Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest and most famous in Ontario, and one of the biggest in Canada, with a surface of 7.725 square meters covered by lakes, forests, swamps and rivers.
It’s located above Toronto, at a distance of 3 or 4 hours by car, and the chances to enjoy the true nature are countless, whether you want to walk a few kilometres by the prepared routes, or whether you want to try long routes that last several days, through almost unexplored places where it’s even hard to find the path.
There’s also the possibility to navigate by canoe through a great part of the park, along their lakes and rivers, and camp in the places prepared to.
There is a road for the occasional tourists (just like ourselves), the Highway 60, which goes along 58 kilometres from the West to the East of the park. Here is from where most of the short paths start (lasting between 2 and 8 hours each one) and information boards about the park and the relations between flora and wildlife that make the park just as it is.
In this corridor (HW 60) there is the Visitor Center and the two main gateways to the park, the West and the East entrances. There are also parking places at the beginning of the paths, the lumberjack museum and some lakes and beaches. You can find lodgings, restaurants and food and souvenir shops, too.
The paths I’m talking about are very instructive. At the beginning you can pick a small book where you can find a lot of instructions divided by sections, and during the walk you’ll find numbered posts which tell you what section you must read, while you observe the landscape surrounding you. In this way you can learn about these forests (especially you’ll see a lot of maples and pines), how do beavers live, how lakes are formed up… At the end of the path, if you want to keep the book for yourself you must pay for it, and if you don’t, you should leave it where you found it. The price of each one is $0.5 and they are available in English and French.
Although the chances to see animals are many, we weren’t lucky enough with mammals. Basically we found squirrels, some birds and a snake. The park has reindeers, deers, bears, wolves, beavers… But we didn’t see any of them in the park. No luck at all.
To enjoy the park you should check out, because it’s not allowed to park the car or use the facilities of the park unless you have the right permission, which will depend on the type of activity you have planned. In our case we bought a one-day permission pass (it costed $15 in June 2010), valid for parking one car along the entire HW 60 corridor, walking the paths, and accessing the Visitor Center and the museums. The pass must be always visible inside the car.
As always, here are some photos from our walks in Algonquin:
Tickets: Daily vehicle permit is 17$ (for summer 2016)
Opening hours: Day use permits are valid from 7:00am to 10:00pm
Address: km 43.0 of Highway 60
GPS Coordinates: 45.583922°, -78.359455°
More information: Algonquin Provincial Park