Lake Superior Provincial Park – North Eastern Ontario at its Best

Of all of the provincial parks that I have camped at in Ontario, I would have to say that Lake Superior Provincial Park gets my vote, along with Killarney as being among the most scenic provincial parks in the province. I’ve been to Lake Superior Provincial Park twice and would return more often if it wouldn’t be for the long (approximately 800 kilometres) drive from Toronto.

Environment: Lake Superior Provincial Park is located along the northeastern Lake Superior shoreline, between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa Ontario and was established in 1944. The park is 1,550 square kilometres, making it one of the largest parks in the province. The park features the Lake Superior shoreline, along with extensive forests, rivers, lakes, ridges, cliffs, canyons and the beautiful rock outcroppings that can be found throughout the Canadian Shield. Native North American Indian pictographs can be seen along the rocky shoreline at Agawa Rock and other spots. 

Looking North Along the Agawa Bay Beach

Beach: The three-kilometre beach at Agawa Bay Campground offers one of the most superb beach views and sunsets to be found anywhere in Ontario. If you want to swim in Lake Superior, my recommendation is to go to the park as late as possible in the summer. My last trip in the park was early in July and the lake was too cold to swim in. All children must be supervised by adults, as there can be tremendous waves on the lake. The Rabbit Lake and Crescent Lake campgrounds also have beaches and swimming at those lakes is a good option if Lake Superior is too cold for swimming.

Camping: If you are going to the park for the first time, I recommend that you camp at Agawa Bay Campground. It is situated at the south end of the park and offers a magnificent three-kilometre beach, campsites that are situated right beside the beach, an amphitheatre, comfort stations, as well as the relatively new Visitor Centre. Agawa Bay Campground has 345 campsites. Crescent Lake Campground (46 campsites) is located on Crescent Lake, away from Lake Superior. The same applies with Rabbit Blanket Campground (60 campsites), which is located on Rabbit Lake. For backcountry camping, there are 200 backcountry campsites that are accessible from hiking trails or by canoe. 

Canoeing: There are 150 kilometres of canoe routes throughout the park. There are about eight canoe routes that range in length from 3-70 kilometres. I haven’t done any canoeing in the park, however I have heard people say that the Sand River and Lower Agawa River routes are quite good. You will need to purchase a park map as these canoe routes are extensive and intensive.   

Looking South Along the Agawa Bay Beach

Fishing: The park is known for having some of the best Brook Trout fishing in North America. Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout and other varieties can be found in the park as well. Fishing regulations are available at the park gatehouses along Highway 17, the Park Office and Visitor Centre.

Hiking: There are 11 hiking trails scattered throughout the park, totalling 128 kilometres. All hiking trails can be accessed from the campgrounds or Highway 17. The Coastal Trail (5-7 days one-way) is the trail to do if you have the time. It follows the Lake Superior shoreline for 65 kilometres and offers some of the most magnificent shoreline views to be found anywhere in Ontario. I had the privilege of hiking roughly one third of this trail. I did the southerly section to Agawa Bay Campground and was spellbound by the beauty of Lake Superior.  Purchase a map of the park at the Visitor Centre if you plan to do this trail or any other extensive trail within the park. The Agawa Rock Indian Pictographs Trail (0.4 kilometres) is another trail that you must do if you want to see some pictographs.

Shopping: Make sure that you are well provisioned with food, supplies and gas before you get to the park. Lake Superior Provincial Park is situated in a remote part of Ontario and shopping is limited in the area.

The Amphitheatre: Located at the Agawa Bay Campground.

Coastal Trail - Ten Kilometres North of Agawa Bay

The Visitor Centre: There is a large new Visitor Centre located at Agawa Bay campground. 

Wildlife: There are plenty of opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife in the park. You can see moose along highway 17 and other roadsides in May-June when the snow and salt have melted and drained into the ditches. Deer, caribou, wolves and bears can also be found in the park.

In Conclusion: The July-August occupancy rate for 2009 was only 51%, however, for car camping, the Agawa Bay campsites along the beach are usually occupied if the weather is good. There is a good chance that you can get a campsite at this park even without a reservation in the summer. It is in a remote part of Ontario and you will find that many campers in the park will be travelling across Ontario or Canada along the Trans Canada Highway. I believe that Lake Superior Provincial Park is one of the top parks in the province and you should see it if you are in the area.  Allow one week to explore the park and two weeks if you plan to do the Coastal Trail as well.

My Park Rating: 5 out of 5

Resources: For camping information and tips, see: The Camp Tripper. For camping gear, see: http://astore.amazon.com/tip4cam-20

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About Patrick Dzieciol

I have authored and published "The Camp Tripper - The Secrets of Successful Family Camping in Ontario" http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=9781450226264&image1.x=79&image1.y=17. If you want to get in touch with me, please drop me an email at: tips4camping@hotmail.com.
This entry was posted in Beach, Camping, Canoeing, Fishing, Hiking, Ontario, Park, Superior, Uncategorized, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lake Superior Provincial Park – North Eastern Ontario at its Best

  1. Randylesperance says:

    I am planning to hike the entire trail in the last two weeks of may. Do u have any tips on which direction is the best to explore from. What should i bring and what should i leave at home. What cloths would u pack? What food for a 6 dayn trip?

    • Randy,
      That sounds like a great trip and probably one of the greatest hikes in the province. I would suggest starting from the Agawa Bay Campground for several reasons. One, you can leave your car in a supervised area for safety. Two, there will be plenty of other hikers along this part of the trail to give you information on other parts of the trail that lay ahead. Three, you will be hiking in a northern direction, so you shouldn’t get the early morning sun in your eyes. Just make sure that you arrange for return transportation to your vehicle after you complete the hike. The weather in that region of Ontario is unpredictable and it rains at least once every three days during the summer. Expect the the temperature to dip to freezing at night with possible flurries. Here is what I would pack – 4 season quality tent that can stand up to the wind, 4 season synthetic sleeping bag, foam mat for sleeping, single burner stove and fuel for six days. It is wise to have a second single burner stove for backup. Go with freeze-dried or dehydrated meals as these are compact and light. Call the park in advance to see if the water in Lake Superior is safe for drinking. Otherwise, pack a water filter pump or purification tablets. Bring layers of clothes to suit four season camping. Wool hat, sun hat, thermal underwear, wool sweater, wind shell (top and bottom), hiking boots, gloves, sunglasses, etc. When you arrive, check if there is any ice along the trail. You may be wise to pack crampons to prevent your boots from slipping on ice. You can also do some google searches on this trail to see what other hikers who have hiked the trail recommend.
      Have a Great Trip!
      Patrick

  2. Harley Wonder says:

    Awesome park, I’ve been there 4-5 times. Campsites on the lake are second to none.
    Going again this summer.
    Canoeing Lake Superior along Agawa Bay when the chance arises (no waves) as the sun is setting is a personal favourite.

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