In search of a moose in Algonquin Park

Canoeing on Lake Opeongo.

After a few days in Toronto it was time to make the second dream from “Canada” list come true – we went on a camping/canoeing trip to Algonquin Park. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle, phone and internet – simply relax. And there’s also a good chance to meet a moose – and we hoped for it.

Briefly about the Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is a popular tourist destination in the central part of the province of Ontario, Canada. It has never been formally named a “national park”, so that from the beginning it is managed solely by the province of Ontario.

Algonquin Park is also a national historical site. One of the oldest First Nation tribes, from which the park takes its name, originates from those regions – Algonquin tribe.

Campsite by Lake Opeongo.
Campsite by Lake Opeongo.

An area of over 7600 km2 is characterized by wide valleys and wetlands, divided by low hills. Approximately 1200 km of rivers and other major watercourses and around 2,400 lakes are located in the park. Most of these lakes are connected with numerous water routes, which gives a lot of freedom when planning a trip by kayak/canoe. An excellent compendium and a good starting point to get the idea of the park routes is a map called Jeff’s Algonquin Park Map. Visit www.algonquinmap.com to read it online – it’s really useful to plan ahead.

Many different species of animals, insects, plants and fungi live in rivers, lakes and dense forests of Algonquin Park. Among the rich set of species, the most searched by tourists certainly are moose, black bears, eastern wolves, lynxes, beavers and otters.

Camping in the Park

We took a parkbus from Toronto to Algonquin Park. Looking at the map it seemed to us that the park is near Toronto – it is not. Lake Opeongo, which was the last stop on the parkbus route, was a 5 hours drive.

Lake Opeongo map.
Lake Opeongo map.

After all the arrangements associated our stay in the park, we went to rent a canoe, food barrel and a tent. For four days we canoed across the lake from one camping place to another. The fear of bears that we had the first night, disappeared in the following days. Everyday we had to gather wood for the campfire, just like everyday there was no other option to wash out except for the cool waters of Lake Opeongo.

After a few days in the park we know how it feels to be alone on an island 😉. One day we got to an empty campsite on one of the small islands in the middle of the lake. We could walk around “our little island” in no more than 20 minutes, but the atmosphere was amazing – relaxing, quiet, calm and beautiful nature all around. During a lazy afternoon Patrycja read a book that waited for a long time, and Dawid caught a few fish, which then we cooked on a campfire.

Evening campfire.
Evening campfire.

We really wanted to see moose in Algonquin Park, but we were unable to reach the place where’s the biggest chance to see them. But we had hoped that we will still see a moose somewhere in Canada…

And while canoeing hasn’t always been easy for us – sometimes because of strong winds or the waves on the lake, and sometimes just because we had problems synchronizing our paddling, still those few days helped us to relax, take a broader view at our adventure and charge our batteries for the adventures to come.

Practical tips:

  • There’s no problem with escaping a big city for a few days and relaxing by the lake. There are special buses – parkbuses – from Toronto and Ottawa that go to various getaways. All available directions, timetables and ticket prices can be found at www.parkbus.ca.
  • You could take a one day trip in Algonquin Park – to go kayaking or canoeing on one of the lakes, do hiking or cycling, as well as you can stay here for a few days more. There are several options of accommodation – camping in a tent, in your caravan or in one of the many wooden lodges/shacks.
    All the necessary information about the park, accommodation and booking can be found on the official website www.algonquinpark.on.ca .
  • Basically in every point of Algonquin Park where parkbus stops, you can rent kayaks and canoes, and even tents , sleeping bags and barrels for food. So you can go almost unprepared and rent everything on site. It’s better to reserve the equipment that would like to rent a week or two in advance (or more if it’s high season). We used Algonquin Outfitters , but it could easily be Algonquin Basecamp or Algonquin Bound Outfiters.

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  • Rika Toll

    Love the canoe video and the campfire photo. Safe travels to Miami!

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