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11/21/2016 2:00 pm  #1

Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

Hi, I'm a new member to these forums. Glad to be here and looking forward to hearing about people's Algonquin experiences. 

Does anyone know if it's possible to hike along the old rail bed that runs from Whitney up to Rain Lake? It's not a marked trail, but I've seen segments of the rail bed throughout the park and it seems to be easy enough to follow. Based on Jeff's Map I can see that portions of it have been incorporated into various hiking trails and portages, and itt seems to me like that would be a great hike through the park if the entire thing were connected.




11/21/2016 3:00 pm  #2

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

I used to think the same thing but it is very overgrown in many places. I'm not saying you can't do it but it would be difficult and maybe not as scenic as you would like. Expect lots of blown down trees, portions that are now underwater and some portions that just plain disappear.

A friend of mine travelled from Islet to Brule on the old rail bed a few weeks ago. Even that short 1.7km portion between Islet and the logging road was too thick and wet to pass through. They chose to bushwhack along higher ground beside the rail bed.

​Another option might be the CNR line through the north part of the park since that was decommissioned much more recently (late 90's). Although you would still have to deal with the problems of flooding where old culverts have failed. And you would be walking on that crushed railway bed stone which can get exhausting. 


11/21/2016 6:55 pm  #3

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

I tried doing this with my dad last year in a few different sections.  We found for that some sections were certainly hikeable however most were very overgrown and turned out to by mainly bushwhacking.  It wasn't easy going and the scenery wasn't as great as we had initially hoped.   Maybe we just picked some bad sections though?


11/21/2016 7:26 pm  #4

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

Yeah, I second what MartinG has said. It's been incorporated into trails in some sections because it provides a level grade, but they still have to maintain a path along it. And yes the north end of the park is a different story, the rail berm heading east from Kiosk is totally clear, and following it around Little Mink Lake is an easier alternative to portaging Kioshkokwi-Little Mink and then Little Mink-Mink. I don't know first hand if it's that easy to walk all the way to Brent, but perhaps.


11/21/2016 7:37 pm  #5

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

@DanPM unfortunately, it's not. I think this is a real lost opportunity for the park. they could have turned that line in to bike and ski trails. Too much political wrangling about who is responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind. I think a cross country skiing trail across the park would be awesome.


11/21/2016 8:31 pm  #6

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

I have walked the majority of the railbed from Rock Lake to Rain... excluding the section along the south shore of Source Lake and the section between Islet and Lillypond. I have tried to get through traveling from Brule as well as from Rain with no luck. This was about 8 years ago ... it may be more overgrown now.



11/25/2016 11:16 am  #7

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

The best section of the old CN rail line in the north end of the park to hike would be between Radiant Lake and the location of the Lake Travers railway station.  Much of this section is close enough to the Petawawa river or lakes so as not to have become overgrown blocking the view of the water.   We had a nice day hike along part of this section from the Lake Travers end last Thanksgiving weekend.  We've also day tripped part of the other end while camped on Radiant.


11/25/2016 6:26 pm  #8

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

Are all of the bridges crossable?


11/25/2016 7:04 pm  #9

Re: Hike following Algonquin's old rail bed

rgcmce wrote:

Are all of the bridges crossable?

to the best of my knowledge all of the bridges on the northern rail line are still in place and crossable.  It would be fun to hike the entire section through the park, however I'm not sure the park office would be willing to issue an interior permit for such a trip.


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