Planning a cross-province adventure? Check out the Ontario Parks Driving Routes.
The Lake Superior Shoreline Tour is a world-renowned driving route that will take you to some of the most awe-inspiring scenery Canada has to offer.
On your journey, you’ll discover spectacular rugged shorelines, cascading rivers and waterfalls, smooth rock and sand beaches, unique geological features, and excellent wildlife viewing.
This driving route connects the northern communities of Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. We want to make sure we’re keeping both you and our northern communities safe. That means:
- buying your groceries and supplies at home before you leave
- limiting trips into the community as you would at home
- wearing masks indoors where mandated by public health units
Learn more about how to stay safe on your trip on our COVID-19 page.
Parks you’ll want to explore en route:
There are nine stops along this route. We hope you’ll visit them all, but if your time is limited, must-see parks along the route are designated with a *.
Stop #1: Pancake Bay Provincial Park
Driving Time: The trip from Sault Ste. Marie to Pancake Bay should take you about one hour of driving on Trans-Canada Highway 17.
The park: There’s a reason Pancake Bay was voted Lake Superior’s best beach for six years in a row. Here, you can stroll the 3 km of white, sugary sand and swim in the Caribbean blue water.
High above Lake Superior, the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout provides expansive and breath-taking views of Whitefish Bay to the south, and Batchawana Bay to the east, as well as the rugged landscape of the Algoma Highlands.
Stop #2: Lake Superior Provincial Park *
Driving Time: From Pancake Bay to the north side of Lake Superior will be 1.5 hours on Highway 17.
The park: Lake Superior is synonymous with spectacular scenery – soaring cliffs, waterfalls, and long beaches await.
Recently designated a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Lake Superior offers excellent astronomy opportunities for both experts and amateurs. You may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
Stop #3: White Lake Provincial Park
Driving Time: Continuing along Highway 17, driving to White Lake will take you approximately 1.5 hours.
The park: The 6,500 ha White Lake is one of the largest inland lakes on the Lake Superior Shoreline Tour, and boasts excellent walleye and Northern Pike fishing.
White Lake takes a conservation approach to fishing in order to keep its waters sustainable, so please catch and release whenever possible.
Stop #4: Neys Provincial Park *
Driving Time: White Lake to Neys is about one hour driving time on Highway 17.
The park: Neys features a long sandy beach on the shores of Lake Superior adjacent to the campground. The park is surrounded by rolling hills, evergreen thanks to the boreal forests that call it home.
Explore park trails along exposed coastal rocks to discover why the park’s scenic vistas were a popular subject for the Group of Seven’s artwork. Here, you’ll find the breathtaking view of Pic Island made famous by Lawren Harris in 1924.
Stop #5: Rainbow Falls Provincial Park
Driving Time: Continuing on Highway 17, Rainbow Falls will be about one hour past Neys.
The park: Stop at the park to view the cascading waters as they plunge over the rock ledges of Rainbow Falls on their way to Lake Superior.
You can shake out the cobwebs with a hike along the Casque Isle Trail, or camp along the rugged shore of Lake Superior at the Rossport Campground location.
Stop #6: Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park *
Driving Time: Ouimet Canyon is a roughly 1.5 hour journey on Highway 11/17 after leaving Neys.
The park: Enjoy a picnic at the top of Ouimet Canyon, a 150-m-wide gorge that drops 100 m down to the canyon floor.
A barrier-free trail and boardwalk connect two lookout platforms for spectacular views of the canyon, unlike anything else you’ll find in Ontario.
Ouimet Canyon is a day-use only park.
Stop #7: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park *
Driving Time: Sleeping Giant’s Marie Louise Campground is a one hour drive from Ouimet Canyon. You’ll have to leave Highway 11/17 and turn onto Highway 587 south towards the park campground .
The park: The park has over 100 km of incredible hiking trails with many spectacular geological features, including the “Sea Lion” and Tee Harbour. Of course, the most famous natural feature of all is the Giant itself, a landform formation that looks like a sleeping person from a distance.
Experience breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area from hiking to the Top of the Giant Trail, or driving to the Thunder Bay Lookout.
Stop #8: Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park *
Driving Time: Drive north on Highway 587 and then continue west on Highway 11/17 through Thunder Bay until you get to Kakabeka Falls. It should take you about 1.5 hours.
The park: Standing tall at 40 metres, Kakabeka Falls is the second highest waterfall in Ontario. The park offers excellent views from a boardwalk that wraps around the top of the falls.
At only 30 minutes outside Thunder Bay, Kakabeka Falls is a great basecamp to explore all the city has to offer.
Stop #9: Quetico Provincial Park *
Driving Time: Follow Highway 17 until you can turn left onto Highway 11, and then follow that until you reach Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground. The total travel time will be 1.5 hours.
The park: Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground is surrounded by 35 km of trails that will will expose you to Quetico’s pine and spruce forests, picturesque lakes and rivers, and biodiversity.
We recommend hiking the French Portage Trail if you’re looking for a challenge. It’s a hike into the past, tracing a portage first established by First Nations and later used by European explorers and fur traders.
Ready to see Lake Superior?
Total driving time: 11.5 hours
Estimated trip duration (full route): 9 – 18 days
Estimated trip duration (highlights only): 5 – 10 days