Algonquin Park lies on the edge of the heavily populated south and the sparsely populated north -- sharing the best of both.
Modern campsites with amenities are scattered throughout the south of this Provincial Park and old-fashioned campsites without amenities in the north.
The photo here shows sunrise in the Park, located about 280 kilometres (175 miles) or 2 - 3 hours drive (on a good day) north-east of Toronto.
To see a sunrise, you need to stay in the Park or nearby because Algonquin Park is far enough away to be safe from all but the most dedicated visitor. Getting there is straightforward enough -- follow Highway 11 North to Huntsville then turn right onto Hwy 60.
This road runs through the Park for almost 60 km (38 miles) before exiting near the town of Whitney. It's the easiest access for most visiting and has the Park Museums and campsites along its route.
An early start in Algonquin is also a great way to see the Park at its quietest.
Here a lake reflects the trees better than a mirror could for a few short minutes before the sun warms the air and breezes start blowing.
Another picture of Algonquin in the early morning before the anglers and boaters are up. There are no large boats on Algonquin's lakes, just canoes, kayaks and small powerboats for fisherfolk. The Park rules are designed to keep the land and water as pristine as possible.
The summer is for canoeing and hiking, just be sure to bring the insect repellent early in the season. July and August are the most popular months for the Park so book early for a campsite.
Spring is the time to see Moose in the mornings and evenings right along Hwy 60 -- no need to go further for some amazing encounters -- if you cruise slowly. The encounter may not be so amazing if you don't. Here's why --
Moose are big, over 2 metres (6-7 ft) high at the shoulder and males can weigh over 700 kgs (about 1500 lbs) -- females are about half that weight. As well, their legs are long and car hoods often go under the body of the moose, which means the rest of the moose chops off the car's cabin.
For more moose pictures, see our Algonquin moose page.
Other big wildlife you're likely to see, but off the beaten path this time, are deer, wolves, black bear, and beaver. With all those trees, you'd expect to see birds and, around campsites you'll see the regular Ontario flock -- like Cardinals, Gray Jays etc. Some rarer birds you're likely to see include Owls and Osprey hunting for fish in Algonquin's many lakes.
Algonquin Park covers 7630 sq.kms of Ontario's Canadian Shield heartland. The Shield is a rocky sub-strata that pushes down from the north into the southern part of the province. On the shield, soil, if it exists at all, is thin and acidic so only the hardiest, most adapted plants grow. For the most part that means fir trees but in the southern part of the Park there deciduous trees such as the Maples that give it its great blaze of Fall Color.
Camping and canoeing are the best way to see Algonquin Park (over 2000 kms of canoe routes!), the lakes provide open air and sunshine unlike the land where the trees press closely about you. Canoeing provides a view as well. And you need some perspective to appreciate the beauty of the landscape, which you can only do from the open spaces provided by the water. I started the page with a sunrise, so I'm ending it with a glorious Algonquin sunset.
For another Park filled with wildlife, try Point Pelee on the shores of Lake Erie in Essex County.
Visit the Park's official website at www.algonquinpark.on.ca
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
Tours To Explore
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