ATV Adventure Camping

Hop aboard for some ATV adventure camping!

In a country like ours boasting one of the largest untouched wilderness in the world, what better time and place to get outdoors and explore than in Ontario's north country.

Interest in camping and RVing has exploded over the past two years with Ontarians headed backwoods camping and boondocking like never before. The off-road recreational vehicle industry also witnessed a huge surge in interest, with sales of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) up 30% during the pandemic. Luckily, camping and ATVing make the perfect pair. 

So, go grab your tent and hop on your trusty ATV, let the adventure into the north country begin!

Here are the best places to camp and ride in Ontario. 

1. Algonquin region

Our first stop is Algonquin Park, the perfect base to launch an ATV camping adventure. With over 7,500 square kilometers of pristine wilderness, Algonquin is synonymous with wilderness getaways and remote camping adventures, with plenty of opportunities to ride nearby—keep in mind ATVing inside the park isn't allowed. But there are a bunch of lodges like Adventure Lodge and All Star Resort as well as operators, trails, and guides just outside the park's limits on the east and west side.

With a dozen established campgrounds and thousands of other wilderness tenting opportunities, the park is an ATV camping paradise. ATVers will find loads of off-road opportunities just outside Algonquin's borders, covering every skill level. 

Check out the best ATV trails around the Algonquin region here. It's a great place to ride with friends, family, or as a couple, too. With around 450 kilometres of nearby trails to choose from, there's an ATV adventure for everyone. 

Hot tip: Book your spot

Keep in mind when considering Algonquin Park that certain rules apply. Ontario Parks charges fees for all developed camping in Algonquin Park, and reservations can be made 5 months before your arrival date. A non-refundable reservation fee is charged when you make your reservation and the full cost of your reservation is due at the time of booking. Take note that reservations for campsites in developed campgrounds can be site-specific. Book your spot at Algonquin here.

Park Safety

Do your research. The park is immense—campers become disoriented and lost every year. Spring campers also be aware that Algonquin’s resident black bears are emerging from hibernation and foraging for food. Maintain a scrumptiously clean campsite, store food away from your tent or RV and carry bear spray while travelling backwoods trails. Check out our bear safety tips here

2. Big Water Campground

The next stop on our ATV Camping adventure is Big Water Campground, located just north of ATV-friendly Timmins, offering ATV campers a true off-the-grid experience. An enthusiast’s dream spot, this campground boasts a multitude of trails to whet anyone’s off-roading appetite for adventure. Bring your licensed ATV and enjoy the surroundings of Big Water Campgrounds. Management encourages safety on the trails at all times, and encourages necessary off-road equipment and licenses required to use the linked trails system. Consider this Timmins ATV camping option this summer to get away from it all.

Hot tip: Check out Timmins ATV Club

A stone’s throw from your campsite at Big Water Campground is the Timmins ATV Club, offering the perfect ATV-Camping combo! Registered in 2015 and based in Timmins, this Club is a devoted community composed of enthusiastic individuals who enjoy sharing their passion for off-roading and outdoor adventure. While camping in Timmins take a boot over to the ATV Club for tips on the best trails: (705) 262-2080   timminsatvclub@gmail.com 

3. Mattawa Resort- Cardinal Campground

Our next recommended ATV camping adventure stop is found on the shores of the fabled Mattawa River. Cardinal Campground is just outside of Mattawa, located in Ontario’s ‘near north’ and prides itself on water access. Resort Director of Marketing, Dave Schiff was also excited to share news of the lodge’s new project. “Our new RV Park on our property holds 150 sites with a little something for everyone,” Schiff explains. Cardinal Campground is associated with the famous Mattawa River Resort, and Cardinal Restaurant is located onsite. ATV Campers can enjoy a wonderful home-cooked meal before heading out on the trails!

OFATV Regulations 

Anyone planning an ATV adventure camping trip should check out the Ontario Federation of ATV Clubs (OFATV) for the latest news on trails and memberships. The Club reminds riders that to use municipal roads, you must possess an M1/G2 Ontario Licence or equivalent. ATVs used on municipal roads must also be licenced for the road and have valid insurance. The Club emphasizes the importance of being familiar with the rules that govern ATVs in Ontario and within the municipality that you are riding in. They are a wealth of information and a great resource for any ATV camping trip.

Stay safe and have fun!

Enjoy a safe and fun summer of ATV adventure camping. Hope to see you in the great outdoors!

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About Jeff Morrison

Jeff Morrison is an award-winning outdoor writer, book author, and nationally-syndicated newspaper and magazine columnist.

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