10 of the Best Hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Ontario. The park has so much to offer, including a long list of amazing hiking trails.

There is a trail for just about everyone in Algonquin, from challenging full-day hikes to easy and accessible short loops. Interpretive walking trails are designed to explore different aspects of Algonquin, from historic sites to nature, wildlife, logging, the railway and even meteorites. Trail guidebooks are available at any of The Friends of Algonquin Park Bookstores located within the park or online.

Algonquin’s trails are open year-round, but access to trail head parking lots may vary during the winter months. A valid park permit is required for all trail use, which can be purchased at any access point or online.

Here are 10 of the best hiking trails to check out on your next visit:

Algonquin Logging Museum Trail

Algonquin Logging Museum Trail Josie Dinsmore

Length: 1.3 km loop

Difficulty level: Easy. Wheelchair accessible trail.

The Algonquin Logging Museum Trail is an easy and excellent hike for all ages and abilities. As you hike along, you’ll learn the logging history of Algonquin Park while stopping to explore reconstructed lumber camp buildings, old machines and tools. The highlight of this trail is a steam-powered amphibious tug called an “alligator.” Don’t forget to visit the museum itself before hiking the trail.

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Barron Canyon Trail

Barron Canyon Trail Josie Dinsmore

Length: 1.5 km loop

Difficulty level: Moderate

Located at the far east corner of the park, the Barron Canyon Trail offers some of the best views of any Algonquin trail. A short hike will take you to the edge of the 100-metre-deep Barron Canyon, where you’ll find a spectacular view to the river far below. There are a few cliff side viewpoints to enjoy before the trail winds its way back into the forest.

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Booth’s Rock Trail

Booths Rock Trail Josie Dinsmore

Length: 5.1 km loop

Difficulty level: Difficult

Booth’s Rock offers a lot of variety along its 5.1-kilometre length. The trail passes by two small lakes, up onto the edge of a rocky cliff to several stunning viewpoints over Rock Lake, then makes its way back down through the forest to the remains of the Barclay Estate and returns to the parking lot along a section of abandoned railway.

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Brent Crater Trail

Brent Crater Josie Dinsmore

Length: 2 km loop

Difficulty level: Moderate

One of the world’s most famous fossil meteorite craters, the Brent Crater, is where this trail got its name. Located along the northeast edge of the park, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view overlooking the crater rim from an observation tower before following the trail down onto the crater floor. A scenic boardwalk around the halfway point takes you out to Tecumseh Lake through wetland that is home to carnivorous pitcher plants.

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Centennial Ridges Trail

istock Centennial Ridges Trail iStock

Length: 10.4 km loop

Difficulty level: Difficult

Although Centennial Ridges is one of the most demanding and difficult trails to hike in the park, it is also one of the most popular. Spectacular viewpoints along two high ridges, with views over tree canopy and lakes, and beautiful scenery all along the trail make it easy to understand why it’s so popular and worth the effort.

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Lookout Trail

Lookout Trail Josie Dinsmore

Length: 2.1 km loop

Difficulty level: Difficult

If you are looking for a trail that is not too long of a hike, but still offers some great views, then the Lookout Trail is for you. Although this trail is fairly short, it is steep in some places, but you’ll quickly find yourself at the edge of a cliff with an amazing view of several hundred square kilometres of Algonquin and a lake in the distance. The top of the Lookout Trail is also an awesome spot to watch a sunset!

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Track & Tower Trail

The Track & Tower Trail Josie Dinsmore

Length: 7.5 km loop

Difficulty level: Difficult

The Track & Tower Trail features a number of different spots that give a glimpse into Algonquin Park’s history. Along the shoreline of Cache Lake there is a view of the remains of a railway trestle; sections of trail follow along an abandoned railway bed; railway trestle footings cross the Madawaska River; and a beautiful lookout over Cache Lake is the location where a fire tower once stood. The trail also features scenic lake and river views and a couple of small waterfalls.

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Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail

The Spruce Bog iStock

Length: 1.5 km loop

Difficulty level: Easy. Wheelchair accessible.

One of the easiest trails in the park, the Spruce Bog Boardwalk is mostly flat with several boardwalk sections, making it accessible to almost everyone. If you are a lover of scenic boardwalks, then this trail is for you! The trail gives visitors a close-up view of northern spruce bogs and their ecology. This is a popular spot during winter for seeing birds such as chickadees and grey jay.

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Mizzy Lake Trail

Mizzy Lake Trail iStock

Length: 10.8 km loop

Difficulty level: Moderate

Mizzy Lake Trail is the perfect choice for those hoping for a chance to view wildlife in the park. The trail makes its way to nine small beaver ponds and a few lakes, which are home to a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds. Mizzy Lake is the longest trail on this list, and it’s recommended that you have an early start and a full day to be able to complete the entire trail loop properly.

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Big Pines Trail

Length: 2.9 km loop

Difficulty level: Moderate

True to its name, the Big Pines Trail is home to some amazingly large, old-growth white pine trees. Visitors can wrap their arms around one of these towering giants with the help of a wooden platforms built around the bottom of a tree. The remains of an 1880s logging camp can also be viewed along the trail. As you hike this trail, you’ll learn more about logging in the park and the ecology and history of white pine trees in Algonquin.

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More Algonquin-Based Adventures: