If there’s a better path to fitness than taking a hike, I’d like to hear it. Here are eight Northern Ontario favourites that are sure to break a sweat and put a smile on your face.
Pukaskwa National Park: To the Wily White and Back
An 18-km out-and-back trek from Pukaskwa National Park’s Hattie Cove campground provides a glimpse of one of Canada’s toughest trails. Follow the Coastal Hiking Trail—a 55-km backpacking epic—south, bisecting a wetland and climbing rocky ridges. Your turnaround point for this day hike is the stunning suspension bridge over the White River’s tumultuous Chigamawinigum Falls. Venturing onto the bridge, which sways six stories above the rushing river, is the ultimate thrill.
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area: Red Rock to Nipigon
The 8-km Nipigon River Trail connecting the towns of Red Rock and Nipigon on Lake Superior’s north shore is a favourite destination for locals. In fact, volunteers have long donated sweat equity to keep it in tip-top shape. The trail offers a little bit of everything, including heart-pumping climbs and great views of the islands of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the world’s largest freshwater park. Approaching Nipigon, the trail bisects one of the most productive wetland areas on the Great Lakes. Stay in comfort at The Lodge or at the Red Rock Inn.
Lake Superior Provincial Park: Peat Mountain
This 10-km loop located just south of Wawa stands out for its steep climbs and long views of Lake Superior. Access the trail from Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Rabbit Blanket campground. From here, you’ll ascend into the boreal forest, climbing above small inland lakes, dipping into mossy hollows and glimpsing the open water of Lake Superior—maybe even the mystic Michipicoten Island. If you’re competitive, sign up for a trail run on the Labour Day weekend.
Sault Ste. Marie: Gros Cap Loop
This 5-km loop to Gros Cap Bluffs on the Voyageur Trail is perfect for visitors looking to incorporate a hike into their visit to Sault Ste. Marie. Located just west of the city, the trail bisects cedar wetlands and rocky ridges to three stunning lookouts high above Lake Superior’s eastern terminus. This is a great spot to watch lake freighters making their way into the St. Mary’s River and glass for migrating raptors and songbirds in the spring and fall.