The band TLC said “don’t go chasing waterfalls,” but this writer suggests the exact opposite. Cataractophiles, or waterfall enthusiasts, have been awed by the power and beauty of cascading waterfalls, long before it became a hashtag on Instagram, and for good reason.
Waterfalls draw us in with their idyllic spectacle and unpredictable beauty. Since their flow is often based on runoff from snow and rain, it’s anyone’s guess if you will see a trickle or a torrent, but regardless the views are always worth the trip. In Algoma, there are lots of must-visit waterfalls, some of which were even immortalized by Canada’s most famous painters, the Group of Seven. There are dozens more they likely would have painted had a guide showed them the way!
Here are 6 amazing waterfalls to check out in Algoma Country
Whether you’re road-tripping, or backcountry hiking and camping, there are falls in every direction leaving Sault Ste. Marie, and one just on the edge of city limits to the North, at Hiawatha Highlands.
1. Crystal Falls
This scenic waterfall is easily accessible from the lower parking lot at Kinsmen Park. There is a boardwalk alongside the falls and some rocky sections to scramble up to reach a walkway across the top. At its base, there is a pond that often reflects the surrounding trees like a mirror.
2. Chippewa Falls
Further North you will find Chippewa Falls, right on the side of Highway 17. While it’s only 25’ high, the flow never disappoints with a raging flow or more delicate fingers of water. Although visible from the road, at the TransCanada’s halfway point, it’s worth stopping to stretch your legs and even climb alongside the falls, to see what the fishermen are catching.
3. Lake Superior Provincial Park
Even further North, in Lake Superior Provincial Park are the Sand River Falls (easily accessible from a parking lot off the highway), Gargantua River Falls (not as large as the name suggests and which requires a hike in).
4. High Falls
On the outskirts of Wawa is the impressive High Falls. Also known as Scenic High Falls of the Magpie and Magpie Falls, the site’s parking lot is 2.5 km from the highway down a gravel road. You can get up close to a viewing area, and walk up towards the dam.
5. Bridal Veil Falls
One waterfall the Group of Seven did paint is Bridal Veil Falls in the Agawa Canyon Park which is most easily accessible by a scenic trip on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train from Sault Ste. Marie. There are actually three falls in the Park, and a short stroll gets you up close to viewing platforms. The River Trail takes 15 minutes each way to see Black Beaver Falls (175 ft high) and another five minutes will get you to the 225 ft high Bridal Veil Falls (40-minute return). The falls can also be accessed by a multi-day hike into the park.
6. Aubrey Falls
Alternatively, if you’re North of Thessalon, definitely check out a story about a perfect day trip to Aubrey Falls.
I’ve only scratched the surface with the falls that I’ve listed. To plan out a waterfalling trip, visit gowaterfalling.com and waterfallsofontario.com—both excellent resources for this low-cost hobby. Falls are listed by area and alphabetically and include details on height and accessibility along with photos, videos, and often get GPS coordinates.
Check out more Algoma freshwater experiences—from rapids to waterfalls.