Backcountry Planning

Where to start!

Step One:

First – review your goals of the trip. It is important to think about the whole group when planning your trip. How much experience does your group have, and are you looking for lots of portaging/paddling? Do you want to move to a new site everyday or just basecamp for a few, are you looking to do a loop, prefer river travel, etc. How many days are you planning and what is realistic?

Step Two:

What are your Vacation Dates? When do you want to go and for how long? We can plan a trip and outfit you for as many or as few days as you want. You must plan ahead- way ahead if you are thinking peak season- long weekends or July/Aug.

Step Three:

Plan your route. With the above information we will unroll the maps and begin planning your route through the wilderness with you. This involves selecting an entry point, canoe route and exit point, as well as informing you of fishing opportunities, historic sites, and other points of interest along your trip.

Step Four:

Reserve your Park Permit. Permits are required to enter Algonquin Park and are date and entry point (location) specific. The important thing to remember is permits are based on a quota system and are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. So, early reservations are a GOOD idea. The best time to plan a trip is in January or February. Trips can be reserved much later but you may select an entry point that is full and need to look at more than one route option.  Another important note is, group sizes are limited – up to 9 people per party. So, if you have more than 9, you must separate into multiple traveling groups.

Step Five:

Select Your Outfitting Package. We offer complete or partial outfitting. We have a few complete canoe outfitting packages to choose from. Visit our outfitting page for details and pricing. If looking for food packages, you will also need to review our menu planner and choose your options.

Ready to go!

When you arrive we will review all paperwork – cross the T’s and dot the I’s. if you have booked an outfitting package we will spend a good amount of time going through all of the gear with your group. If you have only booked canoes but have questions about the gear you have, we are happy to go over your gear and options with you as well as your trip itinerary to ensure you are ready to go!

Algonquin Park Permits

How To Make Backcountry Reservations for Algonquin Park

Ontario Parks charges fees for all backcountry camping in Algonquin Park. To make a reservations for a backcountry trip or a reservation for a Ranger Cabins call 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275) or (519) 826-5290 for outside of North America, or you can now make backcountry reservations online at

What you need to know

  • Reservations can be made 5 months before your arrival date. For example, backcountry campers can reserve on March 1 for August 1.
  • The maximum length of stay on any one backcountry campsite is 16 consecutive nights.
  • The maximum party size for backcountry camping is 9 persons per permit.
  • A deposit is required at the time of booking for backcountry campsites.
  • Campers must follow the route specified on their permit.

Before Making Your call to reserve

1) Have Algonquin’s official Canoe Routes Map-Brochure (or Backpacking Trails Map-Brochure) in front of you when you call the reservation number, especially in case modifications have to be made to your trip.

2) Know where you would like to go on your trip. If you require assistance, contact Algonquin Park Information prior to making your reservation.

3) Know the following specific pieces of trip information:

  • Your intended trip start and departure dates.
  • Your intended access point of entry and exit.
  • Your intended travel route by lake area on a nightly basis.
  • Possible alternate routes and access points in the event that your first route choice has already been filled to capacity.

4) Have ready the following pieces of personal information:

  • Your name, address, and postal code.
  • Your telephone number.
  • An email address (All bookings where an email address has been provide will receive their confirmation letter by email, including changes and cancellations. If an email address is not provided a confirmation letter will be sent by mail.)
  • The number of people in your party (maximum of 9 persons per site and per reservation.)
  • Your vehicle license number.
  • How you will be paying (if by credit card have its number and expiry date ready.)

5) After making a reservation, a confirmation letter will be mailed to campers who make reservations at least 7 days in advance, including customers who make changes and/or cancellations.

6) Review the Park’s Rules and Regulations.

Algonquin Park – Canoe Trip Checklist

Give us a call to fine tune your checklist and to assist with preparing you for a great trip. Remember everything you pack- you need to carry! Also take into consideration, time of year and weather. A lightweight tarp is one of the first things I ensure I have packed and can make some wet/cold conditions manageable/enjoyable. Spending extra time on your menu/ food packing can go a long way and will be much appreciated when in the interior.

Important Items

  • Copy of trip plan – left with family
  • Canoe/tie-down kit
  • Paddles (including extras)
  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
  • Safety kit
  • Repair kit for canoe and gear
  • Map/Compass/GPS
  • Headlamp/Flashlights
  • First aid kit
  • Knife
  • Matches/Lighter/Fire-starter
  • Canoe packs/backpack/dry-bag
  • Barrel/Harness/Hang-kit & pulley
  • Tent/Ground sheet/Tarp
  • Sleeping bag/Liner
  • Stove w/ fuel
  • Cook kit/Mess kit/Scrub kit
  • Water treatment or filter
  • Rope
  • Saw/axe
  • Toiletries and toilet paper
  • Medications and allergy supplies
  • Food
  • Bug Spray/Jacket
  • Sun Screen

Optional Items

  • Camera and accessories
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Deck of cards
  • Watch
  • Ultra light camping chair
  • Grill (most sites have one)
  • Fishing gear
  • Yoke pad
  • Small pillow
  • Coffee press/Percolator
  • Dutch oven/Out-back oven
  • Satellite Phone/Spot GPS
  • Bear Spray
  • Kids stuff
  • Dog supplies (Must be leashed in park)


  • Shoes (Closed toe suitable for portaging and getting wet)
  • Dry Shoes (For campsite)
  • Rain jacket & pants/Poncho
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Quick dry shorts (nylon)
  • Quick dry pants (nylon)
  • Warm pants (fleece/polypro/wool)
  • Socks (Wool/Synthetic)
  • Fleece jacket/Wool sweater
  • T-shirts (Synthetic)
  • Long-Sleeve shirts (Synthetic)
  • Swim suit
  • Undergarments
  • Bandanna
  • Toque (Spring/fall)
  • Mitts (Spring/fall)
  • Long underwear (spring/fall)
  • Extra socks (spring/fall)
  • Bug Jacket (Spring)

Click Here for a printable version of this checklist!