Algonquin Provincial Park: Highland Backpacking Trail (3 days / 35 km)

A beautiful view of Highland Backpacking Trail Algonquin

I just got back from hiking the Highland Trail on my first ever backpacking trip. The trail was rugged and pushed me (and my hiking partners) to our limits. The 35 km trail turned to 38 km with our poor navigation skills, but we made it through, had some great laughs, and saw some amazing views.

The campsites were so beautiful and peaceful, but the trail was rough and filled with mosquitos. I am still scratching as I write this blog!

In this article, I will cover my trip report, what went well, and what could have gone better! Even though it was challenging, I definitely recommend the trail to anyone looking for a challenge. 

Trip Completed: June 2021

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Highland Trail Access Point Mew Lake Campground

Ending Point: Highland Trail Access Point Mew Lake Campground

Total Distance: 35 km

Elevation Gain: 1549 m

Duration: 3 days / 2 nights

Difficulty: Beginner / Intermediate (suitable for beginners but will be challenging)

Location: The Highland Trail is located in Algonquin Provincial Park, it has two loops. The first loop is 19 km and the second is 35 km. The trail is marked with blue blazes on the first loop, and yellow on the second. Both loops are recommended as overnight backpacking trails. The first loop could be done in 1 night and 2 days while the second loop should be completed in at least 2 nights and 3 days.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki (source).

Maps & Resources

Map: Friends of Algonquin Backpacking Trails (can be purchased online or at a visitor's center). I used, both a printed copy and a version on my phone. I also used Google Maps during the trip to find my place in relation to the maps.

Interactive Map: Click here to view the full interactive map in your browser.

Permits & Reservations

Campsite Reservations: I reserved a campsite at Harness Lake and Provoking West through the Ontario Park...

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