Hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park
Nestled snugly between the waters of Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Central Ontario, Algonquin Provincial Park is a beautiful stretch of wilderness set within the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield. Considered by many to be the informal border between Northern and Southern Ontario, the park was established in 1893 and is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Additions to the park have, over time, increased its area to roughly 7,653km², which is larger than Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island.
Such a vast stretch of land with a diversity of terrain makes for an amazing playground that can be enjoyed by a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. Coursing rivers, pristine lakes, sprawling forests, and rocky outcrops all characterize the landscape here, making it perfectly suitable for exploration by foot or boat. If you are looking for a fairly remote, yet easily-accessible location to experience the wild landscapes of Ontario, then a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park should definitely make it onto your list of upcoming adventures.
10 Great Hikes In Algonquin Provincial Park
With a number of trails that are easily accessible from ON-60, the convenient highway that cuts right through the park, hiking in Algonquin couldn’t be more easy. Short interpretive trails through the forest, challenging hikes along the rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield, and lengthy multi-day treks through the backcountry are all ways in which you can get out to experience the natural beauty of this special place. Whether you are a beginner hiker looking to get acquainted with the beautiful landscapes of Ontario, or an experienced outdoor enthusiast trying to escape the chaos of everyday life on a yearly backpacking trip, there is something for everyone in the breathtaking expanse of Algonquin Provincial Park. Check out this awesome list of hiking routes that we’ve put together to get you started:
- Centennial Ridges Trail: This 9.8 km trail is a fantastic hike that will lead you uphill through the forest for views overlooking the Canadian Shield. After climbing atop a ridge, you will have a spectacular sightline overlooking the forests and lakes that characterize the terrain of the park. This is a great adventure for experienced hikers and beginners looking for a challenge.
- Track and Tower Trail: The Track and Tower Trail will take you through a lovely stretch of forest for views of rivers, lakes, and waterfalls in the region. While this hike isn’t necessarily challenging, it does feature some rugged terrain to keep it interesting for experienced hikers and beginners alike. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as moose and black bears that are often sighted here.
- Hemlock Bluff Trail: This quick adventure in Algonquin will lead you through a beautiful forest for views of Jack Lake. Well-maintained paths and fairly easy terrain make this a great option for a family excursion in the park that won’t tire everyone out completely.
- Mizzy Lake Trail: A moderate length route within Algonquin, the Mizzy Lake Trail is a fun hike that will lead you through some wetland areas set within the forest. Scenic lakes, charming ponds, and stretches of marsh can all be viewed from the well-maintained trails along this route.
- Bat Lake Trail: For a short hike, the Bat Lake Trail features a good amount of variety in terms of terrain, making it a fun adventure for the whole family. While out on the trail, you will traverse wooden boardwalks and forested paths that feature some small climbs to keep you on your toes. Beautiful views of the surrounding forest landscape await on this nice and easy hike.
- Booth's Rock Trail: Featuring some truly beautiful views of Algonquin Park, the Booth’s Rock Trail is an amazing hike that will take you uphill to a vantage point overlooking Rock Lake. Easily-accessible from the highway, this trail is well-maintained and not overly difficult, making it another great option for a fun family hike.
- Lookout Trail: This short trail is a spectacular experience in Algonquin, taking you on a quick loop through the forest to reach a rocky lookout with views over the stunning forest and nearby lakes. This route is particularly beautiful in autumn, when the sea of trees shifts colour to a range of warm yellows, oranges, and reds.
- Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail: Another quick hike in the park, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is great for a short adventure or as a means to stretch your legs when passing through on ON-60. Beautiful views of the surrounding forest landscape can be experienced from a well-maintained wooden boardwalk and informational leaflets at the start of the hike provide interesting facts about the ecology of the landscape.
- Beaver Pond Trail: This trail is a fun loop around several small lakes that will provide a great insight into the effect that beavers have on the local environment. While out hiking, you will traverse some uphill sections of trail through the forest to view the felled trees and dams along the edge of the water that are the result of the beaver’s busy work. Generally suitable for families, less-mobile hikers might struggle with the uphill portions.
- Whiskey Rapids Trail: Providing lovely views of the Oxtongue River, the Whiskey Rapids Trail will take you through a charming stretch of forest to view the rippling water of the rapids. Make sure to bring bug spray for this hike, as the trail’s proximity to the water means that you will likely encounter a fairly large number of the critters.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Algonquin Provincial Park?
As the park is open year-round, the best time to hike in Algonquin is largely based around the type of adventure that you are looking to have. If you are aiming to spend a few days in the area exploring the natural beauty of the park, you should take note that most park facilities are only open during the spring (April/May) to autumn (September/October) window. This also coincides with the time when weather and trail conditions are the most dry and favourable. If hiking in the shoulder seasons, you might enjoy milder temperatures; however, these will be counterbalanced by more inclement weather patterns, such as rain or even snow.
Other Outdoor Activities in Algonquin Provincial Park
In addition to the many hiking trails that can be found within Algonquin, there are a number of other activities that can be sought out by outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the natural landscape of the park. In the summer, popular activities include camping, backpacking, biking, boating, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and swimming; while winter activities on offer include dog sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling. No matter the season, there is always the opportunity for a new and exciting adventure in the vast expanse of Algonquin Provincial Park.
Frequently Asked Questions About Algonquin Provincial Park
How much does it cost to enter Algonquin Provincial Park?
As of 2021, the cost of a daily vehicle permit is $21 along ON-60 and $18 for other areas of the park. Overnight stays in the park will incur other fees based on duration and type of accommodation.
Are there wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park?
Yes. There is a core population of the Algonquin Wolf that inhabits the park and surrounding areas within Central Ontario.
Can you swim in Algonquin Provincial Park?
All of the campgrounds and picnic areas located along lakes within Algonquin feature unsupervised swimming areas, while the countless lakes in the backcountry offer endless opportunities for swimming.
Best Hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park
Track and Tower Trail
Hiking the Track and Tower Trail is a great adventure in Algonquin Provincial Park that showcases the natural beauty and diverse wildlife in the area. While out on the trail, you will hike through the beautiful woodland landscape and take in stunning views of waterfalls, powerful rivers, and scenic lakes, with a good chance of spotting the blackbears and moose that inhabit the area. This route isn’t overly difficult, yet it still features a good variety of terrain, making it a suitable adventure for beginner and experienced hikers alike.
Centennial Ridges Trail
The Centennial Ridges Trail is a 9.8 km lollipop hiking route in Algonquin Park that will take you uphill along the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield. While out on the trail, you will pass through beautiful stretches of woodland terrain to reach an elevated position atop the ridge where you will enjoy breathtaking panoramic views overlooking the forests and lakes of Algonquin. Although parts of this hike can be tough, it is more than manageable for casual and beginner hikers looking for a bit of a challenge.
Booth’s Rock Trail
Hiking the Booth’s Rock Trail is a fantastic experience in Algonquin Provincial Park that will take you up to an amazing lookout with arguably some of the best views in the park. While out on the trail, you will make your way through a scenic stretch of woodland terrain featuring beautiful pine trees before climbing up to a stunning lookout with views over Rock Lake. Well-marked, maintained, and easily accessible, this is a fantastic day-hike that is suitable for almost all skill levels.
Hemlock Bluff Trail
The Hemlock Bluff Trail is a quick and easy hiking route in Algonquin Provincial Park that will see you traverse a good variety of terrain along its short length, including a beautiful stretch of mixed forest. While out on the trail, you will make your way through a tranquil woodland setting in a clockwise direction before enjoying some amazing views overlooking the calm surface of Jack Lake. With easy-to-navigate paths and beautiful scenery - including the chance to spot wildlife - this route is perfectly suited for a fun family hike in Algonquin.
Hiking the Lookout Trail is a great outdoor experience in Algonquin Provincial Park, thanks to its short overall distance and breathtaking views that sweep across the landscape. While out on the trail, you will make your way along a short loop that climbs uphill at a steady pace until you reach the lookout atop a bluff. Here, you will experience a great sightline across the countless trees and lakes that make the park such a beautiful place to visit. Try hiking this trail during the autumn, when the vast expanse of green trees shift to a myriad of yellow, orange, and red hues.
Bat Lake Trail
The Bat Lake Trail is a nice and easy hiking route within Algonquin Provincial Park that provides some beautifully scenic views of the surrounding woodland landscape and the chance to hike along several small lakes. While out on the trail, you will make your way through a variety of terrain, including forested paths, creekside walkways, and wooden boardwalks. The route also features a few short climbs; however, the majority of the terrain is perfectly suited for a fun family hike.
Beaver Pond Trail
The Beaver Pond Trail is a quick and easy adventure in Algonquin Provincial Park that will lead you around a charming lake for beautiful views across the water. While out on the trail, you will traverse some pleasant woodland terrain around the lake and witness the effect that the local beavers can have on the landscape. While this is a fairly short and easy hike, there are some sections of uphill hiking along uneven terrain, making it unsuitable for those with limited mobility.
Whiskey Rapids Trail
Hiking the Whiskey Rapids Trail is a great family-friendly experience in Algonquin Provincial Park that will take you through a beautiful stretch of woodland terrain to reach the edge of a river. While out on the trail, you will have the opportunity to hike along the banks of the Oxtongue River, where you will spot the rippling waters of the Whiskey Rapids. As the trail sits in close proximity to the water, make sure to bring bug spray for this hike.
Mizzy Lake Trail
Hiking the Mizzy Lake Trail is a great way to experience a variety of terrain types and beautiful views that can be found within the boundaries of Algonquin Provincial Park. While out on the trail, you will make your way through tranquil stretches of woodland terrain that border beautiful wetland areas, including charming lakes, quaint ponds, and mucky bogs. The trail itself is well-maintained and fairly level, making it suitable for experienced hikers and casuals looking for a moderate length route.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail
The Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is a nice and easy roadside adventure in Algonquin Provincial Park that offers the chance to stretch your legs on a long drive while taking in views of local wildlife. While out hiking this trail, you will pass through a lovely stretch of woodland terrain along a well-maintained boardwalk that is suitable for all ages and skill levels. Be sure to pick up the leaflet at the beginning of the route to learn more about the ecology of the area.
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