Lake Superior Provincial Park Hiking
The good thing about Lake Superior Provincial Park hiking in late August is the lack of bugs. Maybe that is why the park was completely full during our stay.
This provincial park is located between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and featuring numerous hiking trails and canoe/kayaking routes. Highway 17 (Trans Canada Highway) is the main highway in this huge park and the for some the noise of the big transports was an issue.
However our campsite in the Agawa Bay Campground was closer to the extensive beach and during the evenings campers came down to the water to relax on their chairs and watch the bright red sun dip below the horizon. There is a second campground at Rabbit Blanket Lake further north in the park plus backcountry sites.
Besides swimming the Lake Superior offers various activities in the amphitheatre or Visitor Centre. The Group of Seven artists were activate in the park and some of events are art focused. We attended a lively session about bears who are also active in the park. The Visitor Centre has displays on the wildlife and history of the area including information of the Ojibwe and an interesting film on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, made famous in the Gordon Lightfoot song.
Many of our fellow campers had been coming to the park for years including many Americans.
But we were there for the hiking:
Pinguisibi (Sand River) trail is only a 6 km (3.7 mile) linear route but was one of my favourites with a series of waterfalls and rapids. The Sand River was a travel route used by the Ojibwe to reach the interior from their coastal settlement. This is a fairly easy hike but just watch your feet as plenty of rocks and roots on the trail. Afterwards I suggest heading across Hwy 17 to the beach at Katherine Cove day use area.
Trapper’s hike is a short 1.5 km (1 mile) very easy and flat loop around the shoreline of Rustle Lake. There are a couple of viewing platform and a floating boardwalk. The parks people state you can watch for wetland wildlife including beaver, otter, waterfowl and moose but we didn’t see any during our visit, probably because staff with chain saws were working chasing away any animals.
South Old Woman River hike is a 2.5 km (1.5 mile) loop and rated by the parks people as easy but were many sections climbing over rocks and roots across the trail. In one section you have to scramble over some boulders to cross the stream. The turnaround point on the loop features a small waterfall. A little more rugged than the Pinguisbi trail. Park at the Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground office and cross Hwy 17 to access the trail head.
Nokomis is perhaps the most famous trail in the park, although only a 5 km (3 mile) loop. After crossing Hwy 17 from the Old Woman Bay day use area it is fairly flat with plenty of rocks for uneven footing. You then climb via a series of switch backs through the forest to the top (200 metres, 650 feet). There are several spots offering spectacular views of Old Woman Bay before a steep descend. Highly recommend this moderate level hike.
The Lake Superior Coastal Trail runs along the coast for about 65 km (40 miles) and takes from 5 to 7 days if hiking. If you are paddling and following the coast it would be 105 km (65 miles). There are backcountry sites along the way. The trail starts near the Visitor Centre in the Agawa Bay Campground and sections can be quite rugged. You can do a day hike by driving the 14 km Gargantua Road and heading north to Warp’s Bay and the Devil’s Chair. During our visit hardly anyone was using the beautiful beach at Warp’s Bay.
Agawa Rock Pictographs where the Ojibwe recorded their life experiences on 36 rock paintings. You will need to use caution when descending through the rock chasm and along the rock ledge. During our visit the waves were so high we were only able to view two of the paintings.
There are several other hiking opportunities including Peat Mountain, Awausee but several of our group did the 8 km (5 mile) Orphan Lake trail which includes a section of the coastal trail and comes highly recommended.
Lake Superior Provincial Park hiking offers trails of varied lengths and abilities and some of the most best scenery in the province.