Quetico

Backcountry Camping

The extensive network of lakes and rivers at Quetico provide a variety of canoe and kayak wilderness travel experiences. Over 2,200 interior sites through out the park allow fora mix of short, easy trips or extended routes that require skillful paddling, navigation, outdoor living techniques and rigorous portaging.

Quetico is a wilderness park. The backcountry has no facilities, services or signs. Please play your part in the preservation of Quetico Park for future generations by following the principals of “no trace” camping.

Backcountry campsites at Quetico can be reserved online through the Ontario Parks Reservation Service.

Planning your canoe trip in Quetico’s backcountry

Reservations: Backcountry and campground reservations can be made up to five months in advance of the arrival date by visiting our reservations page or by phoning the call centre at 1-888-668-7275, or 1-519-826-5290 (Outside of Canada & U.S.). Verification will be sent by email or mail confirming your reservation for entry into Quetico Provincial Park. Please read it carefully and check your approved entry date, ranger station and entry point.  Your reservation is not your permit. The park permit must be picked up in person at a designated ranger station prior to entering Quetico Park. You must travel through the entry point in which your reservation is confirmed.  If you need trip planning assistance, please contact the Quetico Park information line at 807-597-2735, weekdays from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:15 pm.

Permits: Interior camping permits are necessary for all overnight trips. Separate reservations and permits are required if your party plans to split up for the purposes of camping or if someone in your group is entering after or leaving before the group. Permits for entry points controlled by Beaverhouse, Atikokan and Dawson Trail Ranger Stations can be purchased at any one of these stations. For Lac La Croix, Prairie Portage and Cache Bay Ranger Stations, you must purchase your permit at the ranger station that controls your entry point.  For day trips, you require a daily vehicle permit. A copy of your park permit must be carried with you at all times. During busy time periods please expect to wait at all stations.  Visa, MasterCard, and cash are accepted payment methods at all stations.

Check-in-Hours: Park business hours and operating dates vary between stations and operate on Central Daylight Time during the summer months. All park stations generally open the Friday of the Canadian Victoria Day weekend (third Friday in May). Contact park office at 807-597-2735 for station hours.

Self-Serve: During the off-season, park fees are payable through self-serve registration boxes located at each Ranger Station.  Rates and instructions for completion are posted.  Cash only please, and refunds are not available on self-serve registration.  Plan ahead to purchase fishing licenses, maps and Remote Area Border Crossing Permits (if required). 

Late Arrivals:  Entry cannot be guaranteed after office hours.  Note: Allowances will be made for paddlers held up by high winds. You must stop at the Ranger Station to purchase your permits before entering.

Stanton Bay Parking: Overnight parking (from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. CDT) at Stanton Bay is restricted to residents of Canada only.

Lac La Croix Ranger Station: There is road access available to this station at the Hwy 11 turn off at Flanders road, which is 73km (46 Miles) long, or approximately a 1 ½ hour drive. For information on current road conditions and parking facilities please call the Contact the park office at 807-597-2735 or Lac La Croix Ranger Station at 807-485-2555 during the operating season.

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) and 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 website www.cbsa.gc.ca or 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
Backcountry campsites at Quetico can be reserved online through the Ontario Parks Reservation Service.

Quetico is a specially managed Wilderness Park

The protection of Quetico Provincial Park is guided by rules and regulations that backcountry campers must adhere to. While this is not a comprehensive list, the following are a few notable rules to follow.

  • Can and Bottle Ban: Non-burnable, disposable food and beverage containers are not allowed. Fuel, insect repellent, medicine, personal toiletry (non-food & beverage) containers are permitted only.  Please carry out all fuel cans
  • Mechanized Use: It is illegal to possess a motorized boat, power saw, gasoline generator or power ice auger in the park.  No person may use a mechanized portage device, all terrain vehicle, snowmobile or similar mechanized equipment in Quetico Provincial Park.
  • Party Size:  Nine people is the maximum party size allowed on a campsite.  It is recommended that large parties (any group over 5 people) travel separately across lakes and portages.
  • Fishing:  Ontario fishing regulations require the use of artificial bait and barbless hooks within Quetico Provincial Park. Live or dead organic bait is not permitted in the park. Examples include leeches, worms and salted minnows. Live and dead bait can introduce invasive aquatic species. Barbed hooks may be pinched to conform to regulation. Reduce fish mortality by using barbless hooks, keep fish handling to a minimum, use proper fish handling techniques, and be aware of fishing regulations.. A valid Ontario fishing licence is required for fishing and must be in your possession. Licences are not available at all park stations and should be purchased prior to your arrival at www.ontario.ca/fishing
  • Pets:  Pets must 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.
  • Firearms:  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 also prohibited.
  • Canoe/Kayaks:  Canadian Boating Safety regulations require:
    • One lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) of appropriate size for each person on board
    • One buoyant heaving line no less than 15 m (49’3”) in length
    • One manual propelling device (i.e. set of oars or paddle) or an anchor with no less than 15 m (49’3”) of cable, rope or chain in any combination
    • One bailer or one manual water pump fitted with or accompanied by sufficient hose
    • Sound-signalling device (whistle)
    • Watertight flashlight if paddling at night (Batteries must work)

    Please check current boating requirements to ensure regulations are met at http://www.tc.gc.ca

  • Litter: Pack out all non-burnable garbage, including tinfoil. You may not leave any litter in a provincial park, except in a place designated for that purpose.  Likewise, you must keep your interior campsite clean and sanitary at all times.  This will help prevent problems with bears and will also help to preserve Quetico’s wilderness.
  • Closed Campsites: You may not camp on sites that are closed to camping.  Obey no camping signs.
  • Quota System:  You must enter Quetico during business hours through the ranger station, on the entry date and entry point designated on your permit.  Do not take unnecessary risks, late arrivals due to high winds will be accommodated.
  • Vegetation:  It is unlawful to remove, cut or damage any vegetation. For fuel wood, use only fallen dead wood collected from the shoreline and far from your campsite.
  • Historical Sites: 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.  You may not disturb these sites, make an excavation for any purpose, or conduct research without written permission from Ontario Parks.
  • Pictographs: Leave archaelogical, historical and pictograph sites untouched.  The Pictographs in Quetico are spiritually sacred for Anishinabe People.  Approach all pictographs queitly and respectfully. It is illegal to deface these sites or remove objects such as bones, arrowheads, and other artefacts. Quetico’s pictographs are fading. Do not touch the pictographs: Oil and perspiration can accelerate the deterioration of the pigment.
  • Campfires:  Use existing fire rings. Fire pits must be built on bare rock or bare mineral soil and kept 1.5-3m from vegetation including overhanging trees.  If windy, do not have campfires.  Make sure your fire is out.  Fires are prohibited in a restricted fire zone. Possession or ignition of fireworks in a provincial park is illegal.
  • Equipment Caching:  It is unlawful to store or leave unattended any watercraft or equipment in the park without the permission of the park superintendent.
  • Campsite Structures:  Do not build tables, chairs or other structures at your campsite. Please leave the campsite as you found it, taking all your gear with you, including fire grills and grates.
  • Noise:  Enhance your own experience and the experience of others by keeping noise to a minimum. We also encourage all aircraft to fly 4000 ft. above sea level when possible to help reduce noise levels.

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

Rustic Cabin

Number at Park: 3

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

​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 Amenities

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.

Restrictions

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

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

To reserve one of the cabins at Quetico, please call 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275) or 1-519-826-5290 outside of North America. 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