Rock Lake Campground in Algonquin Park: Car Camping and Great Day Trips for Hiking, Canoeing, Cycling

Rock Lake Campground, nestled on the north shore of the scenic Rock Lake enjoys a position 8 km south of Highway 60 (at the km 40 marker), so it feels the most remote of the Highway 60 access campgrounds. For those who like physical challenges, there are hiking and biking trials as well as canoeing opportunities. It also abounds with points of inspiration for more meditative pursuits like painting, photography, reading or birdwatching. It also acts as a jumping off point to explore other aspects of Algonquin Park along the Highway 60 corridor.

Below are some of the highlights and details about the park.

How to find Rock Lake

 

 

The turn off for Rock Lake camground is 40 km from the West Gate and 16 km from the East Gate. It features 2 unsupervised beaches and a new comfort station with shower facilities, flush toilets and laundry. There are 121 sites, 72 of which have electrical hook-ups, but there is no camp store, so a run for supplies means a trip to the Two Rivers Store (at km 31.4), about a 15 km drive by car or a 10 km (one way) trip on a bike (see Cycling, below).

 

Rock Lake Campgrounds

 

 

The campground is divided into two sections, Section A offering electric hookups and its own beach (the nicer of the two, perhaps?) and Section B, for camping ‘unplugged’, which offers some lovely shoreline sites. Each section offers a handful of non-reservable sites, so even if booking online has no vacancies, an eager camper can always take a chance on a vacancy on one of these first-come first-served sites. Rock Lake doesn’t offer the most secluded sites, but there are good ones in Section B facing the water that allow, in quiet moments, the feeling that you have your own private lakeside beach.

Canoeing on Rock Lake

 

 

Rock Lake, with its two islands, is a lovely lake for exploring by canoe, especially the steep cliff faces that edge portions of the perimeter. It is an access point for interior canoe-campers, so the option exists for Rock Lake campers to take the reasonably short 375 m portage to Pen Lake for further explorations.

Hiking near Rock Lake

 

 

Booth's Rock Trail is one that shouldn't be missed; this 5.1 km loop has a spectacular lookout overlooking Rock Lake and great history lesson to learn while hiking. Be sure to pick up a trail guide booklet at the trailhead (also available online or at the Park gates and Visitor's Centre Bookstore). As a portion of the trail follows an abandoned railway bed, the guide explains the history of logging in the park and the legacy that industry (as well as tourism) has had (and continues to have) on the park. Remember to check weather conditions before setting out, wear proper footwear and clothing and don't expect to have cell phone service. The trail access point is located at the far end of the Section B campground.Take the camera and enjoy the views.

Cycling near Rock Lake

 

 

The 10 km long Old Railway Bike Trail is a scenic and easy way to spend a few hours away from camp following the abandoned rail bed or a line built across the park in 1895. The trail passes six other campgrounds in the area: Coon Lake, Whitefish Lake, Pog Lake, Kearney Lake (indirectly), Lake of Two Rivers and Mew Lake and also allows cyclists access to the Two Rivers Store at the western end of the route.

No matter what your passions, Rock Lake offers something for everyone and is worth the drive to Algonquin Park, spring, summer or fall. Rock Lake is operated by Ontario Parks and open from late April to Thanksgiving.

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