Ontario's Sunset Country is a beautiful place at any time, however, as you are sitting close to a waterfall and hear its thundering roar with the forest and lakes surrounding you, it's hard to want to be anywhere else. Many of the waterfalls in Northwestern Ontario are just off the highways and are easily accessible. There are also many, many other waterfalls that are on one of our thousands of remote lakes. For now, I will concentrate on the best one you can easily visit on any road trip.
Kakabeka Falls is known as "the Niagara of the North". It is on the Kaministiquia River beside the community of Kakabeka Falls, 30 km (19 mi) west of the city of Thunder Bay. These magnificent waterfalls have a drop of 130' cascading into a gorge carved out of the Precambrian Shield. Get a bird's-eye view from platforms and trails along the gorge. Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park is right off the Trans-Canada Highway. You can stop just to see the waterfalls or you can also camp at the park.
Enjoying a stop at Raleigh Falls in Ignace Ontario
Enjoying a stop at Raleigh Falls in Ignace Ontario
Raleigh Falls is located right off Highway 17 just west of Ignace, Ontario. This gem of a waterfall is not marked on the highway other than a rest area sign so if you don't know about them you will miss them. Years ago you may have been able to see them from the highway but the lush forest that surrounds it now covers the waterfalls. It's a very short walk from the parking area to the waterfalls. There are some picnic tables along the falls if you'd like to take a break and enjoy the view. You can get close to the waterfalls, so please be careful around the edges. The beginning of the waterfall flows over a steep rock cut and then the water moves slower down around the rocks. This is definitely something you want to see if you are in Ignace or if you just need to stretch your legs on your travels.
Little Falls in Atikokan, Ontario
Little Falls is right next to the Little Falls Golf Course in Atikokan, Ontario. Little Falls is a natural waterfall on the Atikokan River. It's one of the best 'little falls' around. There are one larger and two smaller waterfalls. There is a sheltered picnic area at the entryway next to the Walleye Fish Hatchery as well as a picnic area on the opposite side of the bay.
Take a walk downside the falls and cross a cable suspension bridge for a good photo opp of Little Falls. If you keep going past the bridge there's a walkway that takes you to the east side of the falls where you can get a better view of the two smaller falls. The grounds surrounding the falls are quite peaceful and there are plenty of places to take a break on a park bench or have a picnic and enjoy the view.
Rushing River Provincial Park
Waterfalls at Rushing River Provincial Park
Just like Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, Rushing River stands out with its waterfall. The Rushing River waterfalls can be seen right off Highway 71 between Kenora and Sioux Narrows. Rushing River cascades over rock gouged by glaciers in a series of rapids. In the Spring you'll see the highest amounts of water pouring down like in the above photo. In the summer when there is less water, you'll see adults and children alike playing in the waterfalls.
Spend the day at the park; there's plenty to do such as canoeing, swimming at one of the four sandy beaches, and frolicking in the falls. Park staff offer guided walks on nature trails, outdoor amphitheater programs, special activities, and events about Rushing River's natural heritage. You can also camp at the park, but make sure you make your reservations ahead of time, this is a very popular park.
The Falls at Nestor Falls
On Highway 71 midway between Fort Frances and Kenora, you'll find the waterfalls that give Nestor Falls its name. This beautiful waterfall is located right along the road although from the car you'd never know it was there. Water flows from Kakabikitchiwan Lake into Lake of the Woods creating 'the Falls'. Get out and venture down a very short distance to see the waterfall. You can have a picnic or just relax at the sheltered picnic area or down below to have the falls as your backdrop. There are often pelicans, geese, and many other birds surrounding the area.
Waterfalls off Highway 105 over the Wabigoon River
Wabigoon River Waterfalls
Head north on Highway 105 and you pass over the Wabigoon River not too far up the highway. While there is no real rest area there, you can park just north of the falls and get out to view them. To the east of the highway, you'll see a long cascading waterfall.
Drive just a bit farther north up Highway 105 and you'll see Perrault Falls. The waterway that bridges Perrault and Wabaskang Lakes is where you'll find Perrault Falls. The parking area on the west side of the highway is directly across from Rainbow Point Lodge. Park and walk a short distance to the falls. You'll be greeted by the powerful sounds of rushing water. If you're adventurous and have a sturdy pair of shoes you can follow the trail alongside the waterfalls down to where it flows into Wabaskang. You'll often see guests of nearby lodges fishing just below the falls.
Rapids under the Roy Wilson Suspension Bridge
While they may not be called a waterfall, the rapids underneath the suspension bridge in Dryden can be a sight to see. The water ranges from powerful gushing water to a slower, quiet trickle later in the season. Park at Johnson Park not far from the intersection of Highway 17 and King Street and head towards the nature trails past the tile mosaic. Take a left at the river and after a short distance, you'll see the suspension bridge on your right. Walk the bridge to get the best view of the Wabigoon River rapids. Visitors are encouraged to walk the trails around the park as well.
If you're just passing through or are staying at one of the nearby towns, make sure you get out and experience these beautiful waterfalls. There are many, many other waterfalls in Ontario's Sunset Country that are accessible remotely from a canoe or at your wilderness resort. Please be careful around the falls as the nearby ground is usually wet. Don't forget your camera!