Algonquin Provincial Park
Mailing: Algonquin Provincial Park,
Box 219, Whitney, Ontario K0J 2M0
Phone: (705) 633-5572
Visit the Friends of Algonquin web site.
It is a vast rugged landscape with thousands of lakes surrounded by glacier-scarred rocky hills, basically unchanged since the area was captured by the famous Group of Seven artists almost a century ago. The only way to really explore the interior of this park is by canoe or on foot.
The park has limited highway access along the 56-kilometre stretch of Highway 60 though the park, you can access eight campgrounds 14 trails and visit Algonquin's superlative Visitor Centre and the Logging Museum.
Highway #60 runs through the south end of Algonquin Park. The East Gate is located just west of the town of Whitney. The West Gate is located just east of the town of Dwight. There are many other access points to the park that run off highway #17 (The Trans-Canada Highway) to the north of the park, near Kiosk. Other access points run off highway #11 to the west of the park and others run off of Highway #60 to the east of the park.
In early Algonquin area history the area was peopled by scattered family groups of First Nations peoples fished, hunted and picked berries. In the early 1800s , pioneer loggers pushing westward from the Ottawa Valley to harvest the great first-growth White Pine trees whose wood was in demand by an expanding British economy. These loggers lived in remote and primitive camps and over the winter felled and squared the giant pine trees, and when spring came they drove them down swollen rivers to the Ottawa River to the outside world. The Park retells the story at the Algonquin Logging Museum, located near the East Gate.
Algonquin was established in 1893 as a wildlife sanctuary to protect from farming as well as from logging. This protected the waters of the five major rivers flowing from the Park, which quickly became popular with adventure fishermen who came up by train, and shortly thereafter by Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven, which kept Algonquin's rustic hotels busy ever since. The Park has inspired more than 40 books, the Algonquin Symphony, and hundreds of paintings and studies of Park landscapes, including many hanging in the National Gallery. Algonquin as the most important place in Canada for biological and environmental research and has a part in our natural and cultural heritage.
Algonquin Provincial Park covers a transition zone between southern deciduous forests and northern coniferous forests. The result is that both forest types are found within Park boundaries. On even a short trip in the Park's you can see maple forest, spruce bogs, road edges, beaver ponds, campgrounds, lakes, and cliffs. Algonquin's diverse habitat protects and nurtures incredibly diverse plant and animal life. The park is home to 53 species of mammals, 272 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles and amphibians, 54 species of fish, and approximately 6800 species of insects, plus over 1000 species of plants and another 1000 species of fungi.
The park is the locale for extensive scientific research over the years by both biologists and ecologists. "Ground Zero" for the research is the Wildlife Research Station located along the Highway 60 corridor.
You can experience Algonquins wildlife with three "flavours" of camping:
Highw ay 60 Parkway Corridor (natural)
Enjoy camping, swimming, museums, hiking, learning, and picnicking with the comfort of modern amenities like electricity & running water along the 56-kilometre stretch of Highway 60 along the southwest corner of the Park.
Peripheral Campgrounds (rustic)
The Park has four intimate campgrounds away from the Highway 60 Corridor. These campgrounds are typically at the park-end of long and dusty roads leading into Algonquin's north, east, and south sides. These rustic campgrounds feature no modern conveniences and provide a slow-paced, old-fashioned camping experience.
Park Interior (rugged)
Explore Algonquin's vast Interior of maple hills, rocky ridges, spruce bogs, and thousands of lakes, ponds and streams via canoe or on foot. Canoes can be rented at outfitters inside the Park.
There are over 1600 canoe routes inside Algonquin Park, with a range of difficulty from flat water to white water. There are over 1800 campsites along the different routes (see Camping, above). Motor boats are not permitted within Algonquin Park. are not permitted on most lakes within the park, however there are some exceptions.
Waterskiing and jetskiing are not permitted anywhere in the park,
The park has a number of hiking trails:
Highway 60 Corridor
Whiskey Rapids Trail
2.1km (1.5hours) moderate
This looped trail leads along the Oxtongue River to scenic Whiskey Rapids. The trail guide discusses the ecology and history of an Algonquin river.
Hardwood Lookout Trail located at km 13.8km -
0.8km (1 hour) moderate
This walk introduces the visitor to the ecology of a typical Algonquin hardwood forest and culminates in a fine view of Smoke Lake and the surrounding hills.
Mizzy Lake Trail located at km 15.4
11km (4-5 hours) moderate.
This trail requires an early start and a full day to do properly. It visits nine ponds and small lakes and affords some of the best chances to see wildlife in the Parkway Corridor. Dogs are not permitted on the trail.
Peck Lake Trail located at km 19.2
1.9km (1 hour) moderate.
This trail circumnavigates the shoreline of Peck Lake. The trail guide explores the ecology of a typical Algonquin lake.
Track and Tower Trail located at km 25km
7.7km (3 hours) moderate
This looped trail features a spectacular lookout over Cache lake. An optional 5.5 km side trip follows an abandoned railway to Mew Lake.
Hemlock Bluff Trail located at km 27.2
3.5 km (2 hours) moderate.
This trail lead through a mixed forest to an impressive view of Jack Lake.
Bat Lake Trail located at km 30
5.6 km (2.5 hours) moderate
This looped trail introduces the hiker to basic park ecology while visiting a beautiful hemlock stand, a fine lookout, and acidic Bat Lake.
Two Rivers Trail located a km 31
2.1km (1 hour) moderate
This looped trail includes an easy climb to a pine-clad cliff.
Centennial Ridges Trail located at km 37.6
10 km (3-4 hours) strenuous
This demanding loop rewards the hiker with spectacular viewing along two high ridges.
Lookout Trail located at km 39.7
1.9km (1 hour) moderate
This trail is relatively steep and rugged but affords the hike with a magnificent view of several hundred square kilometres of Algonquin.
Booth's Rock Trail located at km 40.5
5.1 km (2 hours) moderate
This trail visits two lakes and a spectacular lookout, returning via n abandoned railway.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk located at km 42.5
1.5 km (1hour) easy
Several boardwalk sections in the looped trail give you an excellent close-up look of two typical northern black spruce bogs. The trail is located right off of the Highway 60 corridor, making it very accessible for bird watching.
Beaver Pond Trail located at km 45.2
2 km (1 hour) moderate
This trail provides excellent views of two beaver ponds.
Barron Canyon Trail
1.5 km (1 hour) moderate
This trail leads to and runs along the north rim of the spectacular 100m deep Barron Canyon. The trail guide uses six stops to explain the formation and history of the canyon. Caution: This trail travels by an unfenced cliff, keep children and pets on a leash at all times.
Berm Lake Trail
4.5 km (2 hours) moderate
The trail circles Berm Lake and runs through pine and Oak forests typical of the area. A trail guide discusses the ecology of a pine forest.
Brent Crater Trail - This trail is accessed from the Brent Campground
2 km (1.5 hours) strenuous
The Brent Crater was formed when a meteorite crashed to earth thousands of years ago. From a wooden observation tower overlooking the crater the trail descends to the crater floor before looping back to the starting point. Six stops interpretive relate some of the geological and historical significance of this unique feature.
The interior of the park offers over 140 km of backpacking trails with designated campsites.
The Friends of Algonquin Park produce a map, Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Park which outlines all of the trails within the park. The map is available at all Park access points, main gates and bookstores. It is also available by contacting the Friends of Algonquin Park.
Algonquin Visitor Centre
Highway 60, km 43.
Opened in 1993 for the 100th anniversary of Algonquin Park & Ontario's provincial park system. The centre features exhibits on the Park's natural and human history, a restaurant, a bookstore. Take in the Algonquin Room's exhibitions of Algonquin art, a theatre presentation on the Park story, and the viewing deck with a panorama of Algonquin's wild landscape.
Algonquin Logging Museum
Just inside the East Gate
The Algonquin Logging Museum presents the history of logging including the early square timber days and the great river drives. A video presentation summarizes Algonquin's logging history. Take a short 1.3 km trail to a recreated camboose camp and a steam-powered amphibious "alligator" log tug. The Algonquin Logging Museum also has an excellent bookstore.
Algonquin Art Centre
At km 20, next to Found Lake
This 1953 giant, hollow stone sculpture was first exhibited at the original Park Museum. This Centre was conceived to connect the art world with the natural world, and promote environmental stewardship. There is an indoor gallery with three wings, an outdoor gallery and a boutique. Visitors can participate in the artistic process at The Creation Station, for all ages.
The facility is wheelchair-accessible and admission is by donation. Open June 25 to October 22, 10 AM to 5:30 PM daily.