On Thursday, we woke up to overcast skies. The forecast was for cooler weather so we planned to do a longer hike. We drove to Arowhon Road to a cutoff for an old railway line. Kory wanted to hike the Mizzy Lake trail to see some birds, but we weren’t quite up to hiking the entire 11km trail with both girls. Starting at the railway cutoff allowed Kory to access the areas that he wanted to bird with a much shorter hike. We parked at the end of the road and got ready. The bugs were bad! I put the baby in her bug jacket. She was upset momentarily but soon got used to it and settled into the Tula.
We all started down the trail, admittedly a bit grumpy about the bugs and the humidity. After awhile, Em agreed to go up in the Toddler Tula and our spirits improved when we started singing our favourite songs..
We happened upon another birding couple and hiked the trail with them for a bit. It’s always nice to have like-minded company! A Snowshoe Hare passed just in front of us! Eventually, Kory’s amazing eyes spotted two Spruce Grouse hiding in the shrubs just off the trail. He was really looking forward to seeing this species so I’m glad that we endured the bugs along this trail. We pressed on with Lyssa napping in the Tula nearly the entire time. The trail narrowed and the clouds cleared, revealing a beautiful sunny day! We were surrounded by a small group of warblers and sparrows. The mosquitoes eased up some, but not quite enough for us to want to stop for a picnic, so we turned around to hike back to the car. The views from the trail were stunning and we hiked back to the sounds of bird songs. Another wonderful adventure!
We drove back to the campsite for lunch and spent the afternoon at the beach.
On Friday, we woke up to beautiful weather. We set off to Mew Lake campground to access the Old Railway bike trail. Our toddler and small 4 year old fit reasonably well in the bike trailer. We hooked them up to Kory’s bike and set off toward Pog Lake. Lyssa must have been comfortable as she fell asleep almost immediately!
We continued to bike to the dam at Pog Lake, then decided to turn and head in the other direction. What a beautiful trail! We passed through the old airfield with all the blueberries that we had visited previously. Birds were singing, wildflowers were blooming – just a fantastic adventure! This is an easy trail, a flat cycle as it follows an old railway line. Biking this trail was one of my favourite parts of this trip!
Following our amazing bike ride, we went to the Lake of Two Rivers Store for lunch. The food was tasty but unfortunately we had to wait a LONG time for it because they were so busy. I entertained the girls with my phone as best I could. Yay technology. After lunch we returned to the Canisbay campground and went to the beach to enjoy the perfect weather. Our girls met some kids around the same age and they all played hard well into the late afternoon. They had a blast digging trenches and giant holes in the sand and filling them with water over and over again. I was happy that Em got to play with kids her own age as she had mentioned earlier that day that she was missing her friends from Montessori.
We finally dragged the girls away from the beach and returned to our campsite for some mini pizzas. The girls apparently hadn’t done enough digging at the beach and started going at the campsite.
We awoke on Saturday, our last full day, to another gorgeous morning. We played around the campsite and ate a relaxing breakfast while trying to decide what to do. We settled on Hemlock Bluff trail, a 3.5km trail through, you guessed it, a Hemlock forest. This is a lovely trail that ascends to a breathtaking view of Jack Lake, then descends to the shore, passing by an old beaver dam.
We spotted lots of hemlocks (obviously) but also American Beech and White Cedar trees. Trilliums, bunchberry, golden thread, blue bead lily and starflower lined the trail – it must be a spectacular trail for wildflower viewing in the spring!
Em hiked most of the trail but opted to go uppy for the last stretch. She tackled some wet rocky sections with ease (and a little encouragement)!
Lyssa enjoyed one final nap in the trusty Tula. The trail took us about 2 hours to hike, taking our time. We were lucky enough to spot a Ruffed Grouse on this trail – a highlight for Kory for sure!
After lunch, we spent one final afternoon at the Canisbay Beach before returning to our campsite to pack up for the long drive home.
This was an incredible trip! Algonquin can absolutely be a fantastic vacation for families with young children. The trails are varied enough in both distance and terrain that they can be enjoyed by beginner to advanced hikers. The beach was perfect for our girls with calm water and a grassy spot for snacking. The Visitor Centre is an awesome place to visit both to learn more about the park and if the kids (or adults) need a break from the insects and elements! This was a highlight of my summer for sure and we will cherish the memories for years to come! Thanks for reading!