Algonquin Park Hiking
Experience Algonquin Park hiking...
The best trails in the world!!
Algonquin Park hiking
is one of the most popular activities for visitors and the vast wilderness area draws hikers by the busload. Outdoor enthusiasts from accross the planet flock to this seemingly untamed Canadian wilderness located just a stone's throw away from civilization. Hiker participants must be broken down into two very different groups: day hikers and backpackers.
It should be noted that whle the majority of hikers at Algonquin Park are day hikers and there are many trails to accommodate them, to truly experience what this park has to offer a trip into the back country which is usually accompanied by a night out two camping under the stars is a must.
For the day hikers, Algonquin Provincial Park provides trails of varying difficulty from 1 – 11 kilometeres long. The trails are as follows with what I think is the most interesting listed first:
- Mizzy Lake Trail - Accessed at kilometre 15.4 on Highway #60 this 11km trail is great for viewing wildlife as you pass quite a few ponds and small lakes. This trail takes all day and is of moderate difficulty so it is recommended that you start early.
- Big Pines Trail - Accessed at kilomtere 40.3 on Highway #60 this 2.9 km trail explains the parks logging history and the significance of white pines. Walk past 80 huge old white pines and an old 1880’s logging camp. A short walk this trail is easy to traverse.
- Barron Canyon Trail - Accessed 11 kilometres past Sand Lake Gate in the east end of the park. At 1.4 kilometres this short trail takes you along the north rim of the breathtaking river gorge. Very easy to do I highly recommend this Algonquin Park hiking trail.
- Spruce Bog Boardwalk - A very easy to do 1.5 kilometre boardwalk and trail that is also wheelchair accessible. The trail is accessed at kilometer 42.5 on Highway #60 you get a close up look at northern spruce bogs.
- Brent Crater Trail - Accessed at kilometer 32 on Highway #17 on Brent Road at the north end of the park this short 2 kilometre trail that moderate in difficulty gives insight into the effects of a meteorite impact as you walk past the eroded walls of an ancient meteor cater.
- Hemlock Bluff Trail - Accessed at kilometer 27.2 on Highway #60. At 3.5 km this trail is short but is of moderate difficulty, at the end of the hike you come across some impressive views of Jack Lake.
- Centennial Ridges Trail - This trail can actually be accessed at two different starting points: 2 kilometres south from kilometre 37.6 on Highway #60 and at kilometre 39.7 on Highway # 60. The first access point provides for a 10 kilometre trail that takes a strenuous 3 to 4 hours to traverse but the payoff is some breathtaking views from along towering ridges. The second access point gives acesss to a shorter but still difficult 1.9 kilometre trail that providers hikers with spectacular views over a large section of Algonquin Park wilderness.
- Whiskey Rapids Trail - Accessed at kilometer 7.2 along Highway #60 this short, moderately difficult to traverse trail follows the Oxtongue River to the Whiskey Rapids. Please note that this trail floods regularly especially during the spring melt and during periods of extended rain.
- Hardwood Lookout Trail - Accessed at kilometer 13.8 on Highway # 60 this trail is very short at 0.8 kilometres. You walk through a typical Algonquin hardwood forest until you reach Smoke Lake and some really nice views.
- Track & Tower Trail - Accessed at kilometer 25 on Highway #60 this 7.7 kilometre trail is rated as fairly difficulty to traverse. Hikers are rewarded with a magnificent lookout over Cache Lake. There is also an optional 5.5 kilometre side trail that follows an abandoned railway track until it reaches Mew Lake.
- Peck Lake Trail - Accessed at kilometer 19.2 along highway #60 this short, easy to do 1.9 kilometre trail follows the shoreline of Peck lake around its circumference.
- Algonquin Logging Museum Trail - Accessed at kilometer 54.5 on Highway #60 this easy to walk 1.3 kilometre trail that is also wheelchair accessible gives insight into the logging industry in Algonquin Park as you walk by a reconstructed logging camp with its tools and machinery and arrive at the Algonquin Logging Museum.
- Bat Lake Trail - Accessed at kilometer 30 on Highway #60 this easy to moderately difficult trail is 5.5 kilometres long and passes through hardwood and coniferous forests as well as a hemlock stand before arriving at a lookout over acidic Bat Lake.
- Two Rivers Trail - Accessed at kilometer 31 on Highway #60 this easy to do 2 kilometre trail ascends a pine clad cliff and gives good insight into the forests of Algonquin Provincial Park.
- Booth’s Rock Trail - Accessed 8 kilometres south of kilometer 40.3 on Highway #60 this moderate in difficulty trail is 5.1 kilometres long and passes by two lakes and a breathtaking lookout while returning via an abandoned railway track.
- Beaver Pond Trail - Accessed at kilometer 45.2 on Highway #60 this east to do trail is only 2 kilometres long but takes you past two beaver ponds with their accompanying dams and lodges.
- Berm Lake Trail - Accessed at Achray Campground on the east side of Algonquin Park the easy to traverse 4.5 kilometre trail leads you through some of the pine forests for which Algonquin Park is famous for. This trail takes you completely around little Berm Lake.
For the more serious minded Algonquin Park provides three backpacking trails totaling 140 km with the longest being up to 88 km long.
- Western Uplands Backpacking Trail - Western Uplands Backpacking Trail
This trail is open year round and is accessed at kilometre 3 on Highway #60 or at Rain Lake access point 35 kilometres east of Highway #11 at the village of Emsdale. This trail is for intermediate to expert backpackers and can either be 32 or 88 kilometres long depending on the access point. The trail gets more challenging as it becomes more overgrown the deeper one goes. The trail is also prone to flooding from late April until early May.
- Highlands Backpacking Trail - The trail is open year round and is accessed at kilometer 29.7 on highway #60. This trail has two loops one 19 and the other 35 kilometres long. There is some uphill climbing so the trail I rated at the intermediate level. A very scenic route you pass by a number of lakes and some great lookout points.
- Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail - This trail is open from the last Friday in April until Thanksgiving in the middle of October and can be accessed at Achray Campground on the east side of Algonquin Park and is the easiest of the three backpacking trails. It is rated for beginners and there is two loops, one at 6 kilometres and the other at 15 kilometres long.
Please note that a valid Park permit is required to hike on one of the Algonquin Park hiking trails. If you are planning on camping it is recommended that you make reservations in advance as Algonquin Park is a popular destination for visitors and residents alike and tends to book up early especially in the popular summer and autumn months. As always, check out www.algonquinpark.on.ca
for more information.
Algonquin Park hiking trails
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Best time for Algonquin Park hiking
Algonquin Park hiking is a very safe activity but care should always be taken. Never approach wildlife and be respectful around the bodies of water. Watch your footing at all times especially around cliff and ridge edges and after a rainfall when the ground becomes very slippery. Depending on the time of year that your hiking adventure occurs there are also some helpful tips you should follow.
Spring - For visitors arriving from Southern Ontario you should note that the spring thaw at Algonquin Park occurs much later. It may feel very warm in Toronto but there could still be ice on the ground in the park. Always bring warmer clothing just in case and wear comfortable waterproof hiking boots. The trails will either be icy or very wet from the thaw. Bring enough water and snacks to last the day in case of an emergency.
Summer - The hot Ontario summer is the most popular time for Algonquin Park hiking. Be prepared for the humidity that comes with it. Plenty of water or other liquids should be taken along with enough food or snacks to last at minimum one day. Hiking boots and a hat should be worn and a good mosquito and black fly repellant is an absolute necessity.
- Fall - In my opinion the Fall is by far the best time for Algonquin Park hiking. The autumn colours are incredible and there is simply no better place in Ontario to experience the Canadian Fall than Algonquin Park. Weather conditions can vary and change rapidly so it is always best to be prepared. Bring enough water and snacks to last the day. Wear layers of clothing that can be added to or removed depending on the weather conditions on make sure you have a good, comfortable pair of hiking boots.
- Winter - Winter Algonquin Park hiking is an extremely popular activity. Care should be taken when traveling deeper into the park as the human presence is scarce at this time if year and weather conditions can change rapidly. Wear extremely warm clothes and a good pair of warm, waterproof hiking boots. Hiking poles can also be used and snowshoes are also an option. Bring enough water and snacks to last at least one day and a thermos containing a hot drink is always recommended.
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