So Algonquin Park is turning 122 today! Established in 1983, Algonquin is the oldest provincial park in Canada and it’s becoming even more beautiful and attractive with every passing year.
I couldn’t miss such an important occasion since it’s the place of so many favourite memories: our first trip into the interior, our first four-day canoe trip, our first winter camping adventure in a tent. Beautiful sunny skies, stormy weather, rainbows, fall colours, spring flowers and moose sightings, incredible sunsets and loon calls at night. We’ve visited Algonquin in all seasons, experienced it in every type of weather, explored it on foot, in a canoe and on a bike and it is always beautiful and exciting.
Our first trip to Algonquin was in the fall of 2007. It was cloudy and gloomy most of the weekend. We got caught in the rain and soaked to the skin while canoeing on Lake of Two Rivers and then had to dry our clothes over the fire. They smelled of smoke for months afterwards. But that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm and we were back in May next year. It was freezing cold, even snowed at some point. It almost looked like the park was testing our commitment. We didn’t give up and were rewarded with the most fantastic weather during our Thanksgiving camping trip that same year. Striking fall foliage against the deep blue skies – one of my most favourite memories of Algonquin.
We have been back many times after that and I feel like we’ve only just scraped the surface. Here is to more exciting adventures in one of our favourite parks!
Top things to do in Algonquin Provincial Park:
Stay at one of the campgrounds or try backcountry camping
Algonquin attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. A lot of them come for the day but the best way to enjoy and get to know the park is to stay overnight either at one of the organized campgrounds or in the interior. With 1330 campsites, 1946 backcountry sites, 8 yurts, 14 rustic cabins and 3 lodges, Algonquin has suitable accommodations for everyone.
Take a hike
Whether you are looking for a day hike or want to spend a few days in the backcountry, Algonquin has a trail for you. Interpretive walking trails range from an easy 200-metre fully accessible Fire Tower Trail to a 11-km Mizzy Lake Trail and explore different aspects of the park. If you are looking for a bit of a challenge, try one of the three backpacking trails. This year, we are planning a backpacking trip on the Western Uplands Trail.
With over 2,100 km of canoe routes and thousands of lakes, Algonquin is meant to be explored by water. That’s why when we decided to try an overnight canoe trip, we chose Algonquin as our destination. We then returned the next year to see a different side of Algonquin and paddled from the Achray campground down to Barron Canyon.
Ride your bike
The park has three biking trails. Two of them are designated for mountain biking and are quite challenging. The Old Railway Bike Trail offers a more relaxing ride. This 10-km trail follows the old railway as the name suggests, is mostly flat with hard packed surface and is suitable for all ages, including children. It extends from Mew Lake to Rock Lake and can be accessed from Pog Lake, Kearney Lake and Cook Lake campgrounds.
Stop by the Visitor Centre, Logging Museum and Art Centre
Algonquin has a rich human and natural history. Stop by one or all of these interpretive centres or participate in a guided programs, like a public wolf howl, to learn more about this beautiful park.
Look out for wildlife
Algonquin offers wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Moose are practically guaranteed in the spring. Just remember these are wild animals and make sure to give them ample space.
Come in the winter
Algonquin is a very popular destination and can get crowded, especially along the Highway 60 corridor, but winter offers some quieter experiences, beautiful views and a wide range of fun activities. Stay in one of the yurts or in a tent at the Mew Lake Campground, go hiking, snowshoeing or skiing on one of the trails, enjoy skating or a game of hockey at Mew Lake ice rink or try dog sledding.
Embrace Algonquin’s colours
Whether it’s spring ephemerals, vibrant fall foliage, storm clouds and rainbows, or striking sunsets, Algonquin is always a marvelous sight.
Enjoy peace and tranquility
Away from the haste and noise of our everyday lives, serenity and quietness are Algonquin’s biggest gifts.