Backcountry campsite

Woodland Caribou trip-planner

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is arguably one of Ontario Parks’ best destinations for backcountry wilderness camping and canoeing.

This vast park (544,160 hectares) features a Boreal ecosystem influenced by a prairie climate and displays a diverse community of flora and fauna, including being a home to threatened Woodland Caribou.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park Logo

It is considered a cultural landscape, with records of historical use dating back 9,000 years. The park is within the UNESCO World Heritage site known as Pimachiowin Aki, living cultural landscape, recognizing the Anishinaabeg as stewards of the land. This designation highlights the value of the area and its significance in preservation.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park works towards protecting significant natural and cultural features while also providing a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

This blog is your one-stop location for up-to-date information that will help you plan a safe and memorable backcountry canoeing experience. We urge you to monitor this blog and contact the park office should you have any questions about the park. If you need help with trip planning, consider reaching out to one of our local outfitters for assistance.

Urgent Park Notices

Last Updated October 25, 2023

Water Levels

Check back in Spring 2024 for an update on current water level conditions.

2021 Fire Impacts

In 2021 approximately 55% of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park burned. Fires of note that year included RED016, RED077, RED073, KEN051. Even areas that have been visited by park staff may still be more difficult than normal to traverse.

Please use caution when travelling in a previous forest fire area. Be mindful of compromised tree roots on campsites.

The Fire Boundary Map and Burn Severity Map are available to help with your trip planning needs. Please see the fire section of the blog for more information and to learn about why fire is so important to our boreal ecosystem.

Resources and Services

Last Updated June 21, 2022

Visitors can access the park via road to an entry point, remote fly in or use a waterway entry. Note that there are no roads located within the boundary of the park.

Woodland Caribou has a number of canoe outfitters, outpost camps, main base lodges and local service providers that can help make your trip to the park unforgettable.  Ground and water shuttle services are available to your entry point if needed.  Check the Bulletin Board pages of our Park Information Guide for contacts.

We recommend purchasing the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park Adventure Series Canoe Route Map to assist with trip planning. You may purchase a copy online, via your canoe outfitter, or by contacting the park office.

Below are some other helpful documents for planning:

Park Permits

Last Updated June 21, 2022

When you’re ready to visit, park permits may be obtained online under the backcountry registration tab. These may only be purchased up to two weeks in advance and are non-refundable. You may also obtain a permit at the Red Lake Ontario Parks Office at 227 Howey street, Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 4:30 PM. Permits can also be purchased at the self serve kiosk (cash only) outside the Ontario Parks office.

Road Information

Last Updated October 25, 2023

Road conditions to Leano and Lund access points from Red Lake as of 2023 are passable. Small washouts and loose gravel make travel difficult and is not recommended for vehicles without good ground clearance. Detailed information about road routes can be found here.

Keep in mind that road conditions can change rapidly due to beaver activity and precipitation. Be aware and be prepared. While you do not require a 4×4 vehicle on this road, a vehicle with good clearance is recommended.

Some roads may have ongoing forestry operations and other activities on them. You may be sharing the roadway with equipment such as harvesting machinery and log haul trucks. Please drive with caution.

Each drive-to access point is marked by small wayfinding signs. Each access point has a small parking lot and a kiosk that includes a map and a notice board.

Please note that camping at the parking area is not permitted. We urge you to bearproof your vehicle if leaving it at the access point. Do not leave food, food wrappers, or garbage in your vehicle.

Kiosk Sign at Onnie Lake Access Point


Last Updated June 21, 2022

The best practice when choosing a campsite in Woodland Caribou is to select from the park’s designated campsite inventory map. In this way, we limit our impact on sensitive values (environmental and cultural).

We are in the process of revisiting approved campsites to reassess the viability of the sites in burned areas of the park. Please use caution in areas of previous burns – trees may be overhead hazards.

Avoid setting up tents in the vicinity of these hazards where possible.

Campsites are discreetly marked by a small fire ring and natural tent spaces. They are not signed. Please do not create new campsites nor clear existing campsites to accommodate new tent pads. Campsite occupancy is limited to 9 people.

The use of hammocks is welcomed on backcountry campsites. However, due to the high number of young regenerating forests post wildfire, setting up a hammock may not be possible at most campsites. Please always bring along a tent. Your outfitter may be able to identify hammock friendly sites along your planned route.

Portage Clearing

Last Updated October 25, 2023

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park offers nearly 2,000 km of interconnecting canoe routes. Park staff work diligently to keep portage routes and campsites maintained, but visitors should anticipate that each route is not visited by staff annually. Prior to the 2021 fire events, all routes would be visited once in a four year rotation.

Portage trails within the park are rugged and challenging. The placement of ‘rip-rap’ or corduroy in a wetter section of trail helps minimize the impact of visitors walking around a wet/muddy obstacle, as well as preventing boots from being sucked in completely. You must still step carefully as these boardwalks may be slippery, fall out of place, rot, or float away.

With the large amount of fire on the landscape in 2021, many portages are more difficult to traverse. Progress by backcountry crews in the 2022 and 2023 seasons have cleared most of the park, however, even areas cleared recently may have deadfall or other obstructions, particularly if in a recently burned area.

Portages can become hard to find and follow when re-growth happens in a recent burn.

For this reason, crews sometimes use blazes, flagging tape, and rock cairns to assist visitors in locating and following the trails. Otherwise, the use of flagging tape is discouraged.

Park Staff wrapping flagging tape around a burned tree on portage trail

We heavily rely on visitor trip reports to share current information on portage conditions. Your feedback at the end of the trip is very important to us.

Please report any trail that may require attention (chainsaw work) to, as this will help us prioritize work efforts.

In 2020 and 2021 there was less maintenance crew presence in the backcountry. We stress that you come prepared with a good quality hand saw to get you through existing portage trails, as there will inevitably be some fallen trees across the trails and smaller waterways.

Recent Maintenance Efforts:

Last updated October 25, 2023

See routes indicated in green on map.



  • Lund – Knox
  • Knox – Olive
  • Carroll – Obukowin
  • Carroll – Hansen
  • Hansen – Wrist – Agean – Paull – Leano
  • Garner – Bulging – Beamish
  • Lund – Indian House – Prairie – Royd
  • Johnson – Mexican Hat
  • Leano – Upper Killburn – Paull


  • Leano – Paull – Lunch – East Lunch Loop
  • Murdock – Irvine


  • Onnie to Telescope


  • Dutch River – Burntwood – Musclow
  • Bloodvein River (Murdock – Artery)
  • Leano – Kilburn – Dragon – Blueberry – Sylvia – Talon
  • Garner River – Haggart
  • Royd – Indian House – Lund
  • Donald to Royd through Royd Creek
  • Upper Gammon – Indian House
  • Haggart – Irregular – Beamish – Welkin
  • Haggart – Broken Arrow – Crystal – Wanipigow River – Haggart River
  • Bulging – Carroll Lake – Wanda – Royd

Current Known Problem Areas:

Last Updated October 25, 2023

Please note that this list is not inclusive and may be changed frequently.

All areas within the 2021 burn perimeters are considered potential problem areas at this time. Evaluate you skill level prior to, and use caution when, entering any burn area.

Forest Fire Conditions

Last Updated June 21, 2022

Almost every type of ecosystem on land is influenced by wildfire but none is as dependent as the Boreal Forest for its self-rejuvenation. Natural fires are part of the ecological make up of this area. If you look with your eyes wide open, you will appreciate the vigorous rebirth of life and the very unique beauty of the new landscape.

Nearly all of the forest fire occurrences in Northwestern Ontario are caused by lightning. These alone keep fire suppression personnel busy enough that potentially adding human-caused fires to the mix can add unnecessary burden on a limited resource.

Individuals venturing in the backcountry must use fire with great diligence. Always light a fire in an existing fire ring or bare rock (not over moss and forest debris). If conditions are very dry, forgo the campfire. A cook stove should always be part of your camping equipment. Always ensure your fire is dead out before leaving.

In 2021 several large fires burned through the park, covering approximately 55% of the landscape. You can find information about the burn here. Don’t let the size of these fires deter you! Regrowth has begun in some areas and crews are in the park working to clean up trails and campsites.

For details on current fires and for daily fire updates, visit the Ontario Forest Fire page.

Park Regulations

As a wilderness class park, there are some special considerations and regulations in place to maintain ecological integrity and ensure that natural and culturally significant sites are preserved. It is every visitors responsibility to help limit impacts on the landscape.

Camping party size – Nine people is the maximum party size allowed on one campsite. This regulation lessens the impact that large groups may have on the fragile park land. Larger parties are required to split up into smaller camping groups and each group must have an Interior Camping Permit.

Glass ban – A glass bottle ban is in effect at Woodland Caribou. This is in keeping with the principles of low-impact camping. Glass bottles are prone to breakage, are non-degradable, and create a safety hazard when left behind.

Structures – Structures of any kind (e.g. lean-to, fish cleaning tables, benches, etc.) are not allowed at campsites or elsewhere in the park interior. Avoid the use of nails and please remove fire grills, strings, and unburnables as you move on.

Removing vegetation – All plants (including trees) are protected in a provincial park. It is unlawful to remove, cut, delimb, or damage any vegetation and/or trees.  Removal of down trees or encroaching vegetation to clear existing portage trails is permitted, as is the removal of hazard trees over an approved campsite.

Campfires – Fires must be built on bare rock or bare mineral soil and kept away from all flammable materials. Keep your fire small. Before leaving your site, drown your fire thoroughly, stir the ashes, and drown it again to ensure that it is dead out.  Nearly all campsites offer generous amounts of fallen dead wood that you are permitted to harvest for fuelwood.

Four people standing by a fire holding mugs and smiling
Photo: Rob Stimpson

Aircraft – If you plan to land your own aircraft as part of your visit to the park, you require an aircraft landing authority. This authority is free of charge, but you will still need to purchase a park permit for your trip. If you charter a commercial air service to access the park, they are responsible for obtaining their own aircraft landing authority and day use permit.

Boat caches / motorboat use – Some motorboat use and caching of boats associated with commercial tourism roofed accommodations occurs in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Nearly all are found along the Gammon and Bloodvein River systems. These activities require authorization and have certain restrictions. Without authorization, motorboat use is prohibited in the park.

Natural treasures – It is unlawful to remove any found natural objects from the park. This includes such objects as driftwood, stones, feathers, and dropped antlers. Admire, take photographs, and leave them all behind for others to find and enjoy.

Culturally sensitive sites – Woodland Caribou has a number of culturally sensitive sites. You may not remove, damage or deface any relic, artifact or natural object or any site of archaeological or historical interest. Likewise, you may not disturb any of these sites, excavate, or conduct research. Should you find an artifact, please take a photo, record its GPS location, and report it to park staff at

We cannot stress enough that you respect the spiritual and historical significance of these sites. Enjoy with your eyes only.

Looking to learn more?

Check out these great resources:

Still have questions? Please reach out to us at or 807-727-1329.

We’d love to hear from you as you plan your trip and after you’ve completed your trip!