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
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
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.