Thinking of taking a trip to Algonquin this weekend - I see that Mew Lake is open for first come first served. We'd be taking the drive most of the way Thursday after work, boondock near Gravenhurst somewhere, and then roll into the park early Friday morning with intention to stay until Sunday afternoon.
Does anyone know if boondocking is allowed anywhere in the park? My only concern is that we get up there and Mew Lake campground is actually full.. Yes, I realize it's highly unlikely, but Mew Lake isn't that big, and I'm the poster boy for Murphy's Law, so anything is possible.
I don't want to have to turn around and jump ship from the park every evening just to boondock somewhere.
We're not picky where we boondock really...very self sufficient, just dont' want to be hassled.
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We camped there last year at Easter. All of the electric sites were occupied but haardly any of the non-electric sites. You shouldn't have any problem whatsoever. All of the other campgrounds are chained closed so you wouldn't be able to camp in them.
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Last year there was no fresh water at the dump station (about 5 km west of the Mew lake campground on Hwy 60) and no water at the spigots in the campground. I had to fill the tank with jerry cans filled up at the comfort station laundry room. We also had 6" of snow on our site. We reserved site #53 last Easter back in January, but there some first-come sites available but they'll disappear fast.
It's been much milder this year...perhaps they'll have the water turned on in the campground.
I looked on the Ontario Parks website this afternoon/eve regarding availability and the entire campground is showing as non-reservable/first-come-first-served now...hence why we want to get up there bright and early on Friday morning. I guess they changed vs years passed and no longer take reservations for the easter weekend.
How was the wildlife viewing this time of year? The wife is hyped to see the moose which we understand are easy to find near Hwy 60 this time of year. Was that your experience?
Historically Easter Weekend at Mew Lake is busy and if the weather forecast is good, it will be the same this year. The park staff know this and they will be attempting to have as many campsites plowed out as possibly if there is still piles of snow. Have not heard what the snow situation is recently. Less snow equals more campsites (non hydro) will be accessible. I've sent an email to the one of the park staff asking about the snow and will post the reply.
If by boondocking you mean free camping, forget it, you are in a Provincial Park and the fees apply whether in a campground, backcountry, canoe trip, hiking, etc. (Spring, summer, fall, winter)
I realize we have to pay to get brought the gates, but what I meant by boondocking was the ability to park somewhere inside the park boundaries to sleep if the campground is full. Are there any parking lots or rest areas between the west gate and Mew Lake where this is an option IF Mew lake turns out to be full?
I'd rather be in the campground and be able to drop the trailer, but I also don't want to have to backtrack out of the park at the end of every day to boondock in Gravenhurst or something just because there's nowhere to "legally" camp inside the park simply because all the spots are full.
As for snow, the recent pics I've seen from up there shows little to none - lots of recent pics on the Friends of Algonquin Facebook page. Very early spring up there as well.
You are driving from the GTA, why not just drive right to MewLake on Thurs. night.Just pick an empty site on arrival,then go to the CG office at 8am and pay.I live west of Algonquin,the snow has been gone for Two weeks, and all the ice is off the lakss.Weather forcast for this weekend is double digits,so the park will fill up fast.Only water will be at the comfort station.The store at Lake of Two Rivers will be closed. I heard that in 2010 the Easter weekend was so busy that Lake of Two Rivers CG was opened to handle all the campers, hydro only.
Asfor wildlife ,this is a good time to view,Moose like to drink from road side ponds as the water is high in sodium. Be extra care full driving at dusk or Dawn, wild life is most active at these times. Bears are out and looking for food. Enjoy your weekend,wish I could go but family commitments prevent that.