Manitoulin has many hiking trails which take anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day, requiring various degrees of fitness. For the casual walker, there are nature trails and boardwalks in and around many of the towns. Brief descriptions follow.
On Hwy 6, just north of Hwy 542, this private park offers a nature interpretive centre with three complimentary hiking trails through five different eco systems, (wetland, forest, meadow, pond, escarpment). The Interpretive Centre features mounted animal displays of bears, wolves, hawks and owls plus interpretive information on mushrooms, fossils, edible wilds, astronomy, birds, trees, wildflowers and animals. Picnic area, pool, mini putt, camping, tipi tenting, B&B and store. Observation deck, bird blind, Dark Sky Sanctuary and astronomy observatory. www.gordonspark.com
This verdant 100-acre park is located on New England Road, a sideroad off Hwy 6 mid-way between Manitowaning and South Baymouth. The park, about 3km along the New England Rd. features hiking trails based on ancient logging paths. Hardwood bush with some huge trees. The walk takes about 1.5 hours.
Cup and Saucer – Michigiwadinong Trails
Twenty km west of Little Current, with ample parking and trailhead off Highway 540, 3km past the Bidwell Road corner, is the well known Cup and Saucer trail. With its dramatic 70 metre cliffs and breathtaking views, up to 12km of hiking trails, and a 2km adventure trail, it is one of the most popular trails in Ontario. Anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours. Spectacular views over both the North Channel and Lake Manitou.
Bridal Veil Falls
The Bridal Veil Falls trail system is located in Kagawong. Although there is access to the trail system at Bridal Veil Falls, which is adjacent to Hwy 540, there are much safer and roomier parking options in the lower hamlet of Kagawong, including at the Park Centre and in the vicinity of the river mouth as well as next to Dig and Doug’s Cedar Furniture. Park in lower Kagawong and enjoy the river trail system/falls on foot – you get the best of both worlds! The lower village includes other points of interest, and both the upper and lower village have unique shops. Note that the Bridal Veil Falls trail system is also part of the new Billings Connections Trail and includes access to several of the new public sculptures and heritage plaques installed as part of the Billings Canada 150 project.
Sheshegwaning – Nimkee’s Hiking Trail
North of Silver Water, off Hwy 540, the Sheshegwaning First Nation is developing a 20km trail, which can be enjoyed in several sections, some offering wonderful views of the North Channel. There are facilities for camping and picnicking. Trail maps are available at the Band Office or at the Gas/Convenience store at the trailhead. Allow 3 to 6 hours.
Misery Bay Provincial Nature Reserve is a 860 hectare provincial park on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, a 10 minute drive west of Evansville. There is a trail network of eight trails totaling approximately 16 km (one way) and ranging in length from 0.2 km to 4.8 km (one way). The trails feature mixed woodland, old beach ridges, and rare alvars. There is a visitor centre/ interpretive centre to educate the public about this unique area. There is an easy loop of 4.1km from the visitor centre consisting of the Lakeshore and Wolf Den Trails. For more information visit www.manitoulin.com/misery-bay
Noble Nature Trail
The Noble Nature Trail is an easy to moderate trail that offers a 1.1km stroll east from its starting point at the intersection of Water and Bay Streets on the Gore Bay shoreline up to and along the East Bluff overlooking Gore Bay and the town. The Noble Nature Trail ends at the Harold Noble Memorial Park which offers a high vantage point that provides outstanding panoramic opportunities for that perfect photo of the Port of Gore Bay and its busy harbourfront.
Gore Bay Boardwalk Trail
The Boardwalk Trail follows the town’s waterfront and connects with the Noble Nature Trail. It travels 1.2km along the shoreline west to Fish Point Park, where the Harbour Centre Gallery and Split Rail Brewery are in the neighbourhood. The Boardwalk Trail offers an easy and accessible route along the length of the town’s waterfront will bring you to the newly constructed breakwall, providing an opportunity to get further out into the bay. Picnic areas are available along this trail as is direct access to the many downtown businesses and services.
Heaven’s Gate Trail
This approx 50km trail runs from the Willisville turn-off on Hwy 6 through to Fort Lacloche on the Sagamok First Nation, south of Massey. The multi-day hike runs through the magnificent Lacloche Mountains with beautiful views of the North Channel and surrounding lakes. However it is not well marked or maintained and only recommended for very skilled hikers. Guided hiking and canoeing tours of the area, with a Native theme, are available from “Trails of The Eagle Clan,” 705-865-2526, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Right off one of Mindemoya’s main streets, Hwy 542, Wagg’s Woods is located almost directly across the street from the municipal office and library building. Features maple, basswood, birch and ash. Moss climbs the cliffs which are part of the Niagara Escarpment. Watch for 15 different species of fern. Allow 1 hour.
Bowerman trails in South Baymouth
While you’re waiting for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, or after you disembark, this trail is a great diversion. Access points are off the small boat harbour parking lot and across from the boat launch (south of the ferry terminal building) and also off Green Street in the same area. The trails take you up limestone steps, through the bush and offer Lake Huron views. Allow 1 hour.
Bebamikawe Memorial Trail
Located at the end of Beach Road in Wiikwemkoong, this trail is 14 km of easy to intermediate trails, spectacular lookouts and educational signage. The Outdoor Fitness Park section of the trail is a double track, granular surfaced trail with five fitness stations equipped with outdoor fitness equipment so that trail users can take advantage of resistance training in a scenic natural environment. Call (705) 859-3477 for more information.
Point Grondine Park
A First Nation-owned and operated recreational park, Point Grondine has over 7,000 hectares of scenic natural wilderness landscape, old growth pine forest, stunning river vistas and eight interior lakes to explore. The trailhead is ideally situated off Killarney Highway 637 nestled between the Killarney and French River Provincial Parks; it is in the northern terminus of the Georgian Bay Coast Trail, a sustainable world-class hiking trail in the spectacular landscape of the UNESCO Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. The park is accessible through mandatory park permits that can be purchased online at www.GrondinePark.com or by calling 1 (705) 859-3477.
The Little Current Recreational Walking Trail
The trail is a 12 km path (approximately 2 to 4 hours) that includes minimal elevation changes, a compact surface, trail lighting on most sections, benches and directional signage. This beautiful trail loops around the entire town of Little Current and includes a picturesque stretch of roughly five kilometers that follows the North Channel, including along the town’s unique downtown waterfront. Along this stretch, you will find a series of mounted historic plaques describing the town’s rich marine heritage. Visit Low Island, at the western end of the downtown Water Street as the trail circles the perimeter of the town’s waterfront park (1 km) where, in addition to several of the descriptive plaques, you can enjoy a vie de parkours-style workout on the sets of workout equipment provided there in addition to playground equipment for children, a beautiful sand beach, soccer and baseball fields, shaded pavilions, washroom facilities and a water bottle filler station.
A favourite section of the trail can begin (or end) at Low Island Park with a park loop and then along the waterfront to the Welcome Centre and the swing bridge, and then return along the same route. You can also begin at the Welcome Centre where there is ample parking. The return trip is 3 km.
The Lewis Twin Peaks Hiking Trail
This trail is in Sheguiandah and is accessible from the west side of Hwy 6, just across from Paradise Motel. Approximately 2km in length and a relatively easy hike, the trail nevertheless provides two quite spectacular views of Bass Lake and the North Channel. The lookouts are on Quartzite outcrops. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours.