Provincial Park Paradise

Only a half an hour from town.

Sault Ste. Marie's Naturally Gifted character is only enhanced by its proximity to Lake Superior. The spectacular coastal landscape north of the city is easily accessed via the TransCanada Highway, where visitors can enjoy several parks established along the largest of the Great Lakes and the inland lakes and rivers of Algoma Country.

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A half-hour drive from town and located within the embrace of a large bay, warm water, a long sandy beach, washroom and picnic facilities make Batchawana Bay Provincial Park a favourite destination for day-trippers.

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Pancake Bay Provincial Park is also centred around the clean, clear and refreshing waters of Lake Superior that wash up on a three kilometre long sand beach. The addition of a 325 site campground (160 electrical) means you can extend your stay in a tent, camper or RV to enjoy the swimming, paddling and 17km of hiking trails, venturing through wetlands, forested ancient beach ridges and up to several lookout platforms over Lake Superior.

Yurt camping is also available, each equipped with beds to sleep up to six. Another 60km up the highway brings you to the southern border of 1,600km Lake Superior Provincial Park. Brooding headlands, sand and cobble beaches, deep river valleys, cliff faces and the rounded granite mountains of the Canadian Shield make the 83km drive through the park one of the most spectacular in Canada. While it's a stunning landscape to pass through, sticking around for a closer look is an option in one of 207 campsites (58 electrical) in three full service campgrounds or in one of 200 backcountry campsites.

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The options for penetrating the backcountry are as varied and extreme as the terrain itself. There are eight maintained canoe routes that follow the interconnected lakes and white water rivers of the interior and along the remote coastline of the big lake. Eleven hiking trails, ranging from 2km nature walks to the rugged and demanding 65km Coastal Trail, lead to the natural and historic treasures of the park. One of the most well-travelled is the short, rugged trail that leads to the Agawa Rock Pictographs Site, where 35 red ochre images grip a sheer cliff face along the water's edge.
 

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Even more remote and offering similar Lake Superior wilderness travel opportunities is the 1,850km Pukaskwa National Park to the north west. A full service campground as well as backcountry sites along the Coastal Hiking Trail and several wilderness rivers accommodate travellers of this exemplary landscape. More accessible is White Lake Provincial Park, along the TransCanada Highway west of White River, where a full-service campground and good walleye or pike fishing on 20km long White Lake await. Farther inland, Missinaibi Provincial Park promises fishing and native pictographs sites on Missinaibi Lake and the possibility of following the historic canoe route along the Missinaibi River 500km north to James Bay at Moosonee. Tiny by comparison, the short walking trail at Potholes Provincial Park leads to the sculpted chutes and glacier-eroded circular potholes in the bedrock along the Kinniwabi River. All within a half days drive of Sault Ste. Marie.

About James Smedley

Professional photographer and writer James Smedley’s contributions—more than 400 pieces and close to 1,000 images—to U.S. and Canadian books, magazines, and newspapers have earned him over 40 national and international awards. In addition to teaching photography workshops, James is the travel editor at Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine. James has fly-fished for brook trout and arctic grayling in far northern rivers and continues to cast for trout, bass, and steelhead near his home in the northern Ontario town of Wawa where he lives with his wife Francine and daughters Islay and Lillian.

 

Visit James at www.jamessmedleyoutdoors.com

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