There are eleven trails withing the Park that guide visitors through an exploratory experience of landscapes, rocky shorelines, sandy beaches, lakes, rivers, rapids, waterfalls, boreal and hardwood forests, beautiful wetlands and cliff picturesque views.
The Nokomis Trail with take you through the Old Women River Valley over a collection of ancient cobble stone beaches that are blanketed with lichen and moss. This is a vigorous upward climb that leads you to the first lookout. An beautiful view of the river valley and forest are the view below. Continuing on north and crossing over a granite ridge your hike will lead you to a magnificent view over Lake Superior. If you look toward the west you will witness Old Woman Bay cliff that rises 200 metres above Lake Suprior. Nokomis was "grandmother" to the Ojibwe and here from this view you may be able to see the immortalized old woman in the rocks face. The trail then descends past many lookouts and through red and jack pine forest. These species have been stunted due to the lack of soil and nutrients in this rocky landscape. Be sure to save time to enjoy the amazing beach and views at Old Woman Bay!
Scenic and a shorter hike is what South Old Woman River Trails will offer. The site of a glacial spillway runs northeast and eventually empties into Lake Superior here. The trail is mostly shaded by a forest canopy of cedar trees. The river nourishes and hydrates the root systems of the Cedars as well as a wide range of ferns and other succulent plants that and nurtured by the damp forest floor. There are small pools along that way that are a perfect place to find delicious Brook Trout if you your craving a tasty fresh fish treat.
There is one campsite here at Foam Lake. The trail starts at the entrance to Rabbit Lake Campground and an alternative point to access this system can be found near campsite #49. This trail will guide you past a beaver pond and then 150 metres to Peat Mountain. Ridges and valleys formed by glacial activity will be the backdrop here. Wawa is just north, to the west Foam Lake and Lake Superior. Michipicoten Island is 55km away and can been seen on a clear day. There is a side trail accessed by a loop trail that will lead you to the Foam Lake Lookout and is approximately a 45 minute return hike. Or if you choose to stay on the main trail system will be take you back to Foam Lake. The trail will ascend from Foam Lake to the Peat Mountain ridge which will conclude this hike.
This picturesque trail follows the shoreline of Rustle Lake. Here you can experience a variety of wildlife including: beaver, otter, marten, great blue heron and moose to name just a handful. Though Rustle Lake was once a wide portion of forest stream, over the years beavers have created dams which allowed aquatic plant life forming a wetland. There is an abundance of fur-bearing mammals that reside here. This is why an established trapline - licensed to the Renner brothers in the 1930' and active until the 1970's was introduced. Trappers Trail is only a small portion of the former trapline which extends along the Baldhead River to Lake Superior. A floating boardwalk and two viewing platforms can be found along the trail as well.
Orphan Lake Trail is a perfect introduction to hiking in the Park. It offers the diverse experience of the trail systems. Sugar maple and yellow birch create a passage way to the vista overlooking Orphan Lake. Following along the western shore of the lake you can climb to a breathtaking lookout over Lake Superior. A 5 hectare area which was burned in May of 1998 will be an area the trail will lead you through. The trail descends 100 metres to a secluded pebbled beach on Lake Superior. if you continue on the Orphan Lake Trail and follow Lake Superiors shoreline north, you will land at the Baldhead River. Winding upstream along the river, rapids and waterfalls will be there to entertain you. Climb eastward which will reunite you with the original trail. Coastal Trail access can also be found here. Continuing north toward Beatty Cove, across Baldhead River over the two bridges and you will pick up the Coastal Trail south heading toward Katherine Cove along the beach south.
Also known as Pinguisibi which means "river of fine white sand" was an ancient route traveled by the Ojibwe for hunting, fishing and trapping. You will pass a series of waterfalls and rapids if you head along the north bank of this trail system. This is a perfect choice for those looking to stop and relax for some brook trout fishing in the many small pools along the way. You will eventually come to where the trail ends at portage 28 of the Sand River Canoe Route. You can simply turn and follow your steps back along the same route to return to the beginning of your journey.
This very rocky and rugged trail to the Pictograph site is short, but can be tricky on a day where the weather is windy. There are a number of geological features like: rock chasms, broken boulders and sheer cliffs. This is a sacred sight with great significance to many generations of Ojibwe.This is where dreams and spirits were recorded in red ochre. You must walk out onto a ledge to witness the drawing or by lake on a clam day. Great caution is advised if you are planning to walk out onto the rock ledge due to it's significant slope and the unpredictable nature of Lake Superiors powerful wave action.
This demanding trail system begins at the base of Agawa Mountain and follows an old logging road. Heading uphill along the first lookout can be found part way up the ravine. The lookout offers views of the lower Agawa River Valley and Agawa Mountain. Continuing up along through the maple forests a series of lookouts can be accessed. 200 metres or 600 feet above Agawa Valley you can spot a glacial spillway which was much larger than it is today many years ago. Accessible only by the Agawa Central Railway, the Agawa River Valley narrows to form the Agawa Canyon. Climbing down to the logging road will take you right back to the beginning of your adventure.
Hiking to Burnt Rock Pool you can relax on the warm sun soaked rocks or continue your journey for an overnight getaway to Agawa Falls. The Agawa Falls are one of the highest waterfalls in the Park. Following the gently rolling topgraphy of the Agawa River Valley will bring you to unavoidable steep ascents and descents around the cliff areas. You will witness the sounds of the thundering roar of the falls long before you reach the falls. It cascades 25 metres or 82 feet over a rocky ledge. This is a great spot to try your fishing for brook and rainbow trout in the pool just below the falls. The turn of the century brought many visitors, often guided, into the interior by Towabanasay (Tow-a-ban-a-say), Crescent Lake Campground is where the Crescent Lake Trail begins and leads you through a matured hardwood forest of white pine. 80 year old yellow birch and the great pines have inhabited this forest for over a century.
Crescent Lake Campground is where the Crescent Lake trail begins. It will lead you through a matured hardwood forest of white pine and old yellow birch which have inhabited the forest for over a century. Shorelines you will cross are MacGregor and Mud Lakes, part of the Crescent Lake Canoe Route. There are a variety of portages along this route as well. This short hike is ideal for families as well as the nature enthusiast seeking a relaxing outdoor adventure.
This trail system if for the visitor seeking challenge and demand. It holds a reputation of being just that. You will experience high cliffs, rocky outcrops, beaches, boulders, driftwood and rock covered beaches stretching from Agawa Bay to Chalfant Cove. The lichen covered rocks are slippery due to the dew, fog and rain. Obstructions of the trail can be stumbled upon, like wind blown trees and roots. You can access this trail system from various locations: Agawa Bay, Sinclair Cove, Katherine Cove, Orphan Lake Trail and Gargantua Road. These access points allow you to choose whether you will spend a couple of hours or several days in the Park. Blue, diamond-shaped symbols mark where the trail enters forested areas and rock cairns make exposed coastline sections. Most of the trail hugs the shoreline of Lake Superior. Should you loose your way at anytime, follow the coastline and eventually you will be brought back to the trail system where you can continue on your journey.
Guargantua is the main access point for the Coastal Trail. A 14km gravel road from Highway 17 to the parking lot at Lake Superior is rough so allow extra time here. It's an easy 45 minute walk to Gargantua Harbour from here. The site is an abandoned fishing village. 8 campsites can be found here, a sand beach, pit privy and a short lookout trail over Lake Superior. You could spend several days here exploring Gargantua and Warp Bay area. It's worth setting aside some time to explore. Campsites along the coast of Lake Superior are shared by hikers and paddlers. Set up camp early and go and enjoy the rest of your exploration if you can to be sure you don't miss out on a campsite.
Length : 65 km - linear trail
Hike Time : entire trail - 5 - 7 days (numerous lookouts, several access points so you can access shorter portions of the trail)
Campsites : designated sites along the trail (refer to the Park Map)
It's an easy hike to Warp Bay just two hours north of Gargantua. Just before you reach Warp Bay the trail branches off - head north (along a
more demanding section of the trail) to Indian Harbour (1 km - 1 hr) and Chalfant Cove (2 km - 2 hr) or you can continue south along Gargantua River to Warp Bay. There are 6 campsites on a sand beach at Warp Bay. A side trip is a recent extension to the Coastal Trail which allows you to visit Devil's Chair. An easy 2km section of the trail. Several campsites can be found along the route near Devil's Chair. You must return along the same trail back to Gargantua no matter which route you take north or Gargantua Harbour.
Gargantua to Warp Bay : 5 km - easy
Warp Bay to Devil's Chair : 2 km - easy
Gargantua to Chalfant Cove : 7 km - moderate
These distances are one-way only, you must return along the same routes to Gargantua Harbour
South of Gargantua the trail is extremely rugged and rated very demanding. Between Gargantua and Rhyolite Cove this trail climbs over 80 metres or 260 feet to spectacular vista views over Lake Superior. Rugged beauty meets the world's largest freshwater lake with endless Lake Superior shoreline exploration opportunity. This is the Park's most dynamic geology infused coastline where the waves have exposed the rocky coast. Rhyolite and Beatty Coves are fascinating. Sand and cobbled beaches are situated in coves which make ideal campsite locations.
Sinclair Cove to Agawa Bay is the newest extension of the Coastal Trail. This will guide you through interesting terrain of massive boulders and broken remnants of the Agawa Mountains. From Sinclair Cove, the trail system continues south from the parking area and briefly joins the Agawa Rock Pictographs Trail. You will go to the right before the Pictographs parking lot. Once the trail reaches the north end of Agawa Bay you will follow to beach to the old Agawa Lodge. Take the road out to Highway 17, using the highway bridge to cross the Agawa River. South of the river the trail will veer west toward to the beach where you can follow the old trail through the Agawa Meadows to the campground road.
Gargantua to Orphan Lake Trail : 20 km
Orphan Lake to Katherine Cove : 11 km
Katherine Cove to Sinclair Cove : 14 km
Sinclair Cove to Agawa Bay : 10 km