The diversity of habitats in the park provides good bird watching opportunities. The transition between the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and boreal forests support a mix of northern and southern species.
More than 250 bird species have been identified within the park, 120 - 130 of which nest here. Spring and fall are good times to watch for migrating species, especially close to Lake Superior.
Powerboats are allowed on Lake Superior (no motor size restriction) and Sand Lake (motor size 10 hp or less). Powerboats, including electric motors, are prohibited on all other lakes in the park.
There are eight canoe routes in the park, ranging from easy day trips to the 56 km Sand River. On the Lower Agawa River and Anjigami River routes only the portions within the park are maintained. The topography of Lake Superior Provincial Park is rugged. Consequently, portaging must be done frequently, and the portages can be steep and uneven.
Individual canoe route descriptions and maps are available in pdf format at www.lakesuperiorpark.ca. Following is a brief description of the routes in the park. Portage lengths are in metres (1 metre = 3.3 feet or 1.1 yards).
The kilometre location along Hwy. 17 is given for each canoe route (markers are located every 2 km). Agawa Bay Campground is at km 1105.5 and Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground is at km 1049.6.
Route: 16 km (10 mi) loop; day trip or relaxing overnight trip; 11 portages, 150 m or less;
Access: via Hwy. 17
Highlights: This loop travels through six lakes in the boreal forest fringe at the north end of the park and is excellent for novice canoeists who are leery of long portages. Treeby Lake with its pine covered islands is quite scenic.
Rabbit Blanket Lake
Route: Rabbit Blanket Lake to Surf Lake and return; 16 km (10 mi); overnight trip; 3 portages (250 to 1200 m)
Access: Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground (Hwy. km 1049.6)
Highlights: A good trip for Brook Trout fishing, the route follows the South Old Woman River upstream from Rabbit Blanket Lake. There are three demanding portages into Peat, Sundstrom and Surf Lakes.
Route: Belanger and return: 13 km (8 mi); day trip or relaxing overnight trip; 4 portages (300 to 500 m)
Access: Gargantua Road (Hwy. km 1070.3); 2.3 km (1.4 mi) from Hwy. 17
Highlights: A family or anglers’ canoe route. What it lacks for experienced canoeists is balanced by pleasant scenery and good Brook Trout fishing. Belanger Lake also supports Lake Trout.
Route: 3 km (1.9 mi) loop; 4 hours; 4 portages (60 to 350 m)
Access: via Crescent Lake Campground or Kenny Lake at Hwy.17 (Hwy km 1113.8)
Highlights: This nice, family trip is an easy route introducing canoeists to lake travel and portaging. Fishing for Brook Trout and Lake Trout is good.
Gamitagama Lake – Old Woman Lake – Sand River
Route: This is the recommended route to Old Woman Lake – from Gamitagama south through a chain of small lakes. The former route from Mijinemungshing Lake through Mirimoki to Old Woman can be difficult due to low water levels. Allow 2 - 3 days for a return trip, or continue on through several lakes to the Sand River (allow 4 - 6 days).
Access: Gamitagama Road (Hwy km 1062.9); parking is limited at the Gamitagama access point
Highlights: This route includes some of the most interesting lake and river (Sand River) scenery the park has to offer. Many of the lakes on this route offer good Brook Trout fishing. There are Lake Trout in Gamitagama and Old Woman Lakes. Caution: wind and waves on Gamitagama and Old Woman Lakes can make canoeing more difficult.
Route: Mijinemungshing Lake is the largest inland lake in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Note: Water levels may be low between Mijinemungshing and Mirimoki Lakes. Old Woman Lake can also be accessed through Gamitagama Lake
Access: From Hwy. 17 via Mijinemungshing Road (Hwy km 1058.0)
Highlights: A day trip on Mijinemungshing makes for a nice introduction to the interior, or backcountry of Lake Superior Provincial Park. A number of campsites allow for overnight trips. There are portages into several other lakes – Almonte and Maquon. Due to the size of Mijinemungshing Lake, wind and waves can pose problems.
Route: Sand Lake, adjacent to the Algoma Central Railway, to take-out near the end of the Sand River. 56 km (35 mi); 5 days; 29 marked portages (9 to 1100 m; average. length 270 m). There is an average of one portage every 2 km (1.2 mi); these are mostly class 1 and 2 rapids.
Access: Algoma Central Railway (ACR) at Sault Ste. Marie, Frater (near Agawa Bay) or Hawk Junction, 22 km (13.6 mi) east of Wawa
Highlights: A scenic river which runs through the park from the northeast corner to Lake Superior. The scenery changes from lowland forest and wetlands to hardwood hills and cliffs. As the river drops about 185 m (600 feet) in elevation from Sand Lake to Lake Superior, there are stretches of fast water, boulder rapids and scenic waterfalls. Water levels vary greatly from month to month and from year to year, depending on the precipitation. Wildlife that may be seen include: moose, beaver, osprey, Sandhill Crane and a variety of warblers. Brook Trout fishing is good along the Sand River. Caution: some dangerous rapids and two waterfalls, Calwin and Lady Evelyn Falls.
Lower Agawa River
(Maintained only within the park)
Route: Canyon Station (mile 114) on the Algoma Central Railway to Hwy. 17: 29 km (18 mi); 2 days; 4 portages (100 m to 800 m).
Access: Frater Station to mile 114 on the Algoma Central Railway
Highlights: Most of the route has rapids and fast, shallow water requiring skillful manoeuvring. The major obstacles on the route are an old timber dam and Agawa Falls. The Agawa Falls and high canyon walls make this route spectacular. Caution: Agawa Falls is not marked on topographic maps; water levels fluctuate from drought conditions to very high water with treacherous rapids; this is a route for experienced paddlers only.
(Maintained only within the park)
Route: Mijinemungshing Lake to Lake Superior via Dossier Lake, Anjigami and Michipicoten rivers: 70 km (43 mi); 5 days; 12 portages (45 m to 2,170 m).
Access: Mijinemungshing Road from Hwy. 17 (Hwy. km 1058.0)
Highlights: This canoe route follows the logger’s spring river drive route of the 1920s and connects to the old fur trade route to Hudson Bay, via the Michipicoten and Missinaibi rivers. Caution: wind and waves on Anjigami Lake can make canoeing more difficult.
Lake Superior Coastline
Route: Michipicoten River to Agawa Bay; 105 km (65 mi) linear; 5 to 7 days
Access: Canoes and kayaks can be launched north of the park at Michipicoten Bay and Michipicoten River or within the park at Old Woman Bay, Gargantua Harbour, Katherine Cove, Sinclair Cove and Agawa Bay Campground.
Highlights: For those with experience, paddling the coast of Lake Superior is spectacular. The scenery is dramatic, varying from sheer cliffs to fine sand beaches. Much of the shoreline is rock outcrop, boulders or cobble beaches, providing some good exposure to the area’s geology. For the most part, the coast is extremely rugged with few sand beaches or protected areas for refuge from storms, particularly north of Gargantua Harbour. Only experienced paddlers should attempt travelling on Lake Superior. Caution is advised; the lake is extremely cold and the weather unpredictable. Fog may persist for several days. Winds change and waves can develop quickly. Sheltered coves and beaches for landing are limited, especially north of Chalfant Cove. Stay close to shore and be aware of changing conditions. Be prepared to be wind-bound one out of four or five days.
Agawa Bay to Gargantua: 45 km (28 mi)
Gargantua to Old Woman Bay: 36 km (22 mi)
Old Woman to Michipicoten River: 24 km (15 mi)
For more information drop by the Visitor Centre or contact the park office.
Several routes may require vehicle shuttle or pick-up at the end of the route: Sand River, Lower Agawa River, Anjigami and the Lake Superior Coastline. (For shuttle service check www.lakesuperiorpark.ca (paddling – rentals.)
In Lake Superior and in coastal streams and rivers, there are good populations of Lake and Rainbow Trout, and three species of salmon. Inland waters offer good opportunities for catching Lake and Brook Trout. To prevent the introduction on non-native species, the use and possession of live-bait fish (live minnows) is banned on interior park lakes.
Eleven trails let visitors explore the variety of landscapes that make up Lake Superior Provincial Park – rocky shores, beaches, lakes and rivers, waterfalls, forests, wetlands and rolling hills.
The park terrain is rugged and weather can be variable. It is recommended to carry ample water, bug spray, sunscreen, first-aid supplies and weatherproof gear.
A can and bottle ban is in effect for food and beverage containers in all backcountry areas (Campgrounds and Day-use Picnic Areas along the Highway 17 corridor are exempt).
Trails are marked with blue and white hiking symbols. Portions of a trail may be obstructed by fallen trees, flooding due to beaver activity, high water levels or erosion. When wet, trails may be slippery, especially in rocky and steep areas. Sturdy footwear is recommended. Trail lookouts provide panoramic vistas of the park – approach these cliff areas with caution.
Trail ratings consider the terrain and the length of the trail. (1 km = 0.62 miles).
Easy – level terrain; less than 3 hours;
Moderate – some steep inclines and uneven footing; less than 4 hours;
Demanding – some steep inclines and uneven footing; long distance trails, 4 - 6 hours;
Very Demanding – route not well marked at times; many steep, rugged areas and uneven footing; long distance, overnight trails.
The kilometre location along Hwy 17 is given for each trail (markers are located every 2 km). Agawa Bay Campground is at km 1105.5 and Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground is at km 1049.6.
Nokomis (Hwy km 1042.6)
Moderate; 5.0 km (3 mi) loop; 1.5 - 3 hourrs
Access the trail from the Old Woman Bay Day-Use area. Climb through the lichen-draped boreal forest to scenic lookouts. You may be able to see the face of an old woman immortalized in the cliff, rising 200 metres (650 ft.) above Lake Superior. The final descent is steep.
The Nokomis Trail is ranked among the top five day hikes in the country, according to Lonely Planet’s “Discover Canada” guidebook.”
South Old Woman River (Hwy km 1049.6)
Moderate; 2.5 km (1.5 mi) loop; 1- 2 hours
Access the trail from Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground. While much of the trail is easy, there are sections of uneven footing and some rock hopping to cross the river. A variety of ferns and moisture-loving plants grow on the cool damp forest floor along the river.
Peat Mountain (Hwy km 1049.6)
Demanding; 11 km (6.8 mi) loop; 3 - 5 hours
Access the trail from the Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground, near campsite #30. An alternate access point is located near campsite #49.
Climb 150 metres (500 ft.) through a mixed forest to the top of Peat Mountain, overlooking ridges and valleys formed by glacial activity. On a clear day you can see Michipicoten Island, 55 km (34 mi) to the west, out in Lake Superior.
There is a side loop to the Foam Lake Lookout, a 45 minute return hike, or stay on the main trail descending to Foam Lake. There is one backcountry campsite at Foam Lake.
Trapper’s (Hwy km 1074.3)
Easy; 1.5 km (1 mi) loop; 45 min. – 1.5 hours
Following the shoreline of Rustle Lake, the trail includes two viewing platforms and a floating boardwalk, where you can watch for wetland wildlife such as beaver, otter, marten, Great Blue Heron, and moose.
Orphan Lake (Hwy km 1080.8)
Moderate; 8 km (5 mi) loop ; 2- 4 hours
This diverse trail passes through hardwood and evergreen forests, including an area burned in May, 1998. Near the end of the burn there is a side trail (linear) climbing to spectacular lookouts over Lake Superior.
A pebble beach on Lake Superior marks the half-way point, where there is a junction with the Coastal Trail. To complete the Orphan Lake Trail, follow the Baldhead River upstream, past the waterfalls. The trail then climbs to the east shore of Orphan Lake before joining with the trail back to the trailhead.
Pinguisibi (Sand River) (Hwy km 1090.6)
Easy; 6 km (3.7 mi) return, linear trail; 1½ - 3 hrs
Pinguisibi is the Ojibwe name for “river of fine white sand”. This river is an ancient travel route used by the Ojibwe as they hunted, fished and trapped northwards into the interior.
The first waterfall is a short hike upstream. The trail continues along the Sand River, past two more waterfalls, rapids and quiet sections of the river. The trail ends near portage 28 of the Sand River Canoe Route. Return along the same route.
Agawa Rock Pictographs (Hwy km 1098.0)
Moderate; 0.5 km (0.3 mi) loop; .1/2 - 1 hour
Generations of Ojibwe recorded their dreams and spirits in red ochre paintings at this sacred site. The trail is short, but rugged, descending through rock chasms and broken boulders.
The Pictographs are accessed from a rock ledge at the edge of Lake Superior and can only be viewed when the lake is calm. The site is open from mid-May to mid-September. Caution is advised when venturing onto this rock ledge due to its slope and the unpredictable nature of Lake Superior and its wave action. For more information refer to the Agawa Rock Pictographs brochure.
Awausee (Hwy km 1101.4)
Demanding; 10 km (6.2) loop; 4 - 6 hours
To the first lookout and return is 45 minutes
Climb the Awausee for a bird’s-eye view of the Agawa Valley and Lake Superior. This demanding trail starts at the base of Agawa Mountain and follows an old logging road before veering uphill along a ravine. The first lookout (45 min return hike) offers a view of the lower Agawa River Valley and Agawa Mountain.
Continue climbing through maple forests to a series of lookouts, 200 metres (650 ft.) above the Agawa Valley. Descend along the creek to join up with the old logging road and back to the trail’s beginning.
Towab (Hwy km 1103.8)
Very Demanding; 24 km (15 mi) return, linear; 8 - 14 hours
The trailhead is located 3.5 km (2 mi) along the Frater Road. The hike to Agawa Falls and return is recommended as an overnight trip. There are several campsites along the way. Much of the trail is alongside the river, however there are several steep ascents and descents. Shorter hikes can be taken to Burnt Rock Pool (moderate; 2 - 4 hours return) or further upstream; retrace your steps to return.
At the turn of the century, visitors were often guided by Towabanasay (Tow-a-ban-a-say), often called Towab, an Ojibwe guide who held the hunting rights to a 1,300 square kilometre area which included the Agawa River.
The trail ends at Agawa Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the park (25 metres; 82 ft.)
Crescent Lake (Hwy km 1113.8)
Easy; 2 km (1.2 mi) loop; 1/2 - 1 hour
Beginning at Crescent Lake Campground the trail takes you through a forest of Yellow Birch which is at least 80 years old and century old pines. You’ll pass by Crescent, MacGregor and Mudhole Lakes, part of the Crescent Lake Canoe Route. This is an ideal hike for families and nature enthusiasts.
Very Demanding; 65 km (40 mi) linear; 5 - 7 days (entire trail)
A number of access points make it possible to spend one or several days hiking the Coastal Trail. Access points are located at: Agawa Bay, Sinclair Cove, Katherine Cove, Coldwater River, Orphan Lake Trail and Gargantua Road. The Park Map is recommended for those hiking the coast.
The most challenging and demanding trail in the park, the Coastal Trail takes you along the high cliffs and rocky beaches of Lake Superior. The trail extends from Agawa Bay to Chalfant Cove.
The trail ascends and descends over cliffs and rocky outcrops and crosses beaches of boulders and driftwood. Use extreme caution when hiking this difficult terrain. The rocks can be very slippery, especially when wet with dew, fog or rain. Windblown trees may obstruct the trail.
Blue, diamond-shaped symbols mark where the trail enters forested areas. Rock cairns mark exposed sections. Generally the trail hugs the coastline. If you lose the trail, continue along the shore and eventually you will find the trail again.
Gargantua is the main access point for the Coastal Trail. The 14 km (8.7 mi) gravel road from Highway 17 to the parking lot at Lake Superior is rough so allow 45 minutes.
Gargantua to Warp Bay: Easy; 5 km (3.1 mi)
Warp Bay to Devil’s Chair: Easy; 2 km (1.2 mi)
Gargantua to Chalfant Cove: Moderate; 7 km (4.3 mi)
(Note: the above distances are one-way only; return along the same routes to Gargantua Harbour.)
Gargantua South: Very Demanding
Gargantua to Orphan Lake Trail: 20 km (12.4 mi)
Orphan Lake to Katherine Cove: 11 km (6.8 mi)
Katherine Cove to Sinclair Cove: 14 km (8.7 mi)
Sinclair Cove to Agawa Bay: 10 km (6.2 mi)
South of Gargantua, the Coastal Trail is extremely rugged and very demanding. Between Gargantua and Rhyolite Cove the trail climbs over 80 metres (260 ft.) to spectacular vistas over the lake.
The park’s geology is most dramatic on the coast where waves have exposed the rock shoreline. Rhyolite and Beatty coves are particularly interesting. Along the way, sand and cobble beaches are nestled in coves, providing shelter for campsites.
All backcountry campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campsites along the coast are shared by hikers and paddlers.
For information on shuttle services visit www.lakesuperiorpark.ca or contact the park.
Hunting is permitted in part of the park for moose, grouse and Varying Hare. Hunting is permitted only in that part of the park lying east of Highway 17 and north of the south boundaries of Brimacombe and Broome townships.
The Visitor Centre at Agawa Bay is a focal point for interpretive programs and special events run by the Natural Heritage Education Program. During the summer, park staff offer evening programs, guided hikes, kid’s programs, special events and guest speakers. On-site guides are at Agawa Rock during July and August. Look for events scheduled on park activity boards.
Beaches are located in each of the three park campgrounds: Agawa Bay, Crescent Lake and Rabbit Blanket Lake and at Katherine Cove and Old Woman Bay Day-Use areas. The waters of Lake Superior can be quite cold, particularly in early summer. Shallow bays may warm up following periods of calm waters and sunny, hot days. Inland lakes are warmer.
Facilities and services are not provided. The Visitor Centre, campgrounds and park roads (i.e. Mijinemungshing and Gargantua) are closed and gated. Visitors are welcome to ski, snowshoe and ice fish. Snowmobiles are not permitted, except on Frater Road to access the Algoma Central Railway. Park regulations banning live bait-fish and cans and bottles are still in effect.