Algonquin Provincial Park
Hello to Canada's First Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Canada. It is known for its beautiful landscape, diverse wildlife and abundant canoeing and hiking possibilities.
Covering approximately 7,600 square kilometers, there are more than 2,000 km of canoe routes, and more than 200 km of hiking routes.
On this page you’ll find information on places to camp in Algonquin, permits, maps, guidebooks, outfitters and tons of trip reports with detailed route descriptions.
Let’s get planning!
Permits for Camping in Algonquin
Are campsite reservations required?
Campsite reservations are required to camp in Algonquin Provincial Park. Reservations can be made through the Ontario Parks Reservations.
How early can you book permits?
Reservations can be booked 5 months before the start of your trip. For example, if you want your trip to start on July 12th, you’ll be able to book your sites beginning February 12th.
This year’s reservable dates are between May 12 and October 28, 2023.
Are permits lake-specific or site-specific?
For canoeing, reservations are made by lake. Once on the lake, specific campsites are first-come-first-serve. For backpacking, reservations are made for a specific campsite.
Do you need to pick up your permits at the Visitor’s Center?
You do not need to pick up your permits. You can either print your permits or have an offline copy of your permits on your phone. If you’ll have a car, we recommend either picking up a permit or printing on to put on the dash of your car.
Maps & Guidebooks for Camping in Algonquin
To get started, check out the free and online Algonquin Park Map. You can purchase the paper copy for just $4.95.
When it comes to navigating canoe trips, we recommend Chrismar Adventure Maps. They have eight maps covering different sections of Algonquin. Each map is extremely detailed and Chrismar is known for its accuracy.
For backpacking, the best map is Backpacking Algonquin and it is available for sale at the Visitor’s Center. There is also a simplified backpacking map available for free as a PDF here.
There is so much online information on Algonquin Provincial Park that a guidebook isn’t necessary.
That said, if you do want a hardcopy to bring on trip with you, we recommend the A Paddler’s Guide to Algonquin by Kevin Callan. It’s got everything you need to know about routes, maps, camping in the park and more.
Canoe Routes in Algonquin
Looking for Algonquin canoe route inspiration or planning guides? Check out these trip reports (and many more) throughout Algonquin.
Spectacular Destinations Within Algonquin
Algonquin Provincial Park is humungous, so it’s impossible to see all of it on a single visit (or even multiple visits). The first thing you’ll need to do is select the region you want to explore. From there, you can select your access point(s) and begin building your route.
Alternatively, check out one of the trip reports for that reason to see what routes other people have done. All of the trip reports contain day-by-day route information, campsite locations, portage details and more.
Explore the map below to see some of our favourite destinations and trip reports. Yellow markers represent Backpacking trips, Red markers represent flatwater canoe trips, Blue markers represent whitewater canoe trips, and Orange markers provide information on popular sights within the park.
Outfitters in Algonquin Provincial Park
There are several outfitters servicing Algonquin Provincial Park. They offer a mix of canoe rentals, equipment rentals, shuttling and more.
The following map shows where all of the outfitters are based. Before choosing your outfitter, consider which Access Point you’ll be starting from.
For example, the Portage Store sits right on Canoe Lake and is a good choice if you’re using Canoe Lake Access Point. On the other hand, Algonquin Outfitters is best if you’re starting on Opeongo Lake.
Guided Trips in Algonquin Provincial Park
Several outfitters offer guided canoe trips in Algonquin. Algonquin Outfitters
The Trip Shed hosts a guided canoe trip in Algonquin most weekends in the summer. Their trips are perfect for novice canoe trippers. Some of the trips are even themed, with experts on wildlife photography, biology and ecology joining the trips.
MHO Adventures also offers a guided canoe trip on the Petawawa River. This is an excellent trip for anyone interested in starting whitewater canoe and wants the logistical support and safety provided by a guide.
Even if you are new to backpacking or canoe tripping, a guided trip is not necessary. There are lots of beginner-friendly trails and canoe routes – like any of the following trips:
FAQs about Algonquin
Yes, there are bears in Algonquin. And the bears in Algonquin are habituated to humans. That means they’ve come to associate humans, campsites and camping gear with food.
It is extremely important to keep a clean campsite. Don’t leave any food or garbage out during the day or overnight.
Keep your food and scented products in a bear canister, bear hang or canoe barrel. We recommend using a Bear Vault and storing it more than 100ft from your campsite.
Backcountry camping is only allowed in designated campsites. To protect the land and leave areas for wildlife, please do not camp anywhere that is not a campsite.
Also, please do not modify your campsite by building tables, benches or other items. Keep your site natural.
You can consume legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana only at your campsite. Please note that Algonquin prohibits bans and bottles in the backcountry. That means if you’re going to bring alcohol, you can’t bring bottles or cans. Consider bringing boxed wine or liquor in a flask or reusable water bottle.
Most of Algonquin Provincial Park does not have cell service. There is cell reception on Hwy 60 and there are a few nearby lakes with some reception. We recommend bringing a satellite communication device, like a Garmin inReach, on your trip. While not necessary, a satellite communication device allows you to contact the park or rescuers if your group gets lost or something is injured. They’re pricy to own and operate, however, some outfitters allow you to rent them by the day.
Algonquin Provincial Park prohibits campers from bringing their own wood to the park. This is to protect the park from invasive species that can be transported via wood.
Most backcountry campsites in the park will have sufficient deadwood for you to cook with a fire. Bring a backcountry stove just in case your unable to find wood (or in the event the wood is all wet after a storm).
Please never chop down live trees for firewood. Not only does this harm the environment, live wood does not burn well and produces a lot of smoke. Stick to deadwood (sticks and logs that are already on the ground).
Alternatively, you can purchase firewood inside Algonquin and take it with you.