How to find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

How to Find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

How to find Crown land on which to camp for free can be done fairly easily. In fact your search can begin in the comfort of your own home, on your computer. This article, and this video will focus on Crown land in Ontario. We will not only demonstrate for you how to locate such land through the aid of a government website, but also how to use Google Earth to further investigate the suitability of any area of interest before embarking on your trip.

The Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas

The Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas website will enable you to locate Crown land on which you can camp for free. 

Simply go to this link,, and click on Use Policy Atlas

Navigate the Map

To navigate around and to zoom in and out of areas on the map, a few tools are available on the website map, as noted below.

Also, by clicking on the 1) Map Layers tab, then on the 2) Legend tab, the map legend will appear on the left.

The coloured items in the legend represent the various categories of Crown land us.  

The various permitted activities in these areas, such as camping, can be determined as follows:

After zooming into an area of interest, clicking on the 1) Find Information Tab will reveal the 2) Get Land Use Information tab. After clicking on that, the 3) Get Information tool will be revealed on the left,

and you simply need to click the tool, and then the map to reveal a report on permitted activities for the area on which you clicked. Click on the word English to reveal the report in English.

Interpreting the Land Use Information

When the report is revealed, you can scroll down the document to read interesting information about the region. In the “Recreation Activities and Facilities” section, look at the row that says Crown Land Recreation, if it says Yes, then that means you are allowed to camp in that region for free, as seen below.

Finding and Labelling Roads on a Map

When zoomed into a possible camping area of interest, you will note any roads or trails that may permit you to get there. Creating a map with latitude and longitude coordinates of intersections along the route can be created and printed from the website.

Simply right click on each intersection along the route, and select “Plot a Coordinate”.

Doing so will place labelled latitude and longitude labels at each intersection along the route to your potential free camping spot.

Printing Your Map

By clicking on the 1) Marking and Printing tab, then click 2) Print,  to take you to the print parameters.

Simply make sure to add a title to your map and select “Current Extent” for the scale to ensure everything you marked on the screen will be printed on your map.

Final Map

When you click “Print”, then “Open File”, you will be presented with a nice custom map with your coordinates of intersections to help you get to your free campsite on Crown land.

Further Investigation of Free Campsite Area Using Google Earth

Before one makes the trip to a potential new spot, it would be considered prudent to do a little extra investigation of the area of interest. By simply right clicking on any spot on the website map, you simply need to copy the longitude and latitude coordinates and paste them into google earth, and investigate your area of interest further.  Do the trails seem acceptable based on the satellite imagery? Does the nearby lake seem ok based on the imagery? This is no guarantee of current conditions, but does give you more to go on, as you complete your planning for your camping trip.

Conclusion of How to Find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

Learning how to find Crown land on which to camp for free, in Ontario, is easier than ever now when using the Government Crown Land Use Policy Atlas website. Having further information using Google Earth satellite imagery helps as well. The Cheaper Jeeper TV Algoma video at this link, was made in the same area as in the example above if you’re interested in seeing more of what it’s like there.