The 7 Crown Land Camping In Ontario: Places to Sleep Under the Stars

Ontario Crown land camping locations

Ontario Crown Land Camping Locations: 7 Great Places To Sleep Out Under The Stars is a guide to overnight camping accommodations throughout Ontario. These campsites are all on Crown land, which means they are not regularly maintained and offer an authentic wilderness experience.

Introduction to Crown Land Camping

Crown land camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in Ontario. The province has over 4 million hectares of Crown land, so plenty of places exist to explore. Camping on Crown land differs from camping in a provincial or national park. No developed campgrounds exist, so you must bring your supplies and be prepared for backcountry camping.

Before heading out on your trip, familiarize yourself with the Camping on Crown Land leaflet. This document outlines the rules and regulations for camping on Crown land in Ontario. It is essential to follow these rules to help protect the natural environment and ensure everyone can enjoy the outdoors.

Ontario has many different types of Crown land, from forested areas to wetlands and everything in between. The best way to find a spot to camp is to explore online maps or talk to someone at a local outfitters store. Once you have found a good place, arrive early and scout the area before setting up camp. Look for a level spot not too close to water or other campsites. You will also want to ensure no hazards are nearby, such as dead trees or cliffs.

Once you have found the perfect spot, it’s time to set up camp! Ensure you bring all the supplies you need for your trip, including food, water, shelter, and clothing. 

The 7 Ontario Crown land camping locations

Crown land camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about pesky rules and regulations. Ontario has various great Crown Land camping locations perfect for a weekend getaway or a more extended camping trip.

1. Owen Sound Bluffs

Owen Sound Bluffs is a hidden gem for camping enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located in Ontario, Canada, this stunning destination offers breathtaking views, exhilarating hiking trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

The main attraction of Owen Sound Bluffs is its scenic views. Situated along the shores of Georgian Bay, the bluffs provide panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe. From atop the bluffs, you can witness the beauty of the pristine waters merging with the rugged cliffs, creating a picturesque backdrop for your camping experience.

For hiking enthusiasts, Owen Sound Bluffs offers trails that wind through lush forests and meandering streams. These trails cater to all skill levels and provide an immersive experience in nature’s embrace. Whether you prefer a stroll or a challenging trek, there is something for everyone.

One of the highlights of exploring Owen Sound Bluffs is the opportunity to spot wildlife in their natural habitat. The area is home to various species, such as white-tailed deer, foxes, rabbits, and numerous bird species. Keep your eyes peeled as you traverse the trails; you never know what fascinating creatures you may encounter.

Camping at Owen Sound Bluffs allows you to immerse yourself in nature’s tranquillity while enjoying modern amenities. The campground offers spacious sites with access to clean facilities and amenities such as fire pits and picnic areas. Fall asleep under a starlit sky and wake up to the soothing sounds of nature surrounding you.

In conclusion, Owen Sound Bluffs is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking scenic beauty, thrilling hikes, and wildlife encounters. Whether you are an avid camper or simply looking for a memorable getaway amidst nature’s wonders, this destination has it all. Pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure at Owen Sound Bluffs!

2. Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Georgian Bay Islands, located in Ontario, Canada, offer a perfect getaway for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning landscapes and diverse activities, it has become a popular destination for camping, island hopping, boating activities, and beach relaxation.

Camping in Georgian Bay Islands National Park is an experience like no other. The park boasts several campgrounds where you can pitch your tent or park your RV amidst picturesque surroundings. Wake up to the soothing sounds of nature and enjoy the breathtaking views of crystal-clear waters and lush green forests.

Island hopping is another exciting activity that allows visitors to explore the numerous islands across Georgian Bay. Each island has its unique charm and can be reached by boat or kayak. Discover hidden coves, secluded beaches, and untouched wilderness as you hop from one island to another.

For those who love boating, Georgian Bay offers endless opportunities to sail through its pristine waters. Whether you prefer cruising on your own or renting a boat from one of the marinas in the area, you can navigate through the bay’s intricate network of channels and discover stunning vistas at every turn.

If relaxation is what you seek, Georgian Bay Islands offer beautiful sandy beaches where you can unwind under the sun or take a refreshing swim in clear blue waters. Bask in the tranquillity of nature as you soak up the beauty surrounding you.

In conclusion, Georgian Bay Islands are ideal for camping enthusiasts to connect with nature while enjoying island hopping, boating adventures, and beach relaxation. So pack your bags and prepare to create unforgettable memories in this captivating destination.

3. Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada, is a hidden gem for camping enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its breathtaking cliffs and caves and crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling, this destination offers a truly unforgettable experience.

One of the main attractions of the Bruce Peninsula is its stunning cliffs. These majestic limestone formations provide a dramatic backdrop for campers seeking awe-inspiring views. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking to enjoy the beauty of nature, exploring these cliffs is an absolute must-do activity.

In addition to the cliffs, Bruce Peninsula boasts crystal clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkelling. The pristine turquoise waters offer a unique opportunity to discover an underwater world filled with vibrant marine life. Snorkelers can explore the diverse ecosystem, while swimmers can cool off on hot summer days in these refreshing waters.

Camping in the Bruce Peninsula provides an immersive experience surrounded by nature’s beauty. Various campgrounds are available, ranging from primary tent sites to fully equipped cabins. Wake up to birds chirping and breathe in the fresh forest air as you plan your day full of adventures.

For those seeking adventure beyond camping, numerous hiking trails throughout the Bruce Peninsula National Park lead to hidden gems, such as Indian Head Cove and The Grotto – popular spots known for their picturesque landscapes and opportunities for cliff jumping or diving into the crystal-clear water.

With its stunning cliffs and caves, along with its inviting waters, perfect for swimming and snorkelling activities, Bruce Peninsula offers a unique camping experience that will leave visitors in awe. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this destination should be at the top of your list.

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4. Grey County Forests

Nestled in the heart of Ontario, Canada, Grey County boasts an abundance of breathtaking forests that offer an unparalleled camping experience. The serene woodland settings provide a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts and campers alike. With miles of trails to explore, these forests are a haven for those seeking solace in nature’s embrace.

One of the most remarkable aspects of camping in Grey County forests is the opportunity for bird watching. The region is home to a diverse array of bird species, making it an ideal destination for avid birdwatchers. From vibrant warblers to majestic raptors, these forests provide a unique vantage point to observe and appreciate the rich avian biodiversity.

Whether you are an experienced birder or enjoy being surrounded by nature’s symphony, Grey County forests offer a sanctuary where you can immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquillity of the great outdoors. So pack your binoculars and embark on an adventure filled with awe-inspiring sights and melodic chirps as you discover the wonders that await you in Grey County’s pristine woodlands.

5. Pretty River Valley Provincial Park

Nestled in the heart of Ontario, Canada, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park offers camping enthusiasts a remarkable experience surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. This park is renowned for its picturesque river valley landscapes, making it a haven for hiking and photography enthusiasts.

Camping at Pretty River Valley Provincial Park allows visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s tranquillity while enjoying various recreational activities. The park boasts well-maintained campsites that offer both comfort and convenience. Whether you prefer tent camping or RVing, suitable options are available to accommodate your needs.

One of the main attractions of Pretty River Valley Provincial Park is its stunning river valley landscapes. As you explore the park’s extensive trail system, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of rolling hills, lush forests, and meandering rivers. These awe-inspiring vistas provide endless opportunities for capturing mesmerizing photographs that showcase the park’s natural splendour.

Hiking enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise at Pretty River Valley Provincial Park. With trails ranging in difficulty levels from easy to challenging, there is something for every skill level. As you venture along the well-marked paths, you’ll have the chance to discover hidden waterfalls, encounter wildlife in their natural habitats, and marvel at the diverse flora and fauna that call this park home.

Photographers will appreciate the abundance of subjects in Pretty River Valley Provincial Park. From capturing vibrant sunsets over the river valley to photographing wildlife up close, this park offers an array of opportunities for creative expression through photography. The changing seasons further enhance these photographic possibilities as each season paints a unique canvas on which photographers can capture breathtaking moments.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational offerings, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park also provides amenities such as picnic areas and interpretive programs that educate visitors about local flora and fauna. This ensures that every visitor can make the most out of their time spent in this picturesque setting.

Whether you’re looking for a serene camping experience, a challenging hike, or an opportunity to capture stunning photographs, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park offers it all. With its picturesque river valley landscapes and diverse activities, this park is a gem waiting to be explored.

6. Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve

Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and camping enthusiasts alike. Located in Ontario, Canada, this reserve offers breathtaking panoramic views from its lookout point, making it a perfect spot for capturing stunning photographs or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.

One of the main attractions of Nottawasaga Lookout is its lookout point. Situated at an elevated position, it provides visitors with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. On a clear day, you can see for miles and take in the scenic beauty of the area. Whether you’re an avid photographer or appreciate natural vistas, the lookout point will not disappoint.

In addition to the awe-inspiring views, Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve also boasts several well-maintained nature trails perfect for exploring. These trails wind through diverse ecosystems, including forests and wetlands. As you hike along these paths, you’ll have the opportunity to observe various species of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat.

For those who wish to extend their stay and immerse themselves in nature fully, camping facilities are available within the reserve. Camping at Nottawasaga Lookout allows visitors to experience tranquillity and serenity amidst picturesque surroundings. The campground provides basic amenities such as washrooms and picnic areas while allowing campers to reconnect with nature.

Overall, Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve offers a unique combination of breathtaking panoramic views from its lookout point and captivating nature trails for exploration. Whether planning a day trip or seeking a camping adventure, this reserve promises an unforgettable experience surrounded by natural beauty in Ontario’s great outdoors.

7. Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area

Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area offers an unparalleled camping experience for nature enthusiasts seeking a pristine wilderness getaway. Located in Ontario, Canada, this stunning destination boasts breathtaking natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities.

Camping in Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene surroundings and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With designated campsites nestled within the untouched wilderness, visitors can enjoy a sense of solitude while being surrounded by picturesque landscapes.

One of the highlights of camping in Kolapore Uplands is the backcountry hiking and skiing opportunities it offers. The area is known for its extensive trails that wind through dense forests, rolling hills, and scenic viewpoints. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a winter sports enthusiast, options are available for all skill levels.

Exploring these trails on foot or skis allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of this wilderness area while also providing a sense of adventure and challenge. From leisurely walks to challenging treks, routes are available for every preference.

Moreover, Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area is committed to preserving its pristine environment. Camping here means experiencing nature at its finest while respecting its delicate ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to Leave No Trace principles, ensuring minimal impact on the surroundings and preserving them for future generations.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking a camping experience that combines untouched wilderness with backcountry hiking and skiing opportunities, look no further than Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area. Its tranquil atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and commitment to conservation make it an ideal destination for those who crave a true outdoor adventure.

What to Pack for a Crown Land Camping Trip?

Crown Land Camping In Ontario

When planning a camping trip to Crown Land, it’s important to pack the essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors. Here are some essential items you should consider packing for your Crown Land camping adventure:

1. Tent and Sleeping Gear: A sturdy tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and pillows are essential for a good night’s sleep in the wilderness.

2. Cooking Equipment: Pack a portable stove or grill, cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates, cups, and cutlery. Don’t forget matches or a lighter for starting your campfire.

3. Food and Water: Plan your meals ahead of time and pack non-perishable food items that are easy to prepare. Don’t forget to bring enough drinking water or a water filtration system if there is no potable water source available.

4. Clothing: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions at your camping destination. Pack layers of clothing, including warm jackets, rain gear, hats, gloves, and sturdy footwear for hiking.

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5. Personal Hygiene Items: Bring toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and any necessary medications.

6. Camping Essentials: Include flashlights or headlamps with extra batteries for nighttime illumination. A first aid kit is also crucial for minor injuries or emergencies.

7. Navigation Tools: Carry maps of the area along with a compass or GPS device to help you navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

8. Recreation Equipment: Depending on your interests, consider bringing fishing gear if there are fishing opportunities nearby or recreational equipment such as binoculars for birdwatching or sports equipment like frisbees or soccer balls.

9. Firewood and Fire Safety Equipment: Check local regulations regarding firewood collection before your trip; if permitted, bring firewood along with fire starters or newspapers to help start your campfire safely.

Remember always to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment. By packing these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable Crown Land camping trip.

Regulations for Crown Land Camping in Ontario

Camping on Crown land in Ontario is a great way to experience the province’s beautiful natural landscapes. However, specific regulations are in place to ensure a safe and responsible experience for everyone involved. 

Crown land refers to public lands owned by the provincial government, which are available for various recreational activities, including camping. However, to protect the environment and other users of these lands, specific guidelines need to be followed. 

Firstly, it is essential to obtain a valid camping permit before embarking on a camping trip on Crown land. In most cases, a camping permit is mandatory for overnight stays. These permits can be obtained online or from designated offices or outlets, and it is essential to check with the appropriate authorities for specific information on how and where to obtain a permit.

Additionally, there are specific rules regarding campsite selection and setup. Campers must choose designated campsites whenever possible and avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife habitats. While campfires may be allowed, they are subject to restrictions during fire seasons or in sensitive areas.

Moreover, Leave No Trace principles should be followed while camping on Crown land. This includes packing out all garbage and waste, minimizing the impact on natural resources, and respecting other campers’ privacy and enjoyment of the area.

It is essential to familiarize yourself with all the applicable regulations before embarking on a Crown land camping trip in Ontario. The Public Lands Act and the Trespass to Property Act regulate camping on Crown land in Ontario, allowing camping on unoccupied Crown land for up to 21 days in any calendar year.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip, such as obtaining a permit, following Leave No Trace principles, setting up campsites at least 30 meters from any water body, trail, or road, and not camping on private or leased land without the owner’s permission. Also, alcohol is prohibited on Crown land unless you have obtained a permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Ontario Crown Land Camping Experience

Camping on Ontario Crown Land can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety and ensure an enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to help you have a safe and memorable camping experience on Ontario Crown Land:

1. Research and Plan: Before embarking on your camping trip, thoroughly research the area where you plan to camp. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations governing Crown Land camping in Ontario. Make sure you obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

2. Pack Essential Gear: Prepare a comprehensive checklist of essential camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, first aid supplies, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions. Don’t forget to bring enough food and clean drinking water.

3. Leave No Trace: Respect the environment by practicing Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all garbage and waste, and dispose of it properly when you return from your trip. Minimize your impact on nature by leaving the campsite as you found it.

4. Campfire Safety: If permitted at your campsite, build fires only in designated fire pits or areas. Ensure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving the site or sleeping at night.

5. Wildlife Awareness: Ontario’s Crown Land has diverse wildlife species. Respect their habitats by observing animals safely and not feeding them human food scraps.

6. Navigation Skills: Brush up on basic navigation skills using maps or GPS devices before heading out into unfamiliar territory. Be aware of potential hazards, such as cliffs or bodies of water.

7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone for emergencies, but be aware that there may be limited reception in remote areas of Crown Land camping sites in Ontario.

8. Travel with Others: It is always safer to travel with others when exploring Crown Land areas in Ontario for added security and assistance if needed.

By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience on Ontario Crown Land. Remember to respect the environment, follow regulations, and be prepared for any situation that may arise during your trip.

Ontario Crown land camping locations
Ontario Crown land camping locations

How do I get an Ontario Crown Land Camping Permit?

To obtain an Ontario Crown Land Camping Permit, follow these steps:

1. Research: Start by familiarizing yourself with the regulations and requirements for camping on Ontario Crown Land. Visit the official website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to gather information about permits, fees, and any specific rules or restrictions.

2. Determine the location: Decide on the specific Crown Land area where you wish to camp. The MNRF website provides maps and information about available camping areas.

3. Apply for a permit: Once you have chosen your desired camping location, you must apply for a license through the MNRF website or by contacting their office directly. The application process may vary depending on your chosen area and the type of camping you intend to do (e.g., backcountry camping, vehicle-based camping).

4. Provide necessary details: When applying for a permit, be prepared to provide details such as your name, contact information, preferred dates of camping, number of people in your group, and any special requirements or equipment you may need.

5. Pay applicable fees: There may be fees associated with obtaining a Crown Land Camping Permit. Check the MNRF website or contact their office for current fee information and payment methods.

6. Follow guidelines and regulations: Once you have obtained your permit, it is essential to adhere to all policies and regulations set forth by the MNRF during your camping trip. This includes respecting natural resources, practicing Leave No Trace principles, and observing specific rules outlined in your permit.

Remember that obtaining a Crown Land Camping Permit allows you to enjoy Ontario’s beautiful wilderness responsibly while ensuring that natural resources are preserved for future generations.


Lisa Mario
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