Algonquin Park is the oldest and most famous of all the provincial parks in Canada, and the largest park in the Ontario Provincial Parks system. The park protects an area of 7,600 km², twice the size of Rhode Island, and larger than every county in England except North Yorkshire. With few inhabitants, this park forms the boundary between Ontario's Northern, Eastern, and Central regions.
Located within less than a day's drive on well-paved highways from three of Canada's biggest cities, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, it is easily accessible and has many nearby amenities for those who are just getting their first taste of outdoor life in Canada.
The lands that form today’s Algonquin Park have been used for thousands of years. Artefacts such as tool fragments, beads, and pottery shards show that people occupied the forests and shores of the park long before contact with Europeans.
The story of how Algonquin Park came to be a symbol of modern Ontario’s wilderness begins with European politics and global trade at the end of the 1700s. Great Britain’s economy was thriving in this era, and the country was importing vast quantities of wood from Europe and its colonies to support its growth. However, the Napoleonic wars in Europe and the American Revolution eventually cut off much of its timber supply from everywhere but Canada. By 1830, when pine logging began in the lands that would become the park, Canadian timber was one of Great Britain’s main imports. Upper Canada (now Ontario) provided seemingly vast forests of towering white and red pine - some over 35m tall, and 1.2m in diameter. Old growth pine was so valuable that loggers and lumber barons typically left the other relatively worthless trees standing.
In 1892, a Royal Commission recommended a Forest Reservation and National Park. Their report focused on maintaining the entire territory as public land: the government can license companies to take timber, but the leftover land and soil should be public. The strategy also prohibited settlers from interfering with logging activities by expanding settlements into valuable pine forests.
The park was officially created in 1893 to protect the valuable timber industry while preserving birds, animals, watercourses, and most of the primeval forest. At the time, the forest was so dense with other mature species of trees that it was believed every last pine tree could be removed without impacting the ecology of the park. Tourism in the park emerged from health resorts promising city dwellers cures from fresh water and the aroma of balsam and spruce. In 1896, lumber baron J.R. Booth completed the Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway (OA&PS) through the southern portion of the park; it was intended to haul logs out, but it also brought more visitors in, and more of the vast interior was open for tourism.
Highway 60 opened in 1933, and by the 1950’s, logging activity had reduced significantly, replaced by recreational uses that visitors still enjoy today. Logging activities are now strictly separated from recreational uses, and the railways have been pulled up. The last train rolled through the park in 1994.
Algonquin's landscape consists of large and small lakes, rocky outcrops, rolling hills, boulders, marshes, bogs and swamps. It’s set on top of a dome of bedrock that forms the Canadian Shield. It's as old as the earth itself, and was worn down to its relatively low profile about 500 million years ago.
The winding maze of lakes and rivers is thanks to the glacier that retreated 11,000 years ago, reshaping the land and leaving sand, soil, and gravel as ice several kilometres thick melted. Wide valleys were once deep rivers of melting glacier water. Bluffs are visible along rivers where erosion has washed away softer rock, leaving a steep cliff of harder granite, for example, along at 1 Hemlock Bluff Trail. Faults create deep valleys with creeks and rivers, most notably along the Barron Canyon.
About 12% of the park’s land area is underwater. The park’s higher elevations are in the west half; the highest points are almost 600m above sea level, surrounding 2 Booth Lake and further west on the highlands around Porcupine Lake, 3 Mount Manitou. The lowest is 150m, on the Barron River near the east edge of the park.
Flora and faunaEdit
Algonquin Park’s forest is situated in a transition zone between Canada’s vast Boreal Forest to the north (stretching from Newfoundland to Alaska), and the deciduous forests at the southern edge of the Canadian Shield that extends through Southern Ontario. The mix of coniferous and deciduous forests, and the range of climate, soil and topography create a diverse variety of plant and animal life in the park. The variety of tree species includes sugar maple, birch, hemlock, pine, cedar, balsam fir and spruce. Smaller, provincially rare plants such as southern twayblade and the white fringed orchid can be spotted in the park’s bogs. The oldest trees in the park are eastern hemlock and red pine, protected on the shores of 4 Dickson Lake. An impressive white pine forest is accessible from Big Pines Trail, along Highway 60. These mature trees were too small to be valuable when the area was logged.
Moose are an iconic mascot of the park and the largest animal most visitors see. The park is at the southern limit for wolves in Ontario. If you’re lucky, you may hear a wolf howl which can carry for many kilometres on a quiet night. A population of black bear is active throughout the park, but will typically flee long before you’ve noticed. Nevertheless, know how to camp and hike safely through bear country. The spruce grouse and Canada jay are common in Ontario and within the park. A spruce grouse believes so strongly in camouflage that you may be be able to get quite close to one. Jays are more bold, and aren’t too afraid of joining you if they want a bit of your lunch.
Some less pleasant species also call the park home. Black flies start to hatch as soon as the ice has melted, and peak in May and June, when they are joined by mosquitos, which peak until the end of July. Both are busiest in the late evening hours. Deer and horse flies are larger, but few in number, mostly in July and August. Wearing long clothing and insect repellent are the time tested way to endure bug season. Poison ivy is widespread (mostly outside the Highway 60 corridor) but avoidable if you’re careful.
|Dwight, Ontario (west of Algonquin Park)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Algonquin is not quite part of Northern Ontario, but it shares the typical climate for its region. Springtime is likely to be cool and wet. Daily highs in summer range from 18°C to over 30°C. In summer, it can be humid throughout June and July, though the humidity tapers off in August. Days are still warm enough in September and October to enjoy a daytime hike, but cold, dark nights and autumn rain keep all but the most determined expert paddlers out of the backcounty. Winters are guaranteed to be snowy, cold and harsh.
Spring is marked by ice out- a day usually between April and mid-May, when the winter's ice has melted from the park's lakes. This is when they become navigable for another canoeing season, though the water itself will stay cold (sometimes dangerously frigid) for weeks after.
Fall begins in early September, earlier than elsewhere in Southern Ontario. Trees begin to reveal fall colours when nighttime temperatures sink toward 0°C, and fall colours peak between September and mid-October depending on tree species and weather conditions.
Visitor Information CentreEdit
- 1 Algonquin Visitor Centre (Hwy 60). Provides park information and permits in the eastern part of Highway 60. Exhibits and displays explain the history of the park. A bookstore provides guide and maps for the parks, and books covering a wide range of topics useful to visitors. The centre provides free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and an observation deck.
The most convenient way into the park is your car. Highway 60 is the only major route through the park, running east-west near the park's southern corner (above the "pan handle") for 64 km (40 mi) within the park boundary. Highway 11 runs north from Highway 60 in Huntsville to North Bay (130 km (81 mi)). Highway 17, part of the Trans-Canada Highway, runs north-west from Pembroke to North Bay (220 km (140 mi)). Smaller roads enter the park from both these highways.
Once inside, park in one of the many designated spots to set out into the backcountry or explore the Highway 60 corridor. The two access gates at both ends of the Highway 60 corridor provide permits, park information and serve as a basic rest stop with public phones, washrooms, and first aid.
- 1 West Gate (Hwy 60, 22 km east of Dwight). The West Gate is the major entrance point for the Highway 60 corridor for visitors arriving through Huntsville (43 km), Parry Sound (118 km), or Barrie (168 km).
- 2 East Gate (Hwy 60, 6 km west of Whitney). The East Gate is the major entrance point for the Highway 60 corridor from Bancroft (70 km) or Ottawa (244 km).
Access points around the periphery range from unstaffed parking lots to small offices. These are access points to the backcountry. Whether arriving for a day visit or an overnight trip, you should only enter the park here with a well-planed itinerary, appropriate clothing, equipment, food and water. Camping trips through the back country require advance reservation. A few of the access offices are:
- 3 Cedar Lake - Brent (On Brent Rd, south of Hwy 17, at the Brent Campground).
- 4 Sand Lake (On Barron Canyon Rd, west of Pembroke).
- 5 Kawawaymog (Round) Lake (East of South River).
It is possible to drive to campsites in the northern parts of the park from Highway 17. The campsites at Achray (west of Petawawa), Brent (south of Deux-Rivieres) and Kiosk (south-east of North Bay) are accessible by car during the summer months, but ensure your vehicle is in good condition- some old or gravel roads can be in rough condition.
- Parkbus, ☏ +1 800-928-7101, email@example.com. Connects Toronto to the park in the summer months, making stops at several points along the Highway 60 corridor. Round trip from $147.
Other bus services will get you close to the park. Taxi services are available in Huntsville, and some outfitters such as Voyageur Outfitting in South River, or Algonquin Bound from Huntsville or Pembroke provide a pick-up from some bus stops.
- Northern Airport Service, ☏ +1 705-474-7942. Serves Toronto Pearson International Airport and Huntsville twice daily.
- Ontario Northland, ☏ +1 800-461-8558. Provides regular services from Toronto, Barrie, North Bay and Ottawa, along Highways 11 and 17. Stops include Huntsville, Pembroke, and South River. Ontario Northland also serves locations as far north as Moosonee and as west as Winnipeg.
A less common way to get into Algonquin is by aeroplane. The only airfield is in the northern community of Brent, so if you are getting in by air your vehicle will most likely be a float plane capable of landing on water. However, it is illegal to land private aircraft on any lakes within the park boundary. If you've chartered a float plane, it will take you to a lake outside the park.
Fees and permitsEdit
Using of any of the park's amenities, services, and facilities (including trails, exhibits, beaches, and picnic sites) requires a permit. You can drive Highway 60 without a permit if you don't plan on stopping by any of the sights along the way. If you do not have a camping permit valid for a day you plan on visiting the park, you can buy a day use permit (also called a Daily Vehicle Permit) which provides access for a vehicle and its occupants between 7AM and 10PM.
Day use prices valid until March 31, 2024:
- Single day, access points on Highway 60: $21
- Single day, all other Algonquin Park access points: $18
- Annual: $112
- Summer season: $85
- Winter season: $68
Day use permits can be purchased in advance online or by phone ☏ +1 888-668-7275 5 days in advance, to reserve access for a particular day and access point. Permits can also be purchased upon arrival if any are still available. Annual and season passes are valid for an unlimited number of daytime visits at all Ontario Provincial Parks. However, they do not provide guaranteed access when an access point is at capacity. Daily reservations for season pass holders can be made 5 days in advance, free of charge. Pack a printed copy of your permit and reservation details - you may need to show them as you enter and while you're inside the park, without access to mobile internet.
A permit for a campsite at a developed, drive-in campground costs $42-54 per night depending on the services available, and whether you need an electrical connection. Yurts (semi-permanent tents, furnished with seating and bedding) cost $112-155 per night. A camping permit is valid for one vehicle and up to 6 people.
A backcountry canoe/hike-in campsite permit costs $12 per adult/$6 per child for one day. A backcountry ranger cabin costs $64-132 per night, plus the permit. All backcountry camping in Algonquin must be reserved in advance.
Additional vehicle permits for camping cost $13 per night. Camping reservations cost $13 when made over the phone, or $11 online.
Fishing permits are issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. They can be obtained at some locations in Algonquin. Costs for these permits fluctuate.
If you are exploring the Highway 60 corridor, the best way to get around is by vehicle. Some people use bicycles as well, and some even walk; but this is not recommended. Away from the corridor, the only way to get around most of the time is by canoe. Algonquin has an extensive canoe route system, with many portages and campsites. Be sure to obtain a canoe route map before you depart.
There are many natural and historic sites in the park. No trip to Algonquin is complete without seeing the abandoned Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway bed, which is not only fascinating in itself but also passes by some interesting sites (abandoned train stations, logging depots, bridges, even the remains of a train derailment from the 1930s). The Brent Crater and Barron Canyon are both off of provincial Highway 17, which runs north of the park. They will provide a fascinating hike.
- 1 Algonquin Logging Museum (Hwy 60). An outdoor pathway and reception building details the history of logging in Algonquin Park, including outdoor exhibitions of historic and modern equipment. The buildings are open in late spring to early autumn, but the outdoor trail and some exhibits are accessible in winter.
- 2 Algonquin Art Centre (Hwy 60), ☏ +1 705-633-5555, toll-free: +1 855-221-2278, firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM-5PM from June to October. The park has long been a destination for Canadian artists. The Algonquin Art Centre focuses on art that highlights Canadian wilderness, wildlife, and nature.
Algonquin offers an endless network of canoe routes, either as a daytime activity, or as part of a backcountry camping itinerary to access campsites that are only accessible by paddle and portage. Outfitters around the park rent equipment and supplies; many will deliver a canoe to your campground or access point, or even meet you at your destination at the end of the day so you don't need to backtrack or canoe in a loop. They also often provide advice and assistance when planning a route.
Old-fashioned printed maps are still the reliable way to plan and navigate. The Friends of Algonquin Park publishes the official map, Algonquin Park Canoe Routes, containing regularly updated routes and information.
- 1 Canoe Lake (Hwy 60). A large, busy lake along the Highway 60 corridor, connecting to several canoe routes and served park facilities along the highway. It's also an important location in Canada's artistic history. A ghost town toward the north-west shore of the lake, Mowat, was a company town for a sawmill that opened at the end of the 1800s with a population of 500. After the sawmill closed, the isolated town become a small tourist retreat, attracting Tom Thomson, an influential artist who worked with a group that would go on to form the Group of Seven. Before the founding of the group, Thomson drowned here in the summer of 1917 at the peak of his artistic career. A cairn stands on the lake, opposite from the Mowat town site, but his resting place is in Owen Sound.
- 2 Grand Lake (Hwy 17). In the northeast corner of the park, Grand Lake provides backcountry campsites on its southern shore. From Grand Lake, you can also access Carcajou Bay to see waterfalls flowing over granite, or portage to the Barron River and Barron Canyon. Achray Campground is located here, so visitors can combine daytime canoeing with car camping, in a more remote location than the Highway 60 corridor.
- 3 Opeongo Lake (Hwy 60). The park's largest lake, with rentals and access off Highway 60. The expanse of the lake and wild shorelines create a scenic route for canoeing, but also provide little shelter from strong summer winds. Some paddlers time their departure to avoid strong winds, or use a motorboat water taxi to skip Opeongo completely. Many backcountry campsites dot the shores of each arm of the lake.
- Algonquin Park Tours Inc., 1023 Cooper Lake Rd., Dwight, ☏ +1 705-783-7566, toll-free: +1-877-757-5704. Nature-based adventures for students and travelers from all over the world. All-inclusive guided canoe trips feature multilingual guides.
Take a hike along one of the many guided trails. You can pick up a booklet at the beginning of each trail, and numerous posts placed throughout will provide fascinating information. These trails range from easy, short and flat to extremely challenging, long and rugged.
- 4 Barron Canyon (From Highway 17). A short 1.5 km (0.93 mi), but popular and challenging loop takes hikers up to the cliffs overlooking the Barron Canyon and River. Caution is required along cliff edges, which are not fenced from the trail.
- 5 Big Pines Trail (Hwy 60). An easy 3 km (1.9 mi) looping trail through an area that was logged in the 1880s. Today, the remaining white pines have matured, and the area is one of the best preserved old growth white pine forests in the park.
- 6 Brent Crater, Brent Rd (South of Hwy 17). About 450 million years ago, a large meteorite created a "bowl" in the hard rock of the Canadian shield, 3.8 km (2.4 mi) wide and about 427 m (1,401 ft) deep. Evidence suggests that the area was submerged under water at the time; if not, the force of the impact would have likely knocked over nearly every tree in the park. In the millions of years since, erosion and glacial movement has filled most of the crater, so the forest and small lakes at the bottom are now only about 60 m (200 ft) below the road. An observation platform provides a panoramic view from a hill along the road. A self-guided interpretative walk explains interesting points along the Brent Crater Trail, a 2 km (1.2 mi) loop, or about 3.2 km (2.0 mi) if you include a detour to Tecumseh Lake.
- 7 Centennial Ridges (Hwy 60). A strenuous 10 km (6.2 mi) loop provides a good workout and scenic views nearly 100 m (330 ft) above Whitefish Lake and along several long ridges. A side trail from the south end of the loop connects to Racoon Lake Campground 1.2 km (0.75 mi) away.
- 8 Spruce Bog Boardwalk (Hwy 60). An easy 1.5 km (0.93 mi) flat loop, with sections of wooden boardwalk, takes walkers and birdwatchers across Sunday Creek into the bog.
Hiking is still possible with proper clothing and preparation, but snow opens up the trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and dogsledding. Camping can feel even more tranquil with far fewer people staying overnight. Most backcountry access points are closed, and some roads aren't plowed of snow. Most activities focus on the Highway 60 corridor, which is plowed and maintained all winter.
The Portage, Two Rivers and Opeongo stores provide camping, canoeing and other outfitting equipment. There is a souvenir and bookstore in the Visitor's Centre. All stores tend to be overpriced, compared to stores selling similar goods further from the park.
- 1 Algonquin Bound Outfitters - West Gate, 5280 Hwy 60, toll-free: +1-800-704-4537. One of Algonquin Park's outfitters specializing in trip planning, canoe and gear rentals. Professional guiding available for groups of any size. They have another location near the east corner of the park, 2 Algonquin Bound Outfitters - Barron Creek.
- 3 Algonquin Outfitters - Brent Store, ☏ +1 705-635-2243. By appointment. Remote outpost for limited supplies and canoe or kayak rentals, open by advance reservation only. No phone service is available in the area or at the store itself; arrangements should be made by phone well in advance.
- 4 Algonquin Outfitters – Lake Opeongo Store, Lake Opeongo, access point #11, ☏ +1 613-637-2075, toll-free: +1-800-469-4948. 7AM-8PM daily (high season), 7AM-6PM (end April-Thanksgiving). At south end of Lake Opeongo, Algonquin Park’s largest body of water. Canoe, kayak and bicycle rentals, outfitter and guided wildlife viewing trips, store with fish tackle, camping supplies, outdoor clothing and footwear, souvenirs, groceries, live bait and ice. Water taxi is $30/person (one way), minimum $90/trip.
- 5 Lake of Two Rivers Store & Café, ☏ +1 705-635-2243 (Oxtongue Lake). South of Highway 60 at km 31.4 between Mew Lake and Lake of Two Rivers campgrounds. Mountain bicycle and trailer rental (helmet included), store with camping, hiking and fishing gear, souvenirs, groceries (fresh produce and fruit, fresh and frozen meats, dairy, drinks and ice). Café & Grill with gourmet coffee, hamburgers, french fries, pulled pork poutine, wraps, salads, Kawartha Ice Cream and milkshakes.
Small grocery stores, pharmacies and post offices are available in the two towns on Highway 60 just outside the park; Dwight to the west, Whitney to the east. For a wider selection of stores, larger supermarkets, and banks, consider Huntsville or Petawawa.
If staying overnight in Algonquin, it is highly recommended (and often necessary) that you bring your own food. You can cook over a fire (a fire-pit is provided in every campsite) or a lightweight camping stove (which you must provide).
There is a cafeteria in the Visitor's Centre, but the food is expensive and not of amazing quality. The store at Lake of Two Rivers campground offers "fast food" type meals and ice cream. The Portage Store on Canoe Lake has dine-in and take out food, a small convenience store and ice cream retailer.
Three lodges in the park (Arowhon, Killarney, and Bartlett Lodge), all accessible from Route 60, offer expensive but good-quality meals. Reservations suggested.
As always, remember that glass bottles, cans (including soda cans) are banned in the park. Should drinks be packaged in such containers, pour them into a re-usable plastic bottle. It is strongly recommended that you not drink out of the lakes. Bacteria and parasites are present. This is especially true for bogs and rivers. Prior to drinking the water, bring it to a full boil for 5 minutes, or pass it through a filter.
In the park, it is most likely that you will be staying on a campsite. Remember, camping requires a permit which can be obtained at any Park office, in advance online or by phone; ☏ +1 888-668-7275. Each campground in the park is operated by the provincial government, balancing public access with natural heritage and conservation. Campgrounds for drive-in camping provide a good compromise between the rugged nature of Algonquin Park, with at least a few comforts available as you use your car, tent or trailer as a base for your visit. Individual sites are typically walking distance to water taps and vault toilets. Even if you arrive by car instead of portage, the rules for camp safety and etiquette still apply, especially regarding wildlife, campfires, food, and garbage. Information for all campgrounds is available by phone from Ontario Parks, ☏ +1 705-633-5572
Highway 60 CorridorEdit
- 1 Canisbay Lake. Large developed campground, with car camping, paddle-in, and walk-in sites. Electrical and radio-free sites are available. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, and laundry. Features a sandy beach and access to several hiking trails.
- 2 Kearney Lake. Provides canoeing and swimming opportunities on Kearney Lake. Campsites have access to flush toilets, showers and laundry. No electricity is available.
- 3 Lake of Two Rivers. Large campground providing electrical connections and access to a large sandy beach. Comfort stations provide flush toilets, showers, and laundry. The Two Rivers Park Store sells basic supplies, groceries, and snacks, and rents bicycles.
- 4 Mew Lake. Offers all-season camping. Some sites provide electrical connections, and several yurts and a cabin are available. Mew Lake is located along the Old Railway Bike Trail, in addition to several hiking trails. In the winter months, fatbiking is possible on the bike trail, with Mew Lake serving as a popular access point.
- 5 Pog Lake. Located in a pine forest, this is the largest campground in Algonquin Park, and a stop on the Park Bus shuttle from Toronto. Many sites provide an electrical hookup.
- 6 Raccoon Lake. Smaller campground, with only basic facilities. No electrical sites, showers, or laundry facilities onsite, but the amenities in the Rock Lake Campground 2 km away can be used.
- 7 Rock Lake. Pet-friendly campground with site accommodating a range of equipment. Two beaches are within walking distance to the camp sites. Provides access to the Old Railway Bike Trail.
- 8 Tea Lake. Small campground with showers, flush toilets, and a small beach. No electrical sites are available.
North and East PeripheryEdit
- 9 Achray Campground (Highway 17). In the eastern periphery of the park, Achray campground provides 45 car camping sites, as well as a yurt. Several trails access the campground, and swimmming is possible in Grand Lake. Flush toilets are available, but no showers or electricity. Radios and generators are not permitted.
- 10 Brent Campground (Highway 17). In the northern periphery of the park, Brent campground offers 30 car camping sites and a small rustic cabin that accommodates two people. Some camp sites are lakeside. Trails through the campground can take hikers to the Brent meteorite crater.
- 11 Kiosk Campground (Highway 17). The smallest peripheral campground, Kiosk has 17 car camping sites and one cabin. Kioshkokwi Lake provides a beach for swimming.
Outside the development of the Highway 60 corridor, the main reason for visiting Algonquin is accessing the park's interior. 2,000 km (1,200 mi) of canoe routes wind throughout the park, connected by well-marked portages ranging from 2 m (6.6 ft) to 2 km (1.2 mi) long. There are also 13 historic ranger cabins that can be rented in the interior, equipped with only the most basic supplies. There are nearly 2,000 campsites scattered throughout the interior; the combinations of canoe routes and camps are practically endless.
There are 3 backpacking trails that access parts of the backcountry not accessible by canoe. The Western Uplands and Highland trails are accessible from Highway 60. The Eastern Pines trail is the shortest, but located away from the busy corridor near Achray campground. All three trails are difficult due to steep slopes and rough terrain. A brochure, Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Provincial Park is available. In the winter months, backcountry camping is only possible on the Western Uplands and Highland backpacking trails.
In the backcountry, camping is only permitted at designated interior campsites marked by a orange sign, and only when you have a permit. The popular routes are heavily used and should be reserved well in advance, up to 5 months before your trip. When reserving a trip, you will need to specify the access and exit points and where you plan to camp each night; the permit effectively becomes your itinerary. Each campsite is limited to 9 people. The Algonquin Park Information Office at ☏ +1 705-633-5572 can provide information about planning your trip. Reservations can be made online or by phone; ☏ +1 888-668-7275.
Three lodges in the park offer resort-type lodging and meals.
- 12 Arowhon Pines, Arowhon Road (Arowhon Rd. leads north from Hwy 60 and ends at the lodge), ☏ +1 705-633-5661, toll-free: +1-866-633-5661, fax: +1 705-633-5795. Lodge with central log dining room. Little Joe Lake off Hwy 60, km 15. Off-season, phone +1 416-483-4393.
- 13 Bartlett Lodge, on Cache Lake, ☏ +1 705-633-5543, toll-free: +1-866-614-5355. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Or +1 705-633-5746. Solar power covered pontoon boat available upon request. Lakefront cottages, fine dining on an island, reached by lodge ferry. Early May-mid Oct. $400-500/night, double occupancy.
- 14 Killarney Lodge, Lake of Two Rivers (Km 33 on Hwy 60), ☏ +1 705-633-5551, toll-free: +1-866-473-5551, email@example.com. 33 km inside the West Gate of Algonquin Park off Hwy 60. Private lakeside cabins with fine country dining included. Open May-Oct. The Lodge was built in 1935. It consists of the original log dining room and 27 cabins all located on a private peninsula.
Outside the parkEdit
East of the park, about 6 km (3.7 mi) from the gate, Whitney is a small town that provides a handful of motels and cabins:
- 15 Dream Catcher Motel, 29614 Hwy 60 (4.8 km from the east gate), ☏ +1 613-637-1220. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. 8 rooms are equipped with satellite TV, Wi-Fi, microwaves and small refrigerators. The motel provides a shared patio and BBQ area. From $179.
- 16 Four Corners Algonquin, 29924 Hwy 60 (4.4 km from the east gate), ☏ +1 613-637-2000, FourCornersAlgonquin@rogers.com. Check-in: 2PM. A subtle upgrade from the tent camping inside the park, Four Corners offers 'glamping' in 90 acres of private forest, with transparent domes, safari tents, or tiny cabins. Cooking spaces and washrooms are shared. Wi-Fi available in the common area. Open seasonally, June to October. Cabin with bunkbed from $114.
There is also hostel in Maynooth (to the south-southeast of the park) and a few motels on Highway 11 near Huntsville (west of the park).
Even though the park is an easy drive from some of Canada's largest cities, the park's vast wilderness poses a number of risks that can ruin a trip or cost an adventurer their life. It takes careful research and planning to prepare a trip appropriate for your skill level. Even experts start planning well in advance, reviewing the latest maps, maintaining equipment, and reading journals from previous trips.
Plan only activities that are appropriate for your skill-level, especially in the backcountry. If you've never camped, canoed, swam, hiked or portaged before, try each of these activities on their own before committing to a route through Algonquin. Try each of your skills before setting out on a longer itinerary. For example, try a paddle-in site that's only a short canoe ride from an organized campground, or plan to base camp before booking a trip that requires canoeing between campsites every day. Keep track of how far you can canoe or hike each day, and anything you want to buy, fix or learn about for your next trip.
If you don't have all the skills necessary to survive in the backcountry and you still feel compelled to visit, hire a professional guide or join a guided group for beginners.
Follow good practices for sharing the forest with large animals, such as bears while camping, and moose while driving.
Black bears in Algonquin normally avoid people. However, bears in distress may become defensive or aggressive. Bears that are used to human contact can be attracted by the scent of food. All possible attractants must be stored or disposed safely (e.g. in your vehicle, a bear-proof garbage bin in developed areas, tied between trees, or burned) when your site is unattended or while sleeping. Possible attractants includes food, garbage, clothes with food residues on them, dirty dishes and cooking equipment, soap, toothpaste, and so on. Never store attractants in your tent and keep your site clean. Report bear sightings to a Park Warden or at the campground office.
Never approach or feed wildlife. Animals that learn to rely on humans for food will stray closer to campgrounds and highways, and increase the risk of unwanted interactions and vehicle accidents.
It is imperative that you obtain a canoe map prior to venturing out by canoe. Other maps won't show you which routes are navigable or where to portage. Pay attention to the weather; larger lakes can become impossible to paddle when wind and waves pick up.
Make sure you have everything you need on board for a safe trip. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are required for everyone on board, and should be worn while on the water. Don't overestimate your ability to swim or re-enter the canoe if you capsize, especially in cold water; cold-water shock will instantly effect your breathing and muscles.
Plan your campsite carefully and check for hazards. Avoid dead or loose branches above, and look for dead trees in danger of falling. Don't start a fire outside a designated pit or build a fire larger than you can control. In dry weather, fire restrictions are in place when even a small well-controlled campfire is likely to spread. Small, portable camp stoves are the only way to cook and boil water when fires are prohibited.
Lake water is not safe to drink without treating, filtering, or boiling. Potable water is usually available from taps in developed campgrounds. In the backcountry, you'll need to be prepared to make your own drinking water. Boiling water takes time and uses fuel; most campers use modern kits that are much more convenient.
Outside the peak of summer daylight, check sunset times and trail lengths to ensure you'll be off the trail before dusk. As a general rule, don't start a winter hike after 3PM. Some trails take you through rough terrain or close to cliff edges. Wear appropriate footwear, and keep an eye on your surroundings, as well as any children.
Logging still occurs in Algonquin and trucks rumble up and down backcountry roads which are not shown on the map. Don't follow roads that are closed or not shown on the map. Not only are they private, but they are narrow and a human will give way before a logging truck does.
Cellphone service is not reliable in the park, and help may be far away. Many people bring a satellite messenger device or personal locator beacon than can send an SOS signal with your location. They offer peace of mind, but search-and-rescue in the park is complex and dangerous. You're always responsible for your own safety in the park: if you wouldn't do something without a panic button, don't do it with one.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) coordinates emergency response in the park. Dial 9-1-1 locally or ☏ +1 888-310-1122. Leave a copy of your plans with someone outside the park in case they need to call on your behalf.
- Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley: Bancroft is a popular cottage country town, with small museums, restaurants and shops on its main street. Arnprior is the gateway to Ottawa and the National Capital.
- Northern Ontario: Parry Sound is a town in the Near North on the shore of Georgian Bay. North Bay is the gateway city to Northern Ontario along the Trans-Canada Highway.
- Central Ontario includes a lot of the province's cottage country. The Haliburton Highlands and Kawarthas are south of Algonquin. Muskoka is to the southwest.
- If you have a permit valid for other provincial parks, or you want to extend your time in the wilderness, several parks are nearby. They're popular destinations for car camping, hiking and swimming (but for backcountry campers, hot showers might be their most appealing amenity):
- Arrowhead is located near Huntsville
- Mikisew is located west of South River and Highway 11
- Bonnechere is near Renfrew in the Ottawa Valley
- Driftwood is north of the park on Hwy 17
- Samuel de Champlain is near Mattawa.
- The nearest national park to Algonquin is Georgian Bay Islands National Park, near Midland.
|Routes through Algonquin Provincial Park|
|END at Junction ← Huntsville ←||W E||→ Barry's Bay → Renfrew|