This is a guest post courtesy of Jared. He just launched a backpacker road-trip experience travel company focused on Canada – Out Here Travel. He wants to help folks travel to amazing spots in Ontario, Quebec, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
The Authentic Camping Experiences in Ontario – Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park
When you think of ‘The Great Canadian Outdoors’, you’ll likely picture iconic landscapes of mountains, trees, and beautiful blue lakes.
The best way to do this in our opinion is by camping – it provides us a chance to disconnect from our busy lives, away from technology, and retreat to the humble rituals of the outdoors. Nothing beats a peaceful night cooking over an open flame, while you listen to the crackling of a fire.
Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park provide this unique sense of peace and tranquility you won’t find in the city, and are just several hours by car from Toronto.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Located in southeastern Ontario, Algonquin Provincial Park expands over a massive area of 7,653 km². The park boasts a vibrantly colourful landscape of maple hills, rocky cliffs, forests, and bodies of water. Renowned for its beautiful nature and wildlife, it is home symbolic Canadian animals, including over, black bear, white-tailed deer, beavers, loons, and wolves.
There are over 2,000 km of canoe routes mapped out with more than 1,900 campsites, and three backpacking trails accessible solely by land. In addition to the main gates, there are 29 access points around the peripheral of the park which lead you into the depths of the woodlands.
As one of the most famous parks in Ontario, with tons of visitors during the summer, you need to be smart about where you decide to enter the park and to go backcountry camping. If entering near access points around highway 60, you will likely be camping on lakes with others nearby – even if you portage out to more secluded areas – a safer bet for less experienced campers.
Opeongo is Algonquin’s largest lake, and on a calm day acts as an access point for canoes to venture further into the park’s interior. Winds and weather conditions can make these waters dangerous, so be careful. Head to access points further afield on the North East or West entrances for more secluded experiences All backcountry camping requires a permit; be sure to book your’s well ahead of time.
Additionally, there are fully developed campgrounds with a range of amenities accessible by vehicle, and yurts and rustic cabins for rent. The park also offers offers a wide range of activities for visitors from peaceful picnic spots, designated swimming beaches and leisure discovery trails.
Killarney Provincial Park
A short distance from Sudbury, about a 5 hour drive from Toronto, Killarney Provincial Park paints the epitome of a beautiful Canadian landscape. One of the most beautiful spots in Canada, the locals refer to Killarney as “The Crown Jewel of Ontario”.
It is geographically very different from other places in Ontario, as some of the lakes are crystal clear, and the 645 km2 scenery resembles that of Western Canada. It showcases the Georgian Bay Coast of pink granite with over 50 sapphire lakes, on a backdrop of the La Cloche Mountains’ white quartzite ridges and Jack Pine hills.
Killarney offers the authentic backcountry camping experiences, with extensive canoeing and kayaking, and hiking trails including the 80km loop, La Cloche-Silhouette Trail.
Be sure to spend a day hiking the famous Silver Peak, the second highest peak in Ontario with an elevation point of 543 m- almost as tall as the CN Tower! Accessible by canoe, once you hike to the top of the peak, you’ll be astonished by the view, and surprised to find wild blueberries growing at the top – perfect for some fresh blueberry pancakes at the end of a long hike.
There are multiple options for camping, with backcountry sites accessible both by canoe and hiking-in. The George Lake Campground is accessible by vehicle and has full amenities, as well as yurts and cabins for rent.
How to Get There
Most campers pack up a car load and head to their designated site. If you’re doing the backcountry experience and don’t feel like driving a loop, or skirting down a river, there are outfitters who will pick you up and drive you to your selected entry point, and you can collect your car at the end of the trip (or vice versa).
If you’re not up for taking your car, or live in a metropolis and don’t own a vehicle- no problem! Park Bus is a great service which offers pick ups in Toronto, Ottawa, and other major cities in Canada. Their mandate is to “connect city dwellers with nature through accessible transportation options”, check out their website for schedules and planning info.
Enjoy your travels, and we hope that you’ll be toasting marshmallows on a stick amid the pine trees in no time!
More Details About the Author:
Jared just launched a new budget focused roadtrip experience travel company focused on Canada – www.OutHereTravel.ca – to help folks venturing to amazing spots in Ontario, Quebec, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. They provide buses that get you to big cities and the good stuff around them, cool small towns, amazing national parks, with adventures and activities throughout. They also provide you with the flexibility to do what you like — with multiple options each day.
Other posts by Jared that you’ll enjoy:
- Canada Tunes for a Canadian Road Trip – Part 18 of 670701
- Feelings from the backcountry of Quebec and Ontario, Canada