Algonquin & Beyond


Lake Name: Big Porcupine Lake

Number of Campsites: 16

Number of Permits Issued: 13

Closest Access Point: Smoke Lake (#6)

This Report: Campsite #5

Length of Stay: Day Visit

Date Visited: September 2023

Map of campsites on Big Porcupine Lake in Algonquin Park, updated for 2024
To purchase your own copy (physical & digital formats), visit Maps By Jeff

I immediately thought “now this is my type of campsite!” while approaching Campsite #5 from the water. There’s a huge amount of rock at the shoreline and the main living area of the campsite is totally exposed under the sky. Yeah, the type of campsites I like are the ones that just assume the forecast will be perfect. And you would definitely need a perfect forecast if you were camping at this site. The rocky shoreline provides an awesome place to swim, sunbathe, stargaze, and enjoy the beautiful views in the south half of Big Porcupine Lake. But that rocky shoreline is basically 50% of the campsite. Inside the main area is a nice fire pit with one flat bench of seating in front of it. For a soloist, this is perfect. Just like the rocky shoreline, this is my type of fire pit setup! And again, it assumes the forecast will be perfect because it is totally exposed to the elements with limited tarping options. But having a fire pit with a view onto the water like that… it just can’t be beat. One of the good tent spots is directly beside the fire pit in an overgrown grassy area. It was hard to tell just how flat the ground was, because of the grass, but it looked like it would provide a comfortable sleep. Further back inland were a few more tent spot options that provided more shelter, but with the sacrifice of not having the beautiful view from the tent. For some reason, this campsite had ‘small stranded island’ vibes, and in many ways, it represented exactly what I love in a campsite. But if I didn’t already make it very clear, you’re going to want to make sure you have a promising forecast before choosing this site. The other compromise is that it’s sandwiched between the portage to Bonnechere Lake, and Campsite #6. This is a beautiful campsite, but it is not a private campsite.

1) Follow Leave No Trace (LNT); leave the campsite in better condition than you found it!
2) The campsite numbering system (for backcountry canoeing) is not official from Ontario Parks. It is a community-based effort for easy referencing.
3) Reservations for backcountry canoeing are lake-specific, not campsite-specific. You do not reserve a specific campsite. Campsites are first-come-first-serve.
4) Only camp on lakes where you have a valid permit; do not camp off-permit.
5) Physical campsite features can change throughout the season (eg. water levels, leaf fall) and due to human intervention (eg. fire pit, seating).
6) To book a reservation, visit the Ontario Parks website:

Algonquin & Beyond is not affiliated with Algonquin Park or Ontario Parks.

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