dad was in his little flat bottom boat and was fishing at the end of the lake where the creek runs out – whoosh – off he went down the creek as Mom was watching. The boat flipped – Dad lost a bunch of nice fishing tackle as he tumbled down the creek. He finally gathered himself together, found the boat and pulled it back up with my brothers help. ….I think he sold boat hahaha


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  10. Anonymous

    Happy New Year Clayton:

    I am a retired handicapped senior ( Gentleman I hope )who likes to dry
    camp ( boondock ). I have a 4 x 4 truck and camper. Due to limited
    income I need free camping.
    B.C., the Yukon and Alberta are on my list. And soon hopefuly

    Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Clayton

      Good Day Sir! Thank you for the Happy New Years wish. Tracks And Trails is roaring in 2012 with the most traffic it has ever had for a cold slow Jan – now at over 6000 visits in the last 30 days.

      I hope this page and the links provided will provide some answers but I must tell you that I am working get each and every free camping post for each individual campsite upgraded with better information. My goal is to document each with video and pictures as well as hiking trail info about the area. However for now I am working on getting a map based search that will show you every campsite near a given town or city. I already have a sort of prototype working at or you can access it via the tabs at the top of the page – just mouse over “Camping” and then click the one that says Free Camping Map

      the most common question is “Where can I camp?” This new Free Camping Map will be available to use on smart phones so if a person has cell reception you will be able to find free camping in many areas.

  11. larryjj

    Hi Clayton

    The camp site by Trout Creek is used quite often by my self and a few of my friends in the Quad clubs. I have never been ale to catch any fish there though.

    We normally cross over the road then head up in to the hills.

    There is a black bear population in the area. We some times see a bear actually walk across the bridge.

    I have not been back there recently ( the last three years ) due to my spinal surgery.

    The land above and to the right is private and gated about a mile in. This is directly across the creek on the same side.


  12. PJ

    Frantic, I’ve been looking for an answer to my soon to be homeless life. I am losing my home of 17 years. I did manage to buy a motorhome, it’s older and not very big, but has all I need in it to sustain life.

    I cannot afford to pay for camping, CPP disability doesn’t pay much and I cannot work anymore.

    Crown Land, …. How do, and can I, settle on a piece of Crown land? I’m in Canada, Lower Mainland and have 2 months left before they put me out.

    I’ve read all of the posts, looked at the links, but need a little more advice/help.. I do not want, nor could afford to go from campsite to campsite and becoming very worried as renting is just too expensive..

    Any input would be so very much appreciated.

  13. Clayton

    Hi PJ! Thank you very much for bringing this discussion to the table. I could go on and on about several options – none of which are great – but one of the things I would suggest is: Get a Prospectors license and find an unclaimed area with a few flakes of gold and stake your claim. You are allowed to have some simple buildings on your claim.

    Having said that, I really feel for your position man, Canada is a great place but still far from perfect in ensuring that all our citizens are adequately cared for.

  14. PJ

    Thanks for replying so quickly Clayton:

    I’m a female but regardless of my gendre, I’m sure if I found those few pieces of gold, they would not care and probably allow me a Prospectors license. This information is new to me.

    I used to head up to Barkerville and just loved it, camped (tent) at Bowron Lake and I noticed quite a few people had staked claims just outside of Wells, but at the time did not know for what reason.

    That’s a long way to go and lots of snow in the winter, but land is land and I dread the thought of truck stops or Wallmart on a full time basis. Although, I must add, thank goodness for them in hard times.

    Thank you for the information, your help is much appreciated, and so is your site.

    I’ll be b a c k …lol and let you know what, if anything I have found.

    You have made me feel a little better and I thank you for that.

  15. DGiesbre


    Ive been searching for the last few weeks for any vehicle accessible lakeside camping sites with no fees attached, On all regular government sites it only shows the ones that are pay sites. The other links to websites that provide maps to free sites just plain don’t work. Is there any information on good free lake sites between Vancouver and Kelowna?

    Any help would be extremely appreciated, Many thanks in advance if anyone knows of some.

  16. Clayton

    Hello DGiesbre,

    I have made what I think is an incredible BC Campground Directory and what I believe is the largest campground directory in for British Columbia.
    Please try it out and let me know what is not working.

    1)follow the link above and on the search form
    2)enter the city of your choice and then in the drop down list
    3)Select a distance and then
    4)select, “Recreation Sites in BC” and then click the Search button.

    Your search will show the campground markers on the map and if you click a marker it will open an information page for that campsite.

    If you search and select all types, you will get Provincial parks, National Parks and Private campgrounds in addition to the Rec sites.

    When you click a marker for a private campground, if the campground owner has not submitted any info on it to me or if a visitor hasn’t submitted any intelligence on that campground to me then there will be no more campground information. All the other parks or most of them have info and i am adding info every day to create a page on tracksandtrails campground directory for each campground in Canada.

  17. DGiesbre

    Ah, Perfect.

    The map wasn’t working for me for the last few days.

    its working now, My only concern now is with many of those spots, the government sites show those same places to be pay sites such as Silver Lake being 16 dollars a night as one example:
    How does this work. Does the managers of these lakes ride around to the “free” sites and try and bill people?

    • Clayton

      Thanks for asking about the Recreation Sites that are listed as free camping but also have a resort or another managed recreation site nearby on the same lake. In some of these campgrounds the listed free campsite is actually free and I believe in others they are managed and the campground manager will drive an atv or truck to your site and collect a cash fee. For example, At Beaver Lake Resort, there is a recreation site way down the lake on the west side…I think it is a free site while on the east side the managed campsites you have to pay for. At Chute Lake on the north end, there is a free site and the managed site is on the south end, it is managed by the resort across the road. Now if someone tried to collect at the south end, they would probably get shot! It is definitely a free site if you get what I mean. …not to knock Red Necks or anything. 🙂

      To sum it up, if you are with someone that needs the security of a managed site, bring cash, if you require a free site, bring gas. All you have to do is drive a little farther to the next crown land location or BC recreation site sign on a stream or lake that is just around the corner and you will find a free site for sure!

  18. DGiesbre

    Ah gotcha! Thanks Clayton! That clears up 100% of the confusion I was having!

    This site is awesome! The date base is extensive and well documented, The only thing it didn’t answer was when there was conflicting information on other sites such as whether it was pay or free. This alleviates my concerns completely.

    Thank you for putting together such an awesome site and keeping it up to date! Very very much appreciated! especially since its the only site that doesn’t seem to be pushing some sort of fee based camping experience agenda! this is BC and I truly believe we should enjoy the outdoors for free. Especially if we have taken the time to procure all the necessary camping equipment to enjoy the great outdoors. After all, If I wanted to pay to see the outdoors, I would rent a cabin! This pay site stuff is getting ridiculous in BC were it seems everyone is just out for a cash grab. Thank you for being one of the last few people fighting the good fight and providing useful information to people looking for it. Your the best!

  19. Jennifer

    Hi all,

    Just wondering if anyone has found some good free “urban camping” sites.

    I don’t have a tent, but I do have a truck with a sleeping bag! I’m looking to do some car camping on the south end of the island this summer.


  20. Leigh

    Hi there. I would like to know if you have any suggested spot to camp near the lower mainland or the Okanagan that have clear,open areas where we can shoot .22’s and maybe some clay shooting ?

    Great site,thanks very much !


    • Clayton

      Hey there,
      Any recreation site usually has an area for target shooting near by. The reason is that British Columbia’s main (legal) industry is forestry so there are logging roads everywhere. The recreation sites are usually found off some logging road and there is always an open spot with a hill behind it that is just right for blasting away a few pounds of lead. In Kelowna the place where lots of folks go is Postill Lake Rd. My son who owns a few nice rifles doesn’t like to go there as there are too many people so he heads up some other logging rd off highway 33 …When you do go, use the map on the home page of and select “recreation sites in BC” and when you see any of the campsite locations, choose those areas and then you will have a nice place to camp while you get your rifles sited. It would be nice to shoot a couple of kilometers away from the rec sites so as not to be too disturbing. having said that you will find lots of crown land sites to camp and blast away in the same areas. cheers

  21. Leesa

    Hey just curious if someone can recommend a nice free place to camp around the Oysoyoss (spelled wrong I’m sure) around? Last weekend we went to Sawmill Lake near Oliver and it was heavenly! We have a 7 year old child so a place we can explore or cast a reel would be excellent:)

  22. GB

    Hi! This is a great resource — thank you so much for putting it altogether. I wasn’t able to open these two links that you have listed for free camping:

    PDF List of British Columbia Free Forest Recreation Sites

    Interactive Online Map – Free Camping sites

    At least not on Google Chrome. Just a little heads up in case something needed to be updated. Could be my computer, though. 😉

  23. Clayton Kessler

    Thank you for letting me know I was overdue in updating this page. I have now. By following the links I mention above you will begin to get into some great camping data!
    While on the official provincial website for Recreation Sites you will find the interactive maps. They are amazing now. is still useful as you can immediately see all recreation sites, provincial parks, national parks and crown land sites and private campgrounds as I add them that are near you where ever you are.


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