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Introduction to Algonquin Park
Located in Ontario, Canada, Algonquin Provincial Park is world-renowned for its lovely pine trees, stunning scenery and the gorgeous lakes that surround the land. It was actually Canada’s first provincial park established in 1893. Since it is so far from the bustling city life, but also only a 30 min drive from the closest city of Dorset, people from all over the world travel to be immersed in the diverse nature. In fact, it is over 7700 square kilometres with more than 2400 lakes and 1200 kilometres of streams and rivers. This means that there are also lots of activities for just about anyone to enjoy. From canoeing to hiking to fishing, there is a little bit of something for anyone who chooses the park as their next travel destination. This article will break down all of these opportunities so that you can have the time of your life exploring this lovely destination
Since this park is so vast, there is no doubt that there would be abundant wildlife around every corner. Many travellers see smaller critters like foxes, chipmunks and otters when they are on their hikes. Some individuals even claim that they have spotted bears, wolves and even deer in the vicinity. In total there are over 50 mammals that have been recorded to be in the area, along with 32 different kinds of reptiles. For avid birdwatchers, this likely won’t come as a surprise, but there are over 250 species that have been noted to call this land home, including bald eagles and ruffed grouses. Whole flocks can be found around the lakes and flitting through the trees, which is certainly a sight to behold. With this variety, regardless of the season, you are bound to spot at least one of your favourites.
If you are visiting in the summer months, there are over 2000 km of canoe paths that you can traverse. Especially in the backcountry, there are endless possibilities that will lead you to see beautiful landscapes from the water. Something unique is the portages where paddlers can duck under fallen trees and even spot beaver dams. Whether you are alone or with friends, this can definitely be a lasting memory. That being said, it is important to dress for the weather. Unbeknownst to most, Algonquin is “humid cold” in terms of climate if you decide to instead arrive in the winter. This means that it would be less busy, however, you need to dress appropriately so that you don’t catch a cold.
The official maps for the canoe routes can be found here if you wanted to learn more. When planning your preferred path, some things to consider are the direction you have to go, access to other facilities, whether you want to see any of the attractions and the distance. There is a little bit of something for everyone, so whether you are a novice or a professional Algonquin Park is the place to be!
Furthermore, there are endless hiking trails at this location. If you want something easier, but still want to check out the sights, then we would recommend Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail which is a 1.5 km flat loop that takes you along the spruce bogs and around the forest. It is also on the shorter side. Another shorter hike is the Lookout Trail, but be warned, while it is mostly flat, there is a steep hill. However, that brings you to the lookout point where you can see the trees transition to their autumn colours. Lastly, the Centennial Ridges Trail is a much longer, more difficult experience. It is 10.4km long that can take between four to six hours to complete, depending on your level. The end result, though, is definitely worth it as you get to see the most stunning view of the many surrounding lakes.
Once you choose your route, it is crucial to pack right! You should bring a lot of water, snacks such as trail mix and anything that would allow you to avoid littering, a first aid kit and extra pairs of socks just in case. What you wear will also differ depending on the season, but in the summer we encourage sunscreen, bug spray, hats and lighter clothes, whereas in the winter, layers and toques are must-haves. For a list of all the available hikes, you can visit here.
Another activity that you need to try if you have the chance is camping! There are numerous campgrounds in the area, but particularly around the Highway 60 corridor where the amenities are located. One of the best would have to be the Lake of Two Rivers Campground. Not only is the forest nearby, but the Madawaska River runs along the side, creating beautiful beaches. This is one of the larger grounds as it has 241 sites, which means that would need to book your spot in advance. It really picks up in the warmer months which means that it can be tad noisy, so depending on the feel of your trip, you might want to try an alternative. There is also the Archway Campground which is smaller and has 45 sites also near the water. This is the place to be for the canoers and boaters just because of sheer convenience. Interestingly enough, if you are an artist, this is where Tom Thompson, one of the infamous Group of Seven members, actually worked as a fire ranger for three years, so you could likely be able to spot the inspirations for his paintings here. Last, but not least, there is the Kearney Lake Campground which is 104 sites and is actually the closest campground to the East Gate on Highway 60. While there are no electrical sites, this is where the more traditional camping takes place. You can pitch a tent with your friends or family along the waterfront. Hopefully, this information helps you with your Algonquin journey!