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My Top 3 Hiking Trails in Algonquin Provincial Park

If you’ve been following me for a while you might know that in the spring of this year my best friend and I set a goal for ourselves. We were going to hike all of the Algonquin Provincial Park day trails. Well, 20 weeks, 21 trails, and 75ish kilometres later, we completed our goal. It was such an incredible adventure. Having done that and countless other adventures in the park, I’ve become mildly knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the park!

I always get asked what my favourite trails are, so I thought I would finally put it in writing and give you my top 3. Algonquin never ever disappoints so, it was hard to narrow down, but here they are! My top 3 favourite hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Hemlock Bluff:

This short but spectacular trail was one of the first trails that I ever did at the park. It’s 3.5 km, rated moderate, and features a stunning lookout. I’ve done this one a couple times now and can tell you that it never gets boring. There’s always something new and exciting for you to marvel at. The trail takes you up and along a bluff overlooking Jack lake. The views are stunning, and the trail has never been crowded for me! As always, get there early to avoid crowds! This trail seems to be underrated and is a great one to add to your Algonquin adventure if you’re looking for a quicker hike, or are wanting to do multiple hikes in one day. If you’re planning on the latter, I suggest pairing it with Bat Lake, another beautiful hike that’s not too far away and under 6km!

Centennial Ridges:

This hike is one of the longer ones in the park at 10.4 km. I also found it to be the most challenging trail I did. There are lots of steep climbs starting out right away but are they ever worth it. The sights just don’t ever stop here. There is lookout after lookout, and each is more stunning than the last. Not only were the views incredible, but there were little surprises along the way, like mini lakes and a boulder field! This trail did get a little crowded so, I suggest getting there super early! We were there at 9:30, and the trailhead already had several cars, and the lookouts were definitely more crowded. This trail also shouldn’t be underestimated! It was challenging for me, a fairly seasoned hiker, so consider your skill level when choosing what trail to take! This trail was absolutely amazing, though, and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Booth’s Rock:

Last but certainly not least is Booth’s Rock. This trail is on the shorter side at 5km and rated difficult. There are a couple steep climbs, but nothing too crazy! I think this is my favourite view in the whole park. The lookout is massive, leaving lots of room for people, so it doesn’t feel crowded and the views cover so much land. I’ve also done this trail more than once, and I can tell you that It is absolutely spectacular in the fall when the leaves are changing! I’m planning on going back during winter to compare the seasons at the lookout, and I can't wait. Booth’s Rock is a trail that I could do over and over again and not get tired of the views it provides. There is also a small side trail that takes you to the location of an old estate, and you get to follow the old railway that used to run through the park (this section can get quite muddy so, be prepared!) All in all, I would have to rank Booth’s as my favourite trail in the park, even though it’s almost impossible to pick!

BONUS - Some Trails I probably wouldn’t do again (or would do another over it given the choice)

Despite Algonquin being one of my favourite places in the world, there are still a few trails I would pass over doing again or would be hesitant to redo. Let’s get into it.

Firstly, I probably wouldn't do Big Pines again. The pine trees are magnificent and were so cool to see, don't get me wrong. However, the largest is at the start (like 500 metres in) and the trail outside of the trees just wasn’t my favourite. The pine trees were cool, though, and it was neat to marvel at how old they were! Living history! The next trail I maybe would not do again is Hardwood Lookout. The view is nice, but the trail isn’t anything to write home about. It also gets unreasonably busy in the fall, and it just wasn’t my cup of tea outside of the lookout. The views from the lookout are still lovely though!! My last trail isn’t really one I would NEVER do again because I did like it, BUT Track and Tower is a trail that I found to be overhyped. The trail is beautiful, and the lookout is stunning! It’s just extremely crowded and the lookout is small in terms of space at the top. It’s gorgeous, just one that I know I would pass over for others if I knew it was going to be busy. Again, Track and Tower might not count because I totally would do it again under the right circumstances!

Pics from Big Pines & Track and Tower:

There you have it. My top three hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park! If you end up going to these trails, tag me on Instagram @explorewithkress

I would love to see your adventures!

Happy trails!

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