3 Awesome Algonquin Provincial Park Hikes
Location: Central Ontario
Get There: Accessed via Highways 17 (north), 11 (west) & 60 (east)
For More Info: ontarioparks.com
One of Canada’s iconic parks, and perhaps best-known as a world-class canoe destination, Algonquin Park is also a hiker’s paradise. Fall brings about the vibrancy this region is known for, along with dry weather and nights cool enough to keep bugs down — as well as prime opportunities for moose-watching and wolf-howling, two of the park’s signature wildlife experiences. Algonquin is characterized by its vast Canadian Shield rocks, innumerable lakes and mixed-wood forests — and the fact that the only way to explore the interior of this 7,300-sq-km wilderness is via foot, paddle, bike or hoof.
Easy: Bat Lake Trail
Length: 6 km
If you’re looking for an introduction to Algonquin Provincial Park, you’ll find it along the Bat Lake Trail. A family-friendly afternoon loop, it is accessed from Highway 60, at KM 30. Watch for moose in the trailside bogs as you climb through eastern hemlock forest towards the lookout overtop Bat Lake. Some sections are made up of wooden boardwalk. Though short, this route takes you through a wide variety of ecological features, and will whet your appetite to explore more of Algonquin.
Intermediate: Mizzy Lake Trail
Length: 12 km
Accessed off Highway 60, at KM 15, the Mizzy Lake Trail offers one of the best locations for wildlife spotting in the park. Look for signs on the highway to find the trailhead. The well-marked path winds past nine ponds and lakes, all rife with beaver activity, and is rocky and root-filled throughout — so watch your step. It’s a relatively flat trail and some sections consist of wooden boardwalk as it passes over sensitive wetland. Despite relative popularity, solitude and the sounds of nature are easily found within the pristine forests through which you’ll pass.
Advanced: Highland Backpacking Trail
Length: 19 or 35 km
Offering two loops, 19 and 35 km, this is a challenging multi-day backpacking route. The trailhead begins near the well-serviced Mew Lake Campground (near the Bat Lake trailhead). Expect several steep climbs and technical sections throughout; keep your camera ready for various birdlife, including owls, hiding in the dense trees. You can loop back after camping at Provoking Lake (19 km return trip) or continue on for the full loop, which takes you past Head and Harness Lakes (35 km return). Expect plenty of viewpoints and several waterfalls; an Interior Camping Permit ($11.87 per person) is required to overnight on the route.