Birchcliffe Cabin

Site Details

Closest Access Point: Kiosk (Access # 29)
Distance to Access Point: 29 KM (2 Days)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Hard – No matter how you come at Birchcliffe you’re paddling some challenging creeks
Maintenance Level: Low
Date Visited: May 2023

Map Courtesy of Jeff’s Maps

There are about a dozen ranger cabins available for rent in Algonquin Park. Half of these cabins are on or near access points and can be reached by vehicle, the other half are in the backcountry and were former outposts for Park Rangers. The Birchcliffe Cabin was the home to the Birchcliffe Fire Warden, who stayed here while manning the Osler Fire Tower, about 2 KM south of the cabin. Each morning the ranger would leave the cabin, hike the two KM to the fire tower, then make the return trip each night. Once the fire towers were no longer needed (fire monitoring shifted to plane), the cabin was no longer used by Park staff and is now available for rent on a night by night basis.

Birchcliffe cabin is located at the top of a hill that rises fairly steeply on Birchcliffe Lake’s south shore. This means that accessing it from the water is going to require you to lug your gear up that hill (which can feel like a daunting prospect if you’ve just spent your day fighting your way down Maple Creek or Birchcliffe Creek to get here). It’s worth the effort! The Birchcliffe Cabin is awesome. Built in the 1960s, it’s a three room cabin that’s well insulated and maintained. The cabin has two bedrooms, each complete with a set of bunk beds, and a larger main room with a table, kitchen area and wood stove. There’s an outdoor fire pit area with an awesome view across the lake, and an old road out the back that offers great hiking options as well as access to a nearby campsite.

Inside Birchcliffe Cabin

The only downside to the cabin is the hill I already mentioned and the canoe landing area. There are two spots where you can pull up your canoe. If you’re approaching the cabin from Birchcliffe Creek, the eastern side of the point offers small grassy area where you can load and unload. However, the approach is guarded by rocks and the hill up here is so steep that they’ve put a rope along the trail to hold on to. If you go around to the western side there is another loading area where the hill is slightly less steep. However, the rocks along the shoreline are bigger and require more effort to navigate. Whichever option you choose, you’re going to be doing some gymnastics before you’re settled.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that the swimming from the cabin isn’t that appealing, thanks in part to the rocky shoreline I just mentioned. If you’re staying here, and Birchcliffe’s regular campsite, site 1, is available, it’s worth the short walk or paddle across to swim from its amazing shelf of sloping rock.

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