150km, 2hrs driving
This beautiful drive goes through two of Ontario’s most well renowned regions.
This drive is only a glimpse of what is out here in the wilderness of Ontario. It can be done easily anytime of year apart from winter, fall is a great time to visit Algonquin due to less crowds, less bugs, cooler weather, and the spectacular foliage on display!
▐ Algonquin Park & Muskoka
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Algonquin Park & Muskoka
▐ Algonquin Park & Muskoka (~150km, ~2hrs)
This itinerary starts in the town of Huntsville , but can easily be started from Whitney if you are coming from eastern Ontario. It is recommended to pack plenty of snacks as well as a packed lunch for the day. This itinerary is very flexible, especially along Highway 60 through Algonquin Park. I have put a few of my favourite trails along the map, but they are only the tip of a large iceberg in terms of things to experience in Algonquin. There are many more trails to explore, as well as an abundance of camping and canoe/kayaking opportunities.
From Huntsville, head south into the heart of Muskoka along District Highway 2. If you come anywhere between late September to mid October, the colours will be at peak and will leave you with a beautiful drive. Continue until you reach Baysville , and turn left onto District Highway 117. This road runs along the eastern edge of Lake of Bays, and has some outstanding views all the way to Dorset Lookout Tower . The road up to the tower is closed to vehicles through Fall/Winter, so you will have to park off Hwy 35 at the start of Dorset Scenic Tower Rd and walk up. This is definitely a blessing in disguise though, as it gives you more time to soak in the wonderful colours. It provides a great lead up to the amazing view you get once you climb the tower itself. Spend some time up here, and then continue on Highway 35 north until you reach Highway 60.
Make your way east into Algonquin Provincial Park. Don’t forget to stop in to the entrance office to pay the park fee (around $15 CAD for one day), and to pick up brochures and maps of the park. You will quickly notice the vast amount of things to do in Algonquin Park, I have put together a list of trails that I believe can be completed in the day.
A nice trail to start the day is the Hardwood Lookout Trail . It takes roughly 15 minutes on a round loop and has a great overlook of Smoke Lake at the top. The next trail Hemlock Bluff is a bit longer, about an hour, and well worth doing. This can be done as well as Two Rivers Trail a bit further on. Both are quite similar in scenery, but Two Rivers is more towards the two hour mark. The next trail on the list is one of the most popular in the park, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk . It is a very flat walk, and is known for its wildlife, mostly different bird species. This takes about 30 minutes.
It is well worth stopping in at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre too. There is a small self guided museum, as well as a great overlook of a large area of the park. It is a great time to get the binoculars out if you have them! There is also a decent café in the Visitor Centre, so have some lunch or afternoon tea if you are feeling hungry. The Beaver Pond Trail is another great small trail, about 45 minutes, to add to the list. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of beaver dams to sight, as well as good wildlife viewing opportunities given the multiple overlooks it has. Wildlife viewing is never a guarantee, so treat it as a bonus if you see it rather than expecting it (regardless of what people say) to avoid disappointment.
Whitney can be a great little spot to stay overnight after a long day of hiking, but if not, continue on to the next destination wherever that may be. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, even out of the park!