Camp at Penn Lake

Rock Lake

Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada is an amazing place for backcountry camping, with over 7,653 square kilometers of land, hundreds of campsites and 2,400 lakes. You can do virtually any camping activity and the skill level varies from beginner to expert.

One of many camping options in the park is to start at Rock Lake Access Point #9, where you canoe through Rock Lake to the portage. This portage is just about 400 meters, which is not too far but it is quite a small route and slippery in areas.

You can only reserve a lake, you cannot reserve a campsite, so it is best to go early in the morning as it is first come first serve. We took the first campsite in the second lake (Penn Lake) which was a large island that we had all to ourselves.

Backcountry camping at Algonquin is dog friendly, so we had our favourite camping buddy Shady Bear, our lab, with us. You should have your dog tied up so as not to get lost in this huge back country when you are not watching them carefully.

During August the bugs are minimal and the weather is amazing, allowing you to swim for most of the day.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Pillows (we used small, camping specific ones from MEC)
  • Rented canoe and paddles
  • Cooking pots
  • Camp bowls, plates and utensils
  • Grill (there was one there but just in case)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water jugs
  • Water filter (pump)
  • Cards
  • Headlamps
  • Toilet paper
  • Matches, lighter
  • Bug spray, sunscreen (natural)
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Quick dry towels (including one to clean the dogs paws)
  • Fishing items
  • Knife
  • Hatchet
Show More
RT Distance 1.9 Miles
Activities Camping, Fishing, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Dog Friendly
Cliff Jumping


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

about 2 years ago

Great Weekend Trip

The easy access to these lakes makes it easy to get away for the weekend. I went in May right when Rock Lake opened its camps so my group basically had the lake to ourselves. With the high water levels we were able to canoe up creeks that we normally would be unable to. There is a ton of wildlife, plenty of otters on Galeairy Lake (a quick portage away) and on one of our nights a moose walked through our campsite. Unfortunately we didn't see it only its tracks the next morning. There is also plenty of hiking to do with gorgeous trails. My only regret on the trip was not bringing my camera.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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