What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Not only is Algonquin Park the oldest and one of the most popular provincial parks in Ontario, it is also the largest at 7,630 km2 . Located close to the major cities of Toronto and Ottawa, it offers easy access to the province’s amazing wilderness. Its many lakes, rivers and beautiful forests, home to moose, black bears, wolves, deer, and many species of birds, provide endless possibilities for outdoor adventure.
It is the perfect place for hiking and canoeing. With more than 1,600 km of waterways, it is a true paddlers’ paradise. Magnificent in all seasons, the park is especially popular in the summer, and is also a favourite in the fall with its colourful display of red, orange and yellow leaves. Soak up the serenity !
Algonquin Provincial Park
As in all Ontario provincial parks, a permit is required to enter the park. If you are not camping overnight in the park, you will need to purchase a day use permit for about $20 per vehicle. This permit includes access to trails, museums, beaches, and picnic grounds. Highway 60 runs through the south end of the park, allowing you to discover the park’s more popular attractions. You will enter the park through the West Gate, which corresponds to Km 0 on Hwy 60, and will leave by the East Gate, which corresponds to Km 56.
Algonquin Art Center
The Algonquin Art Centre is a world-class art gallery showcasing Canada’s foremost wilderness and wildlife artists. New works are displayed each year based on an annual theme. There is also a boutique and an information centre. Art activities are offered some days. Open from early June until mid-October, daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Km 20 on the Hwy 60
Algonquin Visitor Centre
Opened in 1993 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Algonquin Provincial Park, the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre has world class exhibits on the Park’s natural and human history. A theatre presentation presents the Park’s story. There is also a restaurant, an excellent bookstore, and a viewing deck where you can admire a breathtaking panoramic landscape. Open year-round.
Km 43 on the Hwy 60.
Algonquin Logging Museum
The Algonquin Logging Museum brings to life the story of logging from its early days to modern forestry management. Start your visit with a video presentation that sums up the logging history of the Algonquin area. Take a step back in time and learn about this very colourful aspect of Algonquin’s cultural history along the easy-to-walk 1.5 km trail. The Museum also has an information centre and an excellent bookstore. Open from late June until mid-October.
Km 54,5 on the Hwy 60
Canoeing / Kayaking
With 7 major rivers and more than 2,500 lakes, canoeing is the best way to explore the beauty of the park. Alone or with a guide, for a few hours or several days, everything is possible. Paddle on the quiet waters of a lake, stop for a swim and a picnic, and then portage to the next lake... There are many opportunities to spot wildlife amidst majestic scenery. The Portage Store, located in the heart of the park at Access Point 5, offers a wide range of services and rental options. They will be happy to advise and help you find the right option for you.
Km 14 on the Hwy 60
The moose is an iconic symbol of Algonquin Park, and one of the best places to see these majestic creatures is along Highway 60 ! Moose are active in May and are commonly seen drinking in roadside ditches. Salt is applied along Highway 60 during winter road maintenance operations, and in spring, much of this road salt ends up in roadside ditches, where it attracts moose. Drive carefully and pull over safely to the side of the road to watch them. Early morning is the best time to spot moose in the summer.
The park has many hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty ranging from easy to challenging. These offer unique wilderness experiences and opportunities to spot wildlife, reach high ridges for views over the forest and lakes, and see waterfalls, streams, bogs, beaver houses and ponds, and old-growth trees. Interpretive walking trails are available for day hiking outings. Each trail is designed to explore different aspects of the park. Guided walks led by park naturalists are held every day in July and August and some weekends in fall.
Here are some of the most popular hikes:
Track and Tower Trail : Track and Tower Trail is a moderate 7.5 km loop featuring a spectacular lookout over Cache Lake. You will also encounter streams, hardwood trees and the remains of an abandoned railway. Particularly beautiful in the fall. About 2 hrs 45 mins. (Km 25 on the Hwy 60)
Lookout Trail : This short 2.1 km loop is relatively steep and rugged, but you will not be disappointed by the magnificent views. Very popular trail due to its high reward for not too much effort! Moderate, about 45 minutes. (Km 39,7 on the Hwy 60)
Big Pines Trail : Big Pines Trail is a relatively flat 2.9 km loop. You will see spectacularly large, old growth white pine and the remains of an 1880s logging camp. Easy, about 45 minutes. (Km 40,3 on the Hwy 60 )
Booth's Rock Trail : Booth’s Rock is a 5.1 km loop, slightly off the beaten path. The trail visits two lakes and a spectacular lookout, returning via an abandoned railway. Moderate, about 2 hours. (9 km south of Km 40,3 on the Hwy 60 )
Beaver Pond Trail : Beaver Pond Trail is a 2 km loop providing excellent views of two beaver ponds. You will see beaver dams, and maybe even some beavers. Easy to moderate, about 45 minutes. (Km 45,2 on the Hwy 60 )
FEEL LIKE COOLING OFF IN A LAKE ?
Here are three great spots to go for a swim and enjoy a picnic lunch:
The Old Railway Bike Trail is a 16 km family bicycle trail that follows the abandoned bed of the historic Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway, which opened in 1896 and was decommissioned in 1959. The trail runs from Rock Lake Campground to near Cache Lake. Bicycles can be rented at the Lake of Two Rivers Store. Trail access is available at the store and at several campgrounds in the area.
Km 33,8 on the Hwy 60
Another popular activity in the park is the wolf howl, where you can call to wolves and listen to them howl back ! Participants meet at the Outdoor Theatre for a presentation on wolf ecology and then travel by car to a place along Highway 60 where wild wolves may answer the imitations given by the Naturalist staff. This activity is held only on Thursdays in August, and September before Labour Day, when weather and accessible wolves permit. Ask at the Visitor Centre for information and to book your place.
Km 35,4 on the Hwy 60
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
Go grocery shopping in Huntsville or Dwight before visiting Algonquin Park. Pick up what you will need for the duration of your stay. There are very few restaurants in the park, the food is often very expensive and not always the best quality. However, you will find what you need to tide you over in a pinch. For a wider choice of restaurants, stop in town before entering the park.
The Portage Store Restaurant ($$-$$$)
This nice little restaurant offers good food in a nice environment with a view of the lake. It serves typical Canadian fare such as hamburgers, club sandwiches and onion rings. You will also find an interesting choice of local beers and good coffees. Children’s menu also available. This is an interesting stop, especially if you want to rent a canoe and go paddling on the lake before or after your meal.
Open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday-Sunday until 7 p.m..
Km 14 on the Hwy 60
Lake of Two Rivers Café & Grill ($$-$$$)
This restaurant offers a good selection of hamburgers, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, poutines, and a few salads. The menu also includes several flavours of ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes.
Open daily in spring and fall from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in summer from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Km 31,4 on the Hwy 60
Sunday Creek Cafe ($$-$$$)
Located in the Algonquin Visitor Centre, this small cafeteria-style restaurant serves simple meals and drinks. The choice is limited and includes sandwiches, chili, fries and poutine. For breakfast you can have eggs, bacon and toast. It’s convenient, but nothing more.
Opening hours vary according to the season and visitor traffic.
Km 43 on the Hwy 60
Outside the Park:
The Moose Cafe ($$-$$$)
This popular restaurant in Dwight serves excellent homestyle cooking in a cozy family atmosphere. The meals are made to order using the highest quality ingredients and healthiest cooking techniques. Breakfast features Henrietta’s Pine Bakery bread and freshly brewed coffee. Homemade soups are made daily for lunch, and craft beer is available on tap.
Usually open Thursday-Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reopening scheduled for 2022.
2803, Hwy 60, Dwight
Henrietta's Pine Bakery ($$-$$$)
Open for more than 50 years, this family owned and operated country bakery is a local favourite. It’s a great place for breakfast or lunch. There may be a long line, but once you’re inside, the service is excellent. Henrietta’s sandwiches and pastries are simply heavenly!
Open Wednesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (also in Huntsville at 92 King William Street).
2868, Hwy 60, Dwight
That Little Place by the Lights ($$-$$$)
A family-owned Italian restaurant located in downtown Huntsville, by the lights! This popular eatery specializes in homecooked Italian pasta, lasagna, gnocchi, pizza and homemade gelato.
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
76, Main Street East, Huntsville
*** Hours may vary ***
Where to sleep ?
When to visit
- Very Favourable
- Very Favourable