The sun shining over Algonquin Park in autumn
One of the many reasons millions of people travel to Canada is to experience the country’s stunning natural beauty. It is home to some of the world’s most spectacular national parks and coastlines.
If you are looking at flights to Canada and want to experience some of the beautiful wilderness regions in the country, then Algonquin Provincial Park should certainly be one place that features on your bucket list.
Algonquin Provincial Park and its 2,896 square miles of protected forest are unique because it is under a three-hour drive from the vibrant, exciting city of Toronto. This is why Canada’s largest city is a popular destination to fly to from the UK, as you can plan to book car hire in Toronto and travel to the park during your holiday.
But what makes Algonquin Provincial Park so special? Here we take you through the best things you can do in the provincial park.
The top activities in Algonquin Park
•Seeing the incredible wildlife
•Try horseback riding in Algonquin Park
•Explore the park via canoe
•Hike through the wilderness
•Try your hand at fishing
Seeing the incredible wildlife
Lying between deciduous forests and coniferous forests, Algonquin Park provides numerous habitats for flora and fauna species that you can enjoy during your visit.
The park is estimated to be home to more than 40 mammals, over 260 species of birds, more than 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, over 7,000 insects, and more than 50 species of birds. Some of the incredible wildlife that you can see includes:
You can see wildlife year-round in the park, but if you want to see the iconic moose, then your best chance is during the spring. Early morning is the best time to see birds and mammals, as it is the coolest part of the day and one which you will have almost entirely to yourself, even when the park is full.
There are plenty of wildlife-watching tours you can go on in Algonquin Park, ranging from canoe tours to hiking trips, and our experts at Canadian Affair can offer advice if you need it.
Try horseback riding in Algonquin Park
One of the most exciting and natural ways to explore the park’s grandeur is on the back of a horse. Horseback riding in Algonquin Park is popular as you can follow forest trails and explore the meandering creeks and picturesque lakes, making the park so iconic.
The trip is perfect for novice and experienced riders, with all tours being led by a guide who is not only an experienced rider but has a vast knowledge of the routes you will be following.
Along the route, you will be taken to some of the park’s most impressive natural features, and you should keep a watchful eye for signs of animals as you might spot beavers, moose, deer or wolves from a distance.
You should certainly bring your camera on the trip in case you come across any wildlife. Still, even if you don’t, you will see spectacular waterfalls, lakes, and some of the prominent mountains in the park, such as Manitou Mountain, Gibraltar Rock, Brent Crater, Pentawa Hills, and Ball Mountain.
Explore the park via canoe
With more than 600 miles of rivers and thousands of lakes, Algonquin Park is one of the best places in Canada to go canoeing; plus, it is one of the best ways to explore the park’s stunning wilderness.
There are many places where canoes can be hired, and there are several access points where you can start your journey, and if you are a beginner, the great thing about the waters in the park is that lots of routes boast calm waters.
There are many benefits of canoeing in Algonquin Park, as you get to see the stunning natural beauty from the water, but you also get to see the wildlife that lives on the land and in the water.
During a canoeing trip in Algonquin Park, Oleksandra Budna, the travel writer behind the Gone Camping blog, visited the falls between Manitou and North Tea Lakes, and she highly recommends it: “The falls were a beautiful display of playful water, a joy to watch and fun to splash in. Who needs a jacuzzi when you can get your back massaged by a rushing stream?”
Thrill seekers can go white water rafting, and one of the most famous stretches of river to try this thrilling activity is the Madawaska River.
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Hike through the wilderness
One of the benefits of going on Canada motorhome holidays is the fact that you can stop off wherever you want for however long you want, and we are sure that if you want to go hiking, you’ll want to spend at least a few days in Algonquin Park.
There are some great hikes in Algonquin Park that have been designed to explore different aspects of the park, such as its historic sites, nature, wildlife, and the railway. There is a trail for just about everyone in Algonquin, from challenging multi-day hikes to easy and accessible short loops. There are lots of trail guidebooks available at The Friends of Algonquin Park Bookstores located within the park.
Taylor, an outdoor enthusiast and the travel writer behind The Holistic Backpacker blog, hiked the Highland Backpacking Trail, and she recommends the route: “The hike features gorgeous lake-side campsites, waterfalls, and colourful foliage if you go in the fall – which I highly recommend. The trail is challenging, but the reward is well worth it.”
She does say that the route can be challenging in places: “The Algonquin Highland backpacking trail is challenging. You’ll continually lose and gain elevation – ups and downs throughout the entirety of the trail. There is a fair amount of exposed roots and rocks, you will cross streams and rocky creeks, and you will balance along fallen trees and thin boardwalks. There are also a few steep sections, but don’t worry! They’re short-lived and totally manageable.”
Some other popular hikes in Algonquin Park are:
•Algonquin Logging Museum Trail – 1.3km – This is an easy loop trail that is accessible to wheelchair users. The trail will give you an insight into the logging history of Algonquin Park.
•Barron Canyon Trail – 1.5km – offering some of the best views of any Algonquin trail, this short hike will take you to the edge of the 100-metre-deep Barron Canyon, where you can enjoy some fine views of the forests and streams below.
•Booth’s Rock Trail – 5.1km – This slightly more difficult trail has great variety in it as you will pass two lakes as you ascend to some great viewpoints over Rock Lake before you make your way down to the forest below.
Algonquin’s trails are open year-round, but access to some car parks may vary during the winter months. A valid park permit is required for all trail use, which can be purchased at any access point or online.
Try your hand at fishing
You will need a permit to fish in Algonquin Park, but once you have got one, you can fish at some of the best spots in Ontario. Algonquin Park is home to over 1,500 lakes and 1,200 kilometres of streams, so you will have plenty of places to choose from.
It is estimated that over 50 species of fish live within the park, and one of the reasons the park is world-famous for its fishing is its Brook and Lake Trout.
Spring is usually the best and most popular time to go fishing in Algonquin Park, and the lakes are one of the most popular spots as they are not over-fished, and their deepness is a great environment for the fish to live in.
There is no fishing allowed in the park from November until April, and some other rules and regulations you need to be aware of if you want to go fishing in Algonquin Park include not fishing within 100 metres of a beaver dam and not using live bait when fishing.
You may think that Algonquin Park slows down during the winter months, but it doesn’t, it is a fascinating place to visit, and you can do plenty of activities.
Algonquin Park is home to several trail networks offering over 110 kilometres of some of Ontario’s best cross-country (Nordic) skiing. Three trails are packed, groomed, and track set on a regular basis, whereas one wilderness ski trail is not groomed or track set. The best trails you can go on are:
•Fen Lake Ski Trail
•Leaf Lake Ski Trail
•Old Railway Trail (multi-use winter trail, groomed and track set)
•Minnesing Wilderness Ski Trail (not groomed)
There are two dog sledding trails in the park. The Sunday Lake Dog Sled Trail is Algonquin Park’s most popular dog sledding trail, with miles of mushing through mixed and hardwood forest habitats on offer, and this route offers spectacular scenery. The North Algonquin Dog Sled Trail is the second route where you can enjoy this thrilling activity, located in the northwest corner of Algonquin Park.
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Do you want to experience the stunning natural beauty of Algonquin Park? You can check out the holidays to Canada we offer. If you contact us and speak to one of our experts, we can tailor-make your dream holiday to Ontario, incorporating a visit to Algonquin Park and Toronto.
For more tips, guides, and advice, visit our blog.