Backcountry Camping

1. The Experience:

Quetico is an internationally recognized wilderness paddling destination. An extensive system of maintained portages throughout the park allow for a mix of short, easy trips, or extended routes that require skillful outdoor living techniques and rigorous paddling and portaging skills.

With over 450,000 hectares of protected land and thousands of interconnected waterways, Quetico Provincial Park offers a variety of wilderness travel experiences. Nowhere else in Ontario can you visit a remote ranger station on the international border as you paddle from the USA into Canada or vice versa.

Quetico was Ontario’s first wilderness class park, with a long heritage of minimal human interference and a tradition of low impact wilderness canoeing. The park has over 2,200 backcountry campsites to explore. The backcountry has no facilities, services, or signs on campsites and portages.

2. Reservations and Interior Camping Permits

Reservations are available online or by phone up to five months in advance of your arrival date. When making a reservation, you will select the access point where you will start your trip. You must start your trip from the access point you have reserved. While travelling in the park all campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are recommended to secure your trip dates.

Interior camping permits are required for backcountry camping at Quetico Provincial Park. Permits must be picked up in-person at a designated ranger station prior to entering the park.

  • Permits for access points controlled by Beaverhouse, Atikokan, and Dawson Trail Ranger Stations can be obtained at any one of these ranger stations.
  • Permits for access points controlled by Lac La Croix, Prairie Portage, and Cache Bay Ranger Stations must be obtained at the ranger station that controls your access point.

Business hours and operating dates vary between stations. All park stations generally open the Friday of Victoria Day weekend and operate on Central Daylight Time during the summer months. Contact the park office at 807-597-2735 for station hours. Late arrivals are not allowed, unless held up by high winds.

3. Customs

If entering Quetico from outside Canada, it is your responsibility to clear Canada Customs. If traveling by water or aircraft to Lac La Croix, a seasonal customs station is located at Sand Point Lake (north of Crane Lake, MN), 47 km from the Lac La Croix Ranger Station.

When entering Canada where a Customs/Immigration service is not provided, (Cache Bay and Prairie Portage) pre-clearance to Canada must be arranged well in advance of your trip by applying for a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit.

To obtain information and a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit Application, please visit this website for additional information, or to obtain an application form by mail, please call the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-877-854-RABC or 807-624-2162.

U.S. Border Services require that all persons entering the United States from Canada must have a valid passport. This includes re-entry into the U.S. from Prairie Portage or Cache Bay. Information is available at http://www.cbp.gov

4. Trip Planning

Maps can be purchased online or over the phone by calling (807) 597-2735. Maps are also available through local outfitters and outdoor retail stores.

There is road access available to Lac La Croix Ranger Station at the Hwy 11 turn off at Flanders road, which is 73km (46 Miles) long, or approximately a 1 ½ hour drive.

Overnight parking at Stanton Bay is restricted to Canadian residents.

For more information about Quetico and local outfitters, click here. Outfitters are based in both Canada and the United States.

Familiarize yourself with rules specific to Quetico prior to your trip. Please be respectful of the natural environment and other visitors. Practice leave-no-trace camping, and be aware of your surrounding neighbours, ecology, and wildlife. We appreciate your efforts to maintain this pristine environment. This following list of rules provides guidance on common questions, it is not a comprehensive list.

  • There is a ban on cans and glass bottles at Quetico Provincial Park.
  • Motorized boats, power saws, gasoline generators, power ice augers, mechanized portage devices, all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and similar mechanized equipment are not permitted in Quetico.
  • Ontario fishing regulations require the use of artificial bait and barbless hooks in Quetico. No organic bait of any kind is permitted. A valid Ontario fishing licence is required for fishing in Ontario. Licences are not available at all park ranger stations and should be purchased prior to your arrival at www.ontario.ca/fishing
  • Pets mush be leashed while visiting the park. Non-residents must be able to provide a current vaccination certificate. Please remember to pick up after your pet.
  • Possession of a firearm, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, air gun, pellet gun, paintball gun, slingshot, bow, or crossbow is prohibited. Hunting, molesting, and harassing wildlife is prohibited.
  • Check current Canadian boating regulations prior to your trip to ensure safety regulations are met. http://www.tc.gc.ca
  • Quetico has a number of important archaeological sites within its boundaries. You may not remove, damage, or deface any relic, artifact, or natural object or any site of archaeological or historical interest.
  • Leave pictograph sites untouched. The Pictographs in Quetico are spiritually sacred for Anishinabe People. Approach all pictographs quietly and respectfully. It is illegal to deface these sites or remove objects such as bones, arrowheads, and other artefacts. Do not touch the pictographs as oil and perspiration can accelerate the deterioration of the pigment.
  • It is unlawful to store or leave unattended any watercraft or equipment in the park without the permission of the park superintendent.

Car Camping

Dawson Trail Campground is located on French Lake in the northeast corner of the park at the threshold of the Quetico wilderness. Over 100 campsites are located in two campground loops: Chippewa and Ojibwa.
Both campground loops have electrical campsites and can accommodate trailers and tents. Vault toilets, flush toilets, showers, laundry and water taps are all nearby. Many campsites are lakefront with direct access to water.

Swimming, hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and picnicking at one of our scenic day use areas, are just a few of the opportunities available at the campgrounds during the summer. The winter months offer groomed cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing and ice-fishing.

Walk-In Camping

Quetico has several backcountry sites with beautiful beaches and clear waters on Pickerel Lake that can be accessed by foot from the Dawson Trail Campground via the Pines Trail.

Roofed Accommodation

Roofed Accommodation Rustic Cabin

Number at Park: 3

Site Number(s) / Name: Log Cabin | Winter Retreat | Ojibway Cabin

Check-In/Check-Out Time: 3pm/11am

​Quetico offers three rustic cabin options: The Log Cabin at Dawson Trail Campground and the Art Studio Winter Retreat (open Oct-Apr) and the Ojibway Cabin at Ojibway Campground.

Cabin occupants get full use of park facilities such as visitor services activities (seasonal), ski and hiking trails. Ski and snowshoe or swim and canoe from your front door! A centrally located outhouse toilet is conveniently located nearby. Shower facilities (comfort stations open throughout summer months).

Check in time is 3:00 p.m.; Check out time is 11:00 am.

Sleeps: 4


The Log Cabin (open year round) sleeps 4

  • Rustic hand hewn log cabin nicely decorated with log furniture. Bedding included for queen bed only
  • 2 portable infrared heaters and a high-efficiency wood stove.
  • 20 litres of drinking water, small fridge, microwave, coffee pot, kettle and propane barbeque with side burner
  • Deck with barrier free access
  • One queen bed and one futon couch (double size)
  • Table with four chairs
  • Picnic table, outdoor benches and a fire pit
  • Free firewood for woodstove and firepit provided in winter
  • Flush toilets nearby (May-Oct only), Showers and laundry located in Chippewa Campground a short walk away (May-Oct). Outhouse a short walk away.
  • In winter: Ski from your doorstep. In summer: beach access right out front – access to all season trails
  • Two pairs of snowshoes provided in winter

Art Studio Winter Retreat (open Oct-Apr) sleeps 4

  • Cozy one-room cabin features a deck equipped with picnic table & propane BBQ over-looking French Lake (near day-use area)
  • Cabin is walk in only on a gentle trail – Parking lot is less than 100 meters away
  • 1 futon couch (twin bed size)
  • 1 Queen bed - bedding provided
  • Table with four-chairs
  • 20 litres of drinking water, small fridge, and microwave
  • Electric baseboard heat, and electric fireplace.
  • A sled is provided to transport your gear the <100m from parking to your cabin.
  • Ski from your doorstep – Lake access right out front – access to all season trails
  • Two pairs of snowshoes provided in winter
  • Outhouse a short walk away.

Ojibway Cabin (open year round - Winter, ski/snowshoe access ONLY) sleeps 4

  • Summer - drive to lakefront cottage, Winter - ski or snowshoe 2 km on trail
  • Rustic and private waterfront cabin located between sites 98 and 100 in the Ojibway Campground
  • Large waterfront deck with picnic table
  • 20 litres of drinking water, small fridge, coffee pot, and propane barbeque
  • One queen bed and one futon couch (double). Bedding included for queen bed only
  • Electric baseboard heat
  • Table with 4 stools
  • Parking for several vehicels in front of cabin
  • Firewood for fire pit provided for winter season
  • Outhouse and flush toilets/showers (May-Oct only) a short walk away in Ojibway Campground
  • Two pairs of snowshoes provided in winter
What to Bring

Bring food, extra water, all cooking utensils, plates, cups and bowls, pots and pans, camp stove and bedding.


Please note that domestic animals (pets) are not permitted in the cabins and smoking inside is prohibited. Cooking on camp stove or hot plate not permitted inside the cabins.


Parking for one vehicle is included in your rental fee. There is ample space for up to 2 additional vehicles.

Please note: Art Studio Winter Retreat is walk-in access only (less than 100 metres).

How to Reserve

Reservations can be made online or by phone.

These cabins are available for booking year round.

For Questions about the cabins or general questions about Quetico, please call our trip planning phone line at 807-597-2735.