Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park
By Ontario Parks
Note : For information related to the Ministry of Natural Resources' Algonquin Cottage Leases Policy Proposal, please visit the Environmental Registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca and enter Registry Number 001-7289.
The essence of Algonquin is in its vast interior of maple hills, rocky ridges, and thousands of lakes. The only way to explore the interior of this park is by canoe or on foot.
There is also a second Algonquin - along the 56-kilometre stretch of Highway 60. Here you can enjoy camping at one of eight campgrounds, hike one of 14 trails, take part in extensive education programs, and visit Algonquin's superlative Visitor Centre and the Logging Museum.
Highway 60 Corridor
Canisbay Lake Campground
This campground is located at the south end of Canisbay Lake, one km north, on a paved road, from Highway 60, 23 km from the West Gate and 33 km from the East Gate. Canisbay Lake Campground feature 242 sites, 66 of which have electrical hook ups. 101 sites are located in a designated radio-free and dog-free zone. Sixteen paddle-in sites are also available. There are large comfort stations with flush toilets and laundry facilities, and a handicapped accessible shower and toilet. The Canisbay Lake has two sand beaches, one in the day use area and one in the campground.
Canisbay Lake is open from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving weekend. It is operated by Whiskey Jack Park Services under contract to Ontario Parks.
Coon Lake Campground
Coon Lake campground is located 5km south of Hwy 60 on the Rock Lake road (gravel), 40 km from the West Gate and 16km from the East Gate. This small campground has 49 sites and a beach on Coon Lake. Vault privies are located within the campground while showers, laundry facilities and flush toilets are located at nearby Rock Lake Campground.
Coon Lake is open from mid-June to Labour Day. It is operated by Ontario Parks.
Kearney Lake Campground
This campground is located on the south shore of Kearney Lake, just off of Highway 60, 36 km from the West Gate and 20 km from the East Gate. It has 103 sites and two small beach areas in a predominantly pine setting. There is a small, handicapped accessible comfort station with flush toilets and showers. Laundry facilities are available in the Pog Lake Campground, one kilometre to the east.
Kearney Lake Campground is open during the May long weekend and from mid-June to Labour Day. It is operated by PKW Campground Services under contract to Ontario Parks.
Lake of Two Rivers Campground
Lake of Two Rivers is the oldest and best known of the Algonquin Park campgrounds. It is located on the west shore of Lake of Two Rivers just south of Highway 60, 32km from the West Gate and 24 km from the East Gate. The campground is situated in a beautiful White Pine forest and features an excellent beach. It has a total of 241 sites of which 160 have electrical hook ups. There are two modern handicapped-accessible comfort stations with flush toilets, showers, and laundry facilities.
Lake of Two Rivers Campground Is open from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving. It is operated by Algonquin Park services under contract to Ontario Parks.
Mew Lake Campground
Mew Lake Campground is located just south of Highway 60, 31 km from the West Gate and 25 km from the East Gate. The campground has 131 sites, half of which are located in a White Pine forest. The other half have a more open situation with scattered trees. Sixty-six sites have electrical hook-ups and another 37 are located in a dog and radio-free zone. There is a beach and handicapped accessible comfort station with flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities.
Mew Lake Campground is open all year round. It is operated by Algonquin Park Services under contract to Ontario Parks from late April to Thanksgiving after which it is operated by Ontario Parks.
Pog Lake Campground
This campground is located in a pine forest setting on Highway 60, 37 km from the West Gate and 19 km from the East Gate. It has a total of 286 sites, 83 of which offer electrical service. Thirty-two campsites are located within a radio-free and dog-free zone. There are three large comfort stations with showers, flush toilets and laundry facilities.
Pog Lake Campground is open during the May long weekend and from mid-June to Labour Day. It is operated by PKW Campground Services under contract to Ontario Parks.
Rock Lake Campground
Rock Lake Campground is located 8km down the Rock Lake Road south of Highway 60. The turn off is 40 km from the West Gate and 16 km from the East Gate. The campground has a total of 121 sites, 72 of which have electrical hook-ups. It features 2 great beaches and has flush toilets and a new comfort station with shower facilities, flush toilets and laundry.
Rock Lake is open from late April to Thanksgiving. It is operated by Ontario Parks.
Tea Lake Campground
Tea Lake is located on the north side of Hwy 60, 11 km from the West Gate and 45 km from the East Gate. This small campground has 42 sites and is set in a mixed hardwood coniferous forest. The campground has vault toilets but no shower or laundry facilities.
Tea Lake is open from late April to the May long weekend and from mid-June to Labour Day. It is operated by Whiskey Jack Park Services under contract to Ontario Parks.
Achray Campground is located on the east side of Algonquin Park at the southeast end of Grand Lake. It is located 50 km from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy. 17) near Pembroke and is accessed via Sand Lake Gate on the Barron Canyon Road (8 km paved road, 42 km gravel road). The campground has 45 sites in a pine forest bordering sandy beaches and rocky points. There are flush toilets but no shower or laundry facilities.
The Achray Campground offers a number of opportunities for hiking. The spectacular Barron Canyon Trail is located 13km east of Achray.
The Campground is open from the last Friday in April to Thanksgiving.
Brent Campground is located on the north shore of Cedar Lake on the north side of Algonquin Park. It is reached via a 40 km gravel road leaving the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy. 17) just west of the hamlet of Deux Rivieres.
Brent has 30 sites and vault toilets, but no shower or laundry facilities. A large historic ranger cabin on a beautiful point east of the campground is available for rent. Basic supplies and canoe rentals are available at the Brent Store in the old townsite adjacent to the campground.
The Campground is open from last Friday in April to Thanksgiving and is operated by Bourgeois Contracting under contract to Ontario Parks.
Kiosk Campground is found on Kioshkokwi Lake on the northwest side of the park, adjacent to the former townsite of Kiosk. It is located at the southern end of Hwy 630, 31 km south of its beginning on the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy. 17), 19 km west of Mattawa and 45 km east of North Bay.
Kiosk has 17 sites and flush toilets but no showers or laundry facilities. An historic ranger cabin adjacent to the campground is also available for rent.
The Campground is open from the last Friday in April to Thanksgiving and is operated by Carmen Cross under contract to Ontario Parks.
Canisbay Lake Campground - 66
Lake of Two Rivers Campground - 160
Mew Lake Campground - 66 sites
Pog Lake Campground - 83 sites
Rock Lake Campground - 72 sites
Away from the Highway 60 corridor you will find another part of Algonquin Park that is only accessible by canoe or on foot. The interior of the park offers 2,100 km of canoe routes and over 140 km of backpacking trails. Camping is only permitted on designated interior campsites which are marked with an orange sign.
Two publications Canoe Routes of Algonquin Park and Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Park will guide you on your journey. These are available at all Park access points, main gates and bookstores. They are also available by contacting the Friends of Algonquin Park.
Whitefish Lake Group Campground
Whitefish Lake Group Campground is located 37km from the West Gate and 19 km from the East Gate. It has 18 large sites that can accommodate groups ranging in size from 10 to 40 people. The campground is not highly developed and offers only basic amenities such as cold running water and vault privies.
The group campground was developed primarily to accommodate organized youth and special groups. Adult groups such as family reunions and clubs may book into the campground but youth and special groups have booking priority.
Campsites should be reserved well in advance and must be guaranteed by a credit card. Reservations can be made by calling (705) 633-5572.
HIGHWAY 60 CORRIDOR
Whiskey Rapids Trail located at km 7.2 - 2.1km (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 - 0.8km (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 - 11km (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 - 1.9km (1 hour) modeate.
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 - 7.7km (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 - 3.5 km (2 hours) moderate.
This trail lead through a mixed forest to an impressive view of Jack Lake.
Bat Lake Trail located at km 30 - 5.6 km (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 - 2.1km (1 hour) moderate
This looped trail includes an easy climb to a pine-clad cliff.
Centennial Ridges Trail located at km 37.6 - 10 km (3-4 hours) strenuous - This demanding loop rewards the hiker with spectacular viewing along two high ridges.
Lookout Trail located at km 39.7 - 1.9km (1 hour) moderate
This trail is relatively steep and rugged but affords the hike with a magnificent view of several hundred square kilometres of Algonquin.
Booth's Rock Trail located at km 40.5 - 5.1 km (2 hours) moderate
This trail visits two lakes and a spectacular lookout, returning via n abandoned railway.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk located at km 42.5 - 1.5 km (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 - 2 km (1 hour) moderate
This trail provides excellent views of two beaver ponds.
EASTERN SECTION OF ALGONQUIN PARK:
Barron Canyon Trail located 10 km from the Sand Lake Gate entrance to the park and 35 km in total from the junction of the Barron Canyon Road and the Trans Canada Highway
1.5 km (1 hour) moderate
This trail leads to and runs along the north rim of the spectacular 100m deep Barron Canyon. The trail guide uses six stops to explain the formation and history of the canyon. Caution: This trail travels by an unfenced cliff, keep children and pets on a leash at all times.
Berm Lake Trail - This trail is accessed from the Achray Campgrount
4.5 km (2 hours) moderate
The trail circles Berm Lake and runs through pine and Oak forests typical of the area. A trail guide discusses the ecology of a pine forest.
NORTHERN SECTION OF THE PARK:
Brent Crater Trail - This trail is accessed from the Brent Campground
2 km (1.5 hours) strenuous
The Brent Crater was formed when a meteorite crashed to earth thousands of years ago. From a wooden observation tower overlooking the crater the trail descends to the crater floor before looping back to the starting point. Six stops interpretive relate some of the geological and historical significance of this unique feature.
The interior of the park offers over 140 km of backpacking trails with designated campsites.
The Friends of Algonquin Park produce a map, Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Park which outlines all of the trails within the park. The map is available at all Park access points, main gates and bookstores. It is also available by contacting the Friends of Algonquin Park.
Motor boats are not permitted on most lakes within the park, however there are some exceptions.
(a) Motors of unlimited horsepower may be used on Galeairy and Opeongo Lakes.
(b) Motors of 20 horsepower or less may be used on the following lakes: Bonita, Cache, Canoe, Cedar, Kingscote, Kioshkokwi, Little Cauchon, Rock, Smoke, Source, Tanamakoon, Tea, Two Rivers, and Whitefish.
(c) Motors of 10 horsepower or less may be used on the following lakes: Cauchon, Cauliflower, Grand, Joe, Little Joe, Madawasha, Manitou, North Tea, Radiant, Rain, Tepee, and Travers.
(d) Motors of 6 horsepower or less may be used, except from the last Friday in June to the first Monday in September inclusive, on the following lakes: Big Crow, Hogan, La Muir, Little Crow, Proulx and White Partridge.
Waterskiing, jetskiing and other similar activities are not permitted within Algonquin Park.
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.
The clear, clean lakes of Algonquin offer endless opportunities for swimming. All campgrounds and picnic areas have designed beach areas.
Algonquin Park offers the canoeing enthusiast a network of over 2,100km of canoe routes. A map-brochure, Canoe Routes of Algonquin Park shows at a scale of 2 miles to the inch, the entire Park network of canoe routes, portages, and interior campsites. Elsewhere on the maps, detailed directions are given for 29 different access points along with complete information on planning and completing a canoe trip. A copy of this map can be purchased for $4.95 from the Friends of Algonquin Park.
A sampling of some of the Algonquin canoe routes is listed below.
Algonquin Canoe Route #1-Lake route, The route is the easiest level. The distance is 70 km that will take approx. 5 days. There are 16 portages, which add up to 8130 metres. The main bodies of water that are traveled on and across is: Galeairy, Rock, Whitefish Lakes, Lake of Two Rivers, Madawaska River, Head Creek, Kenneth, Harness, Lawrence Lakes, Lake Louisa, Pen and Night Lakes. The start and finish is from access point #13, Galeairy Lake to Whitney.
Algonquin Canoe Route #2 - Lake route, This is rated an intermediate level. The length is 38km, which takes approx. 3 days to complete. There are 13 portages that work out to 6300m altogether. The main bodies of water are: Smoke, Little Island, Tanamakoon, Cache, Head, Harness, Pardee, Bonechere, Big Porcupine and Ragged Lakes. The start and finish is from access point #6 on Smoke Lake.
Algonquin Canoe Route # 3 - Lake Route, This is rated an intermediate level. The length is 37km, which takes approx. 3 days to complete. There are 13 portages which are 4575m altogether. The main bodies of water are: Canoe, Joe, Tepee, Littledoe, Tom Thompson, Sunbeam, Burnt Island and Little Joe Lakes. The start and finish is from access point #5, Canoe Lake.
Algonquin offers good opportunities for wildlife, and is unequalled in Ontario for seeing moose. Moose viewing is best in spring, early summer and during the mating season in late September.
White-tailed deer and bear also inhabit the Park. Algonquin is famous for its wolves which are heard but not often seen. Join Park staff on wolf howling expeditions held every August.
More than 260 bird species have been recorded in the Park. Many southern and overseas birders make special trips to Algonquin just to see northern specialties such as the Gray Jay and the Spruce Grouse, not to mention the rich variety of warblers or Algonquin's most famous bird of all -- the Common Loon, found nesting on just about every lake.
Algonquin Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter as during the summer. Highway 60 is ploughed 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 March break. A valid permit is required to use the park. Permits can be purchased at the East or West Gates or at the self-service station at the Mew Lake Campground.
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 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 from the West Gate. The Minnesing Trail has four loops ranging in distance from 4.7 to 23.4 km. 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 one km 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 and ranging from easy to very difficult. The system includes three loops that are 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.
Highway 60 Corridor
Mew Lake Campground offers camping from mid-October until early May on a first-come first-serve basis. The main parking lot and the roads adjacent to sites 1-76 are ploughed. Sites are ploughed as time and weather permit. Sites 1 to 66 have electrical hook-ups. Firewood can be purchased at the Mew Lake Campground woodlot. A heated winterized comfort station provides drinking water, flush toilets, showers and laundry.
Camping away from Highway 60 in the interior of the park is also permitted during winter. You may wish to use one of the groomed ski trails to enter the park interior but camping within sight or sound of the trails or in trail shelters is not permitted. Winter camping is also not permitted on designated summer campsites or within 30 metres of a lakeshore, trail or portage. We recommend that you camp in low sheltered areas where there is a good supply of standing dead firewood for warmth and cooking.
Seven yurts, located in the Mew Lake Campground, are available for rent during the winter. Accessible by vehicle, these tent-like structures are equipped with basic furniture and electric heat. Reservations are required for the yurts and can be made up to 5 months in advance by called 1-888-ONT-PARK or by clicking on the reservation button on this website.
Dogsledding opportunities, offered by commercial operators, are available in two locations in the park - one along Highway 60 and one in the northwest section of the park accessible from the village for South River on Highway 11.
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.
We advise against ice travel. Ice conditions may vary due to weather, snow depth, pressure cracks, and many other variables. Hazards are difficult to detect. Ice may be safe in one location and unsafe nearby. Use alternate land routes to avoid ice travel.
Natural Heritage Education
Conducted walks are led by park naturalists every day from late June to Labour Day. These consist of an hour and a half leisurely walk, exploring and learning about some part of the park environment. Times and locations are posted at bulletin boards within the parks.
Algonquin for Kids Come with your kids (ages 5 to 12) to the Visitor Centre for an hour of discovery with games, stories and animals. Times and topics are posted at bulletin boards within the parks.
Evening Programs begin at dusk every evening at the Outdoor Theatre (at km 35.4) from late June to Labour Day. Each program lasts about an hour and a half and consists of a film, a slide talk about some aspect of the park, a question period and them another film. When bad weather interferes, the programs and held at the Visitor Centre. Times and topics are posted at bulletin boards within the parks.
Special Events are listed in This Week in Algonquin Park posted at all bulletin boards in the park. Public Wolf Howls take place on Thursdays in August if a pack has been located in a suitable location and if the weather is favourable. Check the bulletin boards, call the Visitor Centre (613-637-2828) or check the Friends of Algonquin Park website on the Thursday morning to find out if a Wolf Howl is going to be held that day.
Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail
The Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail is located 23 km from the West Gate and 33 km from the East Gate, just off of Hwy 60. The trail consists of four loops, with distances of 4.7, 10.1, 17.1 and 23.4 kilometres. All four loops are hilly and unsuitable for small children and unfit adults and are rated at a moderate level of technical difficulty. 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 extensive muddy sections until the drier weather of August and September. Cabins are located at the start of the trail and on the return run of the second loop. The trail passes through hardwood forest with views of three lakes along the way.
Algonquin Park has partnered with the Ontario Cycling Association (OCA) is the operation of the Minnesing Trail. You can become a volunteer Algonquin Park Mountain Bike Ranger by contacting the OCA at (416) 426-7242. The OCA will schedule you into an Algonquin Park campground for a week or two of free camping in return for Ranger duties. These duties include providing information to other bikers on the mountain bike etiquette and safety, park and trail rules, maintenance of trails, bike patrols and liaison with Ontario Parks staff. This program operates from the third Friday in June to Thanksgiving weekend.
Old Railway Bike Trail
The Old Railway Bike Trail runs from Mew Lake Campground to Rock Lake Campground but can also accessed from Pog Lake campground. This 10 kilometre leisurely trailsruns along the abandoned rail bed of the historic Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway built across the Park in 1895. The trail has several interpretive panels along the route which explain Algonquin's history.
Hunting in this park is subject to the Ontario Hunting Regulations. Certain restrictions apply. For more information, contact the park or your local area or district office of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
For more information:
Algonquin Provincial Park
By David Richardson
When planning a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park it is almost instinctual to start at the Highway 60 Corridor and go from there. This is without a doubt the most common starting point for people who are looking to hike some trails or spend some time on the very popular Canoe and Smoke Lakes. However there is another part of the park that offers beautiful scenery and is an excellent place to begin a wilderness experience. Algonquin's southern border stretches down to within 12 kilometers of the town of Harcourt making it slightly closer to most of Durham Region and the Kawarthas then the rest of the park. When arriving at the south end there is no Ontario Parks kiosk so permits for camping or day-use must be obtained from the store at Pine Grove Point Campground directly across from Kingscote Lake Road.
If just going out for the day is what you're after it's hard to beat the easy, 2 kilometer High Falls Hiking Trail. There are many waterfalls in Ontario and at least one more in Algonquin that are named High Falls so be careful if you're looking this trail up on the internet. This trail starts at the parking area near Benoir Lake and follows the York River upstream to the north. The parking lot is equipped with washrooms and a short walk down the gravel road offers a view of the huge, abandoned Martin's Lumber Mill. The trail starts at the north end of the parking lot and travels through a red pine plantation before entering a hardwood forest and joining up with the river. When first reaching the York it seems to be a lazy flat water river but a look up stream reveals the foot of a long line of rapids and falls. This is also an excellent area to spot a moose or two wandering through the bush. Where the trail meets the rapids is also used as a portage around High falls and canoeists should be given the right of way. Proper footwear and care should be taken on this part of the trail where rocks can be slippery and crevices abound off the path. Farther up the trail is High Falls where the York cascades over 6 meters of smooth granite. This is a spot to have the camera ready for some great waterfall shots.
If you're looking for a good place to do some mountain biking the Byers Lake Bike Trail also starts at the High Falls parking area and heads 6.5 kilometers north into the park. Along the way the trail passes Little Rock Lake and joins up with the York River at High Falls Pond just above the falls themselves. There is also a side trail that leads to the Gut Rapids which is a picturesque narrow canyon on the York River. The trail ends giving you a scenic view of Byers Lake before you turn around to make your way back to the parking area. This trail is classified as moderate but does have many steep grades and obstacles such as muddy sections, rocks and roots.
To spend some time on the water, head over to Kingscote Lake. This is the main access point for the south end of the park. There is a large parking lot, washrooms and a boat launch at the southern end of the lake as well as some land accessible campsites. There are also regulated hunting camps in this area and Ontario Parks can be contacted for information on these. With a motor 20hpr or less you can spend the day fishing on Kingscote or drop the canoe in the water to get in some paddling. For the more adventurous this is the perfect spot to start a backwoods canoe trip that can take you as far as you can imagine into Algonquin. After passing through several smaller lakes and many portages to the north, the canoe route from Kingscote Lake is connected to all other Algonquin canoe routes through Cauliflower Lake and the South Madawaska River with incredible views of nature all along the way. Imagine getting to Canoe Lake the way the fur traders would have.
Want an Algonquin Park adventure but trying to avoid the crowds of the Highway 60 Corridor? Algonquin's southern boundary probably has exactly what you're looking for.
Canoeing in Algonquin Park
By Janis Carter
Algonquin Park is an outdoor wilderness haven that is close to home for us in southern Ontario. It covers over 7600 acres, is crossed by 2000 km of roads. It has walking and hiking/backpacking trails, cross country skiing, canoeing, picnic areas, RV and trailer parks; with electricity, showers and flush toilets, tenting areas and lodges as well as attractions and an interpretive centre. Highway 60 crosses the south end of the park and most of these facilities are accessible from the highway. However, going north into the park or gaining access from around the northern perimeter of the park leads you into a much more rustic atmosphere. There are long backwoods canoe routes and wilderness hiking trails.
My experience outside of camping in the serviced trailer parks, involves canoeing. There are many levels of difficulty and self-sufficiency to choose from when deciding to take a canoe trip through Algonquin Park, ranging from choose your own route to guided trips.
If you go to the northern part of the park, you can start on a trip where you must take all the supplies that you need, plan for rough camping, and choose a trip that will take you a week or longer, all with taking as little as possible as you have to carry it all over any portages.
My cousin and I decided that we wanted to give it a try and that we wanted our kids (4 between us, aged 13 - 9) to experience the great outdoors as well. At the last minute, her husband decided to join us as well. Even with the 7 of us, our experience was minimal; she had been on 2 guided trips, me, my kids and one of hers had done some paddling around and my family had done some camping, me some rough camping. In spite of this, we decided that we were going to do the route ourselves. We chose a 3 day easy route with a few portages; a popular route, but went on our own without a guide. I had a tent and I guess she must have had one as well, or rented it on her own. We rented our canoe, paddles and lifejackets from an outfitter group just outside the park. They were also quite glad to sell us anything that we had forgotten to bring. Algonquin Park has maps that you can choose your route and book your camping spots from. We were set to go!
Actually, with so little experience at canoeing, rough camping and portaging, we managed quite nicely. Of course we had the usual beginners problems with not securing our food as well as we should, kids getting out into the current and wind by themselves in the boat and not being able to get back, a cranky, sleep lacking, irate husband and uneven job loads. We had picked an easy route, starting in Tea Lake and heading to the Canoe Lake and Teepee Lake area, following a circle to bring us back to our starting point fairly easily and within our 3 day time frame. This included some easy paddling, some more vigorous paddling and steering and as mentioned a few portages. The longest portage was about a mile or at least it seemed to be, and there were 3 or 4 shorter ones as well.
For all of us, it was a very interesting, enjoyable and sometimes challenging experience, and one that most of us got hooked on doing more of throughout or lives.