How do I book a group site?
Group sites can be reserved by organized groups only. Examples of organized groups that are eligible for group campsite use are youth camps, school groups, sports clubs, outdoors clubs, and church groups. Eligible groups must be affiliated with an official organization. Examples of groups that are NOT eligible for group campsite use are groups of friends, families with more than 10 campers, family reunions.
Can I get permission to have more than the allowable number of campers on a campsite?
No, if you have more than the allowable number of campers on a campsite you will be fined $100.
What do I do with garbage?
There are no garbage disposal sites provided anywhere within the area. Plan to pack all of your garbage out with you and take it home. Do not put garbage in fire pits or campsite toilets. Do not leave bagged garbage on your campsite or at the access points. Garbage creates issues with nuisance animals including bears so please leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. You will be fined $200 if you fail to pack out your garbage. You will be evicted if you do not keep your campsite in a neat and tidy condition.
Are there Bears?
Yes, there are bears, fortunately bear attacks are extremely rare in the province of Ontario. It is typically food smells that bears are attracted to. You must take precautions for packing, preparing, storing and disposing of foods to limit food smells as much as possible. Check out this PDF for advice on camping in bear country.
What is happening with the Frost Centre Facility?
The Frost Centre Facility next to the Algonquin Highlands Trails Office on Lake St. Nora is currently not in use for any purpose. It was once used as a training facility for Ministry of Natural Resources forest staff and later as an outdoor educational facility and has been closed since 2005. It is owned and maintained by Infrastructure Ontario, which is a provincial property management organization.
Is there car camping?
There are several vehicle accessed backcountry campsites along the Sherborne Lake Access Road off of Hwy 35. These sites are #12A on Dawson Ponds, #12B on Plastic Lake, #46 and #46A on Avery Lake, #47A on Emerson Pond, #48 on Nehemiah Lake (50m from the road), #124 along the side of the road and #120-123 at the Sherborne Lake access point. The Sherborne Lake Road is a forest access road and is use at your own risk, it is not regularly maintained, washouts and downed trees are possible, vehicles with high ground clearance that are equipped for travelling such roads are recommended, cars are NOT recommended. Vehicles have been damaged on this road and tow truck operators have refused to go down this road to retrieve broken down vehicles. Call the Algonquin Highlands Trails office at 705-766-9033 for current road conditions before booking your trip and before departing for your planned trip. It is the tripper’s responsibility to know the condition of the road before coming.
There are also two vehicle access campsites on Cinder Lake in the Poker Lakes area off of Cinder Lake Forest Access Road which can be accessed by taking Hwy 118 to Black River Road and turning onto Cinder Lake Forest Access Road. The campsite numbers are #66 and #68. This road is an unmaintained forest access road that requires a vehicle with high ground clearance and 4 wheel drive. There are two water crossings on the way in. Vehicles have been damaged on this road and tow truck drivers have refused to go down this road to retrieve broken down vehicles.
Is there hike-in camping?
There is one campsite accessible via the Frost Centre Hiking Trails located at the Algonquin Highlands Trails Office at 20130 Hwy 35, 12km south of the town of Dorset. The Steep Rock Trail can be hiked for two kilometers to campsite #66 on St. Nora Lake.
Are there any motor restrictions?
No, there are no motor restrictions on any lakes.
How is the fishing?
Fishing in the Haliburton Highlands is one of the big reasons people visit. Most lakes have small mouth bass, larger lakes have lake trout and whitefish and some smaller lakes are stocked with brook trout and splake. Staff will be happy to let you know what fish species are present in a lake but you will be hard pressed to get them to give up their favorite fishing holes. Be sure to consult the Ontario Fishing Regulations for Zone 15 before planning your trip as there are some lakes with special restrictions such as slot size and live bait restrictions. All people planning to fish anywhere in Ontario require a valid fishing license and must be knowledgeable on fishing seasons for the species that they wish to target.
How do I get there?
The Haliburton Highlands Water Trails consists of a large area with 13 different access points. The main office known as the ‘Algonquin Highlands Trails Office’ is located at 20130 Hwy 35, 12km south of the Town of Dorset on St. Nora Lake. Be sure you know which access point you are using and that you know the address and directions to it. Access point addresses can be found here. Be advised that mapping applications on cell phones and GPS are often not accurate for this area so be sure to look for your access point address, there are no signs along the roadways to direct you to the access point, only address markers.
What should I expect for facilities on campsites?
Campsites within the Haliburton Highlands Water Trails are remote, rustic backcountry campsites with a stone fire pit and a wooden toilet box. There are no tables or fire grills on campsites.
Where do I go to the washroom?
Each campsite is equipped with a wooden toilet box for your use. This box is typically located down a short path within 30m of the camping area. If you find that you have to use the washroom when you are away from your campsite the technique is to walk at least 30m away from any water source, dig a hole and bury your waste. The only place you should go to the washroom at a campsite is in the toilet box, be respective of other users showing up after you and do not leave toilet paper, hygiene products or human waste anywhere on the campsite. Human waste on campsites can pollute nearby water sources where people swim and get water for drinking and cooking.
Can I put more than the allowable number of tents on a campsite?
Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are welcome, ensure that you clean up after your pet.
What happens if I show up and someone is already on my campsite?
Check out time for campsites is 12 noon, often times when you show up, if someone is already on your campsite it is because they are packing up to leave. If you do find that they are in fact camping on the site you have reserved, let them know so, it may be that they are on the wrong site. If you have an issue you can call the Trails Office at 705-766-9033 and they will do everything that they can to resolve the issue.
Where can I rent canoes?
The Algonquin Highlands Trails Office at 20130 Hwy 35, 12km south of the Town of Dorset rents high quality, light weight Kevlar tripping canoes. They can be reserved by calling 705-766-9033. Canoes can be transported on your vehicle to an access point of your choosing. We do rent straps and foam blocks for transporting your canoes however we do not put the canoe on your vehicle for you or take any responsibility for canoes being transported. Please ensure you are knowledgeable and equipped to put a canoe on the roof of your vehicle before arriving. Improperly loaded canoes can and have damaged vehicles and the canoe.
How are the bugs?
The density and species of biting insects changes throughout the year. In the early spring black flies can be numerous and a bug net is the best way to combat them as bug spray stops them from biting but doesn’t stop them from landing. Blackfly season typically lasts about 2 weeks. Mosquito populations are highest from May to June with numbers tapering off during the hot days of July and August. From September on is blissfully bug free. It is recommended that you always carry bug spray or use a bug net as without either you will get bitten.
Trails Office (Haliburton Highlands Water Trails)
20130 Highway # 35 North
Township of Algonquin Highlands
1123 North Shore Road, Algonquin Highlands, ON K0M 1J1
Hours of Operation
May to August
Open 7 days a week
Sunday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
September to October
Open 7 days a week
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November to April
Open 7 days a week (except public holidays)
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.