Friday, October 4

Centennial Ridges Trail, Algonquin Park

Jim and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary with a hike on the Centennial Ridges Trail in Algonquin Park. Although we've been to the park countless times, neither of us have hiked this one before. It's one of the longest day-use trail in Algonquin, and while the length has never deterred us, we don't often have a spare six hours (the recommended time to allocate for the hike) to spend at once. We made time this time and were so glad we did!

The park guide describes the trail as 10.4 km long, however we've had guests tell us their GPS's and pedometers put it closer to 13 km in length. Either way, it's a challenging hike not so much for the distance but for the many ups and downs as the trail visits multiple cliff-top lookouts. According to the guide booklet, "At the highest point you will be 170 metres (560 feet) above the parking lot but, because the trail has several major rises and descents, the total vertical distance you will have to climb during your outing is approximately 360 metres (1,200 feet)".

We passed a number of small lakes and ponds along the lower sections of trail.

It took us just under four hours to complete the loop, including stops for photos and food. Don't forget to bring food -- you'll work up an appetite! Also bring water, of course, as well as the appropriate clothing for the time of year including sturdy hiking shoes/boots. Go prepared for the weather and prepared to work up a sweat and you'll be rewarded, as we were, with spectacular views and breathtaking vistas.

This was the first time we ever looked DOWN on a flying hawk!

The colours in late September were stunning.

Seeing far and wide.

An old beaver lodge in a meadow that used to be a pond.

Almost to the top of this cliff (more to come!).

Whitefish Lake near the end of the trail.

Perched on the edge.

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