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
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)
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.
Map: Friends of Algonquin Backpacking Trails (can be purchased online or at a visitor's center)
Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki (source).
Maps & Resources
Map: 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.
Campsite Reservations: I reserved a campsite at Harness Lake and Provoking West through the Ontario Parks Reservation Portal. In previous seasons, you’d book for a campsite on a specific lake, not for a s...
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