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Frontenac Provincial Park
Great paddling, great trails, let's go!
¦ “I’ve got a young family, and would
like to get into back-country camping and
canoe tripping. Where should we go to get
started, and what parks have you tried?”
These are questions that I’m asked
frequently. They’re the same ones I asked
people several years ago when my wife, son
and I moved to Ottawa.
Back then, our son was almost four. We
had already introduced him to backpacking
and canoeing in New Brunswick, so we
were looking for two, three and four-day some reason we didn’t seem to have any • Interesting hiking trails
trips into the back-country. Nothing too difficulties choosing and booking them. Our • Great swimming
tough, just a place to escape the crowds. first trip involved an overnight experience— • Well marked and maintained hiking and S
: R
Camping is important to us, so we wanted just long enough to scout out the lay of the portage trails.
to share our love for the outdoors with our land and decide if it suited our needs. We The park offers real variety, satisfying

son, hoping that he would eventually “catch selected Site #5, at the end of Big Salmon almost anyone’s wants. Most sites feature a P
the bug.” We wanted to find places where a Lake, because it was accessible without raised platform on which to set up your tent.
few hours of paddling or hiking would take having to portage. This means water doesn’t lie in puddles,
us to our campsite. We arrived on Saturday morning, just as but drains well, reducing the possibility of
“You’ve got to go to Algonquin,” the wind was picking up. Fortunately, it was a flooded tent.
everyone said. So our search started at at our backs and we got a “double bonus.” Frontenac not only offers great canoe
Algonquin Park’s Tom Thompson/Canoe How? We had remembered to pack a small routes, but also a wide selection of excellent
Lake circuit. This is a great trip, but not in parafoil (a kite). After paddling out from hiking trails and campsites for backpackers.
July. It’s simply too busy. What seemed like the dock, we simply got the kite flying, and Most are easily accessible for family
hundreds of canoes buzzed by, reminding “sailed” down the length of the lake. camping (less than 10 kilometres).
us of Queensway traffic. We loved the park, It didn’t take long to find our campsite.
the scenery and the route, but it was simply We set up the tent, explored a bit, and had
PORTaging inTO THE PaRk
too busy for our liking. (Some people find an enjoyable night. Shortly after moving to Ontario we quickly
that reassuring, knowing that there are lots learned that in this province, paddling and
of other people nearby in case something
many HaPPy RETuRns
portaging pretty much go together. I know
happens.) We still enjoy trips in Algonquin Since that first trip into Frontenac, our what you’re thinking: canoes are meant to
but we wait until fall when there are fewer family has returned many times. Our next be paddled, not carried. But sometimes it’s
people, and the selection of campsites and trip took us around the perimeter of the park necessary to carry them to where they’ll be
routes is better. in three or four days. Most of the portages paddled. Now, this doesn’t have to be a bad
that we encountered were fairly easy, but thing. In fact a short portage can provide a
baCk-Paddling TO fROnTEnaC
the portage linking Birch and Little Salmon welcome change of paceand scenery.
Back to square one. Lakes was a different story. Whether you Frontenac is a great park to develop your
At this point I remembered that a friend in are ascending or descending to or from portaging skills. It offers many portage
New Brunswick had once worked in a park Little Salmon Lake, it is quite steep. But routes that link beautiful lakes; they range
near Kingston where access to campsites even with young kids, that portage is quite in length from under 100 metres, to just
was only by foot or by canoe. That sounded manageable if you take your time. over a kilometre. The longer ones take you
great to us, so we picked up the map. After having seen or camped at most deeper into the interior, and typically farther
That’s when we discovered a hidden jewel: of the sites, Frontenac Park has become a away from the crowds. Making portaging
Frontenac Provincial Park. favourite destination for our family. What enjoyable (okay, tolerable) depends on
This park proved exactly what we were makes Frontenac Park ideal for general your ability to carefully select and pack
looking for. Of course the park is much camping, hiking and canoeing? It offers: lightweight gear efficiently in as few packs
smaller than Algonquin, so there are • Beautiful campsites as possible. Not having the lightest and
fewer routes and campsites, however, for • Short paddling routes sleekest equipment available shouldn’t
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