We often celebrate Gatineau Park as being the place to go hiking near Ottawa, and rightfully so -- it's in our backyard, after all. But, what we sometimes neglect is that one of our province's most beautiful provincial parks is just a few hours away and has an even greater extent of hiking trails and secluded lakes.
Established as the oldest provincial park in Canada, Algonquin Park is also one of the largest parks in the province of Ontario. Its scale measures up to almost a fifth of the size of Switzerland and has over 1,500 lakes and over 1,200 km of streams. As well, you'll never find a shortage of stellar hiking trails.
Here are 10 of those trails that you need to absolutely conquer on your next summer road trip to the park:
Mizzy Lake Trail
Distance: 10.8km (loop)
A vast day trek that offers what is arguably the best vantage points to catch the sights of wildlife in the park, such as moose. Mizzy Lake's trail crosses through bogs, ponds and other small bodies of water, so be sure to wear the proper footwear.
Barron Canyon Trail
Distance: 1.5km (loop)
Hike to the top of Barron Canyon to oversee the best views of the river of the same name that flows 100 metres below. You'll get some fantastic photos up here while sitting on the ledge -- it's almost like a smaller version of the Pulpit Rock in Norway. Just watch your step. Forewarned, it's a long way down the canyon.
Track and Tower Trail
Distance: 7.5km (loop)
Located on the southwest side of the park, Track and Tower Trail takes you up to some amazing views of Cache Lake. It's one of the more strenuous hikes, but the trail takes you past a waterfall and an abandoned railway. The trek is often cited to be worthwhile, by many.
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail
Distance: 1.5km (loop)
An easy yet scenic walk along a boardwalk trail through towering pines. This trail's simple to reach and is even wheelchair accessible.
Whiskey Rapids Trail
Distance: 2.1km (loop)
A beautiful but sometimes steep hike that takes you downriver to the beautiful Whiskey Rapids. Although the trail isn't technically difficult, don't bank on going after a rainfall. The rapids flood quite easily and the trail will be fenced off from the public during adverse conditions.
Centennial Ridges Trail
Distance: 10.4km (loop)
Another full-day trek that takes you along two high ridges for some spectacular lake views of the park. There's a lot of inclination and the trail is more strenuous than the Mizzy Lakes Trail. Nevertheless, with proper footwear, good weather and 3-5 hours to spare, this trail can be conquered.
Hemlock Bluff Trail
Distance: 3.5km (loop)
A forestry trail that leads you up to some high-point views of the beautiful, small Jack Lake.
Beaver Pond Trail
Distance: 2km (loop)
The title of the trail doesn't deceive. Beaver Pond Trail traverses across two secluded beaver ponds, giving avid hikers the optimal chance of seeing beavers in their natural habitats. Ideally, you should take this hike on a sunny day.
Booth's Rock Trail
Distance: 5.1km (loop)
The trail crosses two lakes and leads to climatic, captivating views of Rock Lake. You can even catch glimpse of the ruins of the old Barclay Estate and an abandoned railway nearby the latter lake.
Two Rivers Trail
Distance: 2.3km (loop)
Breathe in the pine air as you take this easy walk through the forest and enjoy a beautiful view of the green trees from a cliffside.