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Canoeing in Algonquin Park

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/28/2007 | Hobbies
To properly experience the beauty of Algonquin Park you must take an interior canoe trip. There are many drive-in campgrounds in Algonquin but they are too popular during the summer months. An interior campsite is only accessible by canoe or by hiking in the late spring, summer and fall. During the winter, the interior campgrounds are accessible by cross-country skiing or by snowshoe.

Some of the best canoeing in Canada is found in Algonquin Park. There are literally hundreds of navigable rivers and lakes in the park. These waterways form a two thousand kilometer long system of interconnected canoe routes. As you get further away from the canoe access points, the park becomes much less inhabited. Depending on the route you take you may encounter only a very few number of other canoeists.

The routes in the park are not overly difficult. Some portages are quite long though, so it is best to tackle an easier route for your first trip if you are not very experienced. Park staff maintains the portages. There are two types of portages in the park. Portages that are marked in red on the map are well maintained by staff. While those that are less traveled and considerably more difficult are marked in black on the map. The portages marked in black are not as maintained.

If canoeing is not your thing but you still want to enjoy the beauty of the park, there are three hiking trails with loops ranging from six to eighty-eight kilometers long. If you are new to interior camping, keep in mind that there are no outhouses or portable toilets in the interior of the park. What the campsites do have are wooden boxes known as a thunder-box, so at least there is a place to sit. All campsites also have a fire pit.

There are several old ranger cabins in the park as well. These are quite popular during the summer months. If not staying at a cabin, then your shelter will consist of the tent you bring in yourself. If traveling a number of portages, keep in mind that you have to carry all your gear, thus it is best to pack light. There are Internet sites that provide a list of the basic supplies that campers should bring if interior camping.

It is a wise choice to bring proper bad-weather gear; nothing spoils a trip more than being wet and cold. An excellent item to bring is a dry bag, available at most outdoor suppliers. Stuff the bag with extra clothes and if you have a large enough bag, stuff your sleeping bag into it as well. A wet sleeping bag makes for a miserable night. Many experienced interior campers have several dry bags to keep all their belongings dry. Just remember to make sure it is sealed tight so no moisture can get in.

Algonquin Park is an enormous park, but also a very popular park. If you can, it is best to enter the park from the north, as it is not as busy as the rest of the park. Many interior campers start their canoeing adventures in Algonquin and then move on to less occupied and more difficult routes. An Algonquin trip is sure to create many wonderful memories for the novice and the experienced canoeist alike.