How To Reserve a Keji Backcountry Site
Reserving a backcountry site in Kejimkujik National Park is one of the first steps you need to take for an awesome summertime adventure. Navigating the Parks Canada reservation system can be as tricky as navigating your canoe through Little River in low water, however, so we’ve put together a step by step set of instructions on how to make you reservation, found at the bottom of this blog.
The online maps currently available do not have sufficient detail (at first glance) to help you decide which sites will work for your trip. Also, if you are lucky enough to make your backcountry reservation through the Ottawa call centre, you may find yourself trying to hike to a site only accessible by water, or worse, portaging your canoe to Liberty Lake. The staff at the Keji Visitor Reception Centre know the park incredibly well and can assist you properly with your backcountry questions (902 682 2772). You can also email or call us for more backcountry info. Please use the information below as a tool for planning your Keji Trip. Don’t expect it to be a fun read, but more of an informative read- I mostly speak to access and maybe point out one or two sites I consider a dud. This was written for utilitarian purposes.
Site Access Information:
You can choose walk in sites (A, B, C, and D) adjacent to Big Dam Lake. Keep in mind, site C is a group site perfect for larger parties and both C and D are also accessible by water which means you can paddle to and from those sites.
Camp sites 1 through 11 are all perfect for the Frozen Ocean Loop, as well as campsites 45 and 46. Note, site 7 on Frozen Ocean Lake is also a group site. All are accessible by both canoe or by foot (via either the Liberty Lake Trail or the Channel Lake Loop) except for site 8 which you can only access by boat.
The only remaining backcountry group site is number 12, on Ritchie Island in the Kejimkujik Lake (formally the site of Judge Ritchie’s cabin, long, long ago). Campsites 13 through 16, and 18 through 20, as well as 24 are all perfect for a night on Kejimkujik Lake, and can only be accessed by boat. Site 17 is located on Channel Lake, and can be accessed by foot or boat, but we don’t recommend this site.
West River, which runs into Keji Lake’s north west corner, is home to campsite 21 and 22. There is a side trail off of the Liberty Lake hiking loop, which extends down to site 22. There’s an old forgotten trapper cabin which can be seen from this spur. Site 21, also along West River, however, is only accessible by boat.
Campsite 23 is all the way south on Loon Lake, situated at Loon Lake falls. Be careful on your approach, as you can overshoot the landing (a heap of rocks) and find yourself frantically back paddling so to not get sucked down Loon Lake Falls.
Site 25, in my opinion, is mildly ho-hum. It’s not waterfront, and the canopy is thick enough to block out the sun. It’s at one end of the park’s longest portage, E, which spans the longest 2300m I have ever walked. You can access this site by boat or by foot (via the Fire Tower Trail spur off the Liberty Lake Loop).
Site’s 26 and 27 are on Cobrielle Lake and can only be accessed by canoe. Site 28 is adjacent to Peskowesk brook, but is considered a hiking site via the Liberty Lake Loop. Site 29 is an island site, which precludes hiking, although in August you can walk across the narrows next to the fire wood dump at WilBoWil (W2) to the island without getting your knees wet, so heck, maybe during the right conditions it could be a hiking site.
For the brave, or just for those with more time than the rest of us, you can enjoy Site 30 which rests on a strip of land between Hilchemakaar Lake and Lower Silver Lake. It’s a really nice site with a great view of the lake, if you can make it all the way down there.
Site’s 31, 32 and 34 are all on the eastern half of Peskowesk Lake. I have yet to find site’s 33, 35 and 36 (on a map, or otherwise). Campsite 39 once resided on Luxton Lake, via a hiking trail from Poision Ivy Falls, but alas, it no longer exists and the trail is now too boggy and overgrown to hike.
Site 37, has been renamed W1, but is also known as Mason’s Cabin. It, and site 38 can both be accessed by both canoe or hiking. Campsite 40, in my opinion, is the most remote paddling site in the park. No hiking to this one.
At first glance, site 41 appears to accessible by canoe, but believe me, it’s not. That stretch of water is choked in large boulders making it unnavigable, and the shore is overgrown with rhodora. It’s a hike in site on the Liberty Lake Loop, as well as site’s 42 and 43. Technically you can access campsite 44 via a trail from the water, but I like to think of it as a hiking site.
Do any of the backcountry sites above appeal to you? First, you’ll need to pick your camp sites and reserve them. This can be achieved by going to this Parks Canada page: https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/Kejimkujik
Please Note: If you are attempting to make your reservations on a mobile or tablet, you may have better luck with Step 3 below, if you select “switch to full site”. The Parks Canada mobile responsive site won’t allow you to choose the ‘1-46, A-D, W1-W2’ campground.
Here, you’ll need to select:
1. Reservation Type: Backcountry
2. Arrival Dates
3. Park and campground (leave Kejimkujik selected, but switch from ‘All Campgrounds’ to ‘1-46, A-D, W1-W2’
4a. Equipment - Select the number of tents you’ll have (max 2 for most campsites)
4b. Party size - (max 6 for most campsites)
5. Pick your site from the drop down bar highlighted in yellow in Step 5. Available sites are indicated by the green diamonds on the map shown on the right. You can learn more about each campsite by clicking on the green diamond, which will trigger a pop-up window displaying pictures and a description. You can easily add connective nights by clicking the bullet circle next to ‘Click to add night’
6. Click ‘Reserve’ to continue your reservation
7. Agree to the terms of service, click ‘Continue’
8. This will take you to a page which summarized your current booking. You can either choose to pay for your current reservation, or, if you have another visit to the park for a different set of dates, you can select ‘Add Another Booking’. In this example we’ll click ‘Pay’
9. There are two options for continuing to the payment gateway. You can sign in using a ‘GCKey’ or by using a ‘Sign-in Partner’. If you are international, and do not have an account with any of the companies shown as ‘Sign-in Partners’, you must create a GCKey (or use an existing on, if you’ve already done this). By clicking on ‘Sign-in Using GCKey’ you will be directed to a page where you can either put in existing credentials or sign up for your own GCKey.
10. After signing in with your GCKey you’ll be asked to acknowledge a few more terms of service, and then click ‘Next’.
11. Fill out the form with your personal information, click ‘Next’
12. Select ‘I will be the permit holder’ and click ‘Next’
13. Here you are required to submit the first and last names and age category of each member of your party. You may also provide your emergency contact info at this stage, as well as information on the vehicle you will be driving to the park with. Click ‘Next’ to continue
14. Click ‘Next’ to agree to the entry fee structure
15. Make your payment!