Backcountry camping

Pukaskwa National Park

Whether you want a short hike or multi-day paddling excursion, Pukaskwa National Park has something for every adventurer!

If you like to get away from it all, you can hike or paddle to one of 65 designated backcountry campsites in the heart of nature.

Hike-in backcountry campsite features

  • Firepit
  • Access to a food locker
  • Access to a privy toilet

Paddle-in backcountry campsite features

Visitors can expect primitive camping at backcountry paddle-in campsites.

Ready to book? Here's how...

Schedule a boat shuttle (optional):

Call the park for boat shuttle details at 807-229-0801. Friendly Parks Canada staff will help you find a service provider.

Make a backcountry reservation

Backcountry trails and campsites are open (weather permitting) from May 15 – October 14. Reserve your backcountry camping permit:

Are you confident in your trip itinerary? Online service fees are $11.50 per reservation, modification or cancellation and call centre fees are $13.50 per reservation, modification or cancellation.

Check-in for registration, permits and orientation

Upon your arrival, stop at the park Kiosk to receive your mandatory backcountry orientation and permits. The backcountry orientation must take place prior to starting the hike. When registering, please have the following information ready:

  • Booking number
  • Group member names
  • Emergency contact information
  • Equipment descriptions (tents, canoes, kayaks, etc.)
  • Vehicle descriptions
  • Planned itinerary

Go! Let your adventure begin!

Call 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)

Outside of North America: (519) 826-5391

If you would like more general information, please call the Parks Canada national information line at 1-888-773-8888.

General backcountry information:
Reservable period (nights):
  • Mid May to mid October, actual dates very year to year. 
Reservable percentage:
  • 100% reservable
After hours registration:
  • Backcountry registration after hours is not available.
Check in time:
  • Any time on the date of arrival. Please note that the site may be occupied until 2 pm.
Check out time:
  • Campsite check out time is 2 pm. Check out from the park can be anytime on the last day of your permit. Please deposit your de-registration form in person or in the de-registration box at the Kiosk.
Quiet hours:
  • No excessive noise at anytime.
Maximum length of stay:
  • 13 nights, 14 days.
Maximum persons per site:
  • 8 people
Maximum camping units per site:
  • Tent pads and space varies per site, maximum for all sites is 6 tents.
Fire policy:
  • Campfires are permitted at all backcountry sites, barring no fire restrictions are in effect. Use driftwood found on shore. Please use fire pits when available. When not available, endeavor to make fires in locations previously used for that purpose.
Alcohol policy:
  • Alcohol consumption is allowed only on the registered campsite. Ontario regulations apply.
Pet policy:
  • Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. They must not be left unattended. You must pick up after your pet at all times.
Important notices:
  • A mandatory backcountry orientation is required before staying overnight in the park’s backcountry. Please call the park to inquire about an in-person orientation session at 807-229-0801.
  • Permits must be issued through the park Kiosk in Hattie Cove prior to proceeding into the backcountry.
  • You will be required to purchase a Park Entrance Pass per person per night when you register for your campsite.
  • Backcountry campsites are accessed by backcountry hiking trails and paddling routes that are rated difficult, or with a motorized marine vessel. All paddlers and hikers must be experienced backcountry hikers and paddlers.
  • All visitors are responsible for their own safety. Pukaskwa National Park is a wilderness park. Emergency rescues, depending on location and conditions, may take time.
Additional information:
  • Please do not burn garbage in the fire pits provided at certain campsites. Do not dump garbage in the pit privies or food lockers. You must pack out all garbage.
  • Please make certain that a copy of your camping and entrance permit are displayed on your vehicle dash. Keep the second copy of the camping permit on your person.
  • Cell phone reception is unreliable and even non-existent in the backcountry.
  • Backcountry campsites can only be reached by backpacking or open-water paddling/boating. Visitors can also hire a licensed boat operator to drop them off at particular campsites along the coast.
  • Water is not provided. Please boil, treat or fine-filter water from the lake or rivers.
  • Where pit privies are not available, dispose of human waste in a hole 10-15 cm deep, at least 50 meters from any trail, campsite or water source.
Backcountry camping locations and descriptions:

Coastal Hiking Trail:

  • Get ready to experience the wildest hike on the wildest shore of all of the Great Lakes. Pukaskwa National Park’s 60 km Coastal Hiking Trail is an adventurer’s dream that offers a challenging but rewarding premiere Ontario wilderness experience. The trail climbs steep Lake Superior coastline, meanders through sandy and cobble stone beaches, and treks through rugged boreal forests. Visitors who are properly equipped for backpacking this difficult terrain will enjoy relaxing campsites, beautiful beaches and awe-inspiring views. The Coastal Hiking Trail is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Mdaabii Miikna:

  • Looking for a memorable backcountry weekend getaway? Mdaabii Miikna, ‘go to the shore trail’ in Anishinaabemowin, delivers everything that Pukaskwa has to offer in a fraction of the time it takes to complete the Coastal Hiking Trail! This loop trail is accessed south of Playter Harbour and north of the White River Suspension Bridge via the Coastal Hiking Trail. It features serene boreal forest and the impressive Lake Superior coastline at Picture Rock Harbour.

Coastal Paddling Route:

  • Lake Superior. They weren’t kidding when they named it. Superior in size, superior in adventure! Comparable to ocean-paddling, Pukaskwa’s Coastal Paddling Route offers premiere Ontario wilderness terrain and demands technical knowledge and skill from visitors who wish to experience it. Enjoy pristine backcountry campsites, beautiful sandy beaches, towering shorelines and awe-inspiring views. With Pukaskwa’s 135 kms of coastline, the adventures are endless. The Coastal Paddling Route is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

For more information, please visit our Backcountry page


For information regarding camping fees for Pukaskwa National Park please see our Fees page.

If there is no vacancy for your dates:

Pukaskwa National Park does not have backcountry sites available on a first come first served basis. If there are no sites available for the dates selected, you can either select different dates or amend your trip plan accordingly.

  • Hattie Cove campground (Pukaskwa):
    • A short drive from the Trans-Canada Highway
    • For more information, please call Pukaskwa National Park at (807) 229-0801.
    • 67 Sites. Hot showers, electrical hook-ups and free WiFi in the nearby Visitor Centre.
    • First Come- First Stay.
  • Penn Lake Park (Private):
    • 61 Penn Lake Road East
    • 16 campsites with 30/15 amp service and 2 RV sites with 50/30/15 amp service. An additional 9 unserviced sites are suitable for tent camping. All serviced sites have sewer and potable water. Wifi washrooms, showers and coin operated laundry, playground
    • To reserve a campsite, please contact the Town Hall at 229-1340 Extension 2221 or
  • White Lake Provincial Park (Ontario Parks):
    • 45 minutes from Pukaskwa Visitor’s Centre.
    • Three campgrounds: Woodlily, Moccasin Flower and Sundew Campgrounds.
    • 187 campsites, and approximately 1/3 have electrical service
    • One group site is available: 50-60 people.
    • Call Toll Free: 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275)
  • The Marathon Visitor Information Centre / Gchi-Waaswaaganing:
    • 5 Highway 17 South,
    • Visitor Information Centre (May to September)
    • Phone: (807)229-0480 ; Toll-free: 1-800-621-1029
    • Email:
    • Beaches, golf courses, camping, trails, attractions arts and culture.
Require additional information?

Reservation service (backcountry only):

General park information:

Terms and definitions
Guests select the specific campsite or accommodation when they make their reservation. All front-country camping reservations made through the Parks Canada Reservation Service (PCRS) are site-specific reservations.
Operating Season (Nights)
The "Operating Season" is the nights that the campground is open. Sometimes the campgrounds are open for longer than the period for which they accept reservations. Any dates of the "Operating Season" outside of the "Reservable Period" are dates that the campground operates on a first come, first served basis only.
Reservable Period (Nights)
The "Reservable Period" is the nights for which you can make a camping or accommodation reservation. Note that many campgrounds may be open longer than this period, and operate outside of these dates on a first-come, first-served basis.
The administration/entrance booth of a particular campground, this is where you "check-in" and register your arrival.
Car, truck, motorcycle, truck-camper, motorhome, or recreational vehicle. A motor home pulling another vehicle may count as two vehicles.
Camping Unit
Tent, tent-trailer, truck-camper, trailer, 5th wheel, motorhome or recreational vehicle.
Serviced Site

Refers to a campsite offering either electrical, water, and/or sewer hook-ups or any combination of these services directly on the campsite. Fully-serviced sites offer electrical, potable water, and sewer hook-ups. "Unserviced" sites do not offer any of these hook-ups.

The terms "serviced" and "unserviced" refer to the individual campsites; they do not refer to the washroom facilities or other amenities available at the campground.

Drive-through Site
Campsite where the driver does not have to reverse their vehicle to exit (there is a separate entrance and exit to the individual campsite). Ideal for larger vehicles and trailers.
Walk-in Site
Campsite which requires some degree of walking to access the site, and therefore requires a tent. Vehicle will be parked a short distance away.
Overflow Site
Overflow campsites vary from park to park, and may range from a paved area to park a camping unit (not generally suitable for tents) to a more traditional, grassy site. They are unserviced and are not reservable.
Accessible Site
A campsite which is accessible to guests with limited mobility.

A designated structure for campfires located on a campsite. Check availability, as not all campsites offer a fire pit. In some parks, a fire permit is required to have a fire.

In some parks, only communal firepits are available, and access is shared with other guests.

Fire permit
In some campgrounds, guests will require a valid fire permit to have a campfire. A fire permit may include firewood. Please refer to the ‘Fire policy’ section of the QRT for individual campground policies.
In some campgrounds firewood is sold by the bundle, whereas in others a fire permit may give the holder access to the campground wood pile. Please refer to the ‘Fire policy’ section of the QRT for individual campground policies.
First-come, First-stay Site
Campsites that are available on a first come, first served basis only. These sites are only available to guests who are physically located at the campground. These sites cannot be registered over the telephone or on-line. These campsites may be available for only 1 night or for multiple nights depending on availability.
Shoulder Season
Shoulder season refers to the season before and after the peak season. While many campgrounds remain open outside of their peak season, the services offered during this period may be limited (please check with the park for more details).
Entrance Pass
A valid National Park Entrance Pass is required for all visitors to National Parks that have entry fees.
Daily Entrance Pass
A daily entrance pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the specified park on a per day basis for the period of time indicated.
Annual/Seasonal Entrance Pass
An annual or seasonal entrance pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the specified park for the period of time indicated.
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The Parks Canada Discovery Pass permits visitors unlimited entry to the participating Parks Canada national parks and national historic sites across Canada, for a period of 12 months.

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