Group standing on the dock with paddles at algonquin Park

Choosing an Algonquin Canoe trip becomes easier when you consider a few important factors. Here are some questions ( and possible answers ) that should help.

Guided all-inclusive Algonquin canoe trip or do-it-yourself (DIY)?

An all-inclusive guided canoe trip is a good choice for new paddlers looking for instruction and those who prefer the convenience of showing up and having everything prepared for them. All of Voyageur Quest’s all-inclusive canoe trips are participatory in nature. We believe the more you participate, the better your trip will be. The guide is there to ensure each trip is safe, fun and filled with adventure. Our guided trips carry Satellite phones, have three decades of operational experience and have support staff on-site in case of emergencies.

A DIY trip is best for those with some canoe experience. There are a number of outfitters, including our own Voyageur Quest Outfitting, that have canoes and other equipment to rent. Is it possible to go on an Algonquin canoe trip without a canoe experience? Yes, but we don’t recommend it, especially if you do not know how to swim or are a weak swimmer.

How long should my canoe trip be?

In our opinion- at least three days.

Every backcountry canoe trip requires packing, organizing food, equipment, canoes, and permits, and then driving to the Access point. In many cases, this drive is 2 – 3 hours or more. When you arrive, you need some time to pack the canoe, and finally, you are off! Whew—that’s a fair amount of effort before you even paddle your first stroke.

Once you are in the canoe, we head for the backcountry. That usually translates to at least four hours of canoeing and portaging to go deeper into Algonquin. We love Algonquin Parks’ backcountry. It is vast and has so much to explore. If it takes one day to get to the backcountry and one day to return, we recommend at least one day for exploration.

In short – we recommend a 3 – 5 day Algonquin Park canoe trip. And if you can – 5 – 1 4 days is even better! Many seasoned canoe trippers will tell you that it takes at least three days to slow down and get into the rhythm of life on the trail.

Where in Algonquin Park?

Algonquin Park has 29 access points where you can start your trip.

Where you live may impact your decision. Toronto and southern Ontario are closest to the west side of Algonquin. Voyageur Quest is located on the north part of the west side, one hour’s drive from Huntsville and three hours from Toronto.

Do you prefer a quieter area of Algonquin and a more off-the-beat track? Highway 60 is the busiest part of Algonquin. Choosing an access point on the west, east, or north will be quieter than Highway 60.

Voyageur Quest is located at Algonquin Park access # 1. We are three hours from Toronto ( the same drive time as Highway 60 or faster, depending on the time of year ). Our location is 25 km from Highway 11, making it feel more remote and quieter than Highway 60 access points.

What month should I go?

We recommend July – September.

Each of these three months has its pros and cons.

A person canoeing in a red canoe and in the background bright Autumn colours

Fall Colour canoe in mid-September

June is the best month for seeing wildlife ( specifically Moose ) and fishing ( specifically Lake Trout and Brook Trout ). July is closest to June and, therefore, the best summer month for seeing wildlife and fishing. July is also the warmest month, ideal for swimming. Long days are great for late-night cooking without a headlamp.

If there is a con for July, it’s hard to find. July has more mosquitoes than August or September. But this is not significant as we consider bug season from late May to mid-June.

August is a nice month to travel. The temperature is ideal, and there are fewer bugs. August highlights include blueberries, hearing wolves, and summer thunderstorms.

The con: August can be cool—think wool sweater. However, August can be busy in Algonquin, and the chance to see wildlife is reduced.

September is spectacular. The fall colours appear in the second week and peak in the last week. September can be warm, with days in the 20s. It is the best month to hear wolves, and we see more moose in September as they gear up for the rut.

Con: Swimming for most people ends mid-September. Late September can have big rains and massive wind.

We applaud your choice to join us for an Algonquin canoe trip. Nothing beats that feeling of freedom as you paddle into the backcountry. #Paddleon