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
|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||Specific Campsite||Reserve online|
|Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater||Advanced||First-come-first-serve||Register online|
|Lake Superior||All skill levels||Lake Zone/Area||Reserve online|
|Makobe-Grays River||Advanced||First-come-first-serve||Register online|
|Missinaibi - (Lake)||All skill levels||Specific Campsite||Reserve online|
|Missinaibi - (River)||Advanced||First-come-first-serve||Register online|
|Mississagi||Beginner||Lake Zone/Area||Reserve online|
|Obabika River||Intermediate||First-come-first-serve||Register online|
|Quetico||Intermediate||Entry Quota||Reserve online|
|Restoule||Beginner||Specific Campsite||Reserve 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|
|Wakami Lake||Beginner||Specific Campsite||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
- 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, your camping and vehicle permits are included with your confirmation letter. Please print your permits in advance of your arrival.
- Campers holding reservations at all other backcountry parks will obtain their permit upon arrival when you check-in.
- 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.