Algonquin Park implements new bus permit system for 2024 fall season

Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, a popular destination for bus tours, is set to welcome back commercial bus tours for the 2024 fall colors viewing season, but with new regulations in place.

Ray Cherrey, Safety and Regulatory Affairs Strategist for Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA), explained the plan.

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, bus permits can be purchased in advance by calling Ontario Parks at 1-866-906-4070 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET. To guarantee a spot, operators are encouraged to buy permits ahead of their visit, as they will only be available until sold out.

Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, is a popular destination for bus tours.

Significantly, buses will no longer be allowed to stop at the West Gate on weekends due to congestion and safety concerns. Bus operators arriving without a permit on weekends must purchase one by phone; no permits will be sold at the West Gate.

Permits cost $125 and must be purchased by credit card. License plate information is required at the time of booking, though updates can be made by calling back before arrival. Buses should bring either a printed or digital copy of the permit confirmation.

Outside the September-October window, permits must be obtained upon arrival at the East or West Gate.

Buses are encouraged to use the East Gate to alleviate congestion. Valid bus permits are necessary to use park facilities, though not required for driving through without stopping.

Bus parking, passenger drop-off spots

Permitted parking locations for buses include the Algonquin Art Centre, Outdoor Theatre parking pods near East Beach, Algonquin Visitor Centre, and the Algonquin Logging Museum, with overflow at Leaf Lake.

Bus passengers can be dropped off at several trailheads, but buses can not park there. Drop-off and pick-up points include Track and Tower, Hemlock Bluff, Bat Lake, Two Rivers Trail, Big Pines, and the Algonquin Logging Museum. A new connector trail from Big Pines Trail to Lookout Trail provides a safer alternative to highway walking.

Buses, trailers, and RVs are prohibited at several locations, including Whiskey Rapids, Hardwood Lookout, and Centennial Ridges, due to accessibility and safety issues.

Bus-friendly attractions include the Algonquin Visitor Centre, Algonquin Logging Museum, and the Algonquin Art Centre. Washroom facilities for bus passengers are available at designated points including West Gate on weekdays, East Beach, Algonquin Visitor Centre, Algonquin Logging Museum, and East Gate.

Visitors are reminded to dress appropriately for the weather, use garbage and recycling facilities, and avoid parking on the side of Highway 60. Approaching wildlife is discouraged.

For more information and updates, follow Algonquin Provincial Park on Twitter @Algonquin_PP or visit

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