If you are visiting Ontario anytime in the summer or fall, you need to make the trip up north to any of the provincial parks. This weekend I took a day trip with 2 friends to hike the trails and be one with nature at Algonquin Park & Arrowhead Park. They are about an hour away from each other, but it gave us a great excuse to go into Huntsville for lunch in between.
Let me start off by saying: If you don’t like long days, I wouldn’t suggest doing it all on one day like we did. You can easily rent a cottage or a room at one of the inns to spread it out over a weekend. We had one day and wanted to pack it all in. Right now the colors of the trees in northern Ontario are STUNNING. Coming from someone who lives in the country on a farm, the colors there made my farm look embarrassing (And I love to look at how beautiful the farm is!) The Canadian Shield creates a roadway that was lined with crazy red, yellow and orange trees, and a lot of the trails provide lookouts that look fake at times.
We were mostly in it for the workout and the pictures, so if that is something that interests you as well, and you have one day, you may be interested in the below itinerary.
Wake up; get coffee (obvi) hit the road.
Make your way to Arrowhead Provincial Park. It costs 15 dollars for the car to park, and then you can start your journey. If you only want one nice trail here, we did the one called “Stubbs Falls” which has numerous photo ops, one including a waterfall. We then continued to Big Bend Lookout, to take some selfies (well, they did)
Back on the road, you can choose to stop in Huntsville for lunch or continue another hour or so to Algonquin Park, which was 16 dollars for the car. This may sound crazy but I didn’t realize how massive this place was! A lot of the trails take between 3-6 hours SO you may want to choose one good one or cheat and walk half way then turn around after the look out (guilty!)
The first one we hiked was called Hardwood, which was only 0.8km long but super packed with other hikers, which made it a lot less ‘Zen” so we decided after this one to venture further into the park. We found another trail called “Centennial Ridges” on Pinterest with the nicest lookout, BUT it was a 6-hour trail. SO we were THOSE PEOPLE and hiked it up for about 45 min to the surreal view, took our snaps and then headed back down the way we came.
At this point it was 5pm and we only had about 2 hours before dark, we were told “Booths Trail” also had great views half way through, so we started up to the lookout. It was an intense hike, we were getting that workout we were asking for and when we got there it was all worth it- you could see forever!! The photos were mostly “people-less” due to the sweat all over us from the up-hill climb but none of that mattered as the 3 of us stared into forever, how romantic! We figured since we were half way through the trail we may as well just finish the loop rather then turning around. It started to get darker and I may have begun to freak out, I was too young to become a bear’s dinner. I may have also rolled my ankle on the way down (its steep, I swear!) and had to find a walking stick to hobble with the remainder of the trail. I am proud to say though that we completed our 3 our trail in 1.5 hours (due mostly to panic, however) and came out with the best #nofilter photos you could post on Instagram.