aerial of lake covered in snow

6 tips for winter camping at Kawartha Highlands

So you’re no stranger to camping, but want a new adventure? Or maybe you’ve invested some money in winter camping gear?

Congratulations! Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park offers the perfect opportunity for those looking to get into winter camping.

Just a couple hours outside of the GTA, and three hours west of Ottawa, any weekend warrior looking for a new adventure will hear this park calling their name.

Here’s everything you need to know to make your foray into winter camping at Kawartha Highlands memorable, safe, and successful:

1. Be prepared

Arriving at your campsite at Kawartha Highlands often means travelling over ice.

Ice safety is everyone’s responsibility — park staff can’t tell you when it is or is not safe.

Please inform yourself and plan accordingly.

view of snowy landscapes

We recommend starting by reading our blog about ice fishing safety and our page on winter safety. Review and remember the content. Safety is your responsibility.

Camping in winter is much more challenging than in the summer, so it’s best to go with one or more people who are experienced.

Need a refresher on a few basics? We’ve got a blog that gives you the 101 on winter camping.

2. Assess your access points

All of Kawartha Highlands’ access points have ploughed parking areas that ensure easy access.

snowy forest

Staff recommend Bottle Lake and Wolf Lake access points, as they allow you to start your trip right away.

Long Lake and Anstruther Lake involve lengthy walks before getting away from private cottages and to other lakes.

3. Know how to traverse the park

Kawartha Highland campers use snowshoes, skis, and regular boots to get to their campsites.

man pulling sled with dogs

If you have a lot of equipment, a toboggan will be your best friend.

Remember: don’t pack more weight than you can pull!

4. This is a semi-wilderness park

Winter offers a unique experience in nature — cold, clear nights for star-gazing and blissfully quiet days.

raccoon in snow


You’ll have the chance to spot deer, moose, coyote, wolves, and any number of winter birds.

As a semi-wilderness park, you may also hear the sound of snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles.

5. Know where to pitch your tent

If you’re backcountry winter camping anywhere in Ontario Parks, you need to camp 30 m from established campsites or trails.

prospector tent in snow

That means a lot of the park is off-limits for tents in the summer.

But the options are wide open during the winter!

6. Planning on ice fishing?

Kawartha Highlands is a dream come true for ice anglers!

Many of the lakes are stocked with a wide variety of fish.

person holding fish


Please review the Ontario Fishing Regulations before dropping a hook or drilling a hole.

Book your winter camping trip at Kawartha Highlands and see what winter camping is all about!