Costello Creek Lookout Trail and South Lookout Trail along highway 60 in Algonquin Park
An account with photographs of exploring the Costello Creek Lookout Trail and the South Lookout Trail along highway 60 in Algonquin Park
October 22, 2012
The Lookout Trail along highway 60 in Algonquin Park is justly popular. However there are other locations nearby that offer magnificent views but are less commonly visited because their locations are not "officially" documented. Their access is via paths through the woods rather than something that approximates a paved road. Recently, Bob and Diana visited two of these sites: the "Costello Creek Lookout Trail" and the "South Lookout Trail".
The start of the Costello Creek Lookout Trail is reached via the road to Lake Opeongo (see gps track below). A gated logging road heads off to the right, and there is a small parking area to the left of this road just before the gate. This parking area is the domain of chickadees and nuthatches that very aggressively seek handouts -- landing on cameras, hiking poles, hands, etc. -- whether or not there are any actual treats on offer. These little guys may accompany you on your hike for the first 100m or so, just in case you find something to give them. The usual banded grey jays are also present, but seem quite shy in comparison with the smaller birds.
Once past the gauntlet of mooching birds, the hike follows the logging road for almost 900m beyond the gate. The path to the lookout starts from the left side of the road and is marked by a small cairn of rocks.
After descending, we explored up the Lake Opeongo Road by car.
We had lunch at the Costello Lake picnic area before heading for the "South Lookout Trail". The South Lookout Trail starts immediately across the highway from the western entrance to the parking lot for the official Lookout Trail (North Lookout Trail).
The South Lookout Trail comes very close to the Centennial Ridges Trail. In principle, with a short bushwhack of a few hundred meters, one could make contact -- if one were so inclined.
We enjoyed visiting both of these lookouts. Overall, we probably preferred the view of Costello Creek, but we are suckers for wetlands -- especially wetlands with tamaracks at this time of year. However, the views provided by the north and south lookouts are perhaps more majestic. The distant lakes provide a greater feeling of space and distance. We also think that our photos do not do proper justice to the south lookout. The south lookout also offers great views to the southwest, but at mid afternoon, that means you are trying to photograph almost directly into the sun.
Disclaimer: This account should be regarded as a record of what we did and not as a recommendation to others. These locations do not see a lot of traffic; if you get into trouble you are on your own. You are solely responsible for your own trip planning and safety.
Google map layer, "Jeff's map", courtesy of Jeff's Map.