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Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant

Biking

Sleeping Giant offers many opportunities for exploration by bicycle.  Cycling is permitted on the following trails:

  • South Kabeyun to the junction with Talus Lake Trail
  • Sawyer Bay Trail
  • Sawbill Lake Trail
  • Burma Trail
  • Pickerel Lake Trail

Some of the park roads also provide exciting bike routes. Please use caution as you will be sharing the road with motor vehicles.

Thunder Bay Lookout Road – 9 km
A challenging mountain bike ride from Hwy 587 to the spectacular Thunder Bay Lookout. Many steep hills make it a treat to coast down on your return cycle.

Marie Louise Drive – 12 km
This is a great mountain bike tour around the west side of Marie Louise Lake.

Birding

Over 200 bird species have been recorded in Sleeping Giant and the immediate vicinity. Of these, about 75 are known to nest in the park. The birds of the park are typical to the boreal forest and include a wide variety of songbirds, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl.

The park is also adjacent to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory located at the tip of the Sibley Peninsula.

Boating

Power boats are only permitted on Marie Louise Lake and motors must not exceed 10 horsepower. A boat launch area and small docking facility is located within the campground.

Canoeing

Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from the park store for use on Marie Louise Lake.

Discovery Program

During July and August, Natural Heritage Education leaders provide park visitors with opportunities to appreciate and understand the area’s natural and cultural resources including: the Sleeping Giant legend and its associated earth and life science features, the transitional forest and its relationship to major biological themes of the park, Lake Superior, rare plants, the history of the Silver Islet Mine and park wildlife viewing opportunities. Interpretation programs are based out of the park Visitor Centre.

Fishing

Sportfishing is permitted in the park, although the use and possession of baitfish is prohibited in park waters, with the exception of Lake Superior. There are a number of small inland lakes at the park and a few larger lakes, such as Marie Louise Lake.  Most of the smaller lakes have Northern Pike and Yellow Perch, while the larger lakes may also have Smallmouth Bass and walleye.

Hiking

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has over 100 kilometres of trails that lead hikers along the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior, past towering cliffs, to scenic vistas on top of the Giant, and to quiet lakes and streams deep within the park’s wilderness areas.

The following descriptions provide an overview of the different trails at Sleeping Giant to help you plan your hike, whether it is for the day, or overnight. For additional information on backcountry safety and etiquette, please visit ontarioparks.com/backcountry.

The park’s 25 trails have been ordered by distance; however, many trails do not start at a parking lot and require significant approach-hikes. Difficulties are based on the trail’s elevation-change, tread-base, width, steepness, and distance. In general, short trails with a pronounced change in elevation have been given a more difficult rating than longer, flatter trails. Please call the park office at 807-977-2526 for assistance with trip planning.

Plantain Lane Nature Trail – 0.3km (0.6km round-trip) easy
The shortest trail in Sleeping Giant takes you over a bridge spanning Sibley Creek. Plantain Lane Nature Trail is wheelchair accessible and is conveniently located on Highway 587 near the Marie Louise Lake Campground.

Sea Lion Trail – 0.4km (0.8km round-trip) moderate
The Sea Lion Trail is accessed via the Kaybeyun Trail, just 0.8 km from the South Kabeyun Trailhead. The trail has somewhat difficult access over an outcrop, passes a pebble beach on Perry Bay, and concludes at a diabase arch on Lake Superior. Interpretive panels are a must-read for anyone interested in the fascinating geology of the area.

Tee Harbour Trail – 0.4km (0.8km round-trip) easy
The Tee Harbour Trail branches off the Kabeyun Trail 5.8km from the South Kabeyun Trailhead and leads to a large outcrop jutting into Lake Superior. From the terminus of the trail, the boundless blue horizon of Lake Superior is only interrupted by a series of picturesque islands including Trowbridge Island, Silver Islet, and Isle Royal (part of Michigan, U.S.A).

Nanabosho Lookout Trail – 0.7km (1.4km round-trip) difficult
This trail climbs the chest of the Sleeping Giant and leads to a remarkable vantage point that overlooks the entire Sibley Peninsula. From this remarkable lookout, adventurous hikers are rewarded with views of the Marie Louise Lake Campground, Sawyer Bay, Hoorigan Bay, Clavet Bay, and Porphyry Island. Some of the most breathtaking views in the province can be enjoyed from the Nanabosho Lookout.

Joe Creek Nature Trail – 0.7km (1.4km round-trip) easy
The northernmost trail in Sleeping Giant is a great place to stretch your legs upon arriving at the park. This tranquil trail follows Joe Creek down a series of cascades to the shoreline of Lake Superior.

Thunder Bay Bogs Nature Trail – 0.7km (loop) easy
This trail travels along a sandstone outcrop to the shores of a small, placid lake. Labrador Tea and Pitcher Plants have adapted to the growing conditions of this environment.

Cemetery Trail – 0.8km (1.6km round-trip) easy
This short trail begins off Highway 587 and emerges at the Silver Islet Cemetery, one of two historical sites within Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The nearby Silver Islet Mine operated from 1868 to 1884 and most of the graves found here date back to that period.

Thunder Cape Trail - 1.2km (2.4km round-trip) moderate
The Thunder Cape Trail branches off from the Kabeyun Trail at the feet of the Sleeping Giant and travels down a hill to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory. This research station is outside of park boundaries and visitors to Thunder Cape Bird Observatory are reminded to be respectful of the ongoing research conducted there.

Head Trail – 1.4km (2.8km round-trip) difficult
The steepest trail in the park climbs to the summit of the head of the Sleeping Giant. The lookout at the end of the trail is amongst the most stunning viewpoints in the park.

Piney Wood Hills Nature Trail - 1.4km (2.8km round-trip) moderate
Winding through pine-forested, hilly terrain, this trail ends at a viewpoint over Joeboy Lake.

Ravine Lake Nature Trail - 1.9km (loop) moderate
This trail steadily ascends to a viewpoint that overlooks Grassy Lake, Lake Superior and the Sibley Peninsula’s south-coast. The trail then travels down to the shore of Ravine Lake, returning through a shaded cedar grove.

Sawbill Lake Trail - 2.0km (4.0km round-trip) moderate
This trail provides access to the Sawyer Bay Trail from Marie Louise Lake Drive and includes a steep hill with partial views of Thunder Mountain.

Sifting Lake Trail - 2.1km (4.2km round-trip) easy
This trail passes red and white pine stands before emerging along the quiet shores of Sifting Lake. This is the only trail in the park that allows pets off-leash (on all other trails, pets must be kept on a leash that does not exceed 2 metres in length).

Wildlife Habitat Nature Trail - 2.1km (loop) easy
Wildlife Habitat Nature Trail consists of a series of three arcs that wind through dense brush and lead hikers to a seasonal pond.

Sibley Creek Nature Trail – 2.3km (loop) easy
This self-guided hike explores themes related to swamp ecology and delves into former forestry practices on the Sibley Peninsula. The 2.3km trail takes visitors to a bridge over picturesque Sibley Creek. Interpretive sign posts are located throughout the trail and accompanying pamphlets are available at the trailhead.

Gardner Lake Trail – 2.6km (5.2km round-trip) easy
Gardner Lake Trail travels along an old logging road through low-lying cedar stands and emerges along the marshy shoreline of Gardner Lake.

Top of the Giant Trail – 3.3 km (6.6km round-trip) difficult
This challenging trail takes you to the top of the tallest cliffs in Ontario and provides access to some of the most gorgeous lookouts in Ontario. Spectacular views of both the east and west coast of the Sibley Peninsula are revealed to determined hikers who venture here.

Twinpine Lake Trail - 4.4 km (8.8km round-trip) moderate
This trail connects the Burma Trail with the Kabeyun Trail and passes by scenic Twinpine Lake.

Middlebrun Bay Trail – 4.9 km (9.8km round-trip)
This trail takes hikers to a secluded sandy beach at Middlebrun Bay which is a favourite destination for those looking to soak up the sun, or even brave the frigid waters of Lake Superior. The trail continues to Finlay Bay, though most hikers venture no farther than the captivating beach at Middlebrun Bay.

Sawyer Bay Trail – 5.7 km (11.4km round-trip) moderate
Rolling hills characterize this trail which leads to beautiful Sawyer Bay on Lake Superior. Hikers can go deeper into the backcountry or venture up the head of the Giant from Sawyer Bay.

Talus Lake Trail – 6.0 km (12.0km round-trip) difficult
Known for its seasonal wildlife viewing, the rugged Talus Lake Trail travels between the Sleeping Giant and Thunder Mountain, connecting the Kabeyun Trail with the Sawyer Bay Trail. The Talus Lake Trail passes three secluded lakes, a sedge meadow, spectacular cliffs, talus slopes, and two cascading creeks.

Ferns Lake Trail – 9.7km (loop) moderate
This trail has many access points and crosses highway 587 twice before looping back to the Marie Louise Lake Campground. Highlights of this trail include two beaver dams and a small pond. A portion of this trail overlaps with a maintenance road as well as Wildlife Habitat Nature Trail and navigational skills are needed to complete this poorly-marked loop.

Burma Trail – 11.4 km (22.8km round-trip) moderate
Rolling hills, interior lakes and old growth pine stands characterize this trail that is a favorite amongst cross-country skiers. During the summer months, this wide, wet trail is infrequently used.

Pickerel Lake Trail – 11.7 km (23.4km round-trip) moderate
The Pickerel Lake Trail passes through some of the most impressive white pine stands in the park and is part of the cross-country ski trail network.

Kabeyun Trail – 37.0 km (74.0km round-trip) difficult
Ideal for overnight backpacking as well as shorter day hikes, this rugged route is the backbone of the park’s trail network. Starting at Thunder Bay Lookout (the North Kabeyun Trailhead), the trail passes Clavet Bay, Hoorigan Bay and Sawyer Bay, before rounding the Sleeping Giant’s Feet at the tip of the Sibley Peninsula and ending at the South Kabeyun Trailhead adjacent to Highway 587. Beaches and coves offer scenic rest points along the trail. Though Lake Superior is never far away, this trail is mostly inland and not a true coastal-route. Vast distances separate campsites and proper planning is essential for those looking to complete the entire trail. The section between the Sleeping Giant’s feet and Lehtinen’s Bay involves scrambling over a talus slope which can be very challenging in wet conditions. Popular side-spurs from the Kabeyun Trail include the Tee Harbour Trail, the Thunder Cape Trail, the Sea Lion Trail, and the Head Trail. For more information on the Kabeyun Trail, please call the park office at 807-977-2526.

Swimming

Sleeping Giant offers numerous opportunities for swimming. Marie Louise Lake has a public beach with a swimming area that is marked with buoys. Pounsford Lake is also a popular swimming location. Park visitors can test the waters of Lake Superior on the beautiful sandy beach at Middlebrun Bay or venture into one of the many natural bays located on the Kabeyun Hiking Trail.

Please note that lifeguards are not posted at any of the swimming areas and park visitors must swim within their own physical abilities.

Winter Activities

Sleeping Giant offers some of the best cross-country skiing in Ontario on 50 km of groomed trails.  There are trails for the beginner, intermediate and experienced skier as well as for those who ski classic or skate ski.

The internationally recognized Sleeping Giant Loppet takes place on the first Saturday in March.

Winter guests to the park can also snowshoe on a variety of hiking trails while enjoying some great scenery and wildlife viewing.

During the winter, accommodation is available in one of the parks fully serviced cabins. Group events can be hosted in the conference centre.