QUICK TAKE: Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
DRIVE TIME: Located in southcentral Ontario about 125 miles (3 hours) north of Toronto, Ontario, and 325 miles (6 hours) northeast of Detroit, Michigan. Don’t forget your passport or birth certificate. The way: From Toronto, take ON 11 north to Huntsville. From there take ON 60 east into the park. From Detroit, take ON 401 to Toronto and follow the directions above.
TRAILS: There are three trails: the Western Uplands, Highland, and Eastern Pines trails. The 20-mile Highland can be done in a couple days. The first loop of the Uplands is 19 miles and makes a great weekend trip.
ELEVATION: Ranges from 1,300 feet to 1,750 feet.
CAN’T MISS: Faya and Head lakes beside the Highland Trail are standouts in a region of beautiful lakes.
CROWD CONTROL: The most popular month for backpacking is August. Blackflies in the spring and mosquitoes in July keep the crowds down. The Highland Trail sees the most use, so try the Uplands or Eastern Pines instead.
MAPS AND GUIDEBOOKS: Friends of Algonquin Park sells the Backpacking Trails Map ($3.65, includes shipping; make check payable to “Friends of Algonquin Park”) and a variety of booklets on the flora and fauna of the park. To order, contact: Friends of Algonquin Park, Box 248, Whitney, ON, Canada K0J 2M0; (613) 637-2828.
PIT STOP: Huntsville on the west side of the park and Whitney on the south side have places to binge.
WALK SOFTLY: Don’t chase, harass, or feed wildlife.
MORE INFORMATION: Superintendent, Algonquin Provincial Park, P.O. Box 219, Whitney, ON, Canada K0J 2M0; (705) 633-5572. Ad-vance reservations aren’t required but they are a good idea. You can make them by phone (705-633-5538); fax (705-633-5581); or in writing at the address above.