Algonquin Park Trip Report (Ontario Canada)


Here are my notes from a trip to Alongquin Park last week.

Highway 60: This is the main highway that cuts through the park with the town of Dwight being a few miles west past the West gate and the town of Whitney being a few miles east of the east gate. I think either would be OK to stay in. There are hotels on either side of the gates open year round. Supplies in either town are sparse. I didn’t spent much time in Whitney, but in Dwight there are basic vegetables and meats, the gas station makes sandwhiches and pizza daily, there is a saloon that serves food, and a pizza place. Things tend to close early so I kept my car gased up. One one occasion I had to go to the next town over to get gas (15-20 minutes away) as the dwight gas station did not open until 7 am. That is a larger town with more options but I didn’t catch the name (you just stay on the highway 60 until you get there). Highway 60 through the park takes a good deal of time to drive (perhaps an hour without stopping) but is very well maintained and was drivable even during snowstorms. The first day I was there I had driven the length of the road, turned around at dusk as a significant snowstorm was about to begin when a fisher crossed the road at somepoint past spruce bog. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo but I noticed my dash cam was on. I had just put a new memory card in it before the trip. It showed it was recording, I had formatted the card inside the dash cam, so all seemed well. When I got back to the hotel the card was unreadable. Even within the camera it would not let me play back the footage. Perhaps the camera cannot handle a 128GB card as it worked fine with a 32 GB and still does. Lesson learned, always test and make sure new cards are 100% working. It’s been years since this last happened to me but I’ve fallen for “the card appears to be working” fallacy again. The only other sightings on 60 where a moose in the middle of the road after dark when it was warm and misting just before KM 11 (I had been warned moose were hanging out between KM 8 and 11) and a deer crossing the highway west of Dwight. A lynx has recently been sighted per the visitor board at KM 8.

Mizzy Lake Trail: This trail goes past several lakes and probably took me around 4 hours to complete (11KM). I started hiking about 30 minutes before daylight and saw a red fox, one hare, and two otter. The parking lot trash bin is occasionally visited by a fox and a pine martern. The trail is somewhat icy so hiking spikes would be helpful but I did it without them. The fox and otter were seen on the frozen lake before the wolf howl pond.

Opeongo Lake Road/Costello Creek: The road is maintained and easily drivable up to where the road forms a “Y”. There is a store to the left that is open during the summer but the road is closed at that point in winter. Do not drive up the right unless you confirm access via CB radio first as it is an active logging road. It is walkable as long as you don’t mind the possibility of a logging truck going past you. The trash bins at the bottom of the hill are being visited by pine martern a couple of times per day. There is a clear trail where they come out of the woods and to the bins. Slightly up the hill on the left is some open ice where an otter is present daily. At the “Y” there is a small parking area where many people feed birds and red squirrels. Pine martern tracks are everywhere down the hill behind the bird feeding area and they are sometimes coming up the feeding area but are relatively skittish. While I was able to see the pine marterns, people scarred them off before I could get great looks. Others had better luck when fewer people were around. There is also a red fox patroling the same area at dusk/night. It is also very skittish and went another direction as soon as it heard me. Someone said they saw a fisher there just as I had pulled up one afternoon.

Spruce bog: There is a suet feeder along the trail but the only mammals I found were red squirrels.

Mew lake Campground: The park naturalist told me recent wolf tracks were found along the old railroad trail. A couple of ladies there to do tracking said they fold an additonal set of wolf tracks (4 individuals traveling together) after the next round of snow so the wolves seem to be actively using that trail. I wish I would’ve had one more night so I could have tried to look for them. The trash bins are being visited by pine marten and red fox. However, the pine martern do require some patience right now. One group sat from 10 am to 4pm without seeing anything. The first attempt I made I was there for about 5 hours without any sightings, 2 hours the next try, but the third time was the charm and within an hour I was able to see two pine materns at arm’s length distance. Around 11 am seems to be the most successful time at the moment but there’s no way to be sure when they will come. A red fox is visiting the bins at night. I saw some grouse moving around in the woods just behind the bins. You can reserve a campsite or there are heated yurts and cabins. The heated options fill up fast so you’ll want to reserve those in advance. There is parking available by the bins so you do not need to stay in the campground to use the trails or watch for martens.

LivingStone Road: I found a trip report from Jon where he had given this road a try for wolves. Highway 35 was relatively busy when I was there but livingstone road had no traffic at all sneaks back into some nice looking area. I drove the road until I got to the point where it says Highway 12 ends. The road still appeared maintained past that point but I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in my low clearance, low power vehicle and the recent snowstorms. I didn’t see anything but I only made one trek down the road. It certainly would seem full of potential especially if one were to keep driving (it seems to go a long way)

Species Seen: Otter, Red fox, Fisher, Moose, Hare, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Red Crossbill, Black Back Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak, Canada Jay.




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  • Jon Hall

    Great Marten pics. And nice work on the Fisher. Do you know if they are still putting road kill deer carcasses in front of the visitor centre to attract carnivores in the winter?

  • wildlife_watcher

    It’s unclear. I was hoping they would have one out at some point before I arrived but no such luck. Most of the people there seemed to be birders and only a couple seemed aware of the possibility.

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