No stranger to camping, but want a new adventure? Or maybe you’ve invested some money in winter camping gear?
Congratulations! Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park offers the perfect opportunity for those looking to camp in the winter.
Just a couple of hours outside of the GTA and three hours west of Ottawa, any weekend warrior looking for a new adventure will hear this park calling their name.
Here’s everything you need to know to make your foray into winter camping in the Kawartha Highlands memorable, safe and successful:
1. Be prepared
Getting to your camp in the Kawartha Highlands often means traveling over ice.
Ice safety is everyone’s responsibility – park staff cannot tell you when it is safe or not.
Educate yourself and plan accordingly.
We recommend starting by reading our ice fishing safety blog and our winter safety page. Review and remember the content. Safety is your responsibility.
Camping in winter is much more challenging than summer, so it is best to go with one or more experienced people.
Need a refresher on some basics? We have a blog that gives you basic information about winter camping.
2. Evaluate your access points
All Kawartha Highlands access points have cleared parking areas ensuring easy access.
Staff recommend the Bottle Lake and Wolf Lake hotspots as they allow you to start your trip right away.
Long Lake and Anstruther Lake involve long hikes before heading away from the private cabins and visiting other lakes.
3. Know how to navigate the park
Kawartha Highland campers use snowshoes, skis, and regular boots to get to their campsites.
If you have a lot of equipment, a slide will be your best friend.
Remember: don’t carry more weight than you can carry!
4. This is a semi-wild park
Winter offers a unique experience in nature: cold, clear nights for stargazing and wonderfully quiet days.
You will have the opportunity to observe deer, elk, coyotes, wolves and any number of winter birds.
Being a semi-wild park, you may also hear the sound of snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles.
5. Know where to pitch your tent
If you are winter camping in backcountry areas anywhere in Ontario parks, you will need to camp 30 m from established trails or campsites.
That means much of the park is off-limits to tent camping in the summer.
But the options are wide open during the winter!
6. Do you plan on ice fishing?
Kawartha Highlands is an ice anglers dream come true!
Many of the lakes have a wide variety of fish.
Review Ontario Fishing Regulations before dropping a hook or drilling a hole.