The Beginners Guide to Camping in Algonquin Park

Updated: May 5

First time heading to Algonquin Park? Ready to book your stay in Algonquin Park, but not sure where to start? Let this beginners guide to camping in Algonquin Park help you along the way!

 

G’day!


If you’re from Canada - even if you’re not - and have an interest in camping, then you have probably heard about Algonquin Park.


Algonquin is one of the most popular and well-known public parks in Canada. In a densely forested area surrounded by Crown Land (which means it’s owned by the government and you can’t build on or develop the land) Algonquin Park is a piece of authentic Canadian wilderness that you simply have to experience for yourself.


If you’re looking for a true nature camping experience, in a hidden gem of untouched wilderness, then this is a must-see destination.


But, it can be overwhelming if you’re new to camping or new to exploring wilderness you’re unfamiliar with. So we’ve created this guide to help first-timers to Algonquin.


In this article, we’ll tell you about everything you have to look forward to when you’re camping in Algonquin Park.


Let’s jump straight in.



Table of Contents

  1. About Algonquin Provincial Park

  2. Camping in Algonquin Park

  3. Top Attractions In and Around Algonquin Park

  4. The Best Hiking Trails in Algonquin Provincial Park

  5. Best Things To Do Around Algonquin Park


About Algonquin Provincial Park

Established in 1892 by an act of the Ontario Legislature, Algonquin National Park was created as “a national park, forest reservation, fish and game preserve, health resort and pleasure ground for the benefit, advantage and enjoyment of the people of the province”. The park, which later came to be known as Algonquin Provincial Park, was intended to provide a wildlife sanctuary, and to protect the headwaters of the five major rivers that flow out of the park.


Nominigan Camp, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nominigan Camp, Algonquin Provincial Park (Toronto Public Library)

If you’re a Canadiana buff, or simply interested in art, you may know that famous artists including Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven had a particular love of Algonquin Park. Many of the pieces of artwork they created over the years were inspired by scenes in the park.


Today, the park is known as one of the most important places in Canada to conduct biological and environmental research. The park is so beloved by so many that it has an international fanbase!


For instance - did you know that there is an Algonquin Symphony? Or that landscape scenes from the Park hang in the National Gallery of Canada? This Facebook group dedicated to Algonquin Park has nearly 70,000 members all interested in and dedicated to the park.


To learn more tidbits of information on the history of the area, visit this link on the cultural history of Algonquin Park.



Camping in Algonquin Park

If you’re a beginner in the world of camping, then there are some great campgrounds to choose from to get you started.


Ready To Camp in Algonquin | For Beginners with little to no experience

If you’re looking for a ready-to-camp option that is clean, comfortable and offers all that you need without the set-up or tear-down, you should check out glamping options.


{Want to learn way more about a ready-to-camp site close to Algonquin Park and all the benefits they offer? Read this blog}


Glamp sites are equipped with creature comforts - like beds, solid canvas tents, or four walls depending on your interests.


{For more specific details about the differences between camping and glamping, check out this link}


Four Corners Algonquin (located at the east gate of Algonquin Provincial Park on highway 60) is a ready-to-camp and glamping campground. As stress-free as camping can be, just drive in, park, and unpack. No set up, no take down.


An added benefit of Four Corners is that any equipment you left behind at home or don’t own, you can borrow from the Four Corners Quartermaster Shack. Check the store out here.


Camping in Algonquin | For Beginners with the equipment

If you’re looking for a beginner’s trip to genuine camping with breathtaking views, then you want to take a look at some of the top campgrounds Algonquin Park has to offer.


If you’re looking for a campground that offers some amenities, then take a look at this companion blog to see what the Algonquin Park campgrounds have to offer in the way of resources and choose the site that suits your needs! There are so many incredible spots to check out.


Backcountry Camping | For Beginners with some experience and equipment

There are campgrounds that offer amenities and electricity - and there are those that take you completely off the grid. If that’s what you’re looking for then here are a couple of hiking backcountry camping suggestions that’ll get your adventurer’s heart thumping!

  • Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail

  • This site offers an overnight backpacking trail with 6 - 15 km loops for you to traverse.

  • Highland Backpacking Trail

  • This site offers some long loops - choose 19 or 35 kms in length - for a lengthier adventure. Keep in mind - this trail is tricky! Not for the faint of heart.

  • Western Upland Backpacking Trail

  • Looking for the next awesome story to tell your friends? Book an experience on this trail, and choose loops that are 32 - 88 kms in length.

Booking Your Visit Can Be As Tricky as These Trails

Making a reservation through Ontario Parks can be difficult as campsites sell out in seconds.


If you’re looking for campsites for your family or a group of friends, book directly through the campsite you’re interested in. You can also check out private campsites that tend to have more availability. For example, you can book your site right now at Four Corners Algonquin.


Stargazing at Algonquin Park Robinson Lake

Top Attractions in and around Algonquin Park

Okay, hiking is great, and camping is fun - but what else can you do during a trip to Algonquin Park?


We’ve got you covered, whatever your interests are.


Stargazing

Check out the milky way, the Northern Lights, and the plain old gorgeous night sky without the glow of city light pollution fading out your view of the stars.


Take a Grand Tour of the Night Sky and visit Four Corners Algonquin’s viewing location for details on upcoming starry night events you won’t want to miss!


Fall Foliage

The trees in the fall are pretty everywhere. In Algonquin Park, there are oceans of trees in every direction, uninterrupted by development. Imagine the fall colours as far as the eye can see.


Added bonus: fall can be an off-time for bookings, which means you’ll have more luck getting a site for your family and friends when you book in the fall. This is especially true mid-week… the colours are just as beautiful on Wednesday as they are on Saturday. Plus, beat the heat and most bugs at this time of year!


Check out these details on the fall colours and get an idea of what you’ll be looking at when you book your fall trip!


Wildlife

You want to see the wildlife - and we assure you that you won’t be disappointed here. Watch for moose along the edges of the highway on your way into your campsite. Look for beavers when you take the Beaver Pond Trail. Keep your eyes on the bushes in search of critters during your hikes, and look for the birds in the trees.


When you’re ready to settle down for the night around a campfire, keep your ears tuned - you might just hear the wolves.


Driving Tour

Want to learn some cool Algonquin-related Canadian history when you’re on your way into the park? Who wouldn’t?


Algonquin Park has a free new driving tour experience that will fill you in on the history of the area as you drive in to your site. Check it out here!


Algonquin wildlife mood with leaves on antlers

Best Hiking Trails in Algonquin Provincial Park

There are dozens of trails that range from easy to experienced in and around Algonquin Provincial Park. Whatever your mood or comfort level, there will be a trail for you! And every hike comes equipped with breathtaking views of the natural landscapes, from forests to moving waterways to shining lakes.

Best Algonquin Park Trails for Beginners or People with Disabilities

  • Spruce Bog Boardwalk

  • Did you know that there were such things as “spruce bogs” until this moment? Well, you can see them live on this 1.5 km loop!

  • Logging Museum Trail

  • An interactive trail with old-fashioned trains, this is a hit with kids and adults alike! This 1.3 km trail is marked as easy, good for all ages and abilities.

Best Algonquin Park Trails for Intermediate Hikers

  • Whiskey Rapids Trail

  • A 2.1 km loop trail with views of the Oxtongue River and the Whiskey Rapids. With a name like that, it sounds like a party for intermediate hikers!

  • Beaver Pond Trail

  • This trail is a 2.0 km loop with views of two beaver ponds and the fascinating education on beaver pond ecology you didn’t know you needed.

  • Big Pines Trail

  • This trail is pretty level, and the loop is just under 3 kms long. See the remains of an 1880s logging camp!

Best Algonquin Park Trails for Experienced Hikers

  • Track and Tower Trail

  • This 7.5 km loop will take you upward for a gorgeous view of the park over Cache Lake. You’re heading upward, so the trail is marked as difficult.

  • Centennial Ridges Trail

  • This trail is a demanding (but worth it, if you’re looking for an adventure) 10.4 km loop that will give you views over two high ridges over the park.

Trail maps are provided when you visit the park (and online - here!). Please make sure you check the experience level before you begin your trek - and always make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks for the trails. We recommend planning your trip so you can be off the trail at least a half hour before sunset.


Algonquin hiking trail in the deep forest


Best Things to Do Near Algonquin Park

Is your blood buzzing with excitement about all the things you want to do and see during your trip to Algonquin Park? Looking to bring it all together in one organized and planned out trip? Check out this 3 Day Stay Itinerary from Four Corners Algonquin to get down to all the best details when you book your stay!


Looking for even more “Algonquin” without being directly in the Park? No problem!


South Algonquin is right next door to the park, and there’s plenty to do there.


If you’re interested in a beautiful adventure in the far less busy off-season, then you’ll be happy to learn that there’s plenty to do even in the winter months. Here’s a list of the 11 Best Things To Do In South Algonquin all year long.


MySouthAlgonquin is excited to bring you more news of upcoming events, so keep an eye on their website throughout the year!


Book your stay today – we can’t wait to welcome you!

In today’s climate, where more people are interested in nature focused getaways, camping and glamping sites go fast. We always recommend you plan your trip ahead of time if possible. You can check availability at Four Corners here: https://www.fourcornersalgonquin.ca/book-now


If the dates you were hoping for aren’t available, we highly recommend you follow-us on social media. Whenever we have a cancellation we post it there and they are scooped up fast!


Follow us on Instagram @FourCornersAlgonquin

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FourCornersAlgonquin


Four Corners Algonquin Safari Tent

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