A Wilderness Canoe Trip in Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park [Video]

Jason and Noah headed into Algonquin Park for a 3-day canoe trip in mid-May 2018, about a week after the ice melted off the lakes.

“Noah and I decided to get out for a few days to explore a new area of the park that we hadn’t camped in before. Over three days we travelled through Magnetewan Lake, Hambone Lake and Ralf Bice Lake in Algonquin Park. Although the weather didn’t completely cooperate with us, it was a great trip.”

Equipment Highlight

The two decided to trade their barrel pack for a dry bag for their food on this trip. It was definitely a better choice for a couple of reasons: The bag is both lighter and easier to use than the barrel. And as their food gets eaten, the bag gets even easier to handle.

Since a bear can get into a barrel without much of a problem (it’s happened to them!), the extra inconvenience just isn’t worth it.

Hang Your Food Bag Properly

At minute 6:30, Jason takes some time to explain and show how to use a pulley system to hang the food bag in a tree. The idea is to get it high enough off the ground and several feet away from the tree so a bear can’t reach it from either the ground or the tree.

jason eke demonstrates food bag hanging
Jason demonstrates how to hang your food bag correctly using a pulley system

Jason stresses that you hang your food bag correctly to protect your food, yes—but also to protect the bears. Once a bear gets into a food bag and finds it easy-pickings at someone’s campsite, it’s likely to come back for more. When it becomes a problem bear, it’ll have to be destroyed.

Dealing with Rain and Wind

Day 2 of their trip came with mist and rain. Not ideal, but part of wilderness canoeing! They expected it and were prepared, using tarps to provide shelter over both their campfire area and their tent.

Jason goes into quite a lot of detail on how he set up the tent tarp at minute 28:30. It’s quite a simple process and very worthwhile to stay dry during a rainy night.

construct a tarp over your tent
Use tarps in rainy conditions to keep you dry sleeping and eating

As the rain stopped during the night, the wind picked up. Besides checking to be sure their camp held together and the canoe was well on-shore and protected, they waited it out until daylight.

Their Canoe Trip Route

“Over the three days, we travelled through Magnetewan Lake, Hambone Lake and Ralf Bice Lake. We preferred Magnetewan and Ham Bone Lake. They were smaller lakes with less wind, but large enough to provide a decent amount of distance between campsites.

“Ralf Bice Lake did provide adequate space, but it also opened up the landscape to heavier winds. Ralf Bice is also a fairly busy lake with people fishing and travelling through to other lakes.

“In the future I think I'll book several nights at Magnetewan and save myself the extra travel into the park... then again... there are so many more lakes in the area left to explore!”

Their conclusion? Jason and Noah decided it was an all-around good trip.

“If you always go out when it’s nice and sunny and bug-free, you don’t really develop your skills that well. When conditions change you’re forced to figure out what you’re going to do and learn to make common-sense decisions.”

wilderness canoe trip algonquin provincial park
Beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park

About Algonquin Provincial Park

Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park offers 7,630 square kilometers (2,946 square miles) of wilderness canoeing and backcountry camping opportunities. More than 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kilometers of rivers (746 miles) invite you!

For all the details on planning a canoe trip to Algonquin, visit the official website of The Friends of Algonquin Park. You’ll find details on maps, permits, reservations and more there.

Besides backcountry canoeing, there are a dozen developed campgrounds in the park. Camp there with a few more amenities and you can get out on day canoe trips from any of the campgrounds.

What questions do you have for our friendly Customer Service team about wilderness canoe paddles? We’re ready to help: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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