Algoma District of Ontario

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Griffin Lake Peak, ON (12-16-10) : Griffin Lake Peak, at 2157', ranks as one of my favorite summer hikes in Ontario.  Ever since, I had wondered if a winter climb of the peak would be feasibly possible given its remoteness from maintained roadways.  As it turned out, because the peak lies within the Turkey Lakes study area the government plows the roads within a couple miles of the summer trailhead!

In the summer this is a 3-mile round trip hike, which more than doubles in the snow season to a bit over seven.  I figured this would be just on the edge of what I'd be comfortable doing but, remembering the rather leisurely hike I did in the fall didn't figure I'd have any trouble with it.  Unfortunately, I sadly underestimated the vertical required and the depth of the early season snow pack.  The result was one of the most brutal winter hikes I've ever been on.  The scenery was amazing, as expected, but the effort was, arguably, not quite worth the payoff.  A hike to remember, for certain, but not one I'm likely to repeat...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  7.5 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  15'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  1,150'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  2,157'

Griffin Lake Peak, ON (12-16-10)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

Griffin Lake Peak, at 2157', ranks as one of my favorite summer hikes ...

Updated: Dec 17, 2010 8:33pm PST

Cobre Lake Trail, ON (9-22-10) : Off the grid is where I love to be, and the Cobre Lake Trail certainly seemed to qualify.  Located just north of Mississagi Provincial Park which in turn is north of Elliot Lake, the lake sits on the edge of the vast, nearly uninhabited Ontario North Woods.  Twelve kilometers, or 7.5 miles, in length, the Cobre Lake Trail passes no less than a half dozen lakes, pushes through a dazzling variety of forest types, across bare rock outcrops, along sandy beaches, and to the open summit of Mt. Belvedere with its expansive views.  If that wasn't enough the color season was making an early arrival so the colors were surprisingly vivid in spots.  I had a feeling ahead of time this would be a hike to remember, and boy oh boy, was it ever...as always, enjoy!

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  7.5 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  51'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  1,280'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,740'

Cobre Lake Trail, ON (9-22-10)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

Off the grid is where I love to be, and the Cobre Lake Trail certainly ...

Updated: Sep 23, 2010 5:46pm PST

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Agawa Bay Pictographs, ON (6-29-10) : The Agawa Bay pictographs are arguably the most famous attraction in Lake Superior Provincial Park.  We had already had a full afternoon of hiking on the Nokomis Trail (see previous gallery) but my family humored me and agreed to make the quick jaunt down to the lake to see them  The trail is less than a mile long and drops steeply to the lake.  As much as the glyphs, the rugged coastline is as big a draw for me.  The trail passes some dramatic shore here.  Unfortunately, Lake Superior was in one of its moods on this day and the petroglyphs were impossible to reach, with only one being visible.  Regardless, it was a wonderful little side trip...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  1.2 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  55'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  610'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  850'

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Agawa ...

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

The Agawa Bay pictographs are arguably the most famous attraction in L ...

Updated: Jul 06, 2010 7:59pm PST

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Nokomis Trail, ON (6-29-10) : The Nokomis Trail sits just inland from Old Woman Bay in the northern limits of Lake Superior Provincial Park.  Providing a wonderful intruduction to the boreal forest environment which dominates from this point north, the trail also offers wonderful southern vistas of the surrounding forested hills and stunning Old Woman Bay to the west.  The 3-mile trail served as my initial introduction to Lake Superior Provincial Park over a decade ago.  This time I returned with a couple youngun's and found the trip to be every bit as wonderful as the first time I visited.  Pictures are worth more than my babbling, so enjoy the album...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  3.0 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  50'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  605'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,050'

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Nokomi...

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

The Nokomis Trail sits just inland from Old Woman Bay in the northern ...

Updated: Jul 06, 2010 7:19pm PST

Gros Cap, ON (3-15-10) : Gros Cap itself is something to get excited over but a 60-degree day in mid-March!!!  What a difference a year makes!!  Last year this time we were digging out of our most recent blizzard with over two feet of snow on the ground!  This year, the snow is already all but gone!  Unbelievable!  I consider myself a snow-lover, but I'm over it for this year...BRING ON SPRING!!

Gros Cap is a remarkable place where the Canadian Shield jumps nearly 700 vertical feet out of Lake Superior.  The scenery is amazing and what's better is that it's so accessible!  Located only a short 20-ish minute drive east of Soo, Canada the last two or three miles of road are a bit rough but not like what you have to drive on to get to places like this elsewhere in the Algoma District!

Today's trail would be along the Gros Cap Loop Trail.  I don't have an exact figure but I'm guessing it's about a 3-mile round trip.  The eastern half of the loop takes you through a typical Canadian Shield mixed hardwood forest.  Views don't exist here but the young woodland is pristine.  The western half of the loop is where the real excitement is, save it for last!  There are three overlooks but the northernmost provides the most sweeping view.  Great on any day, I highly recommend this hike on a nice, 60-degree day in March:):)

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  3.0 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  60'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  1,050'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,250'

Gros Cap, ON (3-15-10)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

Gros Cap itself is something to get excited over but a 60-degree day i ...

Updated: Mar 15, 2010 1:36pm PST

Orphan Lake Trail, Lake Superior Provincial Park, ON (2-8-10) : The Orphan Lake Trail is a 4.5 mile loop through some of the prettiest terrain in Lake Superior Provincial Park.  The path leaves the Trans-Canada in the south end of the park.  It climbs to a beautiful overlook of its namesake lake, which is landlocked some 400 feet above Lake Superior.  From the overlook it follows Orphan Lake for a bit, crosses a burned area from the 1990's which offers beautiful views, and then makes the steep descent to the lakeshore.  After a brief time along Superior the trail turns back inland past what, in warmer seasons, is a series of nice cascades and then makes the STEEP climb back to Orphan Lake past some impressive cliffs.

After a two year absence from Lake Superior Provincial Park my calendar and clear skies finally aligned and I was blessed to a truly amazing day on the trail.  This hike is sure to be one of my most memorable from winter '09/10...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  4.5 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  24'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  600'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,020'

Orphan Lake Trail, Lake Superior Prov...

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

The Orphan Lake Trail is a 4.5 mile loop through some of the prettiest ...

Updated: Feb 10, 2010 8:28pm PST

Robertson Lake Cliffs, ON (11-11-09) : Not 20 miles north of the Michigan/Ontario border is one of the most dramatic landscapes I've come across around the Great Lakes.  The Robertson Lake Cliffs form a 600' high rampart along the north sidde of the Goulais River valley.  I had seen them (you can't miss them!) on all of my travells north but didn't realize they were so accessible until very recently.  As stated before the cliffs are located about 20 miles north of Soo, Ontario.  On a good map you should be able to find Robertson Lake Road heading east from the Trans-Canada just north of the Goulais River.  The road up to the cliffs is surprisingly well travelled and very scenic.  Unlike most other access roads on my adventures in the Algoma District, this one can be travelled easily by a two-wheel drive car!  Upon arrival you'll find yourself hiking along the Voyageur Trail, Ontario's most ambitious long-distance trail project, which passes along the top of the cliffs in their entirety.  This is Algoma country at its best...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  3.0 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  49'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  1,120'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,400'

Robertson Lake Cliffs, ON (11-11-09)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

Not 20 miles north of the Michigan/Ontario border is one of the most d ...

Updated: Nov 30, 2009 6:38am PST

Sault Ste. Marie Canal Trails, ON (10-28-09) : This hike was a pleasant surprise.  I was originally planning on heading out to Gros Cap but time constraints warranted something closer.  I had noticed trails running along and under the International Bridge on previous crossings and had been curious about what there was to see along them.  Ii had never been down to see the famed St. Mary's Rapids up close and so I quickly decided that this day would be a good a day as any to give into my curiosity.

What I didn't know was that the trails are adjacent to the Sault Sainte Marie Canal National Historic Site, a site I didn't know existed!  A hike with some history mixed in!!  How could I go wrong?!  The 2 mile loop began and ended at the old canal which was opened in 1897.  Though no longer open to commercial shipping it does serve Canadian pleasure craft during the warmer months.  I was not able to get inside any of the buildings but the park has numerous informational kiosks that help explain the history of the site.  After filling myself up with a helping of history I set out around the adjacent islands to see what I could see...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  2.0 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  55'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  590'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  620'

Sault Ste. Marie Canal Trails, ON (10...

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

This hike was a pleasant surprise. I was originally planning on headi ...

Updated: Nov 02, 2009 9:02am PST

Griffin Lake Peak, ON (9-28-09) : Griffin Lake Peak stands a tad over 2100' and is listed as the 7th highest peak in Ontario.  It's a peak I only recently found out about, despite the fact it only sits a mile or so from a very memorable hike I did up Batchawana Mountain last year.  It's located up one of my favorite trail roads, Mile 38 Road, about a half hour north of Sault Ste. Marie.  I discovered it through Ontariohighpoints.com and was shocked to discover that not only was it taller than Batchawana, but it sported a completely open summit and an actual trail leading there!!  The only catch is that to get to the trailhead you need a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle which, as luck would have it, I just recently purchased.  The mountain was calling and I had to go...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  3.5 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  50'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  1,640'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  2,152'

Griffin Lake Peak, ON (9-28-09)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

Griffin Lake Peak stands a tad over 2100' and is listed as the 7th hig ...

Updated: Sep 29, 2009 6:47pm PST

King Mountain, ON (9-09-09) : King Mountain is a rather obscure peak in the Algoma Highlands north of Sault Ste. Marie.  I'm not sure where I first heard of it but it was rumored that there were some truly spectacular views from the top.  After no small amount of searching, and a little outside help, I found that the peak was located adjacent to a local cross-country ski club known as Stokely Lodge.  I set out on this 6-mile hike with high hopes of visiting yet another of Algoma's remarkable, open peaks.

Alas, this was not to be.  You can't win 'em all I guess.  The trails most of the way to the top were wide and fairly well-marked.  The summit trail was another story.  Listed as a 'backcountry trail' it was not really a trail at all.  The final mile to the top turned into a bushwhack between vaguely marked trees.  Finally, upon reaching the top I discovered that the 'sweeping views' amounted to a narrow overlook through the trees.  Not quite the payoff I expected.  Nevertheless, any chance to get out in the woods is great with me and I tried to make the most of my visit...

<b>Mileage Hiked:</b>  6.0 miles
<b>Trailhead Temp:</b>  75'F
<b>Min. Elevation:</b>  850'
<b>Max Elevation:</b>  1,840'

King Mountain, ON (9-09-09)

Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

King Mountain is a rather obscure peak in the Algoma Highlands north o ...

Updated: Sep 10, 2009 6:46am PST