Free Camping near Banff
After a week exploring Banff it was time to drive north towards the Icefields Parkway. We were just as surprised as you are about free camping near Banff. The Saskatchewan River Crossing is actually INSIDE Banff National Park and they allow overnight parking in their parking lot.
Free Camping at Saskatchewan River Crossing
Parking overnight in a RV at The Crossing located at Saskatchewan River Crossing is completely free- they just ask that you stay one night only and only park in the gravel lot between 3PM and 9AM, which is PLENTY of time.
There laundry, a convenience store, gas, RV dump and water, and even a little restaurant/pub where you can have a couple beers and a massive plate of nachos. While the gravel lot you’re staying in might be a bit on the rustic side, the view is absolutely incredible and we found it quiet enough given the price. We’ve stayed in much worse for much more money ;)
What to do along the Icefields Parkway
Bow Lake Glacier Falls
As we headed North out of Banff, we took time to do an incredible hike to Bow Glacier Falls. Don't be intimidated by the length of the hike, it's fairly flat the entire way and a great way to stretch your legs before a full day of driving
We made a stop in Jasper at the Athabasca Glacier. Apparently, we spent too much time researching where to stay in Banff and not enough to learn about what an attraction Athabasca glacier was. We arrived too late in the day to go on a tourbus up to the glacier. If you’re interested in that, plan accordingly.
There is a massive visitors center and parking lot so accessibility is easy. You CANNOT drive your own vehicle up to the glacier. You must take the bus and pay for the bus pass. If you’re not that interested in getting an up close view of a retreating glacier there are plenty of hiking trails nearby where you can still get VERY close.