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Adventure Guide to Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin was Ontario's first provincial park, established in 1893. It boasts hundreds of canoe routes, stunning day hiking, front country camping, backpacking trails, and so much more. It is a gem year-round and one of my favourite places in the world. I've hiked all the trails here, canoe camped, backpacked, and front-country camped at this park with so many more adventures planned. I keep coming back to this park time and again - it's home to me. It's where I found myself.

In this post, I'll be giving you a brief overview of the park, my favourite trails, and some tips for visiting! Let's get started!

Algonquin Park is MASSIVE. It covers 7635 square kilometres of land. That's a lot of forest, lakes, and beauty!

The main part of the park is along the Highway 60 corridor. Here you'll find the majority of the trails, campsites, and many backcountry access points. This is also the busiest portion of the park - most visitors flock to Highway 60. This is where the visitors centre is, the main gates, and all the main amenities are. Along highway 60 there are 14 day-hiking trails and 2 backpacking trails, as well as 8 campgrounds.

There are other trails and front-country and backcountry camping at other access points in the park.

List of developed campsites:

  • Achray

  • Brent

  • Canisbay Lake

  • Kearney Lake

  • Kiosk

  • Lake of Two Rivers

  • Mew Lake

  • Pog Lake

  • Raccoon Lake

  • Rock Lake

  • Tea Lake

  • Whitefish Group Campground

List of day hiking trails:

  • Algonquin Logging Museum

  • Barron Canyon

  • Bat Lake

  • Beaver Pond

  • Berm Lake

  • Big Pines

  • Booth's Rock

  • Brent Crater and Tower

  • Centennial Ridges

  • Hardwood Lookout

  • Hemlock Bluff

  • Lookout

  • Mizzy Lake

  • Peck Lake

  • Spruce Bog Boardwalk

  • Track and Tower

  • Two Rivers

  • Whiskey Rapids

List of backpacking trails:

  • Western Uplands

  • Eastern Pines

  • Highlands

Some additional activities available at the park:

  • canoeing

  • camping

  • hiking

  • fishing

  • boating

  • biking

  • fishing

  • bird watching

  • wildlife viewing

  • whitewater canoeing

  • cross country skiing

  • snowshoeing

Having hiked all the trails here (day and backpacking alike!) I do have some favourites! Check those out in my blog post "Top Hikes in Algonquin Park."

Best views in the park:

  • Barron Canyon - 1 km moderate

  • Booth's Rock - 6 km difficult

  • Centennial Ridges - 11km - difficult

  • Lookout - 2km moderate

  • Track and Tower - 7km difficult

Tips and Tricks for visiting the park:

  • There is no magic recipe for beating the crowds you'll find here, but my suggestion would be to go early in the morning and go during the off-season, which for Algonquin is Spring and Winter. The park is particularly busy in the Fall for leaf peeping (and with good reason,) and summer is busy everywhere!

  • Getting front-country campsites in Algonquin is as good as a lottery. Be early, or check back to see if anyone has cancelled, because sometimes they do!

  • Animals call this place home - be respectful to them.

  • Sometimes you'll come across a "Moose Jam" when you're driving. This means people have stopped along the side of the highway (or in the middle of it,) and have gotten out to look at an animal, causing traffic. While it's understandable wanting to get a good look at the animal, try your best to either not stop or pull all the way over so you don't cause an accident. Give the animal space, and don't stress it out.

  • If a parking lot to a trail you want to do is full, move on to another trail in the park. Don't park on the road - it's hazardous and inconsiderate!

  • Always check Algonquin's Twitter for updates on park capacity, trail conditions, and everything else you might need to know!

I hope this intro guide helps you wrap your mind around the beauty that is Algonquin. There's so much to see and do here - this guide barely scratches the surface!

Happy exploring!

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