Ontario and Manitoba are home to an abundance of provincial parks that offer some of the region’s best outdoor adventure opportunities. From birding and wildlife viewing to fishing, hiking and canoe tripping and much more, there is an unforgettable park experience waiting for you. Take a look at the list below for a few suggestions of the best parks to explore in the area.
Algonquin Provincial Park (Ontario)
Algonquin Park is known around the world for its spectacular wilderness and sees over one million visitors each year. This might sound busy, but if you get away from the Highway 60 corridor and head into the park’s interior (either by canoe or on foot) you will have no trouble getting away from it all. The park’s sparkling lakes and thick forest are hosts to a wide range of wildlife, including iconic Canadian species such as bears, beavers and wolves. Fishing opportunities abound in the park with some world-class angling for brook and lake trout. Whether you are heading out on a casual day-hike or are going deep into the backcountry with your camping gear, Algonquin Park offers some of the very best of the Canadian wilderness.
Bird’s Hill Provincial Park (Manitoba)
Located just 24 km from Winnipeg, this park is a birder’s paradise with over 200 species of birds spotted throughout the year. There are seven self-guided trails to explore as well as an observation tower to assist in your search. Species you may come across include northern goshawk, northern shrike, boreal chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, American woodcock, northern saw-whet owl, Sprague’s pipit and many others. There is a campground with 470 reservable sites and each July, the park is host to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, one of Canada’s largest music festivals. In the winter, enjoy sleigh rides, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Bon Echo Provincial Park (Ontario)
One of the main attractions to this park is the largest collection of Indigenous pictographs in North America, with over 260 markings found along the east shore of Mazinaw Lake. There is also a large, 530+ site campground with easy access to a beach and hiking trails, along with cabins and yurts for rent. Anglers can ply the waters for a variety of sportfish and birders can bring their binoculars to cross a few species off their list.
Duck Mountain Provincial Park (Manitoba)
Duck Mountain Provincial Park covers 1,424 km2 (550 mi2) and is a popular destination for anglers with a wide selection of roadside and backcountry lakes to choose from. Walleye, pike, bass, lake trout and rainbow trout can all be found here. Or hike Baldy Mountain, Manitoba’s highest point of land at 831 metres (2,724 ft) above sea level. Listen for the calls of songbirds and waterfowl as you explore, and even for the bugling of a bull elk. In the winter, snowmobile, cross-country ski and ice fish. No matter the season, Duck Mountain is one of Manitoba’s most beautiful parks.
Killarney Provincial Park (Ontario)
Covering 49,325 hectares (121,885 ac) of gorgeous Northeastern Ontario wilderness, the striking landscape of Killarney Provincial Park has been an inspiration for many Canadian painters. The white and pink mountains that dominate the skyline are particularly striking. Some of the best ways to explore the park are on foot via the elaborate hiking trail system or by canoe or kayak, with 183 water-access campsites to choose from. There is also vehicle-access camping and a beautiful beach with a day-use area if you do not feel like exploring the backcountry. In the winter, strap on a pair of cross-country skis and enjoy the stillness of the snow-covered landscape.
Lake Superior Provincial Park (Ontario)
Covering 160,810 hectares (397,270 ac), this park is home to rushing rivers, waterfalls, cliffs and canyons, along with a stunning section of the Lake Superior shoreline. You will find 11 hiking trails and eight canoe routes, plus three beaches including the 3 km-long beach on Agawa Bay. The Agawa Rock Pictographs, composed of 35 separate drawings, is one of the few pictograph sites in Ontario that can be accessed by foot. There is also a visitor centre that highlights the park’s history, and fishing for lake and rainbow trout can be exceptional.
Nopiming Provincial Park (Manitoba)
Nopiming is Anishinabe for “entrance to the wilderness” and much of this 1,429 km2 (887 mi2) park is only accessible by hiking or paddling. There are plenty of backcountry campsites if you want to immerse yourself in the Manitoba backcountry, or you can car-camp at one of four campgrounds in the park. The campgrounds offer boat launches and fish cleaning stations to aid with the excellent fishing found here for smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, perch and more.
Quetico Provincial Park (Ontario)
Located in the heart of Northwestern Ontario, this 5,000 km2 (3,105 mi2) park is known as one of the continent’s premier canoe tripping destinations. This massive system of interconnected lakes and rivers is home to over 2,200 backcountry campsites, many of which are situated along the historic routes of First Nations and fur traders. Keep your eyes peeled for the pictographs scattered throughout the park, especially around Lac La Croix. Moose, bald eagles and other wildlife are commonly seen as well. There are 21 official access points into the park, and anyone tripping into the interior must obtain a permit at one of six ranger stations – you can call 1 (807)597-2735 for help planning your trip.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (Ontario)
The highlight of this park is the 240 metres (790 ft) cliffs that look much like the profile of a sleeping person when viewed from nearby Thunder Bay. Ojibwa legend states that this is a local chieftain who disobeyed the Great Spirit and was turned to stone. Hiking to the top of the Giant grants you sweeping views over Lake Superior, with over 64 km (40 mi) of trails to explore in the park in total. In the winter, the trails are transformed into one of Ontario’s premier cross-country skiing networks. There is also a visitor centre with a museum along with both front and backcountry camping. If you are passing through the Thunder Bay area, be sure to make a visit to the Sleeping Giant.
Wabakimi Provincial Park (Ontario)
Enormous, remote and wild, Wabakimi Provincial Park covers 900,000 hectares (2,223,000 ac) of pristine Northwestern Ontario backcountry. The park is home to over 12,000 lakes and 2,000 km (1,240 mi) of canoe routes, with over 500 backcountry campsites scattered throughout. While exploring the park, you may run into the 300 woodland caribou that live here or find some of the park’s First Nations pictographs. Bring your fishing rod to enjoy some amazing angling for pike, walleye and other species. While some folks choose to fly into the park and enlist the services of a private lodge or outfitter, there is rough road access and the possibility to be dropped off and picked up by VIA Rail.
Whiteshell Provincial Park (Manitoba)
Whiteshell Provincial Park is a delight for outdoor enthusiasts at any time of the year. The park is home to 200 lakes, offering up some top-notch fishing for northern pike, bass, walleye and lake and rainbow trout. There are 11 camping areas, most of which are wheelchair accessible, plus a Trappers Museum and a goose sanctuary. Hiking, ATV riding, canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are a few of the other activities that can be enjoyed in this outdoor playground.
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These maps provide you with detailed descriptions of the region’s parks, plus industry-leading map detail with elevation contours, natural features, hiking and multi-use trails, fishing hot spots, campgrounds and more.