There's an excellent Visitor Centre on Hwy. 60 (tel. 705/633-5572; www.algonquinpark.on.ca), at Km 0.0, that features exhibits about the park's history, a bookstore, a restaurant, and a gallery of Algonquin art. Also on offer are staff-led expeditions to hear the timber wolves howling at night.
The southern border of Algonquin Park is about 300km (186 miles) north of Toronto, about 2 1/2 hours by car. To get there, take Hwy. 400 north to Barrie, then take Hwy. 11 north to Huntsville, and finally travel east along Hwy. 60 to the west gate of the park. Hwy. 60, the park's only major highway (open year-round and also known as the Parkway Corridor), runs through the south end of park. The east gate is located just west of the town of Whitney, Ontario. The west gate is located just east of the town of Dwight, Ontario. There are many other access points to the park that run off Hwy. 17 to the north of the park. Other access points run off Hwy. 11 to the west, and still others off Hwy. 60 to the east.
Ontario Northland Rail and Coach (tel. 705/472-4500 or 800/363-7512 ext. 0; www.ontarionorthland.ca) services Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville from Toronto's Union Station. Muskoka Airport (tel. 705/687-2194), about 18km (11 miles) from Gravenhurst, is used mainly for small aircraft. Several landing strips and a helicopter landing pad are also available at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville.
The park spans 7,725 square kilometers (2,983 square miles) of land, so planning is essential. To get an overview of your options, get a copy of Canoe Routes of Algonquin Park - you can order it online at www.ontarioparks.com/english/algo-canoeing.html or at the park visitor centre, order it ahead, or download it online. You can choose to go it alone or use an outfitter to set up your route and itinerary. All canoe trips depart from one of the 29 numbered access point offices, and all hiking trips depart from one of four trail heads. Before you head into the wilds, you must register with a park warden and pick up your interior camping permits at least 3 hours before sunset. Averaging 4 to 6 hours of paddling per day, you can expect to cover 15km to 25km (9 1/4 miles-16 miles), including portages.
Camping Gear Checklist
Small first-aid kit, including gauze pads and antiseptic
Tent with waterproof fly
Sleeping bag (a thick one in autumn)
Therm-a-Rest or foam mattress
Groundsheet and extra tarp (for a dinner area, to cover your pack in the canoe, and to use as a makeshift sail if you're feeling really lazy)
Extra garbage bags and zip-lock bags for waterproofing
Hiking shoes and water shoes or sandals
Sun hat and sun block
Lightweight stove and fuel
Cooking utensils (pots, bowls, cups, cutlery, scouring pad)
Toilet paper (and zip-lock bags to pack out your used paper)
Biodegradable hand soap and dish detergent
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
10m (33-ft.) nylon rope for food hanging and clothesline
Matches in waterproof container
Pocket flashlight and pocket knife
Water bottle(s) and iodine tablets or water-purification system
Backpack (for hikers, backpacks should have an internal or external aluminum frame and waist belt to help distribute the weight)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.