Canada has many beautiful national and provincial parks. Among the top choices for campers is Algonquin Provincial Park.
Located in North Western Ontario near the city of North Bay, Algonquin Park is the largest of Ontario’s provincial parks at approximately 7700 square kilometers or nearly 3000 square miles. Established in 1893, it is also the oldest wildlife park in Canada and is a National Historic Site.
Algonquin Park is accessible by Highway #60 from Toronto in the south or the Trans Canada Highway #17 to the northern end of the park. The park is open year round.
The climate ranges from temperatures of -30 at night during the winter to +30 degrees Celsius during the day in the summer. (-22 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Hot sun and rain are possible at anytime during the summer and large accumulations of snow are possible during the winter.
Algonquin Park is perhaps best known for its canoe trails. There are over 2400 rivers and 1200 kilometers (745 miles) of streams and rivers located within the park. Many of these trails give access to campsites within the interior of the park that can only be accessed by canoe or hiking. In the winter these quiet and private sites can be accessed by ski or snowshoeing.
Deep within the park, these campsites are for the experienced camper who is prepared to spend the night truly in the wild. Bears, wolves, and moose are a common sight in this uninhabited area. As you venture further into the park’s interior, it is possible to go for several days without seeing or hearing another camper so plan ahead. Make sure you are familiar with the survival basics and properly equipped. There are many maintained portages between lakes and rivers with almost 2000 kilometers (1200miles) of trails that can be navigated. Outfitters located within the park can rent you all the equipment that is necessary for a canoe trip to the interior.
There are over 1300 drive-in and interior campsites located within Algonquin Park. The park is mostly known for its interior campsites accessed from the canoe routes, but both types of sites are available and can be reserved by contacting the park office.
Campsites can accommodate most forms of camping, from tents to trailers. Many sites feature showers, electrical hook-ups, and flush toilets. Fees for park admission and campsites may be paid using cash or most major credit cards.
Fires should be built in the prepared fire pits provided by the park and great care must be taken to ensure they are kept under control and extinguished when you leave the campsite.
Since you will be camping deep in the wilds of Canada, care must also be used to properly store food to prevent attracting animals such as raccoons and bears. Tents can be rented from local outfitters if you do not have your own and proper equipment for all weather conditions must accompany anyone who enters the interior of the park. Weather reports are broadcast on FM 100.1 by the CBC. Cell phone and Internet signals are very limited if they exist at all within most areas of the park. Due to the remote location, a good knowledge of first-aid is also important for campers who venture to the interior of the park.
Fishing in Algonquin Park is some of the best you can find anywhere in North America. An Ontario fishing license and outdoors card is required. Some of the many types of fish that can be caught are: Large mouth Bass, Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Perch, Lake Sturgeon, Muskellunge, Rock Bass, Small mouth Bass, Lake Whitefish, Cisco, Pickerel (Walleye), Catfish, Bullheads and most pan fish.
There are many different kinds of animals located within Algonquin Park. Among them are White-tailed Deer, Moose, Black Bear, Gray Wolf, River Otter, Raccoons, Marten, Fisher, Lynx, Red Fox, as well as the more familiar Porcupine, Squirrels, Skunks and Chipmunks. Hunting is prohibited within the park.
Many different kinds of birds can be spotted such as the Common Loon, Blue Jays, Robins, Great Blue Herons, Chickadee, Ducks, and Geese. There are also many less familiar types of birds who inhabit the park, perfect for the avid bird watcher.
Frogs and reptiles abound in the park. The common bullfrogs, leopard frogs, and snakes are all present. Garter snake, Black Rat Snake, Common Water Snake, as well as the Painted Turtle and the Spotted Turtle all call the park home.
The usual mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and horse flies can also be found in the park, so be sure to pack a high quality, Canadian strength bug repellent.
Activities and Attractions
Located within the park are over a thousand kilometers of hiking and canoe trails. There are also trails for mountain biking, horse back riding and cross country skiing.
The Algonquin Logging Museum can be found by the park’s eastern gate and features a re-created logging camp with authentic logging equipment and interpretive panels describing the history of logging activities within the park.
The Algonquin Visitor Centre features exhibits about the history and geography of the park. Exhibits include many taxidermy’s of species of animals found within the park, as well as a video theatre, outdoor viewing deck, art gallery, and of course a gift shop.
For further information about Algonquin Park please visit www.algonquinpark.on.ca.
To make reservations or contact the park management for the current admission fees, please visit www.ontarioparks.com/english/algo.html. Information about all Ontario Parks can be found at www.ontarioparks.com
Copyright 2016 Mike Wilson