Algonquian park is one of the go-to destinations for campers and hikers. Due to its huge size (must take several hours to drive through) and many different mountains, cliffs, forests and lakes, it is full of very differing hikes and plenty of wildlife animals such as bears, moose, wolves, beavers etc. The closest entrance to the park is about 3 hours away from Kingston and depending on where you are heading in the park, that time extends. So, myself and three other friends rented out a car and went on our Canadian road trip up to Algonquian for the weekend. I felt like I was in an American movie!
There is never a best time to go to Algonquian but we heard that it is exceptionally pretty during fall when you can see the full spectrum of tree leaf colours in the forests. However, it was booked out towards the end of fall when we planned to go and therefore we were left to the first days of winter – but how bad could it be? Well, the clue was in the fact that we were not allowed to camp there because of the temperature being too cold to be safe but instead had to rent a yurt if we wanted to stay. For those of you who don’t know what a yurt is here is your education for the day – it is essentially a large heated tent based on old Mongolian huts.
When we arrived at the campground it was dark, there was nobody at reception and we did not get sent our yurt number on the confirmation email. So, we were driving aimlessly around the campground looking for a lifeform to get some information from. After driving past a bunch of other lovely Canadians who were yurting, we asked them where they got their keys from and it turns out that the doors to our yurt should be unlocked with the keys on the table inside. So, we dropped by in the first yurt that we found empty. So our yurting adventure began . . .
The heater in the yurt was periodic and only the bottom 25% of it actually produced any heat. The level of cold need not be exaggerated, all I will say is that it is a good thing that we were not allowed to camp! On the bright side, the toilets were very well heated and had warm water for showers!!!
We went on a couple of hikes on the first day we spent at Algonquian and to summarise in one word, they were AWESOME! We were the first ones on each of the tracks and therefore saw the untouched snowy blanket over the whole park which was particularly spectacular from the mountaintop viewpoints. Although trees are known to be beautiful with their leaves, the beauty of bare, snowy branches cannot be neglected:
My personal favourite view (could be because I’m an engineer) was the running streams amidst all the snow and freezing cold weather. And when topped with the little wooden bridges, it was just a breathtaking view!