Ontario’s Thunder Bay area is tremendous for outdoors lovers, with a fine position on Lake Superior and lots of great activities all around. Here are five areas to check out.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
This rugged provincial park is on the tip of a large peninsula that juts into Lake Superior (just outside Thunder Bay). With its towering, craggy rocks, fantastic viewpoints and 100 kilometres of trails for hikers of all abilities, Sleeping Giant is one of the best hiking spots in Canada. The top hike is the Top of the Giant Trail. It’s a fairly strenuous hike, but the amazing views of Lake Superior make it worth the work. Not much of a hiker? From May to October, you can drive your car to the Thunder Bay lookout point and get views from a platform that juts out from the top of a cliff.
Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
Just 30 minutes west of Thunder Bay, the Kaministiquia River unleashes a fury of water over the black rocks at the falls, sometimes called “the Niagara of the North.” From the boardwalk at the top (open year-round), you’ll see a giant, triangular-shaped slab of rock in the middle of the falls, with small trees clinging to it precariously. The water drops roughly 40 metres, then funnels into a beautiful canyon with walking trails in the summer and snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails in the winter.
The water on this lake, which hugs the eastern shore of the city, is surprisingly calm, making it perfect for water-centric activities. Sail Superior offers 90-minute sailing tours that pass the red-and-white Thunder Bay lighthouse and other attractions. It also offers yoga and sail packages, wine and cheese packages, and sail and hike excursions.
Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park
This provincial park is roughly one hour east of Thunder Bay. It has a glorious, deep canyon with rugged outcroppings of ancient brown and black stone and 100-metre-high cliffs. It’s a relatively easy walk from the parking lot along the trail that leads to two lookout points. The canyon floor has plants usually only found in Arctic climates.
In the city
Folks who want to stay in more of an urban setting, but still experience nature, will enjoy the walking and biking paths that wind throughout the north end of Lake Superior. That area also has pretty parks with fountains and gardens and great views of the lake. There are live concerts at Marina Park on Wednesdays from mid July to late August, and Centennial Park, located along the Current River, boasts a 1910 logging camp and museum, as well as a farm where families can visit chickens, horses and more.