Distance hiked: 2.1km
Location: Sudbury, Ontario
Date: August 10, 2020
A.Y. Jackson was a famous Canadian painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven. He often drew inspiration from many of the landscapes in Northern Ontario, including Onaping River in Sudbury, which is depicted in his “Spring on the Onaping River” painting in 1953. There is now an overlook of and trail around Onaping High Falls that is named after Jackson.
There’s a significant geological feature at this site as well. High Falls plunges over the lip of the Sudbury Basin, which was created 1.85 billion years ago when a meteorite crashed into the Earth. Scientists estimate that the meteorite was about 10 to 15 kilometres in diameter and travelling at a rate of 40km per second when it smashed into the earth, punching a hole 35km deep into the crust and creating a crater 250km across. As a result, the Sudbury region is rich in copper nickel resources. So rich in fact that it is home to the largest concentration of mines anywhere in the world.
We spent the last two nights camping at Windy Lake Provincial Park. We woke up bright and early and after eating breakfast, packed up our tent and continued onwards on our Northern Ontario road trip. On the way through Sudbury, we made a short detour to hike along the A.Y. Jackson Lookout Trail.
The trailhead is located right off Highway 144. Near the parking lot there are some historic mining equipment which were used from the Levack Mine. The mine was discovered in 1888, began production in 1913, was closed during the depression and sustained some damage during a fire in 1929. Operations resumed in 1937 before closing for good in 1999. It operated for a total of 78 years.
There are also a few large samples of rocks from the different mines in the Sudbury region. Each contains a plaque that provides more information on the type of rock and from which mine they were extracted.
Near the trailhead there’s a scenic lookout of Onaping High Falls. There’s a viewing platform including a a plaque that provides more background information about A.Y Jackson and his “Spring on the Onaping River” painting. Two years after Jackson painted this picture in 1953, it was purchased by a group of students and placed in the Sudbury Secondary School. Shortly after Jackson’s death in April 1974, the painting was stolen and as of date, has not been recovered.
There’s another sign to indicate where the trail continues. The trail is well marked by a series of yellow markers on the trees and red circles outlined in white on the rocks.
There’s another viewing platform in a couple hundred metres, providing another nice view of Onaping High Falls.
From here the path becomes progressively more rugged and involves scrambling over large rocky overcrops and around large boulders. But the path continues to provide nice views of the falls along the way.
The path then crosses the bridge over the falls and continues through the forest to form a 1km loop. We rather foolishly forgot to bring the insect repellent and tried to hike this part as fast as possible to avoid the mosquitoes. Except there’s no outrunning the mosquitoes.
The trail loops back to the bridge, which we crossed over, and hiked back the way we came to the parking lot. Overall it took us about an hour to complete the hike.
From here we resumed our Northern Ontario road trip. On the drive through Sudbury, we made another detour and stopped at the Big Nickel. The nickel is a 9 metre replica of the Canadian nickel and the largest coin in the world. It’s located at the Dynamic Earth science museum, which was temporarily closed this summer due to the pandemic.
From here, we drove to the next stop on our Northern Ontario road trip: Pancake Bay Provincial Park.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here