Algonquin Provincial Park: Western Uplands Backpacking Trail: Loops 1 & 2 (4 days / 58 km)

A beautiful view of sunset in Western Upland Middle Loop

The Western Uplands Backpacking Trail is an overnight backpacking trail with three loops covering distances from 32 to 88 km in length. We completed the first and second loops—a total distance of 58 km—over 4 days.

The trail is open year-round and is rated by the Friends of Algonquin Park as difficult due to steep climbs and descents, side slopes and sharp turns. The tough terrain can aggravate knee and hip injuries, and trekking poles are recommended. 

This route and time frame should not be undertaken by backpackers without at least a few trips under their belt. The first loop, however, would be suitable for beginners with good fitness. 

Trip Completed: September 2021

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Western Uplands Backpacking Trailhead / Oxtongue River Picnic Ground

Ending Point: Western Uplands Backpacking Trailhead / Oxtongue River Picnic Ground

Total Distance: 58 km

Elevation Gain: 1,529 m

Duration: 4 days / 3 nights

Difficulty: Intermediate


The Western Uplands Backpacking Trailhead is located at kilometre 3 of Hwy 60 in Algonquin Provincial Park. The nearest town to the trail is Huntsville. The trail’s third loop can also be accessed from the Rain Lake Access Point near the town of Kearney (closed in the winter). 

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

Maps & Resources

Map: Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Provincial Park

Campsite Reservations: Campsite bookings are made in advance through the Ontario Parks Online Reservation system. In previous seasons, you’d book for a campsite on a specific lake, not for a specific campsite. For the 2022 season, you must reserve a specific campsite.

Permits: You don’t need to pick up permits before starting on the trail, though they can be picked up at West Gate. Instead, we printed two copies of our reservation receipt, left one on ...

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