The Best of Lake Superior Provincial Park
On the second day of my Northwestern Ontario road trip I spent the day exploring Lake Superior Provincial Park. And I never thought another Ontario park could compare to my beloved Bruce Peninsula National Park, but Lake Superior Provincial Park was just as grand!
Located between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa, in Northern Ontario, Lake Superior Provincial Park hugs the eastern shores of Lake Superior. Lake Superior is the world’s largest lake. There are around two dozen state and provincial parks around it, including Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, and Lake Superior Provincial Park.
*TIP: there is no gas station within the park, the last gas station before the park is at Agawa Crafts
Lake Superior Provincial Park covers 160, 810 hectares and has a wealth of natural and historic wonders to explore. From waterfalls to inland lakes and stretches of beach, it will never cease to amaze you. And the park also boasts 11 different hiking trails, for all levels of ability.
With a park the sheer size of Lake Superior Provincial Park, planning a day exploring it can be daunting. Where do you start? Let me help! I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for a great day exploring the park and ensuring you see the best it has to offer.
Your first stop should be to the park’s Visitor’s Centre. Here you can purchase your day pass ($14.50 CAD), grab any pamphlets you need, and browse their gift shop. Don’t forget to talk to the staff. Ask questions about what trails and sights would be best for you, as well as learn about any closures or other pertinent information.
The Visitor’s Centre is located just inside the southern end of the park, 1.5 hours north of Sault Ste. Marie. While it doesn’t have groceries, it does have a few snack options, as well as washrooms. This is important as there is nowhere to buy food otherwise in the park. The Centre also has a few displays and exhibits that are worth checking out before you start exploring
Agawa Rock Pictographs
Your second stop should be to the Agawa Rock Pictographs. Located right after the Visitor Centre, on your left. The trail leading out to Agawa Rock will only take you roughly half an hour to one hour round trip. While short, the trail is moderate and descends almost 100 feet over rugged terrain. But once you reach Lake Superior it will blow you away with its vast beauty.
At the end of the trail you’ll meet a large rocky shoreline and to your left is Agawa Rock. Rising up to the sky, this giant sheer rock face is home to 35 images in re ochre stretching along the rock face. Painted by the Ojibwe centuries ago, the images represent their dreams and spirits. Please note, this is a sacred site.
You can only visit the pictographs in the summer and when Lake Superior is calm. This is because, to view the images you have to travel along a rock ledge that slopes into the lake, and can be quite dangerous if wet, or with improper footwear. Beyond the Pictographs, the trail is still remarkable. With rock chasms, canyons, and other interesting geological features, it’s easy to spend longer than an hour soaking in and photographing all the wonders.
Another great stop is the Pinguisibi Trail. This 6 kilometre trail is linear and will take between 1.5 – 3 hours. Pinquisibi means ‘river of fine white sand’ in Ojibwe. It’s a fitting name as the trail winds along the Sand River. The trail is home to three wonderful waterfalls. And don’t forget to watch for orchids, as there are many patches of Pink Lady Slipper orchids along the trail.
Old Woman Bay
If you’re looking for a quiet spot to grab a swim, have a picnic, or sit and relax then I recommend a stop at Old Woman Bay. Here you’ll find a large beach that offers breathtaking views of the 650 feet cliffs that rise up out of Lake Superior. This commanding view is worth soaking in, especially at sunset as Lake Superior envelops the falling sun.
If you’re looking for a longer trail that’s a bit more challenging, then the Nokomis Trail is for you. The trail head is located right across from Old Woman Bay, where you’ll have to park. This 5 kilometre loop trail will take you around 2 to 3 hours. A hike through the enchanting Boreal Forest and up to a glorious lookout over Lake Superior will leave you in awe.
One thing you’ll surely take away from your time exploring Lake Superior Provincial Park is a deep sense of awe and appreciation for our wild world. And also that, Canada is so much more than its west coast. Dig deeper and discover Ontario’s incredible wild natural beauty in one of its best kept secrets – Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Have you ever explored Lake Superior Provincial Park?
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