Where and How to Get Started
Evan Fiorito, Sports and Recreation Editor
During the transition from summer to fall, the leaves change from the vibrant greens we look forward to each spring, to often breathtaking mixes of orange, yellow and red. One of the best ways to enjoy this pastel of colours is on a hike through one of the exquisite areas that surround Thunder Bay. Northwestern Ontario has a bountiful array of beautiful trails and areas that anyone can take advantage of and enjoy. Hiking is a great way to get some physical activity and enjoy the outdoors, especially during the relatively short season of fall. If you’re looking to get out there and explore, here are some of the best places to do so:
Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. Kakabeka Falls is often referred to as the “Niagara of The North” and is truly breathtaking to behold. The park is very well- maintained and there are numerous trails around the waterfall including the Kaministiquia River, which runs through the park. The park is also home to another water fall called Little Falls, which can be reached through an excellent hiking trail.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. A must see for any Thunder Bay resident or visitor, Sleeping Giant Park offers beautiful views of Lake Superior and the vast boreal forest which it encompasses. The park has a total of around 80 kilometers of hiking trails, from beginner to increased difficulty. Some of the main attractions of the park include its amazing views, large assortment of wildlife, and landmarks such as the “Sea Lion.”
Top of Mount Mckay. Mount Mckay is part of the Nor’Wester and rises 270 meters above Lake Superior. It is located just south of Thunder Bay on the Fort William First Nation reserve. You can find this trail after the toll booth in the gravel parking area. It should take you around the base of the southern face of the mountain, then up the eastern face. The trail offers a scenic view of Thunder Bay and Lake Superior as well as the opportunity to see some rare flora. To return, simply walk back the way you came. However, this trail may not be as well-maintained as some of the others on the list, so be warned that it may be more difficult.
Now that you have a few ideas of where to hike, it’s important to go over some things that you may need to ensure your hike is both safe and enjoyable. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, as over-heating or freezing can be seriously dangerous. If it’s a long hike, bring water and snacks, to ensure you don’t dehydrate and to keep you energized. Be mindful of the wildlife and don’t disturb what you don’t have too. It’s a good idea to carry some form of bear spray, just in case. It’s also always smart to bring a compass and a map, if possible, with you. And lastly, know your limits. If you are just beginning hiking, you may want to start with smaller, easier trails until you get a better gauge of what you can manage.