Ontario Parks

Backcountry

Ontario Parks is a backcountry paddling paradise for canoeists, kayakers, and stand up paddle boarders of all skill levels. Prepare to experience beautiful nights under the stars following a rewarding day of paddling.

Appropriate route planning will make for the most enjoyable backcountry experience. For assistance planning your trip, visit the webpage of the park you plan to visit, or call the park for more information.

Parks that offer Backcountry Experiences

Videos

Backcountry Camping - Quetico

Backcountry Camping - Quetico

Backcountry Camping - Kawartha Highlands

Backcountry Camping - Kawartha Highlands

Legend

Park - General Park Location

Access Point - Backcountry Access Point

Park Skill Level Booking Type How to Obtain a Permit
Algonquin All skill levels Lake Zone/Area Reserve online
Biscotasi Lake Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Bon Echo Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Charleston Lake Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Esker Lakes Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
French River Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Frontenac Intermediate Specific Campsite Reserve online
Fushimi Lake Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Grundy Lake Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Halfway Lake Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Kawartha Highlands All skill levels Specific Campsite Reserve online
Killarney All skill levels Lake Zone/Area Reserve online
Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online
Lake Superior All skill levels First-come-first-serve Register online
Makobe-Grays River Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online
Missinaibi - (Lake) All skill levels First-come-first-serve Reserve online
Missinaibi - (River) Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online
Mississagi Beginner First-come-first-serve Reserve online
Murphys Point Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Obabika River Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Quetico Intermediate Entry Quota Reserve online
Restoule Beginner Specific Campsite Reserve online
Solace Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Spanish River Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Sturgeon River Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online
The Massasauga All skill levels Specific Campsite Reserve online
Tidewater Intermediate First-come-first-serve Register online
Wabakimi Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online
Wakami Lake Beginner First-come-first-serve Reserve online
Woodland Caribou Advanced First-come-first-serve Register online

Choose a Park that matches your skill level

Beginner: Requires basic paddling, map reading and compass skills. Mostly short distance lake travel, with portages around rapids. Portages are short if present.

Intermediate: Requires developed paddling map reading and compass skills. Longer portages and potential for longer trips. May encounter rapids requiring sound judgement.

Advanced: Difficulty level increases immediately due to remoteness of park. Requires developed paddling, navigation, outdoor survival, and portaging skills.

All Skill Levels: Park offers many backcountry opportunities which can offer you an experience to match your skills. Park staff can assist you with knowing which routes are suitable for you.

Description of Booking Type

Specific Campsite – You will reserve a specific numbered campsite for each night of your trip.

Lake zone/area – You will reserve a pre-defined lake or zone to camp in on each night of your trip. Within your lake or zone, campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you arrive at a site that is full, you will continue your journey until you find an available site.

Entry Quota (Quetico only) – You will reserve the access point where you will start your trip. You must start your trip from the reserved access point. When travelling in the park all campsites are available on a first-come, first served-basis. If you arrive at a site that is full, you will continue your journey until you find an available site.

First-Come-First-Served – All campsites are first-come, first-served. If you arrive at a site that is full, you will continue your journey until you find an available site.

How to Obtain a Permit

  1. Reserve Online
    • A reservation can be made up to five months in advance of your arrival date.
    • If you have a reservation at Kawartha Highlands, Charleston Lake or Murphys Point, you will be able to print your permit at home up to two weeks in advance of your arrival date.
    • Campers holding reservations at all other backcountry parks will obtain their permit upon arrival when you check-in.
  2. Register Online
    • Register online to purchase a backcountry permit up to two weeks in advance of your arrival date.
    • Campers registering online will be e-mailed their backcountry and vehicle permit. You are responsible for printing your permit and bringing a copy to the park with you.
    • All backcountry registrations are final. There are no changes or refunds.