Algonquin Park, the oldest provincial park in the county and one-and-a-half times the size of Prince Edward Island, combines the benefits of easy access (only four hours from Toronto and handily located on Highway 60) and a vastness that allows you to disconnect from the world for a taste of the true North. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson popularized the romance of canoeing Algonquin, completing many of their most famous paintings here. Today, several of the park’s lakes commemorate these artists.
With hundreds of lakes, 1,600km of canoe routes, and 3,000 campsites, there are enough canoeing experiences to last a lifetime. Canoe, Opeongo, and Smoke Lakes are just a few of the popular lakes for daytrippers. Nearly the entire park is flat water, so there are opportunities for beginners as well as experts. A Paddler's Guide to Algonquin Park
by Kevin Callan is a fantastic resource to consult for specific directions and descriptions of 20 popular routes.
Just one example of a fantastic canoe trip in Algonquin is to paddle Barron Canyon in the far east of the park. Enjoy 100-m-tall sheer rock faces dotted with clinging evergreens on each side of the river. In addition, you can also see several beautiful rapids, High Falls, and a fun rock waterslide (on the channel of the Barron River that flows from Stratton Lake into High Falls Lake). According to this blog
there are three ways to enjoy a Barron Canyon daytrip:
1. Start at the Brigham Lake parking lot and paddle downriver through the canyon, finishing at Squirrel Rapids. This is arguably the best day trip, but it requires multiple vehicles (so as to get back to the start point).
2. Start at Squirrel Rapids and paddle upstream, portaging around Cache Rapids, continue paddling upstream and through the canyon to the foot of the portage around Brigham Chute. Leave your canoe here and walk the portage to have a look at Brigham Chute. Turn around and return to Squirrel Rapids by the same route.
3. Start at the Brigham Lake parking lot and proceed downstream on the Barron River, portaging where necessary. Turn around at the bottom of the canyon and return.
and Algonquin Portage
are located directly on Barron Canyon Road and can offer assistance for canoeists looking to see the canyon and its attractions.
You can also extend the trip into a five-day trip as offered by Call of the Wild outfitters
If you’d like something longer than a day, the Portage Store and the other park outfitters have self-guided three- to five-day self-guided tours starting at their store and rent you the equipment needed.