A Hikers Paradise - Nipigon, Ontario
Nipigon, Ontario stands as one of the most beautiful regions that Canada has to offer.
Situated on the Northern most point of Lake Superior is one of Ontario’s true, hidden gems. The rugged, boreal forest dominated landscape is accented by mountainous plateaus of basalt columns. Lakes and ponds dot the area, connected by veins of rivers, creeks, and streams. Hiking, camping, hunting, fishing - you name it, it’s there.
There are a number of great hiking locations in the area. Amongst the most popular hikes are the Nipigon-Red Rock Trail, Deer Lake Mountain, Ruby Lake Pallisades, Kama Hills, and the ever popular and amazing network of trails on Dog Head Mountain.
Mazukama Falls Trail …
Another local favourite, and one of the most diverse hiking trails around is the Mazukama Falls Trail. Starting out on a now defunct snowmobile trail, the trek soon cuts into the cedars and starts up beside some of the stunningly bright-red hued bed rock, of the Canadian Shield that have been polished smooth by the cascading champagne-esque waters of Mazukama creek tumbling down from the mountains above. After following the trail for 1.5km or so, the loop trail winds you another 1.5km or so though stands of birch, poplar, and colossal (and I mean colossal!) old growth cedar trees. The spur trail to Wingtip lookout, though it adds a few kilometers to your trip, is highly worth the time. From the lookout you can see the geographical northernmost shoreline on Lake Superior, between Ozone Creek and Mazukama Creek. A bit further down the amazing Highway 17, is the ever popular casque-isles trail, bucket list trail, 100%, look it up. Along with the Orient Bay Palisades trail. Of course there are more in the immediate vicinity of Nipigon, but, I’ll let you look them up on the town website.
Not into walking the beaten path? Me either (typically). Satellite imagery sites are an addictive habit, however, a habit that has gotten me into some really amazing places. It’s also gotten me a lot of scratches, cuts, lost, and broken equipment, but hey, the amazing places. Where people spend their time scrolling the ever-repeating images on Facebook, or the political arguments on Twitter, I spend most of my time on sites like Flash Earth, or Google Earth looking for what could be a waterfalls, highpoints of land, or something that might just be really cool to go see. Yes, I have a Facebook account, and a Twitter account, but, I do spend most of my time looking for places to get away from that stuff.
Remember earlier I had mentioned plateau mountains of basalt, and all the rivers, lakes, streams and ponds one could imagine? Well, a lot of those water features are located on the tops of those mountains, and somehow, that water has to get down to Lake Superior. A simple look at the direction the water is flowing under a road and common sense telling you “If that water came from up there, it almost certainly comes over a falls, somewhere”.
There are a lot of people in the area who have done this in the past, and there are a TON of hiking trails marked with often faded flagging tape, sometimes, if you’re lucky, with a bit of new flagging tape. Having some willingness to get your feet wet, your hands dirty, and maybe blistered, will get you into some very untouched wilderness. If you’re into a real backcountry, bushwhacking, and totally unique experience, this is the place for you. GPS, or local intel highly recommended. If you’re into hiking properly maintained, and signed hiking trails that you’ll wish you knew about before, Nipigon has you covered in that aspect as well.
In this day and age, it’s tough to say you’re standing somewhere that nobody else ever has, however, you can certainly find yourself standing where very few people ever have. When you are out on these trails, you are certainly nowhere near anyone else - it’s the truest feeling of peace and solitude.
All photos provided by the author.