One of the more popular draws to the area are the hiking trails. The Highlands: The Highland backpacking trail offers a great introduction to hiking in Algonquin Park. The trail is easily accessed off of Hwy 60 at kilometer marker Permits are picked up at the Mew Lake Campground. If you are travelling during peak seasons it is recommend that you book in advance.
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One of the more popular draws to the area are the hiking trails. The Highlands: The Highland backpacking trail offers a great introduction to hiking in Algonquin Park. The trail is easily accessed off of Hwy 60 at kilometer marker Permits are picked up at the Mew Lake Campground. If you are travelling during peak seasons it is recommend that you book in advance. The short loop winds its way through beautiful Algonquin forests and offers up a nice outlook of Mew Lake. The trail is in excellent shape and offers only modest elevation changes.
The route circles Provoking Lake with the majority of campsites available on the north side of the lake. This route can be completed in 2 days, however with the lack of campsites on the south side of the lake, it will likely mean breaking the trip into a 6km day and a 12km day. To avoid this, plan for a 2 night, 3 day trip. The longer loop starts at the trail head and travels southwest to Head Lake, followed by a stop at Harness Lake.
From here, the trail climbs back up to the east side of Provoking Lake where hikers join up with the short loop. At 35km the longer loop is more aggressive and you will need to put a 13km day before reaching the campsites on Head Lake. As with the short loop, the campsite distribution requires hikers to plan ahead to avoid longer hiking days. Most hikers will want to take 3 nights, 4 days to complete this loop. Tips For Hiking The Highlands: Plan your campsites strategically so that your hiking days are within your abilities.
Take advantage of the lookouts, even if this means a small side detour. The Head Creek is a great area for local Algonquin moose. Keep your camera ready. There are often long stretches of hiking without water access to filter drinking water. Carry at least 2 liters of water with you and fill up whenever you have the opportunity.
For more details about The Highlands, see Mark Highfield article from a recent trip. Also see our video that highlights Faya Lake on the Highlands Trail. Eastern Pines: The Eastern Pines backpacking trail is accessed through the east side of the park. Accessing the park from this side can be a bit of a chore, but it is worth the investment in time. Permits are picked up at the Achray Campground office. To avoid a long car ride and arriving to find all the sites book, prearrange your sites.
Distances for hikes range from 6km loops all the way up to 22km for the longest loop. With relatively easy terrain and only modest elevation changes, the Eastern Pines offer great introductory backpacking.
This unique structure offers a series of swimming pools and a natural rock slide. Fun for the whole family. Calculate your travel time to Achray Lake and then your campsites accordingly to avoid getting caught in the dark.
Travel to Achray can take several hours 6 hours from Toronto The loop that travels around Bucholtz Lake is cluttered with large boulders left from receding glaciers.
It offers a very unique hiking experience. Make certain that you stop off at the Barron Canyon day hiking trail that you pass along the way to Achray Lake. This short 1. Western Uplands: The Western Uplands offers the penultimate Algonquin overnight backpacking experience. The trail offers 2 separate access points; one off of Hwy 60 AP 31 and the other on the west side of the park AP 4. The Uplands offers 3 loops that measure in at 33km, 56km and 88km respectively.
While the trail is easy to access from the west side of the park I would not recommend tackling these trails until you have good backpacking experience. The terrain resembles that of The Highland Trails, but the distances make for more challenging hikes and require more detailed planning. Once you have travelled through The Highlands and the Eastern Pines though, set your sights on these beautiful trails.
Ramona Lake has challenging water access but worst of all lots of frogs. Make certain you seek out up to date trail conditions before setting out. The last few years have seen high waters with sections of the trail washed out and difficult to navigate.
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Top Hiking Trails in Algonquin Park Region, Ontario
Backpacking Trails Map