Achray Campground

Achray Campground

Southeast tip of Grand Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Canada
Jack pine forest covers the small campground.
Traveller (41)
right next to our camp site
Pool & Beach (6)
Morning mist view from the tent
Room & Suite (4)

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About

4.5
#5 of 12 campsites in Algonquin Provincial Park
4.5 of 5 bubbles
Location
3.4 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
3.7 of 5 bubbles
Service
3.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
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HOTEL STYLE
Hidden Gem
Romantic
Property amenities
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)

Location

Southeast tip of Grand Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Canada
Getting there
Toronto Pearson Intl Airport
1 Attraction
within 10 kilometers
31Reviews8Q+A8Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Ken M wrote a review Aug 2023
Ottawa, Canada28 contributions66 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Growing up near achray and the area has been part of my life for almost 40 years now and there have been some changes to this part of Algonquin park over this time...not geography, but certainly administration, infrastructure and popularity. And my review of Achray is in the context of having visit at least a dozen other parks throughout the province.

Way back, one could simply drive in and pretty much be guaranteed a space...but not now! So if you're planning a trip, book at least 5 months in advance. As for campsite preferences, the best spots (meaning prettiest view of lake, nicest ground cover and location to beach) would be numbers 1-10 and 20-28ish. That said, if you can get a spot, take it as there are few truly poor sites at this small campground. Over the past 30 years, the camp has gone from primitive latrines to running water and flush toilets (no showers)
Despite its popularity, it remains one of the most relaxing parks in Algonquin.

Pros include, good sites, mixed ground cover ranging from sandy to pine needles, easy access to Grand lake, nightly loons and amazing night sky’s, weather permitting. The on-site store has some very basic goods and a small museum and walking trails can entertain the kids for a few minutes. If you want solitude, you’ll get it as there are no cell signals or internet access. This final point is both a pro and con I suppose. Finally, the lake is beautiful, though perhaps slightly cooler than smaller lakes given its size.

Cons (though they may not be depending on your context) include, no technology access, a 40 minute drive on a gravel and sometimes washboard gravel road, no comfort station, not great fishing (and I can say this with 40 years experience)

Having just returned from Driftwood Park, it’s a question of deciding on showers versus none, your preference for a river or lake and the degree to which you want to escape.

Just book early...
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Date of stay: September 2016
2.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ken M wrote a review Apr 2017
Ottawa, Canada28 contributions66 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Growing up ar achray and the area has been part of my life for almost 40 years now and there have been some changes over this time...not geography, but certainly administration and popularity. Way back, one could simply drive in and pretty much be guaranteed a space...but not now! So if you're planning a trip, book at least 5 months in advance. As for campsite preferences, the best spots (meaning prettiest view of lack, nicest ground cover and location to beach would be numbers 1-10 and 20-28ish. That said, if you can get a spot, take it as their are few truly yucky sites at this small campground. Over the past 30 years, the camp has gone from primitive latrines to running water flush toilets ( not for the feint hearted if you want a shower or hair dryer...though there are some electric sites.) despite its popularity, it remains one of the most relaxing parks in Algonquin. So book early...
Read more
Date of stay: September 2016
2.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: Sites 1-7 and 20 -27 right on the beach
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
chrisk_YYZ wrote a review Sep 2019
Toronto, Canada155 contributions194 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I really get a laugh reading the negative reviews of this park - these are the exact reasons I would rate this highly. Chief among them the active park management that ensures it remains a quiet spot in the wilderness, and the fact I don't have cell phone reception here. This reminds me of camping in the 70s and 80s when I was a kid - a place where people went to enjoy nature, not a spot for beer-fuelled late-night partying.

This is a remote, rustic car camping campground, there are no frills here. And by frills I mean electricity, showers, serviced sites, and shopping. This is exactly why I don't mind one bit driving for six hours to get here, 45 minutes of that trip being down a rough dirt road.

That said, the vistas are beautiful, there are gorgeous sunsets, the lake has nice sand beaches for swimming or lounging, and there are other options for exploring from here - on foot via the numerous hiking trails, or paddling around this or the other connected lakes (make the effort to get to the natural waterslide!). The park does offer canoe rentals if you didn't bring your own.

I appreciate the fact there are flush toilets and running water in the toilets. The camp store sells ice, firewood, and has a number of small essentials if you need them, though you definitely need to plan ahead to stay here, since the nearest store is in Pembroke.

The park rangers take their roles seriously and they are active around the park, but never intrusive. I really appreciate that they make you sign the rules when you check-in - this is for responsible campers only.

My only minor gripe is that Ontario Parks' antiquated reservation system doesn't give you very accurate information on site details (e.g. privacy, "quality" whatever that means) and the photos can be misleading. That said, it's hard to find a dud among the campsites here - there are only 45 and about 2/3 of them are hugging the lake.

If you're trying to find a place to get rowdy with your buddies, this is not it. Save your energy and go somewhere else rather than complaining about it on here later on.
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Date of stay: September 2019
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
hholbein wrote a review Aug 2013
Luxembourg143 contributions124 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Forget Algonquin Park at once. And especially Achray. Any stay in there puts you to the mercy of utterly stupid park rangers. So, for those who don't know what an Ontario park ranger is, here is a bit of a description: it is basically a male in his thirties who failed most of his scholarship after primary school. Most of them probably wanted to be a cop (now that's ambition!) but failed that also. Without much more than a few hours of law training during week-ends these guys are let loose in the wild with the exact same powers of a Ontario provincial police officer.

Imagine what happens when you give the keys to the cellar to a alcoholic.... And you add on top of that a nice brand new pick up with large wheels... The only way a stupid rangers can get even with the smarter guys is to use the power he holds.

No seat belt while riding a pick up at 10km/h in a dirt road? That's 130$. An adult at the back of a pick up truck for 100 meters? 240$. Two adults? No problem, here is a 480$ ticket for you. You get the idea.

Think camping is cheap? Think again. Camp spot: 130$ for 4 days. Coming with 3 cars? That's 35$ on top of that. Decent food and drinks for 4 adults for 4 days: 200$. Gas from Toronto, another 200 bucks. Two cars? yet another 200. For that handsome price you get to bring your own gear, tents and all and use a "toilet" at the end of a dirt road. You share the toilet not only with the whole camp site but also with about 5 millions mosquitoes and a few squirrels. Showers are no problem, BECAUSE THERE IS NONE!!

The dirt road to get to Achray will make sure it breaks your suspension. Grader must be passing once every odd years or so. They have better roads in Kazakhstan. And way nicer public servants as well.
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Date of stay: July 2013
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
1.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
2.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
1.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
oneworldlytraveller wrote a review Jun 2014
South of England42 contributions57 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We've just returned from a stay at the only Yurt in Achray Campground, Algonquin Park.
Algonquin yurts are very basic, and except for a fire pit, barbecue beds, table and chairs you will have nothing to link you to civilisation.
Bring a canoe or rent one in advance from a local provider, because you have to get out on the water when you come here. It's beautiful and wild.
Also bring the best bug repellent you can find, because although we saw beaver, a snake, frogs, and hawks, heard moose, and fed a blue jay and chipmunks by hand - we mainly fed the mosquitoes. Unwillingly.
There is a lovely beach, and an endless number of options for day or overnight trips from here to elsewhere in the park.
And see if you can find the little red 'Inukshuk' across the lake by canoe - as it points the way to more distant places accessible by water.
Don't miss the nearby Barron Canyon walk. It is breathtaking.
Caution: The road in from the gate of Algonquin is all unpaved. That is more than 40 minutes of bone-jarring anxiety even in an AWD SUV.
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Date of stay: June 2014
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: There is a quiet camping section, where noise is discouraged.;
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Adnan S wrote a review Jun 2015
Burlington, Canada8 contributions7 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My friends and I were blown away with this campground. Absolutely friendly staff, very professional, coolest forest ranger, peaceful, gorgeous views, lot of activities. We'll definitely visit again. Lots of wildlife around. We saw moose, snakes, sadly didn't see any bears or wolves. Amazing views, trails, hikes withing 15 20 mins drive of this campground. The main office area portable toilets were ultra clean, sanitized.
Read more
Date of stay: June 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: Rent the ONLY yurt in advance. Tent sites are a bit close to each other. Yurt was spacious, and...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Darian11814 wrote a review Mar 2015
Lindsay, Canada36 contributions27 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Gorgeous beaches, amazing views, and a short paddle or hike to one of Ontario's most amazing natural waterparks, Achray has been attracting those looking to relax for almost 100 years. The drive in is long and bumpy (pavement abandons you a long way back), but the seclusion, mixed with the luxuries of a general store, interpretive center, and washrooms make it worth every kilometer.

I am primarily an interior camper... Campgrounds rarely hold my attention, but I CERTAINLY have no problems stopping here both a day before I launch into the Park, and a day after I have paddled back, to enjoy every ounce of raw beauty that this site has to offer. Tom Thompson's cabin sits on display, with some very educational materials inside. And taking the short drive over to the Barron Canyon hiking trail (about 10 minutes back up the road, and then a fairly steep hike) is a photographers dream come true.

... but let's keep this our little secret. ;-)
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Date of stay: August 2014
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Andrea B wrote a review Jun 2014
Pickering, Canada33 contributions29 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
My husband and I camped at Achray from June 6-10 this year and we both loved it.

We stayed on site 34, right on the lake. It's a radio free campground so it was wonderfully quiet. From our site we could hear loons, owls, whip-poor-wills and frogs. The site had decent privacy and it didn't feel like you were right next to your neighbours.

We hiked the Barron Canyon trail and the views were fantastic. While we were in the park we saw bears, loons, mergansers, foxes, turtles, deer and moose.

The drive in from highway 17 is fairly long on a gravel road, but driving at the posted limit my Chevy Cobalt had no problems. Way nicer than some of the gravel back roads of Durham county that's for sure.

Park staff were friendly and helpful and it was nice to have flush toilets. Make sure when you head in that you have everything you need. The park store has coffee and a few snacks as well as basic toiletries, bug spray, ice, wood and a few touristy items. Don't expect a fully stocked grocery store.

All in all, we had an amazing time and if you want to see animals and enjoy nature I would highly recommend Achray.
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Date of stay: June 2014
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
BigCat1965 wrote a review Mar 2017
Stoney Creek, Canada58 contributions19 helpful votes
+1
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We rented a yurt and campsite for a group of friends who love to hike and kayak. The people who worked were quite nice. The yurt was clean, mattresses were in good shape. Site was right on the water which was awesome for swimming and kayaking. We look like we might be a noisy crew, but we are not. Sometimes we get pestered by Rangers or hosts until they learn that we are a quiet harmless bunch. They people were really good with us right away. Friendly. Kayaking Barron Canyon was amazing. The hike to High Falls was well worth it. Beautiful place.
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Date of stay: September 2016Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hips Akimbo wrote a review Oct 2016
Canada112 contributions118 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Lots to do close by when staying here - canoe to Carcajou Bay, hike Berm Trail (4km loop), hike the short Barron Canyon trail (1.5km loop - spectacular!), hike the High Falls cheater trail to great water fun (4km one way), canoe the canyon (bit of a portage, tho`), short jaunt to the Tom Thompson `shrine` and several good beaches - the list goes on and could keep you busy for many days. Most sites have minimal privacy and the campsite, in general, is busy but it is good jumping off point to many backcountry sites.
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Date of stay: September 2016
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: pick a site on the internet map
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Margaret D wrote a tip Oct 2018
Ottawa, Canada53 contributions30 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Sites 30 &31 were ideal for all of us. Beautiful views and water access!"
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Ken M wrote a tip Apr 2017
Ottawa, Canada28 contributions66 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Sites 1-7 and 20 -27 right on the beach"
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Hips Akimbo wrote a tip Oct 2016
Canada112 contributions118 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"pick a site on the internet map"
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Brent E wrote a tip Aug 2015
Toronto, Canada1 contribution1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Camp sites from 16-45 look to feature the most privacy."
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basiarachwal wrote a tip Jun 2015
Toronto, Canada1 contribution1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Private beach, good location, also next to a beach and overall a gem in the forest."
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