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7/21/2020 9:29 am  #1

First time trip for a group of 4. Would love some advice :)

Hi everyone,
so happy to have found this forum. it's been a great aid to get more familiar with all of the options for a canoe camping trip in Algonquin.
me and 3 friends are planning a 3 night trip and we are a bit overwhelmed with the vastness of the park and many many options. it's also a little last minute, we would like to do our 3 days some time between july 27th and august 1st
We are hoping to:
- either find a single site for 3 nights, or 3 night circuit
- camp sites on good swimming water (deep, rocky, no sand)
- we are comfortable with portages, but hoping to keep the travel between access points & sites to maximum 4-5 hrs
- cherry on top would be a site very close to waterfront

To the best of my understanding, I will need to reserve through ontarioparks, which seems pretty straightforward for reserving a single site. If anyone has any advice for reserving for a circuit through ontarioparks please let me know.

We will be renting 2 canoes from one of the outfitters. Will they be able to help loading the canoes onto the car? We have a van that should be able to fit both on top. 

That's all.... very general questions but any advice is very welcome. This forum is much appreciated.
muchos gracis amigosamigas



7/21/2020 9:54 am  #2

Re: First time trip for a group of 4. Would love some advice :)

For something this last minute you'll be limited to what's available... typically the further north you go, the less busy it gets, so if there isn't much along Highway 60, try looking at a west access point (#3 Magnetawan) or the north of the park (#29 Kiosk).

You would reserve through Ontario Parks like you mentioned; keep in mind that you're reserving a specific lake, not a specific site. Campsites are first come first serve once you get to the lake.

You'll need to determine your route first before renting canoes, because different outfitters service different areas of the park. If you're starting from an access point off Hwy 60 for example, give Algonquin Outfitters a call. If you're leaving from #3 Magnetawan, give Algonquin Basecamp a call. All of the outfitters will help you load the canoes onto your van, but will also offer delivery/pickup to the access point, either for free or a small fee.

If this is your first backcountry trip I'd recommend starting off with something easy. Your idea of base camping at the same site for 3 nights is a good idea, or maybe do 2 nights at one site then 1 night at another. Here are some simple options that would be good for a first trip:

#9 Rock Lake > Pen x3

#5 Canoe Lake > Burnt Island x2 > Tom Thompson (or Littledoe) x1

#3 Magnetawan > Little Trout x2 > Ralph Bice x1

Swimming opportunities are really campsite specific and if you're going when it's busy, there's no guarantee of getting a specific site (since it's first come first serve). So it's a good idea to reserve big lakes with plenty of sites, because there's better odds of finding something available that will suit your needs. Good news is that pretty much all backcountry campsites are directly at the waterfront

Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures

7/21/2020 9:56 am  #3

Re: First time trip for a group of 4. Would love some advice :)

One other piece of advice is before you book, make sure the Outfitters have boats available.


7/21/2020 10:04 am  #4

Re: First time trip for a group of 4. Would love some advice :)

Trippy hit all the main points there.  I would also say, since it's your first trip (not sure if ever or just to APP), go through your gear, then do it again, and then one more time.  Try to weed out as much unnecessary equipment as possible. It makes the portages less painful and is just easier to manage all around.

Also the Outfitters will typically load your vehicle for you, and show you how to do it for the way back. 

Last edited by BB (7/21/2020 10:06 am)

New old member. 

7/21/2020 11:01 am  #5

Re: First time trip for a group of 4. Would love some advice :)

thanks so much for the detailed advice and fast reply
very much appreciated

     Thread Starter

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