Few other places in Canada - let alone the world - can match the diversity of outdoor adventure activities possible on the northeastern shore of Lake Superior.
A network of Provincial and National Parks has created a wilderness mecca, complete with developed hiking and backpacking trails ranging from easy hour-long outings to week-long adventures on demanding wilderness routes.
The centrepiece, Lake Superior, comprises the world’s largest expanse of freshwater and Northern Ontario’s hiking trails feature panoptic views of this inland sea and spectacular campsites on secluded sand beaches.
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David is the director and owner of Naturally Superior Adventures, an outfitter which leads guided sea kayaking and voyageur canoeing trips on Lake Superior and guided canoe trips on northern Ontario's rivers.
He was working as a forester in northern Ontario when he purchased the land at the mouth of the Michipicoten River and started a paddling business and wilderness lodge from scratch...
Hiking and backpacking in the Lake Superior region of Northern Ontario exposes adventure travellers to wilderness on the grandest of scales.
You’ll get a sense of this rugged, lonely landscape on even the shortest of day hikes. For example, the Voyageur Trail, located mere minutes from our Rock Island Lodge, includes intimate glimpses of waterfalls and a lush boreal forest of birch and spruce.
Lookouts on the moderately difficult, 5km-long Nokomis Trail, located 20 minutes from Wawa in Lake Superior Provincial Park, afford sweeping views of Old Woman Bay’s 200-metre-tall cliffs and crystalline water.
Depending on the season, the Inland Sea may be littered with icebergs, tossing with breaking waves or framed by blazing autumn foliage. These and other day hikes are easily accessible to our lodge guests. At the end of a satisfying day, a gourmet meal and comfortable night’s rest in Wawa’s only Lake Superior accommodations await.
For the more adventurous, Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park boast two of Canada’s most challenging backcountry hiking trails. Both are roughly 60km-long - a five-to-seven-day trip for most backpackers - and they will test your wilderness skills with seriously rugged terrain.
Because of their remoteness, Lake Superior’s coastal backpacking trails are far less popular than routes like British Columbia’s West Coast Trail. The payoff for backpackers is intense isolation and awesome views of Lake Superior’s bold headlands and towering cliffs.
Campsites are typically nestled amidst the boreal forest lakeshore, set on sand beaches or perched on glacier-polished bedrock. Naturally Superior Adventures offers guided trips for those looking for an upscale backcountry experience.
Whether you’re planning a lux lodge-based vacation or a rugged wilderness experience, we can provide you with the local knowledge to enhance your experience - including travel times, trail recommendations, the best campsites and backcountry lore, such as the coordinates for Group of Seven painting locations and information about peregrine falcons, woodland caribou, Canadian lynx and other wildlife-viewing hotspots.
Pukaskwa National Park’s Coastal Trail
This is legendary amongst wilderness backpackers. Accessing this 60km-long trail requires a boat shuttle as the route’s southern terminus is inaccessible by road. Long climbs and steep descents will get your heart pumping and amazing views of Lake Superior will leave you breathless. Go guided with Naturally Superior Adventures for gourmet backcountry meals and local knowledge.
Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Coastal Trail
Not to be outdone by the Pukaskwa trail, this one extends 65km from the Agawa Bay Interpretative Centre in the south to the remote sand beaches and Ojibwa spiritual sites of Cape Gargantua. Several access points along the way make this rugged trail open to day and overnight hikers.
Day hikes on the northeastern shore of Lake Superior
The Voyageur Trail features cascading waterfalls and peaceful forest; the Nokomis Trail boasts some of the finest views of Lake Superior; and the Orphan Lake Trail includes a mix of old-growth forest, inland lakes and a sweeping cobblestone beach on Superior’s shore. Use Rock Island Lodge as your base and enjoy a hearty breakfast, pack your lunch and plan on being back at the lodge for dinner and the sunset.
Lake Superior Provincial Park’s challenging Towab Trail
For a more intimate, heart-pumping glimpse of the famous fall colours of the Agawa Canyon. Though some speed-hikers will complete this hilly 24km route in a day, it’s best taken as an overnight, with a scenic campsite at 25m-tall Agawa Falls. With a mix of maple, birch and evergreen trees, the autumn forest is fiery.
Wawa’s renowned Scenic High Falls
Love waterfalls? The Voyageur Trail offers a unique way to access Wawa’s renowned Scenic High Falls on the Magpie River. Similarly, Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Pinguisibi Trail is an easy walk along the continuous cascades of the Sand River. The falls of the Baldhead River (Orphan Lake Trail) and picture-perfect Agawa Falls (Towab Trail) will leave more adventurous hikers awestruck.
Best times to go:
Each season has its own special appeal to adventure travellers on Lake Superior.
Spring boasts wildflowers and peak-flow waterfalls; summer brings long hours of sunshine and comfortable water temperatures for swimming; and fall features spectacular colours and the potential for storm waves on Lake Superior.
Early August is our favourite time of year for its warm, stable weather patterns. But we also love the fresh greens of May and the fiery reds, oranges and yellows of late September. Perhaps the most unheralded time to visit Lake Superior for hiking is mid-September, when the weather’s still warm, the crowds are minimal and the fall colours are beginning to tint the leaves.
1. The Agawa Canyon Tour Train, which departs downtown Sault Ste. Marie, is an Algoma classic best experienced in peak fall colours in late September. The tour includes nature and cultural interpretation focusing on Ontario’s natural heritage and the paintings of the Canada’s iconic Group of Seven landscape artists.
2. Located at Lake Superior Provincial Park’s spectacular Agawa Bay Campground, the Park Visitor Centre highlights the natural and cultural heritage of Lake Superior’s eastern shore. Discover local wildlife, witness the power of Lake Superior storms and learn about the rich culture of the indigenous Ojibwa who have lived in this area for thousands of years.
3. Art enthusiasts and adventure travellers are fascinated by the work of the Group of Seven, the painters whose canvases immortalised the rugged Canadian landscape in the 1920s. A series of interpretive stops along the Trans-Canada Highway make it possible for modern-day travellers to experience the same views of these legendary artists. You’ll be surprised at how little the landscape has changed.
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