Pathfinder trippers in our trademark red canoes explore the 3,000 square mile Algonquin Park backcountry. Older boys trace the northern rivers of Ontario and Quebec, reaching James and Hudson bays.
Learn how our different age groups enjoy 2-day to 40-day adventures in pure wilderness.
Among the ways Pathfinder meets its mission to campers and staff is the camp’s outreach to indigenous peoples of the canoe country Pathfinder people have revered since our inception in 1914.
Pathfinder expeditionary trips paddle to the remote bay communities where our indigenous family partners welcome them, sharing traditional knowledge, activities and meals. Closer to home, the Camp welcomes Algonquin boys and girls through scholarship and tripping collaboratives. We acknowledge and honor the first peoples of the lands we travel and love.
Tripping for 7-10 Year Olds
A fun-focused first experience for our youngest guys, these trips can be an overnight to Linda or Owl Lakes or a 7-day canoe trip up to Cedar! The one-week campers typically set out on an overnight with 4-6 new friends, while 2-week campers enjoy one longer (4-7 days) or two smaller (2-3 days) canoe trips. The 3 1/2-week campers may take 2-4 fantastic canoe trips depending on length and ambition. Lighter packs, shorter portages, lots of campsite fun.
Our youngest boys travel lakes big and small, trails long and short, in Algonquin Park. Longer trips may be trucked to a destination on their first day to get them experiencing areas of the Park they have not seen before. All trips are staffed with a capable and trained crew of 3 headmen, secondmen and CITs. Occasionally a 5-camper/4-guide trip is arranged to ease the boys' portaging and paddling while they venture further into Algonquin.
The boys learn to pack, paddle, portage, set up and take down their campsites, to wallop cookware and purify water. They spend their campsite free time playing in the water, catching fish, whittling, and playing cards and campsite games.
Chippewa Culture – Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 9 – 10.
The Chippewa, also known as Ojibwe, (the names Chippewa and Ojibwe may originate from the same word, varying in pronunciation) are an indigenous people from southern and central Canada. Part of the larger cultural group known as Anishinaabeg, which includes the Algonquin people of the Ottawa River drainage. Their culture’s name evokes a reverence for canoe travel, for use and trade of the region's premiere white birch bark and canoes, and for Ojibwe historical and spiritual connections to the Algonquin region, now comprised in part by Algonquin Provincial Park.
Mi’Kmaq Culture – Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 7 - 8.
The Mi’Kmaq are an indigenous people living in what is now Atlantic Canada, including the current Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Gassp´e Peninsula in Quebec. Descended from first peoples in the region whose presence dates to 13,000 years ago... Their culture’s history evokes a reverence for northern forests and animals, expertise in handling boats and canoes, and astounding beauty in functional hand-made art and craft.
Tripping for 11-12 Year Olds
Canoe trips for the boys are exciting, with treks from 3-days to a week or more at a time, exploring all corners of Algonquin. Now is the age when many boys get hooked on tripping and start building up their tripping resumes to get ready for 2-week and even 3-week trips as older campers. Their growing size and strength make for fast and fun woods travel. All trips are staffed with a capable and trained staff crew of 3 headmen, secondmen and CITs.
The boys expand on paddling and portaging skill, set up and take down the campsite, and really immerse in the canoe tripping lifestyle. They spend their campsite free time at rest and play, and can join in more of the cooking.
For these campers, social interactions with peers and counselors are all-important. The camp staff works hard with this age group to encourage positive friendships, and to help boys learn how to interact with peers, to pull together on tasks, to treat each other as they would like to be treated in return. This is also an age when the boys aspire to expertise in their canoeing, swimming, and tripping. A headman's dream, the 11-12 year old camper wants to learn how to do it right and do it well. Campers love the Pathfinder trip tradition of real conversations by the camp fire.
Cree culture – Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 11 – 12.
The Cree people comprise a rich, multi-faceted indigenous culture living in northern Canada. The largest contemporary population of indigenous peoples in the country, with an Algonquian language heritage, they reside throughout North America and on their vast original hunting, trapping and fishing territories dating from the time of European contact. Their culture’s history evokes their expansive lands, where Pathfinder canoe trips venture north of Algonquin Park, and the relationships the camp has forged with Cree families from Whapmagoostui and Waskaganish, to Fort Severn to Bloodvein. In 2017, the camp began a program to welcome Moose Cree youth of the Mushkegowuk Council communities for friendship and canoe tripping with our CITs.
Tripping for 13-14 Year Olds
Our older boys' trips are truly adventures, from one-week to 18-days length. Once they have adequate Algonquin experience, filling in their map, trippers venture outside Algonquin on treks into Temagami and the Quebec rivers feeding the Ottawa River.These boys will likely be paddling in the backcountry for more than half their camp stay of 3 1/2 weeks.
All trips are staffed with a capable and trained staff crew of 3 headmen, secondmen and CITs.
These long trips can include 2-week cruises in Temagami, and 3-week treks on the Ottawa Valley rivers.
Previous trips - Rivières Coulonge & Noire, The Meanest Link, Missinaibi River, Spanish and French Rivers.
Ottawa Culture – Affiliation of Pathfinder boys ages 13 – 14.
The Odawa, or ‘Ottawa’, are a first nations culture indigenous to the Ottawa River, French River, and Georgian Bay regions. Their name, Odawa, is thought to be a derivation of the Anishinaabe word for ‘traders,’ and modified by the English to ‘Ottawa.’ The Odawa are one of Canada’s Anishinaabeg peoples, speaking an Algonquian language closely linked to Ojibwe. Their culture’s history evokes their close connection to the Algonquins of our region, and the camp’s connection to the canoe country of the Lake Huron and Ottawa River watersheds in both Ontario and Quebec, with our home Source Lake being the headwaters of the Ottawa’s important tributary, the Madawaska, an ancestral homeland of a clan of the Algonquins.
Tripping for 15 Year Olds AAs
A tripper's AA year is the ultimate summer for trips. Their journey takes them down rivers in northern and western Ontario or Quebec. These skilled canoe trippers venture out for 3 - 6 weeks a season on distant canoe expeditions. The bonds of friendship and the feelings of accomplishment are lifelong. The stories fellow campers, staff, and parents hear from these boys can only begin to cover what they saw and experienced. Often the boys make compelling films of their journey.
AAs who show real leadership potential and are steeped in Pathfinder values may be invited to join the CIT Leaders Program in the coming year, beginning a 3-year staff apprenticeship to become headmen at Pathfinder.
All trips are staffed with the most highly capable and extensively trained 3 headmen and secondmen.
Trips include : Pipestone-Winisk-Wapitotem-Attawapiskat, Riviére à L’Eau Claire – Richmond Gulf, Riviére Boutin - La Petit Riviére de la Baleine, Windigo-Schade-Severn, Fawn-Pipestone-Asheweig-Severn, Albany R., Rupert R., Bloodvein.