Spring Fever in South Algonquin: Wildlife Viewing & More

Taking a trip to Canada’s oldest provincial park this spring and summer? Consider a less-travelled entry and exit point to discover your new favourite destination in Ontario. Visit the township of South Algonquin via the East Gate to explore the villages of Whitney and Madawaska, as well other spots along the beautiful Madawaska River.

There’s a rustic charm to the south-east side of Algonquin Park that you just don’t encounter when you enter by the more famous West Gate. Much like the park that has retained a lot of its natural character, the authenticity and relaxed demeanor you’ll find in the township of South Algonquin remains as it has been for many generations.

Maybe that’s why the annual spring Blackfly Festival is so popular; where else would you embrace the beauty of the wilderness and all its quirks – including Canada’s legendary spring bugs? Folks here cherish the great outdoors and all its aspects, and welcome every chance to connect with it.

Photo by Steve Dunsford, Impressions Of Algonquin

Known for its many outstanding trails, South Algonquin also boasts one of the most amazing places in the province for stargazing, including during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower (which takes place this year in mid-July and August).

Wildlife viewing is also one of the area’s main offerings, including in Algonquin Park, and each year some of the world’s most famous wilderness photographers gather in Whitney for the annual HOWL Photo Convention (with the 2024 edition featuring headliner Jill Heinerth). Join seasoned wilderness photographers and local enthusiasts as they share tips for capturing your own incredible images while using ethical photography practices.

Bubble tent glamping at Four Corners Algonquin in Whitney

Spring in these parts is also the best time of the year to potentially see an iconic Canadian moose by the side of Highway 60. The animals come closer to the highway to lick the salt from the winter roads, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera handy. (Check out these tips for spring moose viewing; know before you go.) Be sure to stop in to the Impressions of Algonquin Gallery in Whitney while you’re visiting, and view some of the most incredible photos of the park and its surroundings. Need some wildlife photography tips for the region? Click here for some advice by fellow enthusiasts.

You can also visit Gallery House by David Kay and view the stunning works by this artist who paints Algonquin Park scenes, en plein air. Fellow artist, Gertrud Sorensen, also heads into iconic Algonquin with her canvases to create unforgettable oil landscapes.

Whitney Beach: Photo by Steven Dunsford

Additionally, both Whitney and Madawaska are located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, as is Algonquin Park. Please be respectful when you travel here, and to learn more about the traditional lands, waterways, and Indigenous culture of the region, visit Waaseyaa Cultural Tours.

Many tourism businesses in South Algonquin have also worked hard to ensure the great Canadian wilderness is accessible for all travelers. Contact the South Algonquin Business Association for more information to plan your accessible stay.

Bear Mountain Trail Madawaska
Kluke Lookout Loop Madawaska
Old Railway Trail Whitney
Spectacle Lake/Burnetts Mountain Trail Madawaska

Algonquin Park East Gate
Algonquin Park Visitor Centre
Algonquin Logging Museum
Algonquin Art Centre

Algonquin Spa
Gallery House by David Kay
Impressions of Algonquin Gallery
Madawaska Country Store

Madawaska Maple Products
Opeongo Outfitters
Waaseyaa Cultural Tours

Algonquin Lunch Bar
Avery’s Chip Stand at Opeongo Outfitters
Camp Bongopix Tavern
Couples Resort
The Mad Musher
Spectacle Lake Lodge & Lakeside Restaurant

Algonquin Dream Catcher Motel
Algonquin East Gate Motel
Algonquin’s Edge Resort
Barkwick Camp
Bellwood Inn
Camp Bongopix

Couples Resort
Four Corners Algonquin
Four Seasons Algonquin Cabins
Hay Lake Lodge
The Mad Musher 
Madawaska Lodge
Rolling Rapids Motel
Spectacle Lake Lodge
Wilderness Campground

Click here for directions to South Algonquin

For more planning ideas for your spring and summer getaway to South Algonquin, click here.