The Best Winter Camping in Ontario Parks

With the right gear, it can be just as fun as summer camping. Find out where to winter camp in Ontario.

There are many options for winter camping in Ontario. There’s nothing better than a warm place to cozy up in after spending the day outside snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, tubing or dogsledding. Staying in a yurt makes winter camping in Ontario Parks easy and comfortable. With a little extra planning, winter tent camping can be just as fun as summer tent camping.

If you prefer a more private setting, there are several winter yurt camping options on private property. Often these yurts are nestled deep in the woods where you can explore the wilderness on your own.

For a more traditional winter camping experience, you can camp in a heated canvas tent. Lure of the North offers traditional winter camping expeditions where you travel by snowshoe, pulling your gear and sleep in comfort in a hot canvas tent. Snow Forest Adventures offers multi-night Algonquin Park dog sledding adventures where you travel by dog sled and stay in heated wall tents.

What Ontario Parks Have Winter Camping?

Fifteen Ontario Provincial Parks offer winter camping options. Many of these parks also offer winterized comfort stations (heated with running hot water, flush toilets and showers). There are 3 main types of camping offered:

  • Heated roofed accommodations (yurts, rustic cabins, camp cabins, cottages)
  • Winter tent/trailer car camping in main campground areas
  • Winter interior/backcountry tent camping

Ontario Parks Winter Camping Yurts and Cabins

Winter yurt camping in Ontario Parks is available at Algonquin, Killarney, McGregor Point, Pinery, Silent Lake and Windy Lake.

Rustic cabins are available in Quetico and Sleeping Giant. Sandbanks has two cottages for winter rentals. Camp cabins are available for rent at Arrowhead, Killarney, Pinery, Silent Lake and Windy Lake. Find out more.

Ontario Parks Winter Tent/Trailer Car Camping

Did you know you can go winter RV camping? Algonquin Park (Mew Lake) and MacGregor Point cater to winter campers and feature heated comfort stations with hot showers. The sites are plowed and access maintained for picnic tables.

Ontario Parks winter camping car camping grounds are open for winter tent camping in Killarney, Algonquin - Mew Lake, Killbear, Arrowhead, MacGregor Point and Pinery. Find out more.

Winter Interior/Backcountry Tent Camping

The really adventurous can enjoy interior camping in Quetico, Algonquin, Frontenac, Kawartha Highlands, Killarney, Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou. Find out more.

The Friends of Frontenac offer introductory courses if you need to learn some winter camping skills. Become a winter warrior and camp in all seasons.

Top 6 Ontario Parks with Winter Camping

Traditionally used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia and Turkey, a yurt is an eight-sided tent, mounted on a wooden deck. Each yurt usually sleeps four adults or a family of six, and comes equipped with beds, lights, kitchen furniture, and electric or wood heat. They offer campers a cozy structure to weather the cool winter nights.

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter as during the summer. It's one of the most popular Ontario provincial parks for winter camping. Highway 60 is ploughed and sanded all winter and many trails are available for the winter visitor. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the March break. A valid permit is required to use the park. Permits can be purchased at the East or West Gates or at the self-service station at the Mew Lake Campground.

Winter Yurt Camping: Seven yurts, located in the Mew Lake Campground, are available for rent during the winter. Accessible by vehicle, these tent-like structures are equipped with basic furniture and electric heat.

Winter Tent/Trailer Camping: Mew Lake Campground, on the Highway 60 corridor, offers camping from mid-October until early May on a first-come first-serve basis. The main parking lot and the roads adjacent to sites 1-76 are ploughed. Sites are ploughed as time and weather permit. Sites 1 to 66 have electrical hook-ups. Firewood can be purchased at the Mew Lake Campground woodlot. A heated winterized comfort station provides drinking water, flush toilets, showers and laundry.

Winter Interior/Backcountry Tent Camping: Winter backcountry camping away from Highway 60 in the interior of the park is also permitted during winter. You may wish to use one of the groomed ski trails to enter the park interior but camping within sight or sound of the trails or in trail shelters is not permitted. Winter camping is also not permitted on designated summer campsites or within 30 metres of a lakeshore, trail or portage. We recommend that you camp in low sheltered areas where there is a good supply of standing dead firewood for warmth and cooking. You can purchase your permit at the East or West Gates during hours of operation.

Killarney Provincial Park

Have you ever wanted to visit Killarney Provincial Park in winter to enjoy its true tranquility? Are you interested in cross-country skiing or snowshoeing along the park's 33 km of groomed trails or limitless backcountry opportunities, but worried about snow and frosty nights? There’s no need to worry any longer – now you can enjoy Killarney Provincial Park in all four seasons from the warmth and comfort of your own yurt.

Winter Yurt Camping: Killarney Yurts are located at the end of a trail off of the main interior parking lot. Yurts are accessible only by a short 500m ski or snowshoe into the campground from the front gate. Don’t forget to bring your own toboggan to pull your gear down the hill.

Winter Tent/Trailer Camping: Winter tent camping is permitted in Killarney. There is no winter trailer camping.

Winter Interior/Backcountry Tent Camping: It’s a winter wonderland both day and night in the backcountry. Did you know Killarney is Ontario Parks’ first dark sky preserve?

McGregor Point Provincial Park

Enjoy excellent snowshoeing, cross-county skiing and ice skating on its 400 metre skating trail. A heated comfort station with showers and flush toilets is open all winter. Find out more about winter at McGregor Point.

Winter Yurt Camping: Camp in one of the sixteen yurts at the park.

Winter Tent/Trailer Camping: Bring your tent or trailer and camp for the night.

Pinery Provincial Park

Pinery's visitor centre is open most days and guided nature hikes on trails are held on select dates throughout the winter. There are 40 kilometres of cross-country ski trails that form a series of loops and in the centre of the park, there is a heated chalet and toboggan hill. Find out more.

Winter Yurt Camping: This park has 12 furnished yurts at the Riverside campground, located beside the picturesque Ausable River.

Silent Lake Provincial Park

This park has over forty kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails for your enjoyment. It also offers snowshoeing and ice fishing. Day-use comfort station, which includes flush toilets and tap water, is available during the winter. Find out more.

Winter Yurt Camping: Stay warm and cozy in one of its seven winterized yurts.

Winter Tent/Trailer Camping: During winter, electrical and non-electrical sites are available on a first come first serve basis.

Windy Lake Provincial Park

There are over 15 kilometres of professionally groomed ski trails (both classic and skate skiing options) for all skill levels plus incredible ice fishing and snowshoeing. Find out more.

Winter Yurt Camping: Visitors have to ski, snowshoe or walk to one of the four yurts as the campground roads are transformed into cross-country ski trails.

For reservations for any of the above yurts, call 1-888-668-7275 or visit the Yurt webpage for more information.

4 Awesome Winter Yurt Camping Getaways

Although not in Ontario Provincial Parks, these winter yurt camping adventrues offer fantastic unique rustic getaways in traditional Mongolian yurts. Enjoy privacy and solitude on privately owned lands. Most can be rented for around $100 per night.

Nature’s Harmony – Mongolian Yurt: Located near Mattawa, you can stay in comfort in a traditional yurt that was hand-made in Mongolia. Enjoy cross-country skiing, kick-sledding, skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing and more on 485 acres overlooking the Laurentian Mountains.

A Yurt in the Forest: Located just outside the town of Barry’s Bay, this yurt is the perfect base from which to explore the woods or ski at nearby Opeongo Hill Ski Club. Enjoy traditional Polish food, live blues and country music at the Wilno Tavern.

Wyldwood Sojourn: If you are looking for a private escape in nature, this is it. Located near the Salmon River and the village of Lonsdale, you will find complete solitude.

Forest Yurt: Located near Madoc, this cozy yurt is nestled in a secluded forest on a 20 acre property. It’s perfect for star gazing and snowshoeing.

Winter Camping in Heated Canvas Tents

Lure of the North describes traditional winter camping as travel by snowshoe and toboggan, with nights spent in a canvas tent heated by a wood stove. They offer a variety of multi-day incredible guided traditional winter camping trips in Ontario.

For a truly magical winter adventure, book a 2 to 5 day Algonquin Park dogsledding getaway with Snow Forest Adventures. Enjoy the simplicity and rich cultural experience of living and travelling by dog team while staying in a heated canvas expedition tent.

Yours Outdoors offers an introduction to hot-tent winter camping in a traditional canvas tent which houses a portable woodstove. Spend 1 or 2 nights learning how to camp during winter in a hot-tent with on-going instruction from an experienced guide. Explore the forests and lakes on snowshoe, while gaining winter camping experience and sleeping in a cozy heated hot-tent.

Where to Winter Camp in Ontario

There are lots of options for winter camping in Ontario provincial parks, private yurt camping and traditional winter camping in heated wall canvas tents. With the right equipment and knowledge, winter camping in Ontario can be just as much fun as summer camping. Why not try it this year?

About Trish Manning

Trish Manning is an adventure travel writer and the content coordinator for Ontario Outdoor Adventures. She is an avid outdoor person who loves to hike, paddle, SUP, snowshoe, cross-country ski and explore Ontario's great outdoors with her golden retriever, Daisy.

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