Kawartha Highlands

Kawartha Highlands

Backcountry Camping

1. The Experience:

Kawartha Highlands is a semi-wilderness destination only a short distance from major population centres with backcountry campsites accessible by canoe. The park is situated along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, and features a rugged rolling landscape of small lakes, wetlands, forests and rocky barrens. The park accommodates a wide range of camping skills from beginner to advanced on six canoe routes.

Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, and Osprey are frequently spotted on park lakes. The park’s rock barrens attract several bird species including Whip-Poor-Will, Common Nighthawk, Scarlet Tanager, and Eastern Towhee. Many species of warblers, vireos, and sparrows are found in the park as well.

The park’s lakes are home to a wide range of fish species, including Lake Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Splake, Walleye, Small and Largemouth Bass, and panfish. Visitors are encouraged to try their luck on any of the 17 stocked trout lakes in the park.

The many clear lakes of Kawartha Highlands provide great opportunities for swimming.

Kawartha Highlands provides well defined canoe routes with marked portages and campsites. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and box privy. Most campsites have at least three tent pads.

2. Reservations and Interior Camping Permits

Campsite specific reservations are available online or by phone up to five months in advance of your arrival date. Reservations are recommended to secure your campsite.

Interior camping permits are required for backcountry camping at Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park. Permits can be printed at home within 14 days of your arrival date or can be obtained in-person at the park office located in Bancroft.

Upon arrival at the access point, there are instructions on how to obtain a permit for your vehicle(s).

3. Trip Planning

Maps are available for purchase online, or by calling the park office at 613-332-3940 ext. 261. A canoe route map is also available for purchase at outfitters located around Kawartha Highlands.

For trip planning advice and general park information please call our park office at 613-332-3940 ext. 261.

For more information about Kawartha Highlands and local outfitters, click here.

There is a ban on cans and glass bottles at Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park.

Some portages pass through private property and many cottages and recreation camps are along canoes routes. Be respectful and do not trespass.

In the event of an emergency (e.g., severe weather), there are several campsites throughout the park identified by a blue sign with the wording “Emergency Use Only.” Temporarily occupy one of these campsites and notify park staff as soon as possible of the change to your trip plan.

Between December 1 and March 31, no person shall camp within 30 m of the nearest portage or shoreline. Note that all the designated campsites are within 30 m of the shoreline, so please adjust accordingly.

Please be respectful of the natural environment and other visitors. Practice leave-no-trace camping, camp only on designated campsites, and be aware of your surrounding neighbours, ecology, and wildlife. We appreciate your efforts to maintain this pristine environment.

Radio-Free Camping

To maintain the wilderness atmosphere of Kawartha Highlands, the use of amplified stereo devices is prohibited throughout the park.