It is a humbling experience to stand in front of a spring waterfall. Watching and feeling the water's path change and erode in front of your eyes makes the trip to see it more than worthwhile.
We travel often to see the various sites offered by the Superior shore line, and Lake Superior Provincial Park never disappoints. Each trip is a different and memorable experience because the landscape is similar, but never really the same. This year we started somewhat close to home in our spring waterfall exploring.
Beaver Falls is found roadside on Highway 556, approximately 20 km east of Highway 17. Since they're unmarked and tucked away, you need to watch for the north-facing falls peeking out from the scenery, but once you spot it, it will be worth the search. There are several drops to be seen from the roadside. They are more easily seen during the spring melt when the creek that flows into the Goulais River is the most active. It's easy to miss as it runs through a culvert under the highway. Google Maps can be a girl's best friend when searching; take a look, it's there. I'm told that the falls are on private property, there is a home at the top, and a driveway that runs in alongside. But it's a nice drive out to see, even from the roadside.
These falls are beautiful any time of the year, and located in the easily accessible Hiawatha Highlands Park here in Sault Ste. Marie. The Hiawatha Highlands offer hike, bike, ski, and walking trail options for all ages and experience levels; lucky for me since I am the perfect example of a beginner.
It was the falls that brought us to Hiawatha on this particular exploration journey. The approximately 50-foot falls run down to the small pool base, then flow through the park, into a small bay, and then towards the dam at the top of Minnehaha Falls. All of this is easily seen from the trails and the park. The falls here, like so many others, boast a remarkable scene during the spring melt. The rush of the water is astounding, and being able to experience it at such a close proximity makes it an exciting place to visit during the spring.
This rest stop with a view is just 45 minutes from Sault Ste. Marie on the Trans Canada Highway. The falls here, visible from the highway, are particularly powerful during the spring melt. A popular place to toss in a line for the fisherman in your family looking to hook themselves a brook trout. And a great place for a family hike. The trail allows you to experience the falls closely, and in the spring while the river is rushing down the 60 foot falls it is a spectacular site to be seen. Of course the closer you get while the falls are gushing, the more you feel the freezing cold mist, as I have recently learned. It should also be noted that when the river rush slows there is still plenty to see and explore. The approximately 30-km drive will not disappoint.
Sand River Falls
On we go to this roadside spectacle that keeps on giving. Driving roughly 150 km from Sault Ste. Marie, you will come to Pinuisibi Trail. No need to worry, you are in the right place. Also known as Sand River Falls, the spring melt is considerably different in appearance than during the fall, but a site to be seen year round nonetheless. At the base of the falls, running under the highway bridge and into Lake Superior, you will often see fishers here as well with their lines in, as it is a popular place to fish for rainbow trout in the spring. The falls turn into a beach shoreline that when followed brings you to an increasingly popular visitors' spot, Bathtub Island.
Getting back to the falls, starting up the trail you will come to the first set of falls here. The riverside trail offers many opportunities to look upon the falls closely, but mind your footing in the spring, the surrounding trails and shore can be considerably more slippery than most other times of the year. The falls offer a sensational site of the lively spring melt. When you think you have seen all the site has to offer, you climb higher, where carved out of red rock lays a small chute with rushing white rapids. And then on to the next set of surging falls that are larger and even more impressive. The trail, approximately 3.5 km in length, allows for all skill levels to enjoy this experience and is a must-add to your Provincial Park hiking list.
Coming across a spring waterfall washing away the winter is something I look forward to each year. It's powerful and awe-inspiring to watch the rush, and it is a gentle reminder of the power of Mother Nature.