Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
How to plan a trip to Frontenac

Frontenac is a four-season backcountry park with great opportunities for backcountry camping, hiking, paddling, and winter activities.

Located within the Frontenac Arch, Frontenac has a unique landscape not typically found in southern Ontario. You will discover a wide range of habitats, plants and animals. With upland forests, rocky ridges, and calm lakes, camping is only accessible to paddlers, backpackers, and snowshoers.

Are you planning a trip to Frontenac? Here’s what you need to know to have a fun and frustration-free visit:

  • What’s new in 2023?
  • How do I make a camping reservation?
  • What’s in each campsite?
  • Can I collect firewood?
  • How do I purchase a day pass when the office is closed?
  • Can I bring my dog?
  • What can you do in Frontenac?
  • Do you rent canoes?
  • Will my phone have reception?
  • Can I bring my boat to the park?
  • When does Big Salmon Lake Road close?
  • What do I need to know about field etiquette?
  • 1. What’s new in 2023?

    Reservations throughout the year (available April 28)

    To make winter camping more accessible, we have made our campsites bookable year-round. Reservations can be made up to five months before arrival date.

    Remote permissions (available April 28)

    Frontenac has implemented a new simplified reservation and registration procedure for 2023. This new procedure is designed to allow campers to go directly to their campsite, without having to pick up a permit at the park office.

    Before your trip, please ensure that all your reservation details are correct. This includes:

    • party size
    • name of party members
    • travel itinerary
    • registration number(s)
    • equipment description (e.g. tent, canoe and/or backpack color, pets, etc.)

    Please have an electronic or printed copy of your confirmation letter with you.

    NOTE: If you are parking at Big Salmon Lake, Arab Lake, or in the office parking lot, be sure to select “Yes”, you will be parking inside the park when making your reservation. Otherwise, park staff will not have your license plate on file and you may receive a parking ticket.

    Advance Daily Vehicle Permits (Available April 28)

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    Daily vehicle permits will now be available in advance. Permits will be available at 7:00 am, five days prior to arrival date.

    This will allow you to purchase your daily vehicle permit online, before coming to the park. This also means you can guarantee your entry during the busiest times of the year, like fall.

    We strongly encourage seasonal permit holders to reserve their spot, especially in the fall and winter. By themselves, seasonal permits do not guarantee access to a park. If the park reaches capacity, additional vehicles will not be permitted to enter without a reservation, including seasonal permit holders.

    The benefit of your seasonal permit is that you can make your day use reservation for free! When making your reservation, you can enter your permit serial number, which will adjust your fee to $0.

    2. How do I make a camping reservation?

    Reservations can be made:

    • online (select “Backcountry” tab)
    • by phone at 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275)
    • in person at the park office

    Reservations are site specific. Be sure to research your route before making a reservation. Park maps are available for purchase online and at the park office.

    Remember, don’t overdo it. Travel within your capabilities and according to weather conditions.

    3. What will I find at my campsite?

    Each site is equipped with a fire pit, bench, outhouse/thunderbox, tent platform, and picnic table (except campsite 16).

    Each site also has a food locker so you can store your food safely away from wildlife. The interior dimensions of the food lockers are 30” long by 15” wide and 20” deep.

    Several of our sites have wooden tent platforms, including:

    • Camping 2 A and C
    • Group 3
    • Campsite 4 A, B and D
    • Team 5
    • Camping 8C
    • Group 9
    • Camping 10C
    • Campsite 11 B, C and D
    • Campsite 14
    • Campsite 15
    • Campsite 16

    A square wooden platform in a wooded area next to a large lake.

    Wooden tent platforms measure 16′ x 16′ and have fencing staples along the outside edge to help secure your tent. We recommend bringing extra paracord or purchasing herringbone peg anchors to help secure your tent to the platform.

    4. Is firewood available?

    Each provincial park is governed by an approved management direction. In general, collecting natural objects such as dead wood is prohibited in provincial parks; However, in some rural or wilderness parks, the collection of dead wood for a campfire is permitted by approved management instructions.

    At Frontenac Provincial Park, you can collect dead and fallen wood or purchase firewood at the park office. We ask that campers help protect our forests by not bringing their own firewood.

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    We also encourage the use of rechargeable portable camp stoves indoors as a means to reduce the need for recreational campfires. The use of portable stoves reduces site degradation caused by the removal of vegetation for campfires and decreases the removal of ecologically important woody debris.

    Campers bringing firewood from home can accidentally spread harmful forest pests like the woolly hemlock Adelgid, which threatens the health of our forests.

    5. How do I purchase a permit when the office is closed?

    If you arrive after hours, you will need to obtain your camping or daily vehicle permit online.

    We will no longer accept manual cash payments outside of business hours.

    6. Can I bring my dog?

    A brown dog in a green harness sits on a rock overlooking a frozen lake

    Of course! We love seeing our guests enjoying the park with their furry friends!

    Pets must always be kept on a two-metre leash at all times and we ask that you clean up after them.

    7. What can you do in Frontenac?

    A person standing on a rock looking out over a large lake with a tree-lined shore in the distance

    Have you never been to Frontenac? No problem!

    With our 100+ km trail network, we offer trails for any level of hiker. Stop by the park office to pick up a trail map and use the bathroom (this will be your last chance to have a flushing toilet). This is also a great opportunity to ask the staff for trail recommendations.

    Is hiking not your style? Bring your canoe, kayak, or SUP and paddle Big Salmon Lake for the day!

    The park has no beach or designated swimming area. However, you are allowed to swim offshore at the park office or where the trails meet the lakes.

    Once the snow starts falling, Frontenac becomes a winter wonderland. Plan a trip to Frontenac this winter.

    8. Do you rent canoes?

    We don’t, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying your time on the water!

    A canpe resting on the edge of a lake with a trekking backpack at his side.

    Frontenac Outfitters, located just 2 km before the park entrance, rents canoes, kayaks, and SUPS!

    9. Will my phone have reception?

    Cell service is limited within the park. If your cell phone provider is Rogers or Fido, you may have service. Otherwise, you probably won’t have service.

    There is a cell phone booster located inside the self-service station at the park office.

    10. Can I bring my boat to the park?

    Motor boats are allowed on border lakes such as Birch, Kingsford, Buck and Devil Lake. However, they are prohibited on the park’s inland lakes, including Big Salmon Lake.

    11. When does Big Salmon Lake Road close?

    Big Salmon Lake Road closes at 4:00 pm on the second Sunday in November. The road will remain closed until mid to late April.

    During the winter months, you can park in the Office parking lot.

    A grove of evergreen trees rising along a rocky outcrop that extends to a lake.

    12. What do I need to know about field etiquette?

    New to backcountry camping? We are here to help! Please talk to our park staff if you have specific questions about the park. Before you head out, check out our backcountry blogs here for important skills and tips: