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.