Nature Challenge
Lake Superior Provincial Park

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    Lake Superior Provincial Park While not as well known as some of its brethren, and perhaps a little more remote, the park has something for almost all outdoor enthusiasts. Located on the eastern shores of the worlds largest lake, the shoreline alternates between rugged rocky sections, sheer cliffs and a variety of beaches. As you move inland you'll find a mix of forests, wetlands, lakes, rivers and rolling hills. While the park is essentially a wilderness, the fact that the Trans Canada Highway snakes through its heart and the Algoma Railway creeps along it's eastern border, makes it an easily accessible wild area. Ontario Parks has done a wonderful job of ensuring that this accessibility translates into a wide array of wilderness experiences, with campsites, trails, lookouts, paddling routes all well maintained and of course well documented.  
 
 

While the shoreline isn't ideal for kayakers in many spots, it's still a very attractive place to paddle and increasingly popular as a destination. Canoeists can also paddle Superiors shores, but will probably find the routes in the parks interior more to their liking. Made up of lakes, rivers and of course a variety of rapids, most with portages, the routes comprise a broad range of opportunities for beginner to expert paddlers.

 
 
    Hikers and backpackers have it made here. Trails range from short forested climbs to magnificent overlooks to shoreline scrambles along baby head beaches and rocky outcroppings. Matching any time frame, from an hours' jaunt to a 5 to 7 day backpacking trip along the Coastal Trail (part of the larger Voyageur Trail) the park has something for everyone. You'll find rustic campsites along the longer routes.  
 

Camping

Front Country Campsites

The park has 249 front country campsites in three campgrounds, Agawa Bay, Crescent Lake and Rabbit Blanket Lake.

Agawa Bay

Total Number of Sites: 153
Serviced Sites: 38
Swimming: Yes
Flush Toilets: WC
Showers: WC
Laundromat: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Phone Reservations: Yes
On-Line Reservations: Yes

Crescent Lake

Total Number of Sites: 36
Serviced Sites: None
Swimming: Yes
Flush Toilets: No
Showers: No
Laundromat: No
Boat Launch: No
Phone Reservations: No
On-Line Reservations: Yes

Rabbit Blanket Lake

Total Number of Sites: 60
Serviced Sites: 20
Swimming: Yes
Flush Toilets: WC
Showers: WC
Laundromat: WC
Boat Launch: No
Phone Reservations: Yes
On-Line Reservations: Yes

Backcountry Campsites

The park has 175 designated backcountry campsites which are accessible on foot or by canoe. All users must have a permit available from the park. All of the water in the parks interior should be treated before drinking. Like many of Ontario's wild parks a complete can and bottle ban is enforced in the backcountry.

Sani-stations can be found at Agawa Bay and Rabbit Blanket Lake. A boat launch is available at Sinclair Cove about 18km from the south park boundary.

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Nature

The park sits on the border of the Boreal Forest and the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Forest Region which adds to it's natural diversity. The park is home to many of Canada's large mammals including moose, black bear and even woodland caribou. Smaller species include fox, wolves and martens. Over one hundred and twenty species of birds are known to make their nests in the park and over two hundred and fifty have been identified in the area.

 

Hiking

Interactive Trail Location Map

Nokomis - Intermediate, 5km loop The trail ascends fairly steeply to present you with a wonderful view, then follows along the ridge to a number of other lookouts. See if you can make out the Old Woman in the cliff face before you start the descent back to the trail head. The trail should take approximately 1 1/2 to 3 hours to complete. The trail is located in the north of the park off Highway 17 at Old Woman Bay.

Agawa Rock Pictographs Trail - Intermediate, 0.4km This is one of the largest collection of Indian pictographs in Ontario. The trail to Agawa Rock is notable for it's geological features. Be aware that the viewing area presents challenges and is exposed to the wave action of the big lake. The trail should take approximately 1/2 to 1 hours to complete. The trail can be accessed just off of Highway 17, north of Agawa Bay.

Peat Mountain Trial - Demanding, 11 km loop This is a ridge hike that will take you to the top of Peat Mountain (518m) and provide some splendid viewpoints. You can also connect into the the side trail which will take you to Foam Lake Lookout. The trail should take approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete. The trail is accessible from the Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground.

South Old Woman River Trail - Intermediate, 2.5km loop A pleasant forested trail which runs along the Old Woman River. The Trail can be reached from Highway 17 in the north of the park across the highway from Rabbit Blanket Lake.

Trapper's Trail - Easy, 1.5km loop Named for a trap line which was once active along it, the trail now shelters the wildlife providing a great opportunity to see beaver, marten and moose. There are two separate viewing platforms as well as a floating boardwalk. The trail can be accessed from Highway 17 in the central region of the park.

Orphan Lake Trail - Intermediate, 8km loop The trail has a little bit of everything. Working its way through forests,and along cliff sides, then following beside Orphan Lake before climbing to some wonderful overlooks. Descending to a beach along Superiors shore to Baldhead River and a waterfall, a perfect place to take a break before working your way back to the start. You can use the trail to gain access to the Coastal Trail. Orphan Lake Trail is accessible from Highway 17 in the central region of the park.

Pinguisibi Trail - Easy, 6km return, linear An ancient Ojibwa trail which takes you to a wonderful set of falls on the Sand River. Pack a picnic before you go and return along the same route. The trail can be accessed from Highway 17 just after crossing the Sand River as you head north.

Awausee Trail - Difficult, 10km loop The trail starts out as an easy jaunt along an old logging road before it heads up a ravine and climbs to lookouts which provide a view of the Agawa River Valley and Agawa Mountain. On the descent pick up the logging road which allows you to work your way back to the start. The trail is accessible from Highway 17 in the south of the park.

Crescent Lake Trail - Easy, 2km loop The trial takes you through mixed forests with hundred ear old pines. Work your way passed the shorelines of several lakes where you'll intersect with a number of the portages that make up the Crescent Lake Canoe Route.

Interactive Trail Location Map

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Backpacking

Towab Trail - Difficult, 24km return linear The trail takes you in to Burnt Rock Pool over moderate terrain where you find one of the two camping areas. Further on the trail gets more demanding as it climbs and descends around cliff sections of the Agawa River Valley. The spectacular Agawa Falls at the end of the trail make all the effort worthwhile. You'll find the second camping area just below the falls. The trail can be completed in two days but is better appreciated (and needless to say, easier) if you take three. The trail is accessed from Frater Road which is accessible from Highway 17 opposite Agawa Bay in the south of the park. Permits are required, inquire with the park.

Coastal Trail - 63km, Expert The trail follows along the shoreline of Lake Superior Provincial Park from Sinclair Cove in the south to just passed Cape Gargantua in the north. Following along the rocky shoreline and ascending and descending the cliffs, you'll find this to be a challenging multi-day excursion. There are a large number of designated campsites on route, as well as several access points if you can't do the whole trail at once. The trail is a part of the larger Voyageur Trail system which plans to connect Thunder Bay in the North and Manitoulin Island in the south. The trails access points are Sinclair Cove, Katherine Cove, Orphan Lake Trail and Gargantua Harbour. Many sections of the trail become almost impassible when it rains (or heavy fog moves in) due to the slippery nature of the rock when it's wet. The trail takes from five to seven days to complete. Permits are required, inquire with the park.

 

Canoeing

There are over 100km of canoe routes in the park. Choose your route carefully since the park is very hilly and many of the portages may include climbs or descents adding to their difficulty.

Fenton-Treeby Route - 16km loop, 8 portages, lake route There are a number of campsites along the lakes. The route can be shortened by doing an out and back. The two longest portages are 150m one of which is all uphill. The start of the route is at Fenton Lake which is just off Highway 17.

Rabbit Blanket Lake Route - 16km one way, 3 portages, lake and river route The route takes you from Rabbit Blanket Lake along the South Old Man River then portages into Peat Lake where two more portages take you from Sundstrom Lake and into Surft Lake. You follow the route backwards on your return. There are campsites on all the lakes (Rabbit Blanket has services). The longest portage is 1200m. Rabbit Blanket Lake is located just off Highway 17.

Belanger Lake Route - 13km return, 4 portages, lake route Starting at Slievert you portage to Dead Moose, then Connell and into Belanger Lake. There are campsites on all the lakes except Dead Moose. You retrace your route to return. The longest portage is 500m. You can reach Slievert Lake from Gargantua Road which is accessible from Highway 17.

Crescent Lake Route - 3km loop, 4 portages, lake route The route can be started at Crescent Lake or Kenny Lake. The connections between the lakes is via the portages the longest of which is 350m. Note: This is a day trip only. The route is located in the very southern section of the park off Highway 17.

Old Woman Lake Route - 30km to Sand River (see the Sand River Route), 11 portages, lake route This is a lake route which is interconnected by portages. The route includes Mijinemungshing and Mirimoki lakes, where winds may poise a problem. The route takes your from Mijinemungshing to Mirimoki lake then the portages take you into Ghost, Piquer, Old Woman, Mud, Black, Black Maydn, Hardtime, Middle Wildcat, Wildcat lakes before the final portage to Sand River. At Sand River you pick up the Sand River route either upstream or down (recommended), the latter will take you to Lake Superior. Most of the lakes have campsites except Ghost, Mud and Black Madyn. Surprisingly Mirimoki only has one campsite but Mijinemungshing makes up for it with over twenty. If your just looking for an night out, you can avoid the portages by camping on either of these lakes. If you follow Sand River to Superior (25km downstream) you'll have to arrange a shuttle. If you paddle to Sand Lake (30km upstream) you can flag the Algoma Central Railway train down or get a pre-arranged pick-up.Do not paddle the Old Woman route if you don't have the skills and resources for Sand River. The complete circuit takes approximately six days. Check our resource section for their website where you acquire additional information. Mijinemungshing Road, which is accessible from Highway 17, will take you to the beginning of the route.

Sand River Route - 56km linear, 29 portages, river route The route travels from Sand Lake at the north eastern corner of the park through the wild interior and finally on to Lake Superior. There are many rapids on route, most of which are class I & II (many with boulders) which can be run if you have the skills (scout them first).Fluctuating water levels as well as exposed boulders may require you to line or portage the rapids even if you may have the skill. There are several water falls on the river which of course must be portaged. You'll find many campsite along the route but it's wise to set up early. The longest portage is 1100m and the average length is approximately 270m. The final portage or take out is essential since the river drops over a falls beyond this point. The routes starting point can be reached via the Algoma Central Railway line. The takeout is accessible by car from a short spur off of Highway 17.

Anjigami River Route - 70km, 12 portages, lake and river route Most of the route is located outside the park and isn't maintained. The route travels from Dossier , Little Dossier, Ogas, Mile and Anjigami Lake. It follows its name sake, the Anjigami River before moving west along the Michipicoten River which empties into Superior. There are a number of campsites along the way but only one along the Michipicoten. The start of the route can be accessed from Old Woman Lake Route or in combination with the Sand River Route by going north on Mijinemungshing Lake where you can portage into Almonte then Dossier Lake.

Lower Agawa River Route - 29km linear, 4 portages, river route The route is a wild water route with fast water and many rapids made even more difficult by shallow sections. The scenery is excellent. This route is not maintained and should only be attempted by expert canoeists when conditions allow. At low water levels sections may be unnavigable and at highwater sections are treacherous, time you trip carefully and check with the park for current conditions and the weatherman for what's in store during your two day paddle. A rope is necessary to lower canoe and gear passed Agawa Falls. The upper river is closed. The route's start is accessible from the Algoma Central Railway line, see their website in our resources section to get details. Note: The topographical maps do not show the 25m high Agawa Falls.

Canoes can be rented at Agawa Bay, Rabbit Blanket Lake and Mijinemungshing Lake park office. For greater detail on several of these routes have a look at Canadian Canoe Routes from the Wilderness Canoe Association.

Sea Kayaking

The parks coast presents lots of opportunities for intermediate to expert kayakers but there aren't a lot of sheltered coves or networks of islands to explore. Novices should think about hiring a guide. The parks coastline is about 120km long and would take about 5 to 7 days to paddle. Be aware that the weather can change in an instant and fog can roll in at any time and may stay for several days. While Lake Superior is a renown kayaking destination the park's shoreline is largely exposed, with many sections bordered by sheer cliffs, that will prevent landings in the event that the weather turns. Superior is usually calmest in June and July. Access points are Agawa Bay Campground, Sinclair Cove, Katherine Cove, Gargantua Harbour, Old Woman Bay, Michipicoten River and Michipicoten Bay.

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Winter Adventure

There are no services or facilities available in the park in the winter (it is officially closed). Intrepid outdoor types can still take advantage of the park but do so at their own risk. Snowshoeing, backcountry skiing and winter camping are a few of the possibilities.

 

Interactive Map of Lake Superior Provincial Park


View Larger Map

 
Interactive Trail Location Map
 
Agawa Pictographs
 

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Resources

   

Getting There

From Toronto head north on the 400 and continue along passed the 11 split and on to the 69. Just south of Sudbury take the 17 and head west to Sault Ste Marie. From the Sault follow the 17 north into the park. From Thunder Bay head east on the 17 which wraps around Superior's north shore and takes you to the northern entrance of the park. The visitors centre is located just above the southern entrance to the park.

 
 

Resources

Surrounding Area

City of Sault Ste Marie
Sault Ste Marie
- Tourism
Marathon
Northern Ontario
Wawa

Park Weather - From the Weather Network

Algoma Country
Province of Ontario
- From Out-There
Province of Ontario - Official Site

Algoma Central Railway - Canoe trippers drop off and pickup
Algoma Canyon Train
Algoma Highlands Conservancy
Black Feather
Canadian Canoe Routes
Friends of Lake Superior Provincial Park

Naturally Superior Adventures
North of Superior Climbing
Out for Adventure Tours and Oufitting

Ontario Land Trust Alliance
Ontario Provincial Parks
Superior Outdoors Magazine

Related Links

 

Links of Interest

Canadian Geographic
Conde Nast Traveler

Islands Magazine
National Geographic
National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Traveler
Outside Magazine
Sunset Magazine
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Wavelength Magazine

 

Out-There's Destinations

 

 


Lake Superior Provincial Park
P.O. Box 267
Wawa, Ontario
P0S 1K0

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