When you are ready for a break, why not visit world famous Algonquin Park, the East Gate of which is about 70 km (43 miles) away.
When you are ready for a break, why not visit world famous Algonquin Park, the East Gate of which is about 70 km (43 miles) away. Algonquin Park (area: over 7,700 square kilometers (3,000 sq miles) ) is the oldest provincial park and has many beautiful wilderness areas, a logging museum, a visitors center, special events, conducted walks, public wolf howls, walking trails and much more.
Please note that there is a 2015 daily use fee of $16-20 CDN /vehiclevehicle (cars & trucks) which includes entrance to the Park, access to all trails, museums, beaches, picnic grounds, and facilities (except the Algonquin Gallery which has an additional charge). From Blue Moon Retreat you can get to the East gate by either of 2 routes. One goes via Maynooth, Lake St Peter and Whitney; while the other goes via Combermere, Barrys Bay, Madawaska and Whitney. They are both about the same distance and we normally go one way and come back the other.
It should be noted that sites along the highway 60 corridor are referenced as being at a certain km. The west gate is km 0, while (as I recall) the east gate is about km 60 (mile 37).
For more information, we recommend the official Algonquin Park web site http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/ maintained by the Friends of Algonquin or give them a call: tel. (705) 633-5572 – Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – open every day E-mail at:email@example.com.
The canyon was formed 10 000 years ago as raging water from melting glaciers made its way to the Champlain Sea…The Barron Canyon Trail is a 1.5 km (.93 miles) long interpretative trail that passes through pine forest to the rim of a 100 m (330 ft) deep canyon which is one of the most spectacular sights in Algonquin Park. … The path follows the canyon rim, then cuts back into the forest. CAUTION is needed at the unfenced canyon cliffs.
How to get there: From the intersection of Hwys 17 and 58 west of Pembroke, drive eight kilometers north-west along Hwy 17, pass the Forest Lea Road turnoff and take the next left turn onto Doran Rd (Cty Rd 26). Travel 300 metres, and then turn right onto the Barron Canyon Road. Drive 26 km on pavement then gravel to the Sand Lake Gate at the Park boundary where you can buy a day-use vehicle permit and excellent publications by The Friends of Algonquin Park. Continue west for another 11 km to the signposted Barron Canyon parking lot on your left hand side.
Old Railway Bike Trail … an easy 10 km (6.2 mile) family bicycle trail. Most of the trail follows the abandoned bed of the historic Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway that was built across the park in 1895 and then abandoned (in stages in the 1930’s 40s and 50s). Along the trail are introductory sign panels featuring historical photographs which show the “old days” of the railway. The Old Railway Bike Trail is a great way to spend a few hours on a leisurely outing soaking up some fascinating Algonquin history and scenery.
Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail… 23 km (14.3 miles) from west gate …. consists of four loops (4.7 km, 10.1 km, 17.1km & 23.4km) (2.9, 6.3, 10.6 and 14.5 miles). They are all hilly and unsuitable for small children and unfit adults. The western or return side of each loop follows the old Minnesing Road where the trail is smoother and the grades are less steep. Expect extensively muddy sections until the drier weather of August and September. Start or finish Mew Lake or Rock Lake Campground.
Algonquin has a reputation for some of the best trout fishing in Canada. More than 230 lakes have native Brook Trout and 149 have Lake Trout — a fantastic concentration of trout waters that continue to yield good fishing because of the Park’s tradition of wise conservation. Along the highway, many of the lakes are stocked with Splake (a hybrid of Brook and Lake trout) and fishing is outstanding. Spring is the best season for trout and summer brings on more enjoyment with Smallmouth Bass. Spend a July day with the family at a prime bass location, enjoying the scenery and reeling in the night’s dinner.
Just inside the East Gate, the Algonquin Logging Museum brings the story of logging to life from the early square timber days to the last of the great river drives. Start your tour with a video presentation that sums up the logging history of the Algonquin area. On the easy to walk 1.3 km (.8 miles) trail, a recreated caboose camp and a fascinating steam-powered amphibious tug called an “alligator” are among the many displays.
No visit to Algonquin Provincial Park would be complete without a stop at the Visitor Centre at km 43 (mile 26.7). The centre has world class exhibits on the Park’s natural and human history , a relaxing restaurant, an excellent bookstore and “The Algonquin Room” featuring ongoing exhibitions of Algonquin art. A theatre presentation sums up the Park story and then takes you out to the viewing deck from where you can admire a breathtaking panorama of wild Algonquin landscape.
Whiskey Rapids Trail located at km 7.2 (mile 4.5) – 2.1km (1.3 miles) (1.5hours) moderate This looped trail leads along the Oxtongue River to scenic Whiskey Rapids. The trail guide discusses the ecology and history of an Algonquin river.
Hardwood Lookout Trail located at km 13.8km (mile 8.6) – 0.8km (.5 miles) (1 hour) moderate – This walk introduces the visitor to the ecology of a typical Algonquin hardwood forest and culminates in a fine view of Smoke Lake and the surrounding hills.
Mizzy Lake Trail located at km 15.4 (mile 9.6) – 11km (6.8 miles) (4-5 hours) moderate. This trail requires an early start and a full day to do properly. It visits nine ponds and small lakes and affords some of the best chances to see wildlife in the Parkway Corridor. Dogs are not permitted on the trail.
Peck Lake Trail located at km 19.2 (mile 11.9) – 1.9km (1.2 miles) (1 hour) moderate. This trail circumnavigates the shoreline of Peck Lake. The trail guide explores the ecology of a typical Algonquin lake.
Track and Tower Trail located at km 25km (mile 15.5) – 7.7km (4.8 miles) (3 hours) moderate – This looped trail features a spectacular lookout over Cache Lake. An optional 5.5 km side trip follows an abandoned railway to Mew Lake.
Hemlock Bluff Trail located at km 27.2 (mile 16.9) – 3.5 km (2.2 miles) (2 hours) moderate. This trail leads through a mixed forest to an impressive view of Jack Lake.
Bat Lake Trail located at km 30 (mile 18.6) – 5.6 km (3.5 miles) (2.5 hours) moderate. This looped trail introduces the hiker to basic park ecology while visiting a beautiful hemlock stand, a fine lookout, and acidic Bat Lake.
Two Rivers Trail located a km 31 (mile 19.3) – 2.1km (1.3 miles) (1 hour) moderate. This looped trail includes an easy climb to a pine-clad cliff.
Centennial Ridges Trail located at km 37.6 (mile 23.4) – 10 km (6.2 miles) (3-4 hours) strenuous – This demanding loop rewards the hiker with spectacular viewing along two high ridges.
Lookout Trail located at km 39.7 (mile 24.7) – 1.9km (1.2 miles) (1 hour) moderate. This trail is relatively steep and rugged but affords the hike with a magnificent view of several hundred square kms of Algonquin.
Booth’s Rock Trail located at km 40.5 (mile 25.2) – 5.1 km (3.2 miles) (2 hours) moderate. This trail visits two lakes and a spectacular lookout, returning via an abandoned railway.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk located at km 42.5 (mile 26.4) – 1.5 km (.9 miles) (1hour) easy. Several boardwalk sections in the looped trail give you an excellent close-up look of two typical northern black spruce bogs. The trail is located right off of the Highway 60 corridor, making it very accessible for bird watching.
Beaver Pond Trail located at km 45.2 (mile 28) – 2 km (1.2 miles) (1 hour) moderate. This trail provides excellent views of two beaver ponds.
Along with Algonquin’s diversity in habitats comes an associated diversity in plant and animal life. 45 species of mammals, 262 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, 50 species of fish, and approximately 7000 species of insects are known to occur within Algonquin’s boundaries! In addition, there are well over 1000 species of plants and another 1000 plus species of fungi growing in the Park!” Following are brief write-ups on 5 of the most popular mammals and the very popular wolf howls.
Beaver viewing is best in October when they are repairing their dams and laying in their winter food piles and are often quite active during the day. In summer, when most people visit Algonquin, beavers are seldom visible until just before sunset. They are so common, however, (just about any low lying wet area or weedy lake has them) that you don’t have to go very far out of your way to find a place to sit and watch them some evening. The Beaver Pond Trail itself is an excellent spot to watch beavers and so is the Mizzy Lake Trail
Black bears are large, powerful animals. Adult males can weigh 120 – 280 kg (250 – 600 lbs.)… There are about 75,000 to 100,000 black bears in Ontario…. Black bears are active from mid-April to late fall in most parts of the province… Black bears are generally timid and avoid encounters with people, but they can come into conflict with people especially when natural foods are scarce. Chances are that you will not see one of the Park’s 2,000 black bears during your visit; but, if you do please be extremely careful as black bears can be very dangerous.
Algonquin used to be the place to come and see deer but since the late 1960s, because of maturer forests and several strings of bad winters, deer have been relatively scarce in the park. This is not to say that sighting a deer is unusual nowadays but it is no longer the guaranteed certainty it was twenty years ago.
The moose, North America’s tallest land mammal, stands up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) high at the shoulder, with an adult male weighing up to 450 kg (992 lbs.). A 1980 moose census put the Algonquin Park population at over 2,000 animals.
Since the late 1970s Algonquin has become the best place in Ontario, perhaps North America, to see moose. Best viewing is in May and June , right along Highway 60. During those months many moose discover the slightly salty water in the road side ditches (resulting from winter sanding operations) and, since they have been starved for sodium all winter, they stay around to take advantage of the unexpected bonanza.
(Unfortunately, this also creates a serious hazard for motorists who are unaware of the danger of hitting moose on the road at this time of the year. Every year 30 moose are killed and as many vehicles seriously damaged in collisions. Almost all of these could be avoided if drivers took the warning signs seriously, kept a constant watch for moose eye shine, and never exceed 80 km per hour).”
In the Algonquin Park region, recent genetic studies on what were thought to be gray wolves (Canis lupus) have revealed that they are in fact part of a remnant population of the endangered red wolf which used to range throughout the eastern half of North America…. Wolves in Ontario tend to be between sixty pounds (27 kg) and one hundred pounds (45 kg) with the heavier wolves ranging in the north of the province… Wolves’ fur ranges in colour from gray brown to white to black. The tip of a wolf’s tail is often coloured black… Radiocollared wolves have been tracked ranging more than 700 kilometres (440 miles)… A wolf’s sense of smell is 100 times more sensitive than a human’s… Noted wolf biologist, L.D. Mech stated that “wolves can hear as far as 6 miles [9.6 kilometres] away in the forest and ten miles [16 kilometres] away on the open tundra.”.
Wolf Howls (Public)
“Wolf howling expeditions take place in August, when an accessible pack of wolves is located, and when weather permits. Naturalist staff will guide you through a memorable night of listening to wolves answer human imitations of their howls. For more information on wolf howling, the Friends of Algonquin Park produce a publication called Wolf Howling in Algonquin Provincial Park. This publication, and any others, can be ordered from The Friends or bought at various locations within the Park.”
Algonquin Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter as during the summer. Highway 60 is plowed and sanded all winter and many trails are available for the winter visitor. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the Christmas and March breaks. A valid permit is required to use the park.
Snowshoeing enthusiasts can go virtually anywhere within the park except on cross-country ski trails. If you prefer a set trail, you might try one of the short walking trails along the Highway 60 corridor or one of the two longer backpacking trails.
Cross-country Skiing – Algonquin has three trail networks for cross-country skiing. They offer trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
Fen Lake Ski Trail is located at the West Gate of the park. Much of this trail travels through the hardwood bush typical of Algonquin’s west side. You will almost certainly see the tracks of moose on you outing. It offers four loops of 1.25, 5.2, 11.4 and 13km (.78, 3.2, 7.1 & 8.1 miles) and offers both easy and more challenging sections. All trails are groomed and track set and a 6 km section also offers a lane for skate skiing. A shelter and toilets are located at the beginning of the trail and at Fen Lake.
Minnesing Trail is located on the north side of Highway 60, 23 km (14.3 miles) from the West Gate. The Minnesing Trail has four loops ranging in distance from 4.7 to 23.4 km (2.9 to 14.5 miles). The trail is maintained for backcountry wilderness skiing and is not groomed. Wide touring skis and large basket poles are essential for soft snow conditions.
Leaf Lake Trail System provides some of the most beautiful vistas and exhilarating skiing available anywhere. These trails are found 1 km (.62 miles) west of the East Gate. As well as a great variety of country you may see the tracks of moose, otter, ruffed grouse, marten and many other animals. Leaf Lake Ski Trail offers a wide variety of trail selections ranging in length from 5 to 51 km (3.1 to 31.7 miles) and ranging from easy to very difficult. The system includes a loop that is groomed for skate skiing. All trails are groomed and many are track set. Shelters and toilets are available at several locations within the trail system”.
Fishing during winter is not permitted in Algonquin Park.
Snowmobiling is not permitted within Algonquin Park with the exception of the hydro line across Clyde Township.