The Road Trip to Algonquin Park: Family Trip (6hrs)

See important updates for visiting Algonquin Provincial Park this Fall (2021)

Key takeaways are to:

  • Book your park permit in advance and visit midweek for best availability. The park has capacity limits for permits this year. 
  • Visit Monday – Friday for best availability 

Exploring the unique mystique of Ontario’s first and most famous provincial park is a rite of passage that all Canadians – or visitors to Canada – should experience at least once. Except you’ll want to come back time and time again because, unlike other landmarks like Niagara Falls or the CN Tower, there’s so many different ways to experience it that you’ll never have that ‘been there, done that’ feeling.

Whether you follow in the footsteps – or should we say canoe routes – of legendary Canadian painter Tom Thomson or soak up the sights along interpretative trails and the fascinating Visitor Centre, our advice is simple – keep your eyes open for moose sightings along way! When you see a group of cars parked on the side of the road, it’s likely a wildlife photo opp.

  • Local tip: Inside the park boundaries, kilometres are marked by road signage starting from the west gate for easy directions to trails and attractions.
  • Cost: See current Ontario Parks vehicle permit rates here
  • Distance: Direct approx. 40 minutes
  • How to get there: Out of Deerhurst turn right on Hwy 60
  • What to bring: Water, snacks, proper walking shoes, bug spray, sunscreen, a camera

The Road Trip to Algonquin Park – Family Trip (6hrs)

The journey is half the fun on this meandering road trip, stopping at some of Muskoka’s favourite spots along the way. Or reduce your travel time by heading straight to the Park, which is about 30 minutes. From Deerhurst, turn right on Hwy 60 and continue east until it’s time to return back.

Starting from Deerhurst:

Dwight Village (15 min drive) – stop in at the Dwight Trading Post to browse native Canadian-made gifts, cottage décor and over 100 styles of authentic moccasins. Pick up some famous sticky buns at Henrietta’s Pine Bakery on Hwy 60 or snacks from the Dwight Market. (allow 30 minutes)

Oxtongue Lake Ragged Falls (10 min from Dwight Village) – easy walk to stunning waterfalls (allow 30 mins)

Algonquin Provincial Park (5 min from Ragged Falls) – be welcome and pick up your permit at the West Gate. See current Ontario Parks vehicle permit rates here

Hardwood Lookout Trail (10 min from West Gate) – km 13.8 (allow 35 mins)
A great introduction to the park’s ecosystem, this 1km loop is easy for children and offers a stunning view of Smoke Lake. Looking for a longer trail? Try Hemlock Bluff, a winding 3.5km loop with forest and lake views is at km 27.2 (allow 1 hour)

The Portage Store (5 min from Hardwood Lookout Trail) – km 14 (allow 60 mins)
A great spot to have lunch overlooking Canoe Lake, where the mysterious death of Tom Thomson took place 100 years ago this year

Algonquin Park Visitor Centre (20 min from The Portage Store) – km 43 (Allow 60 mins)
With interactive displays and life size dioramas of wildlife, the Visitor’s Centre celebrates the park’s natural and human history. Take a virtual trip through the park’s fascinating story with a theatre presentation then step out onto a viewing deck to admire a breathtaking panorama of wild Algonquin landscape. Refuel at the centre’s restaurant and take home and an excellent bookstore.

Return to Deerhurst via Hwy 60 west (1 hr)

You May Also be Interested in:

Algonquin Park Art Centre (at km 20 inside the park)
A world-class art gallery showcasing some of Canada’s foremost wilderness and wildlife artists. (If you love art, check out even more locally inspired paintings and sculptures at the Eclipse Art Gallery right at Deerhurst.) Visit their website for current exhibition information here.

Photo Op: Art lovers will want to visit Huntsville to see the lifesize bronze statue of Tom Thomson complete with canoe and paintbox, in front of the town hall on Main Street, and replica outdoor murals of his paintings and those of the Group of Seven.

Guided Algonquin Adventures 

For a variety of hiking, biking, canoeing, photography and birding excursions in Algonquin Provincial Parks, visit and book directly with Algonquin Adventure Tours.