13 Best Hiking Trails in Algonquin Park

Hiking trails in Algonquin Park are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 7,600 square kilometres, it is the oldest provincial park in Ontario and one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers. With its vast forests, serene lakes, and diverse wildlife, Algonquin is often my go-to for a quick weekend hiking adventure. 

Having personally hiked and backpacked many of the trails in Algonquin Provincial Park, I can vouch for their beauty and diversity. This article shares some of my personal favourites, from leisurely walks in the woods or by a lake to challenging hikes through dense forests and fantastic lookouts. 

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Épingle pour les meilleures randonnées du parc provincial Algonquin

Why Visit Algonquin Provincial Park?

Algonquin Provincial Park is renowned for its natural beauty and the variety of its hiking trails. For seasoned hikers and casual walkers alike, hiking in Algonquin Park will bring you through dense forests, alongside rivers and streams, and up to breathtaking viewpoints. 

Lake surrounded by trees in Algonquin Park

How to get to Algonquin Provincial Park?

From Toronto – 300 kilometres via Highway 11 North and Highway 60 East

From Ottawa – 275 kilometres via Highway 417 West and Highway 60 West

Top Hiking Trails in Algonquin Provincial Park

Here are some of the most popular hiking trails in Algonquin Provincial Park, catering to all levels of hikers:

Easy Trails

  • Whiskey Rapids Trail
    • Length: 2 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 1 hour
    • Highlights: Scenic views of the Oxtongue River and Whiskey Rapids.
  • Peck Lake Trail
    • Length: 2 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
    • Highlights: Views of the lake from the rocky shore.
  • Hemlock Bluff Trail
    • Length: 3.5 km loop
    • Estimated Time:  2 hours
    • Highlights: beautiful lookout over the lake and beaver dam. 
  • Spruce Bog Boardwalk
    • Length: 1.6 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 1 hour
    • Highlights: boardwalk through marshlands and bird watching
hiker admiring Pack Lake
Peck Lake
Hiker on the snowy trail above a frozen lake in Algonquin Park
Hemlock Bluff

Moderate Trails

  • Centennial Ridges Trail
    • Length: 10 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 4-5 hours
    • Highlights: Panoramic views of the park, especially stunning in the fall.
  • Lookout Trail
    • Length: 2 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 1 hour
    • Highlights: Steep climb rewarded with a spectacular view over the park.
  • Mizzy Lake Trail
    • Length: 11 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 3-4 hours
    • Highlights: Ideal for wildlife spotting, especially moose and beavers.
  • Booth’s Rock Trail
    • Length: 6 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 2 hours
    • Highlights: Stunning lookout of Rock Lake from a boulder above the forest.
  • Bath Lake Trail
    • Length: 6 km loop
    • Estimated Time: 2 hours
    • Highlights: Boardwalk and views of the lake.
hiker following the trail over a beaver dam
rocky shore and lake surounded by trees

Difficult Trails

  • Track and Tower Trail
    • Length: 8 km loop + 5.5 km side trail
    • Estimated Time: 3-4 hours
    • Highlights: old fire tower and outstanding view of Cache Lake
Lookout over the vast forest of Algonquin Park on the Track and Tower Trail

Multi-Day Trails

  • Highland Backpacking Trail
    • Length: 19-35 km loops
    • Estimated Time: 2-3 days
    • Highlights: Challenging terrain with rewarding views of lakes and forests.
  • Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail
    • Length: 6-15 km loops
    • Estimated Time: 1-2 days
    • Highlights: Rugged landscapes and serene lakeside campsites.
  • Western Uplands Backpacking Trail
    • Length: 30-70 km loops
    • Estimated Time: 3-8 days
    • Highlights: Rugged landscape and peaceful lakeside campsites.
Provoking Falls on the Highland Backpacking Trail in Algonquin Park
Provoking Falls on the Highland Backpacking Trail

Wildlife and Natural Attractions

Algonquin is a sanctuary for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to moose, black bears, beavers, and hundreds of bird species. The diverse habitats support a variety of flora and fauna, making each hike an opportunity to witness nature in its full glory.

Best Times to Hike in Algonquin Park

The best time to set out on the hiking trails in Algonquin Provincial Park depends on your preferences:

  • Spring: Mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers.
  • Summer: Warm weather and long daylight hours.
  • Fall: Stunning fall foliage with vibrant colours.
  • Winter: Snow-covered trails offer a peaceful and quiet hiking experience.
frozen lake in as seen from the trail in Algonquin Park

Hiking Tips and Safety

  • Essential Gear: A map and a compass, layered clothing, plenty of water and energy snacks.
  • Appropriate Footwear: Hiking shoes or hiking boots will help you navigate the rugged terrain of most trails in the park.
  • Safety Precautions: Inform someone of your hiking plans, carry a first-aid kit, and be aware of wildlife.
  • Leave No Trace Principles: Respect the environment by taking all your litter with you and staying on marked trails. 
stream flowing over rocks bordered by trees on a hiking trail in Algonquin Provincial Park

Camping and Accommodations

Algonquin offers numerous camping options, from backcountry campsites to developed campgrounds with facilities. 

backcountry camping site by a lake in Algonquin Park

My favourite is Mew Lake Campground, which is well-situated in the park and close to many trailheads. Pog Lake Campground is also a good choice.

Nearby towns provide additional lodging options, including hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts. For a unique and comfortable experience, try the Four Seasons Algonquin Cabins in Whitney or the Fairy Bay Lakehouse in Huntsville. Spring Lake Resort in Dwight is close to the Park’s West Gate.

Permits and Regulations

Visitors must purchase a park permit to enter Algonquin Provincial Park, ensuring a safe and regulated environment. 

Additional permits are required for those planning to camp. Familiarizing yourself with park regulations ensures a secure and enjoyable visit and provides peace of mind during your adventure.

Local Services and Amenities

Nearby towns, Huntsville and Whitney, offer various services and amenities, including grocery stores, restaurants, and outdoor gear shops. Algonquin Outfitters, for example, provides equipment rentals and knowledgeable advice for your adventure.

Photography Tips for Hikers

Algonquin is a photographer’s paradise. 

  • Best Spots: Lookout Trail, Centennial Ridges, and any lakeside views.
  • Tips: Early morning or late afternoon light provides the best conditions. 
  • Always be ready to capture wildlife, and use a tripod for landscape shots.
stream bordered by rocks and tall trees as seen from a hiking trail in Algonquin Provincial Park

Conclusion

Algonquin Provincial Park is a must-visit destination for hiking enthusiasts. With its diverse trails, abundant wildlife, and stunning natural beauty, it offers an unforgettable outdoor experience. Whether you are seeking a leisurely walk or a challenging trek, hiking in Algonquin will always be a fantastic adventure.

FAQ about hiking trails in Algonquin Park

Do I need a permit to hike in Algonquin Park?

Yes, all visitors must purchase a park pass. 

Are there any dangerous animals in Algonquin park?

The park is home to black bears and moose. Always follow safety guidelines and respect wildlife. Give them plenty of space and consider turning back if proceeding on the trail does not feel safe when encountering a bear or a moose. 

Can I hike in Algonquin Park during winter?

Many trails are open in winter, but preparing for cold weather and snow is essential.

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5 Comments

  1. These look like wonderful hiking trails, I’d love to hike them when the wildflowers are in bloom in spring.

  2. Oooh it’s fab to see Algonquin Park! The first time we came to Canada we really wanted to visit, but we couldn’t get seats on the park bus (we were nervous of driving on the right…so we just skipped it.)
    Now I’m used to driving here I’d love to go back and try these hikes – the views from the Track and Tower trail are fab.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. You have included so much helpful information. I will pin this as I hope to go there one day.

  4. This is a perfect guide to hiking the best trails in Algonquin Park. Would love to explore this area. So much natural beauty!

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