Driving the north shore of Lake Superior offers jaw-droppingly beautiful views of the big lake. And now, when you want to stretch your legs, it’s easy and convenient to take a stroll on the newly opened Rossport Coastal Trail (about two hours east of Thunder Bay or 15-20 minutes west of Schreiber and Terrace Bay). Get a closer look at the ancient rocks, native vegetation and hidden coves and take in views of Superior’s ever-changing waters and the nearby archipelago of islands.
The 1.5 km-trail hugs the shoreline between the pretty and historic village of Rossport (at the east end, near a small playground) and the Rossport Roadside Park (a rest area). You can easily travel in either direction, or make the full 3-km round trip. The trail is open year-round and it’s easy to picture it in the mists and colours of autumn, hushed whiteness of winter (bring snowshoes!) or emerging greenery of spring. It’s part of the longer Casque Isles hiking trail.
For the most part, the trail is flat, but you’ll face the occasional scramble over rocky beach areas, so walking shoes are a must. The terrain is varied—old asphalt sections, winding curves of crushed gravel, cobblestone beaches and large expanses of smooth rock—and if you want a shorter walk or are pushing a stroller, the first half-kilometre or so at either end is suitable for a less-demanding walk.
Along the way you’ll see an excellent representation of native vegetation. In late summer, this means wild blueberries, wild raspberries, yarrow, Indian pipe, pearly everlasting, ninebark, wild peas, blue bead lilies, fireweed, birch and jack pine and a variety of lichens and mosses. The trail is well-defined and easy to follow, and the sections of rocky shoreline are marked with painted white footprints to keep you on track.
The trail’s location beside the Trans Canada Highway (you’re at lake level, so the highway is about 8 metres above you) is convenient, but you will of course hear traffic noise. Still, the rumble of vehicles quickly becomes unimportant as you spot a flock of merganser ducks scooting around in the shallows, examine the remains of a rocky chimney or gaze at the low-lying islands and the houses that dot the shoreline in Rossport.
A quick look at the visitor’s log reveals that in only a month of operation, the Rossport Coastal Trail had positive comments from travellers from Maine, Ohio, Winnipeg and all over Ontario. Whether you’re on a road trip, setting out on a boating adventure or visiting the picturesque restaurants, gift shops and accommodations in Rossport, be sure to take a walk on the trail and add your name in the guest book too.