Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park is located near the shores of Lake Superior. It contains two campgrounds, one on the north side of Highway 17 near Whitesand Lake (Whitesand Lake Campground) and the other on the south side of Highway 17 that offers great views of Lake Superior (Rossport Campground). The park also offers five hiking trails that range in length from 2.2km to 52km.
We spent the previous two nights at Neys Provincial Park and decided to take a day trip to Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, which is about an hour west of Neys. We woke up relatively early and drove straight to Rainbow Falls and decided to eat breakfast there in the hopes that it would warm-up a bit.
We arrived at Rainbow Falls just before 8:30a.m and drove to East Beach as there’s a sheltered picnic area there. We heated up some water for tea and coffee and fried up some eggs for breakfast. Afterwards we walked down to Whitesand Lake to check out the beach.
The trailhead for the Back Forty / Back 40 Lookout Trail (3.5km, rated moderate with difficult sections) is also located here near the parking area. There’s a sign to indicate that it’s a 450m walk to get to the scenic lookout. The first part of the path follows along an old road.
At the junction we turned right at the sign for the scenic lookout. The trail is signed with blue markers with a black hiker symbol. At this point the terrain becomes rough and rocky while the trail leads up large granite rocks.
There were some super steep sections along the path and there were two places where there was even a rope tied to a tree to help with the ascent (and then descent) over these large granite rocks.
The trail then leads to a scenic lookout that provides sweeping views of Whitesand Lake and the surrounding area. There’s also a sign here to indicate the end of the trail.
We turned around and walked back the way we came. When we reached the junction, we continued right, which forms a loop back to the parking lot. The path follows along an old road and is relatively flat. The path isn’t well-marked and there was one area that was a bit confusing as to where to continue. We ended up going the wrong way and came across an area that looked like it used to be a former campground, so we turned around and took the other path, which eventually leads back to the parking area.
Afterwards we drove to the West Beach. From the parking area it’s a short walk to get to the trailhead of Rainbow Falls (2.2km, rated moderate). The trail consists of a series of wooden stairs, boardwalks and viewing platforms that follow along Rainbow Falls. There’s a few areas to leave the boardwalk that provide a scenic overlook of the cascades.
The trail then crosses a bridge over the falls and ends at the trailhead for the Schreiber Channel Segment of the Casque Isles Hiking Trail (a 52km multi-day hiking trail that runs between the communities of Terrace Bay, Schreiber and Rossport). Apparently the trail continues past the bridge to a second scenic lookout, but we somehow missed this part. We turned around here and walked back the way we came.
The trailhead for the Superior Trail (2.2km, rated moderate with difficult sections) is also located near the parking lot for Rainbow Falls. The trail winds along the top of a granite ridge and provides a nice view of Lake Superior. The trail is well marked by a series of blue markers with a white hiker symbol. We could have turned this hike into a loop and walked back along the road, but we decided to return the way we came as the trail is quite scenic (and certainly more scenic than walking along the side of the road).
We finished up at 12p.m and drove back to Neys, stopping to pick up groceries along the way.
25 thoughts on “Rainbow Falls Provincial Park”
What a lovely place to explore on foot! Having been brought up in Latvia, a country where 50% of the land is covered by the trees, I always find myself drawn to forests. I think I’ve already mentioned it on Allans post about Jasper – I wish we had more of them in Ireland. But, unfortunately only 10% of the country is covered by the forests of which only 1% are native trees. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva
I’m with you, the forest is my happy place. I’ve certainly spent a lot of time hiking and camping through Ontario’s forests this year because of the pandemic. Parks and conservation areas have become increasingly more busy this year and it goes to show how important it is to have this green space. I’m glad that earlier this year Canada committed to conserving 25% of its land and 25% of its oceans by 2025. Thanks for reading. Take care.
Lovely forests and the Whitesand Lake also looks really nice.
I am always fascinated by lands that are fully covered with forests. Like a Taiga.
Looking forward to your next post.
For sure. I’ve enjoyed the trails in this area that have scenic lookouts that provide sweeping views of the forest and Lake Superior. Northern Ontario isn’t very populated, so you get these uninterrupted views of nature in every direction. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Beautiful! You had a fantastic clear day to capture the vista from the lookouts!
We were fortunate to have such lovely weather during our Northern Ontario road trip. Many of the trails here have scenic lookouts or viewing platforms and it’s so much easier to get a nice shot when you have those blue skies as a background.
Love the calm lake surface shot. So nice to get those shots. Thanks for sharing.
It always amazes me at how calm the surface of the water usually is in the morning. It’s my favourite time of the day to take pictures. And a good way to start the day! Thanks for reading.
Your views of the lakes and the waterfall are lovely. I am glad I am not the only one to lose my way on a hike, the improvised part is often the best!
Northern Ontario continues to surprise me at how incredibly scenic it is. There are such great views of forests, lakes, marshes, meadows and waterfalls along many of the hiking trails, and even on just the drive itself. The trails are usually well marked in this area, but we hiked a few that could benefit from more signage, the Back 40 Lookout Trail was one of them! It was neat to see part of the former campground though.
Beautiful shot of Whitesand Lake. You are so lucky to have such an array of hiking options in the vicinity. You’ve inspired us to try and get out of the city on our next day off.
Agreed, I am very fortunate that Ontario has so many provincial parks and conservation areas and that we’ve been able to explore some of these places during the pandemic. There’s clearly a high demand for these parks, especially this past year, which goes to show how important it is to protect and preserve these areas. Thanks for reading.
Rainbow Falls was another park that we stopped for a sticker at the entrance and didn’t go in. Haha. But we will definitely stop by at our next visit in that area. Your photos and recap are beautiful. That steep ascent looks intense. They even had to provide a rope to hang onto. I can only imagine what that’d be like with a young child. 🙂 But the Falls view looks worth it!
We skipped over Rainbow Falls on our first Northern Ontario road trip earlier in the summer. We just didn’t have enough time. I’m glad we had the opportunity to visit it the second time around. We spent half the day here, which was the perfect amount of time. We’ll have to return next summer to pick up the sticker/crest! And yes, the rope was certainly interesting. I found it more of a hindrance to use and just scrambled up/down as if it wasn’t even there. Luckily the trail to Rainbow Falls is pretty much entirely along a boardwalk (even if there are a lot of stairs).
Thanks for sharing your wanderings in spectacular settings. I wish I was there.
I wish I could have spent more time here and around Northern Ontario in general. It’s so incredibly scenic and peaceful. There never seems to be enough time! We plan on returning next summer, so that’ll give us something to look forward to over the winter. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Beautiful photos! It looks like it was a really great day. 🙂
It was a little chilly in the morning, but overall, anyday where the sun is shining is a beautiful day. We were very fortunate to have such great weather during our road trip. I sure miss those summer days now. Although we’ve been having such unseasonably warm weather here for the past few days (it’s supposed to go up to 19C today!!) that I can’t complain too much!
The weather has been weird, I believe. (An ecology science friend says that it’s climate change symptoms.) A friend who lives in S. Alberta had 20C the last few days of October, and temps were still 14-18 at the beginning of Nov. Then she got whacked by a major storm and a temp difference of about 20°. Even here it’s been warm. We should be around -15, and we’re only at -5.
Weird seems to be the theme of 2020. I’ve taken all of next week off, so fingers crossed the weather stays pleasant.
What’s captures my attention best in your photos would be the illusion that you are alone with nature yet do not fear the unknown ahead.
It certainly did feel like we were alone in nature here. Northern Ontario is not very populated and doesn’t get too many visitors. The campgrounds are usually smaller relative to the ones close to Toronto and we often didn’t pass other people while hiking. Many of the trails here also have some sort of lookout that provides sweeping views of the wilderness in every direction. It’s quite beautiful. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Beautiful. I’ll get here
I’m glad I got the opportunity to explore Northern Ontario, including Rainbow Falls, this summer as it’s such an incredibly beautiful area. Hopefully you’ll be able to visit someday. There never seems to be enough time (or vacation days). Take care.
You are not kidding. I’m running out of life