The south “panhandle” section of Algonquin Provincial Park doesn’t seem to get as much traffic as the more popular access points along the Highway 60 corridor. Maybe because it’s a relatively new addition to the park. Historically, there was a cottage housed at the put-in/take-out. However, in 1999-2000, under the Living Legacy Program, the Nature Conservancy of Canada helped Ontario Parks purchase and develop a mini campground at the south end of Kingscote. I’ve stayed at the campground and quite enjoyed the less-crowded drive-in or walk-in sites. The area boasts some incredible mountain-bike trails and a prime hiking trail along the York River.
The Happy Camper
My preference is to pitch a tent on the interior sites of Kingscote Lake. I must admit, I’ve become more than a little obsessed with exploring the lake due to the mysterious Kingscote “silver” lake trout. The trout differ from the common lake trout found throughout Algonquin by their uniform body color devoid of the common white spots or vermiculation. It’s quite an amazing story. These native subspecies of lake trout have somehow survived six decades of supple-mental stocking. Basically, the local fish have adapted and outdone the captive species. It’s a clear sign of biodiversity—something that desperately needs to be protected. Over time, Kingscote Lake has reduced its “cold water” habitat, and with it the high oxygen content. Rather than dying off, however, these trout adapted to the changing habitat. Some fisheries experts have compared this to the difference between aurora trout and brook trout. It’s a rarity for sure.
The Happy Camper
The only negative part of camping on Kingscote are the campsites themselves. There are a few prime spots (the one on the northeast tip is one of my favourite), but the majority are overly shaded in among a thick canopy of cedar and hemlock. There are also a few rustic cottages and 20-horsepower motors are allowed. And still . . . I keep coming back.
But no, I haven't caught a “silver” lake trout yet.
Check out my latest visit to Kingscote on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel:
To reach the access, take Highway 648, 1.6 kilometers east of the village of Harcourt. Follow the Elephant Lake Road north for 12 kilometers and before turning left into the Kingscote Lake Road, pick up your permit at Pine Grove Point Lodge and Campground on your right. Then, go back to the Kingscote Lake Road and keep to that road for 7 kilometers and turn right to the access point.