Algonquin is famous for its wildlife-watching and scenic lookouts. During spring, you're almost certain to see moose along Hwy 60, as they escape the pesky black flies to lick the leftover salt from winter de-icing. Other creatures you may encounter include deer, beaver, otter, mink and many bird species. There's no limit to the breathtaking natural scenic beauty on offer.
Algonquin is also a great place to give canoeing or kayaking a whirl. Outfitters offer many opportunities for novice paddlers as well as advanced wilderness adventures for the experienced outdoors person. Canoe Lake on Hwy 60 is a popular starting point for beginners, although the launching dock is often crowded in summer.
Self-guided paddling trips are a popular option. A quota system governs the number of tourists at each backcountry camping spot; book ahead so you can canoe your preferred route.
Top Five Hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park
Whether you're visiting for a day or a month, sampling some of the over 140km of hiking trails, including many shorter jaunts accessible from Hwy 60, is a must. Hikes depart from various mileposts (actually kilometer-posts) along Hwy 60 between the West Gate (Km 0) and the East Gate (Km 56). You can buy a 50-cent hiking guide at the information centers and trailheads.
Mizzy Lake (moderate 11km loop) An excellent chance to see some diverse wildlife: all known species within the park have been witnessed here at some point. At Km 15.
Track & Tower (moderate 7.7km loop) A serene lakeside trail and an unusual elevated lookout point along an abandoned railway. At Km 25.
Booth's Rock (difficult 5km loop) Follow an abandoned railway for breathtaking views of the sweeping lakes and forests. To get there, follow the road 8km south from Km 40.
Centennial Ridges (difficult 10km loop) The best panoramas in the park, bar none. To get there, follow Rock Lake Road from Km 37.
Lookout Trail (moderate 2km loop) The busiest hike in Algonquin, but for good reason: a spectacular view of untouched nature awaits. At Km 40.
Algonquin Provincial Park is active in wolf research, and public 'howls' are an incredible way to experience the presence of these furry beasts. Wolves will readily respond to human imitations of their howling, so the park's staff conducts communal howling sessions on the occasional summer evening. These events are highly organized: you could be one of 2000 people standing in the darkness waiting for the chilling wails. Wolf howls often take place on Thursdays in August and early September, but are only confirmed on the days they are actually held. Check park bulletin boards, www.algonquinpark.on.ca or phone the information line to be sure.