An early season canoe trip in Algonquin Provincial Park is a great way to put those stagnant paddling muscles to use. Ontario’s Alqonquin Provincial Park is a premier wilderness canoeing destination that gets more popular with every passing year. Part of its appeal lies in its proximity to the Toronto – Ottawa corridor. And because it’s huge – 1.5 times the size of Prince Edward Island, there is something for every type of paddler – from easy to access lakes with busy campsites to challenging paddling and solitude.
There is literally a lifetime of paddling and exploring to do in the park. Over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 km (745 mi) of rivers are linked through 2000 km (1,243 mi) of canoe routes. But the park isn’t just about the lakes. Algonquin Provincial Park boasts one of the largest stretches of continuous forest in the southern part of Ontario. It’s a magnificent spot in the fall when the maple trees are ablaze with colour. The park is almost as pretty in spring, with the fresh growth in a palette of greens, a feast for colour deprived, winter eyes.
The biggest challenge is in picking a canoe route to suit your skill level. Nearly 2,000 backcountry campsites are at your disposal via 29 designated access points around the periphery of the park, with the more developed section of park accessed along Highway 60.
Before you go consider buying a couple of books that would help you with route selection. Both are written by Kevin Callan – a long time Ontario canoeist. The first – A Paddler’s Guide to Algonquin Park will make planning easier; the second The Top 60 Canoe Routes in Ontario will give you plenty to dream about. And yes with these affiliate links you will at no cost to yourself help me provide free content on my website.
I only had three days to explore Algonquin Provincial Park on this spring trip but it whetted my appetite for more. Much more – though next time I’ll do it in September when the colours are peaking and there’s nary a bug in sight. I traveled with Wolf Den Expeditions as I didn’t fancy a trip on my own – especially since my canoeing skills were a tad rusty. Over three days we paddled countless kilometres – I’m guessing around 30, did 16 portages and lifted bags in and out of the canoe so many times that my arms and back are talking to me today.
Here are the highlights of my three day canoe trip in Algonquin Provincial Park – starting and ending on Smoke Lake.
Beat the bugs in Algonquin Provincial Park
An early season canoe trip in Algonquin Park – before June when the bugs appear in full force – is really a wonderful outing. There’s more colour in the woods than I thought possible – lime greens, red, brown and even some yellows with all the fresh growth. You feel like you have the park to yourself – unless you run into a school group. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. And with luck you’ll see some wildlife. Our count for the weekend was three moose, three turtles and a huge variety of bird life. Every night we fell asleep to the call of a loon and what could be better than that?
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