Some time ago, Seth and I decided to go canoeing in Algonquin National Park to prove we were capable Canadians. This post proves us wanting. However, I do provide details that include maps, logistical requirements and links to additional details. This is a self-guided adventure on a shoestring. Follow the links to dig deeper into the adventure.
Canoeing in Algonquin National Park Summary
Day 0 was all about buses and hitched rides to get to the Park Portage Store. We also spent a day hitching and busing our way back south to Hamilton at the end of the trip. Obviously, a car would have made life easier, but public transport and our thumbs did the trick.
Canoeing Day 1
We rented our canoe, paid our park entrance and per-night camping fees and set out by mid morning from the Portage Store located on Highway 60 at Canoe Lake. We then padded our way north through Joe Lake and Baby Joe Lake where we made camp. The day was sunny and the paddling easy. The portages were a different matter.
Day 1 photos
Canoeing Day 2
The night was very cold and I shivered the entire night, even though I was wearing all my clothing in the sleeping bag. I had not known that a hammock doesn’t insulate well in cold climates. Early the next morning we set out from Baby Joe and paddled across Burnt Is Lake, Little Otterslide Lake and (big) Otterslide Lake where we made camp for the night.
Canoeing Day 3
After another night of shivering, I decide it was time to head back to civilization and warmth. We spent most of the day paddling back to Canoe Lake, where we turned in our canoe, got a refund on all the unused days (Canadians are so nice). We then hitched our way back to Huntsville to await the 2am bus to Toronto. It turned out to be a freezing cold night for bus waiting and I was glad that we had cut the canoe trip short.
Getting There and Away
We did this trip in May of 2003 and did not anticipate the cold nights. The days were generally warm (we had an extra layer) but the nights were brutal in our thin southern summer sleeping bags. Plus, we were fortunate not to have encountered rain since we were not geared up for it. Oh well, live and learn.
Canoeing in Algonquin National Park Background
Canoeing in Algonquin National Park Logistics
Visit the park site for specifics about fees, openings, support, rentals, campsites, etc.
Algonquin highway_60 pdf map