Algonquin Provincial Park: Highland Backpacking Trail

I had four goals this summer: 1) Check out the islands at Limestone Islands Provincial Park 2) Hike La Cloche Silhouette trail 3) Hike the Lake Superior Provincial Park coastal trail 4) Hike the Highland Backpacking Trail in one day. One, two and three were multi-day trips that were super weather dependent. However, the one day trip was perfect for this weekend.

I woke up early enough to get to the Algonquin Provincial Park front gate just as it was opening at 8:00 am. I got to the trail parking, there were quite a few cars in the parking lot from people who had stayed the night. The day started off as overcast even though they were calling for sun all day.

20171008_083428 edit smallThe start of the trail, they are more concerned about your valuables then your life.

About 1.1 km in I got to the first lookout.

20171008_084815 edit smallFirst lookout.

20171008_090236Small waterfall 2.3 km in.

20171008_091847Starling Lake 3.5 km in.

20171008_102957Two hours in and I got to the only “lookout” on the main trail. It was still foggy.

So far a very uneventful hike. After 14.3 km I got to Head lake and passed a few campsites.

20171008_115337Head Lake.

After 17.2 km. I took a break for lunch at a really nice campsite at Harness Lake.

20171008_124752 vibranceView from the campsite at Harness Lake.

The sun was finally out but the trail unfortunately was pretty boring for the next 10 km until I got to a nice view of Provoking Lake.

20171008_152621View of Provoking Lake at km 28.7

There are 16 campsites along Provoking Lake. I passed 6 of them and they all looked great. On the way, back there is a short side trail to a gorgeous view at the top of Starling Lake. The view from the top is the feature image at the top of this page. From here it was a 4.5 km hike back along the section of trail I did at the start to finish off the loop!

Overall this is a very beginner backpacking trail and I would suggest it to anyone interested in getting into backpacking. The campsites are in awesome condition, there aren’t any steep climbs and it’s bug free in the fall which is the best time to be in Algonquin Park. It is a fairly muddy trail so I’d suggest going later in the season.

20171008_171017Victory selfie!

Click on the BOX icon to make the Google Map full screen, to see all the photos I took and where they were taken. Click on the Blue photo symbol to see all the photos. There are 20 in total.

36 km hike
1016 meters elevation gain

3 Replies to “Algonquin Provincial Park: Highland Backpacking Trail”

    1. It is really is the perfect intro to backpacking in Ontario. The trail is free of challenging obstacles, there are never any steep climbs or descents, the campsites that I saw looked great and well maintained. The trail is also very easy to follow. Enjoy!!!


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