When done safely, your first trip to the countryside forges lifelong memories, opening up an immersive escape into nature.
But the jump from car camping to the countryside requires preparation and learning. New paddlers and hikers can find themselves in serious trouble if they overestimate their abilities or choose a route that is too challenging.
Here are some recommended trips for beginners in the field:
Grundy Lake Provincial Park
Grundy Lake is the perfect place to test the backcountry waters!
The park’s nine off-piste sites are between 10 and 30 minutes paddling away (want to test yourself? Change your starting point to lengthen the trip). Motor boats are not permitted on Grundy Lake and travel does not require transportation.
Their sites are secluded enough to enjoy a true rural feel, but close enough to the main campsite that you can paddle back and enjoy your favorite Discovery show. Each site comes equipped with a fire pit, picnic table, and thunder box.
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Many visitors are not aware of the 21 canoe campsites located on Joeperry and Pearson lakes. A short 10-30 minute canoe ride will take you to your campsite.
At each campsite you’ll find a picnic table, space for tents, and a nearby bathroom. Joeperry Lake has the added bonus of a beautiful sandy beach.
Bon Echo also has the Abes & Essens night hiking trail. There are five campsites available along the trail for overnight stays.
Lake Charleston Provincial Park
Experience the best of the Canadian Shield and hike or paddle to ten backcountry campsites.
Travel time can range from 10 minutes to two hours. All sites are equipped with raised tent platforms, a picnic table, fire pit, and outhouse.
Frontenac Provincial Park
Explore the rocky northern landscape in Southern Ontario!
Walk or paddle to Frontenac’s rural sites. Located in clusters, each campsite has its own tent, campfire area, bench, and picnic table. A closed private bathroom is shared in each group of camps.
Restoule Provincial Park
Restoule offers 12 campsites in the countryside, all accessible by water. Paddle past ancient cedars and beautiful maple forests to your site. Your trip can last between 30 minutes and two hours.
Daytime paddling routes are more difficult and last between one and five hours. Make sure you know your group’s paddling skill level before you arrive.
Fushimi Lake Provincial Park
Explore the lush boreal forest of Lake Fushimi through these 13 backcountry campsites.
Some of these campsites are located on their own private island with sandy beaches. Each site is accessible by canoe or motorboat and has a fire pit, picnic table, and outhouse.
Plan your adventure today!
Remember: Traveling out of the country requires careful consideration of luggage, route planning, meal planning, safety, and your skill level.
Make good decisions and only explore off-piste opportunities that suit your skill and knowledge level.