Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
Hiker at the top of Stormy Lake Lookout.

Are you planning a cross-province adventure? Review the Driving Routes in Ontario Parks.

This route will take you to some of the hidden gems of Ontario’s park system. You’ll stop at parks that contain some of the richest history Ontario has to offer.

This version of the route north of Algonquin begins in Toronto. You’ll start with a day visit to the famous Algonquin Highway 60 corridor and then head off the beaten path for the rest of your trip.

Parks along this route:

There are eight stops along this route. We hope you visit them all, but if you have limited time, the must-see parks along the route are designated with an *.

Stop #1: Algonquin Provincial Park, Highway 60 Corridor*

Alligator boat docked near Algonquin Lumber MuseumOutdoor exhibit: Alligator boat named William M. along the Logging Museum Trail

Driving time: The west gate of Algonquin is three hours from toronto. You will drive north on Highways 400 and 11, then east on Highway 60.

The park: For visitors, Algonquin Provincial Park’s Highway 60 corridor offers a visitor center, logging museum, campgrounds, paddling access points and interpretive walking trails, as well as lodges and park service providers .

Start with a day visit here before exploring some of this area’s hidden gems.

Stop #2: Arrowhead Provincial Park *

Big Bend Observation Trail, Big East River

Driving time: Turn around and drive west on Highway 60 to Huntsville, then north to Arrowhead for a travel time of 45 minutes.

The park: Located in the heart of Muskoka, this gem is known for its scenic photo spots. Hike to a pretty waterfall or rent a mountain bike and try one of Arrowhead’s designated trails.

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In the 1870s, settlers cleared the area that is now Arrowhead. Explore the remains of what they left behind on the Beaver Meadow Trail: old fences, building foundations, abandoned fields, and more.

Stop #3: Mikisew Provincial Park *

Driving time: Mikisew is one hour north of Arrowhead, off Highway 11 (and some secondary roads).

The park: The name Mikisew means “eagle” in Anishinaabemowin, and the park sits on the shores of scenic Eagle Lake. Try one of the park’s many hiking trails, see a beaver wetland, and discover some of the foundations of the area’s Canadian Shield.

The day-use beach is home to the park’s beach and off-leash dog exercise area. Be sure to try Mikisew’s new 18-hole disc golf course!

Stop #4: Restoule Provincial Park *

Hiker at the top of Stormy Lake Lookout.

Driving time: Return to Highway 11 and then drive north to Trout Creek. Then, drive northwest on Highways 522, 524, and 534 to Restoule. This should take you a little longer. one hour.

The park: Paddle from the Restoule access point on Stormy Lake to Scotts Dam for a picnic lunch along the rapids below. The portage around the rapids is an ancient trail, traveled for millennia by the people of the Nipissing Nation, who still live on the shores of Lake Nipissing.

The iconic Fire Tower Trail takes you above Stormy Lake and the edge of its 100m cliff, to a beautiful panoramic view. At the top of the hill is a historic fire tower (one of the last standing in Ontario), once used to detect forest fires.

If you’re interested in experiencing the park on two wheels, check out Restoule’s bike trails!

Stop #5: Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park *

person on SUP

Driving time: Return to Highway 534, then follow it northeast to Highways 654 and 94 until you reach Highway 17. From there, you will drive east to Samuel de Champlain for a total travel time of 1.5 hours.

The park: The Mattawa River was an important trade and travel route for thousands of years, first for the Anishinabek and then for Europeans.

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Today, park visitors can relive a piece of Canadian history through Samuel de Champlain’s Voyageur Adventure Tours. You will dress like a traveler and travel through time, passing through amazing natural landscapes, to the golden age of the fur trade. (note: currently unavailable due to Covid-19).

Paddlers love this park! Long Lake offers picturesque bluffs and solitude, while Moore Lake and the upstream section of the Amable du Fond River offer excellent wildlife viewing. You can rent a canoe or SUP at the park store.

Stop #6: Brent Campground, Algonquin Provincial Park

Driving time: From Samuel de Champlain, Camp Brent of Algonquin is 1.5 hours heading east (turn right onto Hwy 17 onto Brent Rd).

The park: Brent Campground occupies the lesser-known north side of Algonquin.

Here you will have the opportunity to explore Brent Crater Trail. It will take you to the place where a meteorite crashed into Earth thousands of years ago.

Eight interpretive sites relate some of the geological and historical importance of this unique feature.

Stop #7: Driftwood Provincial Park

Family canoe to paddle at Driftwood PP,

Driving time: Drive back to Highway 17 and follow it east to Driftwood; this will take you 1.5 hours.

The park: The Upper Ottawa Valley and Laurentian Hills are famous for their scenic landscapes. The area abounds with hills, canals and views of pristine forests.

Driftwood Provincial Park is the best place to experience what this historic region has to offer. Hiking trails, including the Oak Highland Trail, climb to panoramic views of the Ottawa River that are sure to wow you as they once wowed First Nations paddlers and European travelers.

Stop #8: Bonnechere Provincial Park *

Couple relaxing in a tree next to the Bonnechere River

Driving time: This will take 1.5 hours. Continue southeast on Highway 17 to County Road 26. Follow that direction south to County Road 58, then west to Bonnechere.

The park: One of the hidden gems of the Ottawa Valley, your family will fall in love with Bonnechere.

Explore the peaceful Bonnechere River, a great place to introduce little ones to paddling. The park rents kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards that can be picked up right at the boat launch.

From Bonnechere, Toronto is a four hours drive southwest.

Ontario history awaits you to discover!

Total driving time: 15.75 hours

Estimated trip duration (full route): 7-15 days

Estimated trip length (highlights only): 5-10 days

Book your trip online today.