A Hiking Destination on Superior's North Shore
With its spectacular views, one of the best hiking trails visitors are likely to find travelling the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior is the Nipigon River Recreation Trail.
The trail follows the scenic shoreline of the Nipigon River and the rugged shore of Lake Superior which is part of the Parks Canada Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.
The Nipigon River Recreation Trail also is to host the "Hike for Health", a popular charity fundraiser held when fall colours dominate in late September.
Starting from either end, visitors can choose to hike the entire length or take a shorter walk that doesn't require the commitment to time or energy.
However, if you do plan to hike the entire trail, make sure you have the time. The official trail brochure says to allow 3.5 hours for the trail and lookouts, but consider spending a full day on the trail as I did.
There are plenty of interpretive signs pointing out the various plant life such as Ground Hemlock which has compounds in its needles that are used to treat cancer. Near the start of the trail is the remains of an old tug boat that once worked the Nipigon River. It's along this section of the trail that a sign points out that you are on the 49th Parallel.
All along the river there are spectacular views of high Precambrian Shield cliffs which are home to Bald Eagles and other majestic birds of prey. It's easy to understand why this section of the trail is included as a stop for the annual Canyon Country Birding Festival which is held every May.
For hardy adventurers, the crowning glory of the Nipigon River Trail is likely the hike to Eagle's Ridge. Located about 4 kilometres from Red Rock and reachable by a steady climb plus a set of 199 stairs when approaching from Nipigon or 63 steps when approaching from Red Rock, the reward is well worth the sweat and burn in your legs.
There is plenty of space for parking at either trailhead, both of which are easy to locate. For your convenience, Epic Adventures (a local outfitter) provides a shuttle service from either end of the trail back to your vehicle for a nominal fee. Arrangements should be made at least a few days in advance by emailing email@example.com or calling 807-887-1008.