Wednesday, September 24

Backcountry Day Trip at the edge of Algonquin

I recently posted about our camping trip in Algonquin Park earlier this month. Since then, I've been thinking about how easy it is to enjoy a day trip in Algonquin Park's backcountry wilderness. Of course, on a day trip you won't go deep into Algonquin, but you can certainly explore the lakes and canoe routes at the western edge of the park.

If your only taste of Algonquin Park so far has been along the Highway 60 corridor, you're in for a completely different experience. The Hwy 60 corridor is wonderful for its easy accessibility and plethora of options for spending your day, but for those very reasons it's also more full of people and machines.
A day trip starting from the park's Kearney access points takes you away from crowds, cottages and cars and treats you to the calm quiet of undeveloped terrain. Nothing else compares.

If you want to experience it for yourself, this is what we recommend:
  • Book 2 nights at the inn since you will want an early start to make the most of your day
  • Book your canoe in advance (or have us book it for you) from Algonquin Basecamp or Canoe Algonquin or bring your own if you have one
  • Bring a hearty lunch and snacks (paddling is great for the appetite) or ask us about a packed lunch when you book your accommodations
  • Bring more water than you think you'll need
  • Remember that once you're in the park, there is nowhere to buy food, water or supplies
  • Plan to dress in layers; don't forget a hat, sunglasses, scarf or neck warmer, watch, and knapsack for toting your lunch and gear

Your itinerary for a weekend:

  • Arrive afternoon or evening
  • Review a backcountry map of the park with us and we'll help you plan your route
  • Breakfast at 7:30 am (or later depending on how much of your day you want to spend in the park)
  • Drive to Kearney about 20km east of us and pick up your day permit from the Algonquin Park office in town
  • Pick up your canoe and paddling gear if you've made rental arrangements with a local outfitter
  • Drive to one of three access points, each about 30km from Kearney (some of this is on winding, unpaved roads)
  • Park your car in the access point parking lot (do not leave food in your car); put your canoe on the lake and start paddling!
  • Stop at a campsite for lunch
  • Paddle back to the access point and load up to come home; watch the time as you're paddling—you want to be back out and loaded up in daylight
  • Return your canoe to the outfitters; return to the inn
  • Dinner at the inn (if booked in advance) or head out to an area restaurant
  • Enjoy a fire in the Coop or soak those tired muscles in the hot tub before falling into a soft, comfy bed
  • Breakfast (a little later this time!) before heading home to the real world
What it costs:
  • 2 nights at Fern Glen Inn, includes accommodation and hearty breakfasts for two people: $236
  • Day permit for Algonquin Park: $16
  • Canoe rental, includes canoe, 2 life jackets, 2 paddles, foam pads & straps to secure the canoe on your car: approximately $28
  • Total: $280 plus applicable taxes
Optional Extras:
  • Packed lunch for two people: $28
  • Dinner at the inn for two people: $56
  • Canoe delivery to the park (so you don't have to put it on your car): approximately $50 per group (can be multiple canoes)
  • Algonquin Park backcountry map: approximately $5
If you haven't canoed the interior before, consider:
  • Will you be able to get the canoe on and off your car, or will you need to pay for canoe delivery to the park?
  • Do you know how to steer and handle a canoe in various weather conditions?
  • Do you want to include portages in your day trip (where you carry the canoe over land from one lake to another) or do you want to choose a route that does not require portaging?
  • Are you in good physical shape? Are you confident to put yourself in a wilderness setting away from services, conveniences, and ready aid?
  • Are you ready to discover the wonders of Algonquin Park's stunning backcountry interior?
We love to 'talk park' so if you'd like to include a backcountry day trip at the edge of Algonquin Park during your next visit to the inn, give us a call and we'll help you work out the details.

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