June 23, 2018

5 Reasons to Visit Algonquin Provincial Park

When you think of the outdoors in Canada, where does your mind go? To the picturesque views of the west coast’s Rocky Mountains? To the shores of the Maritimes? Or, how about to the golden hues of the fall leaves in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park?

While the mountains have my heart, Ontario is where I call home. And to me, there’s not much more stunning (and quintessentially Canadian) than Algonquin Provincial Park. It’s also only 3(ish) hours from Toronto, making it the perfect long weekend escape from the big city. 

5 Reasons to Visit Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Established in 1893, Algonquin was created as a wildlife sanctuary to ultimately protect the headwaters of the five major rivers which flow from the Park. 

As one of the oldest and largest provincial parks in Ontario, Algonquin is diverse, protecting a variety of natural, cultural and recreation features and values. It also offers something for nearly everyone. Whether it be a family camping trip, a back country portage or even just a day hike, there are many reasons why YOU must visit Algonquin Provincial Park. 

Here are just 5 (of many).

Whether you’re an experienced voyageur or have never touched a paddle in your life, Algonquin is the perfect place for canoeing. With 2,000 kilometres of routes and portages, so you can choose something short or plan something epic.

Canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park

Wildlife Viewing
Having lived in Alaska, we took seeing moose on the daily for granted. In Ontario, that’s not so much the case. Algonquin is not only the perfect place to view a moose or two, but is also home to red fox, grey wolves, river otters, beaver, black bear, white-tailed deer and more. 

Oh, and the sunsets aren't too shabby either. 

Sunsets in Algonquin Provincial Park

With 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams, it’s no surprise that Algonquin boasts some of the best brook and lake trout fishing around. Trout aren’t the only fish thought - there are a recorded 54 different species of fish in the park! 

If you’re looking to go fishing in Algonquin, spring provides some of the best fishing opportunities of the year. Don’t forget your license!

Fishing in Algonquin Provincial Park

There are 19 interpretive hiking trails, each allowing you to explore a different aspect of Algonquin’s natural environment. Interpretive trails are open year-round, clearly marked and easy to navigate. Be sure to pick up a trail guide booklet, found at all trail heads and park bookstores, before you start. 

And if you're not into hiking, there are also several beaches, such as the one at Canisbay Lake Campground, to explore. Which when you have a toddler, totally counts as a hike. 

Hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park

And last, but definitely not least…

Camping is one of Algonquin’s most popular activities. Camping opportunities are grouped into two main categories based upon the mode of transportation to get you to the camping location - drive to camping and backcountry camping. Drive to camping includes developed campgrounds (aka those with sites), yurts, ranger camping, RV camping and lodges, whereas backcountry camping includes portaging, backpacking and paddle in campsites. 

In Algonquin, you can camp (just about) anywhere. First, pick your ideal type, then pick your location. If you are keeping it safe with car camping, you have 9 different locations to chose from. Our personal favourite is Canisbay Lake, located at km 24 of the park. It offers an access point for portaging, paddle in campsites and a developed campground (with sites that can accommodate both tents and trailers). 

Word to the wise, start planning early. You can reserve your spot up to five months in advance on the Ontario Parks website. The good ones go fast!

Camping in Algonquin Provincial Park

You may also like >> Disconnecting in Algonquin

Did you know, Ontario’s provincial parks are turning 125 in 2018?! And it all started back in 1893 with the creation of Canada’s first provincial park, Algonquin. Today, Ontario Parks protects 340 provincial parks, which encompasses just under 8% of Ontario, an area larger than Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined.

Make 2018 the year to visit the stunningly beautiful landscapes of our province, carry on traditions and make new memories. I highly recommend starting with Algonquin. 

Have you explored Ontario’s Parks? Which one is your favourite? I’d love to hear!

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