Winters can be brutal, especially when it’s about going out in one of the coldest countries in the world. But when it’s all about the captivating options winter camping in Ontario has to offer, everyone with a vivid soul that is an ardent adorer of traveling would dare, of course, with their warmest clothes to indulge in winter camping in Ontario.
From a large array of provincial parks to outdoor activities winter camping in Ontario offers, it seems just as much fun as staying in. Whatever may be your style, from tent camping to backcountry camping or wanting to camp in luxurious heated roofed accommodations, Ontario has it all. And for enjoying this, you don’t need special winter camping skills.
Winter camping in Ontario is vital because it has more than 40 miles of waterways, including parks and Ontario lakes, which, with the pristine snow, serve to be the perfect destination for satiating your sporting needs, with snowshoe trail and cross-country skiing as well as ice fishing.
Whatever your thing might be, tent camping or interior camping, we have curated a well-designed list of all the most-loved places that you would want to look at before finalizing your destination.
1. Algonquin Provincial Park
Nestling along the shores of Benoir lake, Algonquin has to be the first on the list for winter camping, simply because it is one of the best parks among all the other Ontario parks, justifiably enough. Most people know Algonquin as a great summer destination but it surely is an equally great pick for your winter hiking and camping as well. Easily accessible through highway 60, Algonquin is the top choice for people doing winter camping in Ontario.
Camp at the Mystical Mew Lake Campground
Mew lake campground is a year-round operating camping ground at Algonquin, having heated roofed accommodations and other options, which are available to its visitors with reservations in advance. Known for its skating rink, it becomes a heavy-polled option when it comes to winter camping in Ontario.
Camping and Facilities
Algonquin offers backcountry camping at Park Backcountry, which is primarily accessible by ski. Along with that, groomed trails like Highland Backpacking trails are open for backpacking campers.
The heated comfort station at Mew lake campground comes with laundry facilities as well as flush toilets and hot showers, which makes outdoor camping in winter months easier.
Attractions along with Camping
Campers also catch glimpses of the enchanting pristine wilderness, like trails of animal footprints around their tent. Visitors also especially wish to see the magnificent Northern lights. But if you don’t get to witness the northern lights dance from there, then the stars will keep you company, thousands of them.
Outdoor Fun Activities
With over 85 km of groomed ski trails, this place seems like heaven for cross-country skiing lovers. Whereas people who prefer to snowshoe will have unexplored snowshoe trails as well as groomed trails for themselves which sounds exciting in terms of winter camping in Ontario.
One of the best attractions at this spot for winter camping in Ontario has to be its ice skating rink at Mew Lake.
2. Killarney Provincial Park
Nestling along the wonderful iconic Georgian Bay coast, this one among Ontario parks is a sight for the naked eye to devour. Along with all the amenities it has to offer, it has become one of the best sites for winter camping in Ontario and one of the best Ontario’s provincial parks.
Roofed Accommodation Facilities
The vital George Lake campground houses 6 yurts on the western side of the campground. Electric heating facilities along with bunk beds and picnic tables in heated wall tents are also available. The rustic cabins make the heated roofed accommodations have a variety of beds and a propane-fueled fire pit with some kitchen facilities.
Things to See at this Winter Camping in Ontario
This site for winter camping in Ontario has some of the best breathtaking landscapes in winter camping in the whole province. The Crack’ or the la Cloche mountains have the most vivid palette of colors; from the turquoise of the Georgian bay to the pinks of granite, it becomes a feast for the viewer.
And for the night, the provincial park has stargazing, also known as the dark sky preserve. Activities like cross-country skiing steal the show. There are a total of 3 cross-country ski trails for the visitors to enjoy.
3. Pinery Provincial Park
This gorgeous southwestern provincial park is specifically known for its silence. With a year-round operating park office, it gives the visitors a chance to witness its ice-covered forests and dunes.
Sitting along the banks of Lake Huron, this winter wonderland is a great option for people looking to unwind in a calm place near the silent lake. It offers a lot of recreational activities and winter hiking options that tourists love to try.
Accommodations at Pinery Provincial Park
A camp cabin is available for accommodation with one queen bed and a bunk bed. There are 12 Yurts in this winter camping site in Ontario, and they are available with reservations. You might want to reserve one for yourself and one camping with you as there is a fully equipped cabin with a wooden deck, a barbecue, and even a fire pit.
The riverside campground stays open in winter with a comfort station, water, and laundry facilities, which you will have to use because the other accommodations don’t have flush toilets.
Adventures at Pinery Provincial Park
With a lot of options available for winter adventures, it’s safe to say this Ontario park has it all. With 38 km of cross-country ski trails, it becomes perfect for cross-country skiers, and for snowshoeing trails, it’s a whole of 5.3 km of trails. Try sliding down the toboggan hill there. Keep the bird viewing and beach visit in your mind; they can’t be missed. Also, these being near the silent lake makes them even more beautiful.
4. Arrowhead Provincial Park
Arrowhead is one of the best winter camping places in Ontario. This year-round operating provincial park is favored, especially for winter camp. Due to heavy crowding, reservations are suggested.
Accommodation Facilities at Arrowhead
This winter camping site in Ontario has 13 camp cabins with a rustic interior. Water is available at the comfort station, which is a short walk. Washrooms with hot water are available at the visitor center and near the park office. Along with this, campgrounds are open for tent camping at this one among Ontario’s provincial parks.
Things to do at Arrowhead
Tourists prefer camping at one of the three campgrounds, Roe, Lumby, or East River. Lumby campground covers the serene forests, whereas East River has RV camping, and Roe offers a private camping experience. Adventurers love to do cross-country skiing through the 28 km of cross-country ski trails and a skating trail as well. There are 8+ km of marked snowshoeing trails as well.
Many people prefer another camping site called Big Bear over Arrowhead as it offers much more activities like ice fishing. There are also many offbeat options when looking for destinations that might be less crowded but will lack the heated roofed accommodations, like Macgregor Point provincial park or Frontenac provincial park.
Tips from a Camper
- It’s highly suggested that you properly know about the type of camping that you would be doing, and pack everything for it accordingly. Because if you’re planning on staying at a comfort station or someplace that is heated, then you won’t need as many heating accessories and clothes. But if you’re tent camping, then you will need to pack those thick, cozy socks to keep you warm.
- Make sure to make reservations and check the availability of open campgrounds and other activities that you’re thinking of enjoying. Stock up on your ski gear and rentals so that you can enjoy the weekend destinations properly. Check your food stocks as well, especially if you have your family or children traveling with you.
- Sleeping essentials, safety essentials, first aid, personal requirements, checklist, everything to have the best experience at Winter camping in Ontario parks. Check the weather forecast and save yourself from confronting bad weather while camping.
- Summer camping might sound fun, easy, and more tempting than winter camping in Ontario because of the easy availability of resources and less packing as well, but winter camping in Ontario can be equally fun if prepared correctly, hence the checklist. It gifts you scenes of wildlife in a way that can never be experienced in summer camping. And depending on your selected destination, you might even get to see the absolutely enchanting Northern lights.
Thus, an experienced person in camping or not, winter camping in Ontario is something that you must definitely try if you’re an adventure at heart. And the cherry on top is if you get the chance to do winter camping in Ontario, then it would prove to be one of the most mesmerizing and memorable experiences of your life.