Algonquin Park spreads across 7,600 square km and is the oldest provincial park in Canada. Visitors come to the park to fish, animal and bird watch, hike or backpack, camp and to visit the park’s museums. There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied for days. Whatever your reason for visiting, there are so many things to do in Algonquin Park.
The West Gate of Algonquin park is located near the hamlet of Oxtongue Lake and next to the must see Oxtongue River/Ragged Falls Provincial Park which makes for a great hike and view.
IF YOU LIKE BEING ON THE WATER
If your time in Algonquin Park is limited, Algonquin Outfitters offers a variety of guided and self-guided day trips, starting from Oxtongue Lake or Lake Opeongo.
The Oxtongue location maintains one of the biggest selection of outfitting equipment, canoes and camping supplies. As well, Canada’s largest light-weight rental canoe fleet is based here, along with a wide selection of kayaks and four 26′ North (Voyageur) canoes, which are great for outings with six or more people.
If your looking for an experience check out their most popular day trip, Ragged Falls Canoe or Kayak Trip. Enjoy an easy lake and river paddle to scenic Ragged Falls and back. This self-guided trip departs right from the dock of our Oxtongue Lake store and can be done in 3-4 hours.
Interpretive Walking Trails
Algonquin Park’s interpretive walking trails are available for day hiking outings. Each of the over 20 trails is designed to explore a different aspect of Algonquin and each has a trail guide booklet. Trails are open year-round, but trail guide booklets are available at trail heads from late spring to early fall. Trail guide booklets are always available through The Friends of Algonquin Park Bookstores. Access to trail head parking lots may vary in winter.
A valid Park permit is required for all trail use.
MOUNTAIN & GRAVEL BIKING
There are two bicycle trails in Algonquin Park. The Trails range from flat packed surfaces suitable for children and families to rugged mountain biking experiences.
The Old Railway Bike Trail is a leisurely family bicycle trail during spring, summer and fall. For most of its 16 kilometre distance the trail follows the abandoned bed of the historic Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway, opened in 1896 and decommissioned in 1959. Mountain bikes are available for rental at the Lake of Two Rivers Algonquin Outfitters location
The Minnesing Mountain Bike Trail is a steep, rugged mountain bike trail consisting of hilly, sometimes muddy, terrain filled with rock, roots and obstacles unsuitable for small children and unfit adults. This trail is intended for experienced mountain bikers only. Hazardous sections containing mud, sand/soft soil, exposed roots, and rocky uphill and downhill terrain exist throughout the trail.
If gravel biking is you thing, try the Ragged Falls to Crown Lake… An out and back on Troutspawn Lake Rd: flowy, with lots of punchy climbs. Destination is a lovely lake-side park/boat launch with lots of exploring potential on side roads and beyond Crown Lake. This route is also part of the much longer Ragged Falls to Haliburton Forest route.
Arts and Cultural Experiences
You might not expect it, but Algonquin Provincial Park has several arts and cultural experiences within its borders. The Algonquin Visitor Centre gives you a chance to learn more about the park’s history, the Indigenous Peoples who are the original inhabitants of the area, special exhibits, a theatre and an observation deck to take in the views of the park. The visitor centre also has a bookstore and restaurant.
The Algonquin Logging Museum tells the story of the area from its early logging days to creating the current management of the forests. You can watch a film and then walk to a recreated logging camp where there are examples of logging machines. Art lovers should visit the Algonquin Art Centre. The centre features works by wildlife and nature artists. There are also yearly exhibits that connect art and the Canadian wilderness.
Interested in the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson Outdoor Exhibit? This outdoor exhibit is located at the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre at Oxtongue Lake. This outdoor exhibit is designed to showcase the connection between the Oxtongue Lake community and the works of art that the future members of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson created depicting the area. Come on out and stop by to read about these famous artists and their work in our area.
Where the Stars Hang out
If you’re spending the night in the area, look up once the sun goes down. Thanks to limited light pollution, visitors get a clear view of the stars and planets in the Ontario sky.
To learn more about Dark Skies and Stargazing… On clear nights, watch the sky come to life as you gaze through telescopes, or spend cloudy nights inside the planetarium, immersed in the myths, ancient stories of constellations, and historical cultures that viewed the skies as a realm filled with magical powers.
TIPS FOR PROVINCIAL PARK CAMPING
- Book early – Campsites and roofed accommodations can book up fast. But, you can beat the crowd by booking up to 1-month ahead on the Ontario Provincial Park online booking system. You can access that here.
- But don’t give up – Many Ontario campsites book up early, but many also have last-minute cancellations. If you don’t mind last minute planning, keep checking the Ontario Parks site to see if there are any late openings. Sometimes this is the best way to get a prime site.
- Plan the weather – Watch the weather forecasts before your Algonquin camping trip. And always prepare for the worst. You never know what could happen without warning. Pack tarps for covering your gear, mosquito repellent, and, of course, sunscreen for all that time outdoors.
- Don’t move firewood – This can be a hard one to swallow since the Ontario Parks aren’t known for providing the best firewood. But moving firewood from one destination to another can cause devastation.
Wildlife Watching in the Park
Algonquin Park is home to 55 mammal species, 32 kinds of reptiles and amphibians (none venomous), and more than 140 species of breeding birds. One cannot expect to see all of them in a single visit but, by following a few guidelines, it is possible to see a good sample.
The Highway 60 Corridor is a great place to start; in fact, far more wildlife is seen each year right along Highway 60 than in all of the Park backcountry. Some animals (particularly Moose) are actually attracted to the highway at certain times of the year.
At the end of the day you don’t need to go home, extend your visit with one of these overnight accommodation options.
Algonquin Lakeside Inn
Year Round Resort offering romantic suites, waterfront rooms and cottages….
Blue Spruce Resort
The largest, all season, fully equipped housekeeping resort on Oxtongue Lake…
Algonquin Bound Inn
Lakeview rooms and suites from which to base your Algonquin Park adventure from….
Wolf Den Hostel & Nature Retreat
Come and enjoy the hostel experience all year round. They offer affordable timberframe lodge and log cabins…
Year round lakefront family cottage resort. Enjoy the view of Oxtongue Lake, only feet from your front door…
The Pines Cottage Resort
Tucked away on a quiet beach, generations of guests have made the Pines their summer vacation destination…
Isn’t it true that food always tastes better when you’re outdoors and pleasantly exhausted from a day spent being active? If you find your appetite is making a roaring appearance, pick up something hearty and delicious to refuel from these spots.
Algonquin Lakeside Inn
Whether you’re looking to satisfy a late-night craving at Tick Tock Diner…
Cheesus Murphy & the Grateful Bread
Their focus is the killer grilled cheese Sammie’s but specials will send you into a psychedelic coma!…
Boiler Room Tap & Grill
A fresh, family owned restaurant, which has been a local landmark for over 30 years. With seven draught taps featuring…
Lake of Two Rivers Cafe & Grill
The Café and Grill offers a diverse menu to suit all tastes and cravings. Dine on site in our outdoor setting or take it with you…
OTHER THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE HERE
If you are spending more than a weekend at Algonquin’s West Gate area, you may want to take the time to explore some of the other great things to do… We would recommend visiting the village of Dorset and the Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower.
Since Algonquin Park is right among some of the most spectacular attractions of the Ontario Highlands there are many great places to explore.