I’m writing this in February 2021 and, to this point, this is by far my favourite trail that I’ve done in the Park. That’s not necessarily saying a lot, I’ve only done six trails before this one, but it’s still pretty awesome. This is a 5.8 KM trail that’s got great views, a nice mix of uphill and flat and some really cool features along the way. Definitely worth checking out.
Where is it? The parking lot is on the north side of Highway 60, just past kilometer 30 if you’re coming from the west.
How long is it going to take me? That depends. I ran this and it took me about 35 minutes. That’s probably not how you’re going to approach it though. I’d budget at least an hour and a half, if not more. The lookout at the top of the trail is awesome and you’re going to want to give yourself time to appreciate it.
What’s it like? This is a great trail. I’d say it’s moderately difficult as there is some uphill and it’s a a bit longer, but it’s certainly not too challenging. The trail is clear and well maintained. There are occasional spots where the footing could be a challenge for a step or two, but by and large you can spend most of your time focusing on the sights around you rather than the trail under your feet.
Am I going to get lost? No. Honestly, I don’t know why I even have this section. Every time the answer is no. The Park does a really good job of marking out the trail and the volunteers do a great job of keeping it clear. As long as you stick to the path and follow the blue dots, you’ll be fine.
Am I going to learn anything? The theme of this trail is Algonquin’s basic ecology and the trail guide certainly has some interesting items in it. But, to be honest, the main thing you’re going to learn is that the Bat Lake Trail is awesome.
Highlights? There are highlights, right? There certainly are. About a quarter of the way along the trail you come out of a birch forest and it starts to rise. At this point you come to a series of steps and boardwalks built between some moss covered hills and rocks. It looks like it belongs in a rainforest out west, not Algonquin.
The view once you get to the lookout is also spectacular. I was there early in the morning and the lighting was perfect. It feels like you can see for miles and once again you don’t necessarily feel like you’re on a trail in Algonquin.
Should I do it? 100%. This would be a great trail to hike, but if you’re a runner it’s also very enjoyable as a trail run. I wouldn’t suggest it for young kids, unless you want to make a day of it and you don’t mind carrying them for parts, but with older kids it would be great as well.