How to see moose in Algonquin Park

by | Jun 12, 2022 | Wildlife & pests

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Moose are beautifully impressive animals, and Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada is home to roughly 3,500 of them. That seems like a lot, but figuring out how to see moose in Algonquin Park can be a challenge all on its own.

Why it can be difficult to see moose in Algonquin Park

You can certainly get lucky and spot a moose when you least expect it—on the side of the road, at one of the access points, across from your campsite, or along a river. But not everyone is that lucky.

A moose crossing Highway 60 in Algonquin Park.

Ross and I have spoken to several Algonquin Outfitters employees who say they rarely or never see moose, even though they’re in the park all the time. In other words, it can take more than sheer luck to see a moose for most people.

Here’s why seeing moose in Algonquin Park isn’t as easy as it seems:

Moose are nocturnal. They’re most active at night, so your chances of seeing one during the day aren’t as high.

Moose are more likely to be in different areas of the park depending on the time of year. Moose go where there’s food, water, shade, fewer bugs, and of course mating partners according to the season.

Moose are adapted for cold weather. They don’t fair well in the heat. If you’re visiting Algonquin in hot summer weather, which many people do, your chances are of seeing a moose are significantly lower because they’re almost certainly deep in the forest where it’s shady and cool.

Moose like to feed in swampy areas. They feed on nutrient-rich aquatic plants and spend a lot of time in wetlands bulking up for the colder seasons—so if you’re staying in the front-country, or on a lake, your chances of seeing a moose may be lower because they’re likely to be found in places you can’t access by foot.

What’s the best time of year to see moose in Algonquin Park?

A bull moose feeding on aquatic plants in a marshy river.

The best time to see moose is in early spring through the summer months—typically April to September.

Early to mid-spring (April and May): After a long winter with little food, they crave the salt found in roadways and access points.

Late spring and early summer (June and July): By June, the Park is in full bloom—including the aquatic plants that the moose feed on. This is when you can find them venturing out into rivers and wetlands where food is plentiful. Adult moose can eat up to 50 to 60 pounds per day and may be spotted in the water feeding during daylight areas as they try to escape the worst of the bug season.

Mid- to late-summer (August to September): Moose continue feeding on aquatic plants throughout the summer season, although they may be out less frequently as food becomes more scarce and they prepare to mate as fall approaches.

What about fall and winter?

A moose crossing sign on Highway 60 in Algonquin Park during peak fall colours.

Come late September and October, the moose are in their breeding season—also called the “rut” or “rutting” season. This is when bulls (male moose) will compete for cows (female moose), and you’re less likely to see them out and about as they spend most of their time in the woods during this season.

This is also the time of year when moose are the most dangerous. Bull moose in particular become aggressive during the rut and are known to attack humans, cars, and even buildings. If you do see a moose during rutting season, it’s best to give them a wide berth and enjoy them from afar.

In the winter, generally from late November to late March, the moose are more elusive as they seek higher ground where there are water sources. This is when you’re the least likely to see moose in Algonquin Park (or anywhere in Ontario).

What’s the best time of day to see moose in Algonquin Park?

A moose coming out to feed at sunset.

Now that you know the best time of year to spot moose, it’s time to optimize your search for them according to the time of day. We’ve already established that moose are nocturnal, and even though you certainly can see them during the day, your best bet is to look for them during two specific times they’re known to come out of the woods.


Also known as sunrise or first light, it’s still cool enough during this time that the moose haven’t ventured too far into the woods for shade and shelter. You’re likely to find them along waterways and in wetland areas at this time.


As the sun begins to set, it’s getting close to their bedtime—but they’ll still be out looking for food. Again, look for them near waterways, wetland areas, and the edge of the woods.

Keep in mind that dawn and dusk are general guidelines to follow, and you’re never guaranteed to see moose at this time. We’ve seen them several hours after dawn (around 9am in July) and several hours before dusk (around 7pm in May).

Where to look for moose in Algonquin Park

Moose are always on the move, so you can see them practically anywhere in the park. You can increase your chances, however, by looking in places where they’re known to feed most often. Here are some of our favourite spots:

Hailstorm Creek in Lake Opeongo’s North Arm: This area is known to have one of the highest concentrations of moose in the entire park.

The Tim River between Tim Lake and Rosebary Lake: This is a narrow, winding river with a few beaver dams to hop over. Be prepared to turn around a corner and see a moose standing right in the river!

Grassy Bay off of White Trout Lake: This area of the lake is a prime feeding ground where we’ve heard of as many as 29 moose being spotted by one person in a single day.

Mizzy Lake Trail: This is a long walking trail you can access from Highway 60, which has benches you can sit on that look out on the marshy areas where moose can be spotted.

Highway 60 corridor: You don’t necessarily need to leave your car to see moose. If you’re traveling along Highway 60 in early spring—ideally around dawn or dusk—you have a great chance of spotting a moose.

Marshy tributaries: We’ve had luck spotting moose by getting off the beaten path of our canoe tripping routes and entering nearby tributaries. The Bittern Marsh off of Sunday Creek is one example. If there are a lot of beaver lodges around, that’s a great sign.

Extra tips for seeing moose in Algonquin Park

A moose feeding in a marshy area.

Here area few more pieces of advice we’d like to share to help you see moose in the park:

Go on a canoe trip. You’re far more likely to see moose in the backcountry of Algonquin than you are on a frontcountry camping trip. You can rent a canoe (and other equipment) from Algonquin Outfitters and even get them to help you plan your trip.

Bring a pair of binoculars. There’s no guarantee you’ll get to see a moose up close, which is where binoculars come in handy. Likewise, things like beaver lodges and bushes can look like moose when they’re far away. A pair of binoculars can help you spot the difference when you’ve still got a distance to paddle.

Be quiet. Moose are easily startled, so avoid talking, splashing, and banging paddles on the gunwales of the canoe as much as possible—especially since sound travels across water quite easily. If you’re traveling in a group, make sure everyone knows to be quiet and keep their voices down.

Cover more ground (or water, rather). The more you paddle around Algonquin, the better your chances of seeing a moose compared to staying on on particular lake or in one general area.

If you spot a moose in the water, freeze when it looks at you. Stop paddling if you notice the moose is looking directly at you. If you keep moving, it’s likely to make their way back into the forest. Once it puts its head down into the water to feed, you can slowly continue paddling toward it.

Paddle lightly as soon as you spot a moose. The person in the bow should stop paddling entirely while the person in the stern should take on more of a “hunter’s paddle” technique, which involves paddling silently—without splashing.

Keep a safe distance between you and any moose you spot. Algonquin moose are generally calm and docile in spring and summer because they’re used to seeing people in the park. However, they are still wild animals that can be unpredictable and should be respected as such. We recommend staying at least 50 metres away from any moose you see in the park. If you spot a cow moose with a calf (or two), be sure to give them an even wider berth.

Do you have your own tips for how to see moose in Algonquin Park? We’d love to hear them! Share your advice with us in the comments below.

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Elise & Ross

We’re Elise and Ross, avid backcountry campers and outdoor adventurers! We started Gone Camping Again as a way to share our knowledge and experience about wilderness living and travel. Our hope is that we inspire you to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

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