Mississagi is one of the most scenic parks in Ontario and an unknown gem. The park protects a significant landscape of clear lakes, rugged hills and towering cliffs, the roots of ancient mountains, maple forests and huge peatlands. The park also provides outstanding recreational opportunities for canoeing and hiking, both for day trippers and backcountry enthusiasts.
Campers were not the first people to visit Mississagi Provincial Park. Native peoples have made use of the area for many centuries. Within the park today, there is evidence of old hunting and fishing camps of the Mississauga nation. Mississagi’s campground contains a range of campsites, including pull-through sites and walk-in sites. The camping is rustic – “just like it used to be” and off the grid. There is no electrical service in the park; vault privies are lit by solar lights. Water taps are situated throughout the campground but it should be boiled before drinking.
Seasonal campsite leasing is available at Mississagi Provincial Park – a perfect way to enjoy the summer without having to set up and take down your camping equipment every time you visit the park!
The campground is a quiet and peaceful setting, punctuated at times by the call of a loon or the howl of a wolf.
In September the campground closes, but the park trails and lakes are still open for hiking and canoeing. It is well worth a visit then, as the fall colours of the maple, oak and birch forests are truly breathtaking.
The 60 campsites in this wooded campground on the north shore of Semiwite Lake are secluded and private. Most are pull-through trailer sites and each campsite is provided with a fire pit and a picnic table. Some sites are on the water (walk-in sites) and many have a footpath leading to the lake.
Seasonal Leasing: There are a number of campsites at Mississagi that are designated for seasonal leasing. These sites are available from the time the park opens (May 18) until it closes on the Labour Day weekend. If you are planning to spend a large portion of your summer in one location, seasonal leasing could be the best option for you. The cost is less than what you would pay if you were renting by the night, you can stay in the park past the 23-day limit, and you won’t have to set up and take down your equipment more than once!
To discuss a seasonal lease prior to the park opening, contact the Park Clerk at Chutes Provincial Park (705-865-2021). Once the park is open you can speak to the Park Warden about how to arrange a seasonal campsite lease.
This program is operated on a first-come, first-served basis.
There is one group campsite at Mississagi. This site is adjacent to the campground and will accommodate 15-20 tents, 4-5 medium sized trailers, or a combination of both. There are toilets and water taps nearby and the site is a five minute walk from the camper’s beach. Picnic tables are located in a roofed shelter.
Reservations can be made by calling the Warden at Mississagi Provincial Park at (705-862-1203) or the Park Clerk at Chutes Provincial Park (705-865-2021).
Four campsites are walk-in (tent) sites and are located on the shore of Semiwite Lake near the day-use area. The distance from car to campsite at these sites is less than 20 metres.
Hiking: Roll up your tent and pack plenty of trail mix for an overnight hiking and camping adventure into the backcountry along the MacKenzie Trail. There are spectacular views from the top of Bear Mountain and there are two campsites to choose from on the Brush Lakes. You can also hike to the two interior campsites on Semiwite Lake by way of the Semiwite Lake Trail.
Canoeing: The lakes in the park offer interior camping opportunities. There are two sites on Flack Lake, one on Helenbar Lake and two on Semiwite Lake. If you don’t have your own canoe you can rent one at the park.
Find solitude and undeveloped wilderness at Mississagi, north of Elliot Lake. Paddle to pristine lakes and hike numerous trails to spectacular vistas. Watch for fossil evidence of ancient wave-washed beaches in the “ripple rock” along park trails. Nearer the campground, listen for warblers, vireos and flycatchers.
For quiet, peaceful adventures in a near-wilderness setting, hike the trails throught the park. Relics from the logging and mining era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be seen along the trails. Despite logging and fire, the park contains some massive old pines and hemlock, as well as upland forests of Sugar Maple, Yellow and White Birch, Trembling Aspen, White Spruce and Balsam Fir. Brilliant autumn colours make Mississagi a stunning destination for a fall hike.
The park is home to Moose, Black Bear, White-tailed Deer, abundant birdlife and a host of native shrubs and wildflowers.
The night skies are spectacular. Because the park is located off the hydro grid and away from development, there is minimal light pollution and stargazing is magnificent – with the naked eye, or through binoculars or a telescope.
Flack Lake Nature Trail - 0.8 km (45 minutes) easy
Interesting geological features and remnants of an old logging camp are features of this trail.
Helenbar Lookout Trail - 7 km (2-4 hours) moderate
Focal points include huge boulder erratics, a spectacular lookout and views of the surrounding mountainous landscape. There is a white sand beach on Semiwite Lake where the Helenbar and Semiwite Lake Trails meet.
MacKenzie Trail - 22 km (3-5 days) strenuous
To test your hiking stamina and get away from it all, try this overnight trail into the backcountry. Campsites are located on the Brush Lakes. From the Brush Lakes Lookout and other lookouts along the eastern edge of the trail, you can look across the vast Stag Lake Peatlands, a provincially significant wetland filling part of the Boland Valley. The Helenbar Lookout and Semiwite Lake Trails can be combined with the Mackenzie for a multi-day backcountry hike.
Semiwite Creek Trail - 1.2 km (1 hour) easy
Follow Semiwite Creek for a chance to see wildlife and photograph picturesque views.
JimChrist Trail – 11 km (6 hours) moderate
Mixed hardwoods and large White Pines tower over this trail which climbs a series of ridges and hills. There is a good view of the base of the Helenbar Lookout ridge at the mid-point of the trail.
Cobre Lake Trail - 11 km (3-5 hours) strenuous
This trail is situated just 11 km north of the park in the Rawhide Lake Conservation Reserve. Look for evidence of last century copper mining exploration, majestic White and Red Pine forests and panoramic views of several lakes.
Canoeing Semiwite Lake, right from the campground you will find two secluded beaches near the far end of the lake and an island on the south side.
A short portage from Semiwite takes you across to Helenbar Lake. There is a backcountry campsite on the east shore of Helenbar. Helenbar Lake is the site of a 1946 crash landing of a Gloster Meteor, Britain’s first jet fighter to fly in World War Two. Lt. Mackenzie of the RCAF, ditched the aircraft in the lake after the he lost his way in a storm and ran out of fuel. Stranded in the middle of a roadless wilderness, Mackenzie spent 26 days on the shore of the lake, and survived on a diet of berries until being rescued. The Mackenzie backcountry trail is named for him.
A day trip by canoe on Flack Lake will take you to the base of Old Baldy, site of an old fire ranger’s cabin and a 5 km hiking trail with exceptional views.
There are a number of canoe trips of varying length and difficulty that can originate and end in the park. An area canoe route brochure is available from the park (or by calling Chutes Provincial Park at 705-865-2021) that describes these trips and is useful for planning purposes.
Three beaches slope into the pleasant waters of Semiwite Lake. Two are located in the day-use and campground areas respectively, and there is a beautiful sand beach at the end of the Helenbar Trail which can be accessed on foot or by boat. Please note, there are no lifeguards.
Motorboats are allowed on Semiwite and Flack Lakes and there are launching ramps and docks near the campground. Canoes can be rented by the day or half-day.
Lake Trout fishing is best in spring and early summer. You might also find Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Lake Whitefish on the end of your line.
There are no designated bicycle trails, however cycling is permitted on park roads.
The park is an excellent place to see and hear Bald Eagles, a nesting pair of merlins and a large variety of warblers. Loons raise their young on Semiwite Lake.
Although you can’t drive into the park in the off-season, you can enter on foot to hike or snowshoe.
Mississagi’s campground features rustic camping. The park is “off the grid” and so there are no electric sites or comfort station. Lighting in the park is powered largely using solar energy.
Water is available throughout the campground but should be boiled before drinking.
In nearby Elliot Lake there is a mining museum, a fire tower with a visitor centre, a bird sanctuary, full-service amenities, supplies and groceries.
One of the privies has barrier-free access. It is located near campsites #50, 51 and 59.
A picnic area with tables is located on the shore of Semiwite Lake. There are privies nearby. Another picnic area is located on the shores of Flack Lake, along with privies, a boat launch and the Flack Lake nature trail.
Boat launches are located on Semiwite Lake in the campground, and on Flack Lake in the day-use area.
Canoes can be rented by the day or half-day for use on the lakes in and around the park. Personal floatation devices (PFDs) are available with a $25 refundable deposit.
The Park Store is located at the gatehouse and sells a selection of Ontario Parks merchandise. In addition, the park sells ice (blocks and cubes), a variety of Pepsi products, bottled water, ice cream and sundries.
Mississagi Provincial Park