Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails for Adventure Seekers

Ontario, Canada, boasts an abundance of breathtaking landscapes and diverse terrains, making it a paradise for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts. From rugged coastlines to lush forests, Ontario’s best backpacking trails offer unforgettable experiences for adventurers of all levels. This list features the best backpacking trails in Ontario.

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épingle des meilleures sentiers de longue randonnée en Ontario

Southern Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails

Bruce Trail

  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Length: Approximately 900 kilometres
  • Duration: Varies (section hiking recommended)
  • Description: The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath, spanning from Niagara to Tobermory. While backpackers may not tackle the entire trail in one go, its diverse landscapes, including waterfalls, escarpments, and forests, offer endless opportunities for exploration.
Bruce Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Avon Trail

  • Location: Southwestern Ontario, near Stratford and St. Marys
  • Length: Approximately 110 kilometres
  • Duration: 5-7 days (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Avon Trail winds through the picturesque countryside of Southwestern Ontario, offering scenic views of rolling farmlands, meandering rivers, and quaint villages. Hikers can explore lush forests, historic sites, and charming rural landscapes along this tranquil trail.

The Thames Valley Trail

  • Location: Southwestern Ontario, near London
  • Length: Approximately 110 kilometres
  • Duration: 5-7 days (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Thames Valley Trail meanders along the Thames River, showcasing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Southwestern Ontario. Hikers can explore lush woodlands, serene wetlands, and scenic river vistas while discovering historic landmarks and charming communities.

The Oak Ridges Trail

  • Location: Southern Ontario, spanning from the Niagara Escarpment to the Trent River Watershed
  • Length: Approximately 280 kilometres
  • Duration: 2-4 weeks (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Oak Ridges Trail traverses diverse landscapes, including lush forests, rolling hills, and tranquil waterways, offering stunning views of Southern Ontario’s natural beauty. Hikers can explore scenic trails, encounter diverse wildlife, and discover hidden gems along this expansive route.

Ganaraska Trail

  • Location: Southern Ontario, spanning from Port Hope to Collingwood
  • Length: Approximately 500 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-6 weeks (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Ganaraska Trail winds through the picturesque landscapes of Southern Ontario, offering panoramic views of Lake Ontario, lush forests, and scenic valleys. Hikers can explore rugged terrain, tranquil woodlands, and charming rural communities along this historic trail.
backcountry campsite on a backpacking trail in Ontario. The firering is made of rocks with two logs set on each side as seats and a tent in the backl

Central Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails

Highland Backpacking Trail

  • Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 35 kilometres
  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Description: The Highland Backpacking Trail winds through Algonquin’s rugged interior, offering a remote, immersive wilderness experience. Hikers can expect challenging terrain, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife along this scenic route.
Backcountry campsite by the lake and scattered trees in Algonquin Provincial Park on the Highland Backpacking Trail

Western Uplands Backpacking Trail

  • Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 88 kilometres
  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Description: The Western Uplands Backpacking Trail traverses diverse landscapes, including dense forests, rocky ridges, and tranquil lakes. Backpackers can enjoy the solitude of Algonquin’s backcountry while marvelling at its natural beauty.

Eastern Pines Trail

  • Location: Algonquin Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 19 kilometres
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Description: The Eastern Pines Trail provides a scenic journey through Algonquin’s tranquil forests and pristine lakeshores. Hikers can experience the park’s natural beauty, encounter wildlife, and enjoy opportunities for birdwatching and photography along this moderate trail.

Northern Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails

La Cloche Silhouette Trail

  • Location: Killarney Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 78 kilometres
  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Description: La Cloche Silhouette Trail winds through the stunning landscapes of Killarney Provincial Park, offering panoramic views of the La Cloche Mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and vibrant forests. This challenging trail is renowned for its rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas, making it a favourite among experienced backpackers.
view of a lake and forest of Killarney Provincial park on La Cloche Silhouette Trail; one of Ontario's best backpacking trail

Pukaskwa Coastal Hiking Trail including Mdaabii Miikna

  • Location: Pukaskwa National Park
  • Length: Approximately 60 kilometres
  • Duration: 4-6 days
  • Description: The Pukaskwa Coastal Hiking Trail and Mdaabii Miikna offer a remarkable journey along Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline. Hikers can immerse themselves in the park’s pristine wilderness, encountering ancient forests, secluded beaches, and dramatic coastal cliffs.
Pukaskwa Coastal Backpacking Trail in Ontario

Lake Superior Coastal Trail

  • Location: Lake Superior Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 65 kilometres
  • Duration: 4-6 days
  • Description: The Lake Superior Coastal Trail meanders through the rugged beauty of Lake Superior Provincial Park, offering awe-inspiring views of Canada’s largest lake. From towering cliffs to secluded coves, this trail showcases the raw and untamed wilderness of the region.
Lake Superior Coastal Backpacking Trail in Ontario following the shore of Lake Superior on a cobble beach

Kitchitwaa  Shkwaandem Trail (Heaven’s Gate)

  • Location: Northern Ontario
  • Length: Approximately 53 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • Description: The Kitchitwaa Shkwaandem Trail, also known as Heaven’s Gate, offers a captivating journey through the remote wilderness of Northern Ontario. Backpackers can explore ancient forests, tranquil lakes, and breathtaking vistas, experiencing the pristine beauty of the Canadian Shield.

Kabeyun Trail

  • Location: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Length: Approximately 40 kilometres
  • Duration: 2-3 days
  • Description: The Kabeyun Trail offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the iconic Sleeping Giant formation. Hikers can traverse rugged terrain, rocky cliffs, and dense forests while immersing themselves in the park’s pristine wilderness and diverse ecosystems.
View of Lake Superior from the Kabeyun Trail in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Voyageur Trail

  • Location: Northern Ontario, spanning from Sudbury to Thunder Bay
  • Length: Approximately 1,000 kilometres (varies based on sections)
  • Duration: Varies (section hiking recommended)
  • Description: The Voyageur Trail showcases the rugged beauty of Northern Ontario, traversing diverse landscapes, including boreal forests, rugged coastlines, and rolling hills. Backpackers can explore remote wilderness areas, encounter wildlife, and experience the region’s rich cultural heritage along this epic trail.

Eastern Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails

Abes and Essen Trail

  • Location: Bon Echo Provincial Park
  • Length: Approximately 17 kilometres
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Description: The Abes and Essen Trail offers a scenic journey through the rugged terrain of Bon Echo Provincial Park, known for its towering cliffs and picturesque lakeshore. This moderate trail is perfect for a weekend getaway or a short backpacking adventure.
Abes and Essen Lake from the trail is on the list for Ontario's best backpacking trail

Rideau Trail

  • Location: Eastern Ontario, connecting Ottawa to Kingston
  • Length: Approximately 387 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-4 weeks (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Rideau Trail winds through diverse landscapes, including lush forests, tranquil farmlands, and picturesque waterways. Hikers can explore historic sites, charming villages, and natural wonders along this scenic route, which follows the historic Rideau Canal system.

The Ottawa-Temiskaming Highland Trail

  • Location: Eastern Ontario, near Ottawa and Temiskaming
  • Length: Approximately 400 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-4 weeks (varies based on sections)
  • Description: The Ottawa-Temiskaming Highland Trail offers a remote and challenging wilderness experience, traversing rugged terrain, dense forests, and pristine lakeshores. Hikers can explore the untamed beauty of Ontario’s highlands, encounter diverse wildlife, and connect with nature along this epic trail.

Western Ontario’s Best Backpacking Trails

Mantario Hiking Trail

  • Location: Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba (close to the Ontario border)
  • Length: Approximately 63 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • Description: The Mantario Hiking Trail offers a challenging wilderness experience, traversing rugged terrain, pristine lakes, and dense boreal forests. Hikers can immerse themselves in the remote beauty of Manitoba’s backcountry while enjoying opportunities for wildlife viewing and solitude.

Casque Isles Trail

  • Location: Northwestern Ontario
  • Length: Approximately 53 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • Description: The Casque Isles Trail showcases the rugged beauty of Lake Superior’s north shore, featuring stunning vistas, rocky beaches, and lush forests. Backpackers can explore remote coastal landscapes and discover hidden gems along this scenic route.

These are just a few remarkable backpacking trails awaiting exploration in Ontario, offering endless opportunities for unforgettable backpacking experiences. So pack your gear, lace up your boots, and embark on your next great adventure in the heart of Ontario. Every one of these backpacking trails promises endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

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