10 reasons to explore Algonquin Provincial Park THIS winter

1.  Skiing: Algonquin’s networks were recently listed by Canadian Geographic Travel in their “10 Best Cross Country Ski Trails.”  There are two groomed and track set networks at Fen Lake (km 0) and Leaf Lake (km 54).  There is also the Minnesing Wilderness Ski Trail (km23).  Leave the city behind you and ski in one of the most iconic parks in the world.  Check the Ontario Parks ski report for current conditions.

2.  Bird watching:  Whether you are a beginner or expert, birding in Algonquin is unique because of the “Northern Specialities” like Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays in the park.  Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail is a great place to start- a birding hotspot!

3.  Snowshoeing: Algonquin is a snowshoeing paradise with endless possibilities.  Travel one of the interpretive trails along the highway or make your own.  If you need to rent, there are many outfitters conveniently located around the park.

4.  Wildlife Watching:  All winter long, wildlife travel around the park, leaving their tracks in the snow for you to discover.  Visitors may find the tracks of deer, moose, martens, otters, foxes and even wolves.  Check out the Wildlife Board at the Visitor Centre for recent sightings and make sure to add your own!

5.  Camping at Mew Lake Campground:  Mew Lake Campground is open all year round and through the winter offers first come first serve sites, including sites with hydro.  There is a heated comfort station with showers and laundry facilities to camp in comfort.  Bring your skates to take advantage of the rink located just footsteps from your campsite.

6.  Yurts:  A great introduction to winter camping!  Yurts are available for reservation all year round and offer a great way to stay in the park in the winter.  Located at Mew Lake Campground, the yurts are heated and sleep up to 6 people.  Call the park (705 633-5572) and book ahead for the best availability.

7.  Backcountry Camping: For the real adventurer, the Algonquin backcountry is open all year and in winter is accessible by ski or snowshoe.  The solitude of winter in the backcountry is interrupted only by the sounds of crunching snow under your feet and the songs of winter birds in the trees.

8.  The Visitor CentreThe Visitor Centre is open all winter long on weekends and through the week by appointment or chance and features world class exhibits.  It’s a great place to grab a cup of hot chocolate and check out the observation deck featuring a beautiful view and lots of activity at the nearby bird feeders.

9.  Winter in the Wild Festival:  This upcoming February marks the 2nd Winter in the Wild Festival which takes place on the Family Day weekend.  This is a great event for the whole family and features guided bird walks, a wolf howl, guided snowshoe walk, winter camping demonstrations, presentations on winter camping and photography, tours of the Visitor Centre Collections Room, skating, marshmallow roasting and more!

10.  Dogsledding: Offered by several commercial operators on a trail network along Highway 60 and in the northwest of the park.  A truly unique way to explore the park!