Photo: Ontario Parks

Algonquin Provincial Park

Become a portage pro

Water

A little tougher

Overnight

A multi-day canoe trip in Algonquin park is a quintessential Ontario outdoor adventure, but we know it can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. Check out some of the best lakes in Algonquin park, practice your J-stroke and nail your bear bag hang on this multi-day canoe route perfect for beginner paddlers.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Canoe Lake Access Point Office, Nipissing, Unorganized, South Part, ON, Canada

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Driving time from Barrie

2 hours

Lakes

1500+

Canoe routes and portages

2000km

Planning your portage

A three-day, two-night canoe trip in Algonquin

Before you head out

You can make reservations with Ontario Parks up to five months before your arrival date. To reserve, you’ll need to know the canoe route you plan to follow, your start and departure dates, the access points you plan to start and finish, and a backup route. Keep in mind that outfitters rent car-top carriers for your canoe, so you’re not limited to starting from where they’re located. 

 

Local outfitters also a good source for help with questions you have as you plan your trip, along with Ontario Parks staff. No car? No worries. Algonquin park is also serviced by Parkbus.

Paddle to Burnt Island Lake

For this route you’ll start from Access Point #5. Travel north to the top of Canoe Lake, portage 295m into Joe Lake, and then north into Little Joe Lake. A short 165-m portage at the north end takes you past a dam and another 435m takes you past Lost Joe Lake into Baby Joe Lake. Paddle northeast from there to reach a 200-m portage into Burnt Island Lake. Pick a campsite and set up here for two nights – one night to recover and one to relax.

Bear safety

There are approximately 2000 black bears that call Algonquin home, so it’s a good idea to practice your bear hang in a park near your house before you head into the backcountry. Once you’ve got the simple art of tying and hoisting sorted, place all potential bear attractants in your stuff sack and hang it far away from your tent, at least four metres off the ground and two metres from the tree trunk.

Layover day

If you fancy a light paddle on your day of relaxing, grab your canoe and head through the eastern side of Burnt Island Lake to the 790-m portage. This takes you through to Little Otterslide Lake that links up to Otterslide Lake. Bring a camera. If you’re there at the right time of year, you might spot some playful otters horsing around. Brook and lake trout are just some of the species swimming in the lake.

Leave No Trace

The backcountry’s untouched feel is what makes it an awesome getaway from the city, and following the Leave No Trace tips makes sure it stays that way for anyone who visits later on. Some pointers? When it comes to food, make sure you pack out whatever you pack in, like wrappers, tissues and even biodegradable stuff like orange peels. Campfires are often seen as must-haves for camping – make sure to stick to fire rings if you have one, or opt for a camping stove and the soft glow of candle lantern instead.

Essential Gear

Surprise rain isn’t so bad with the right gear.

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