Hike #39: Nokomis Trail

Distance hiked: 5.0km
Location: Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: August 15, 2020

Lake Superior Provincial Park is nestled along the eastern coast of Lake Superior and features dense forests, rocky overcrops, towering cliffs, pristine lakes, ponds, waterfalls and beautiful sandy beaches. There is one main road, Highway 17, that cuts through the park and many of the hiking trails are easily accessible from it. When entering Lake Superior from Wawa, Nokomis (5.0km loop, rated moderate) is the first trail you’ll come across. And trust me, you don’t want to pass on this one.

The trail winds uphill through the boreal forest and features a number of scenic lookouts that are reputed to provide some of the best views of Lake Superior. The trailhead is located across the highway from the Old Woman Bay day-use area.

The trail forms a loop, which we hiked counter-clockwise. The path is well signed with a series of blue markers on the trees. The first part is relatively flat and involves walking along a pebbly path through the forest. There are a few places which provide a nice view of the Old Woman River.

The path becomes noticeably steeper and it’s a steady climb up to the scenic lookouts, which provide sweeping views of the forest and Lake Superior. The cliff in Old Woman Bay rises 200 metres above the water and is reputed to contain the face of an old woman, Nokomis, immortalized in the rock face. She is thought to be Nokomis, grandmother of the Ojibway spirit Nanabozho who is featured prominently in traditional stories, including the story of the world’s creation.

The path leads to several of these rocky outcrops and ledges that provide sweeping views of the surrounding area. We were lucky to have such fabulous weather and clear skies as the views were just outstanding.

From the last scenic lookout, the path starts to descend rather steeply. We followed the blue markers down through the shaded forest, carefully stepping over rocks and boulders.

The path eventually levels out and leads back to the trailhead. Overall it took us 1.5 hours to complete the hike, which included a small break at the first lookout. Afterwards we walked back to the parking lot and down to the beach at Old Woman’s Bay. It was a little too cold for swimming, but it still felt nice to get our feet wet after a long day of hiking.

Afterwards we drove to our campsite at Rabbit Blanket Campground to check-in and take a longer break.


My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

38 thoughts on “Hike #39: Nokomis Trail

  1. Ab says:

    So so beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. Now I understand why it’s called Old Woman Bay. That Lake Superior blue sparkling water and Sandy beach are so great. Highway 17 was such a beautiful drive. We did a detour at Sandy Beach in Wawa that I recommend if you have time next time. A wonderful slice of heaven!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Same, I can’t wait for summer. I plan to use most of my vacation days then to make the most of them while the weather is warmer. I’ll have to add Sandy Beach to my itinerary for next summer. I love that there are so many new places that I have yet to discover in Northern Ontario (and more park crests to collect!).

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, we’re lucky to have access to four of the Great Lakes from Ontario. There are a number of provincial parks scattered along the shores, which provide a variety of activities like swimming, hiking, and camping. It sure makes me appreciate them even more so during the pandemic as they’ve given us something (safely) to do this year.

  2. kagould17 says:

    Fabulous Trail and viewpoints. I wish we had stopped here on our cross Canada trip in 2018. Definitely on the Canadian Shield on this trail. Thanks for sharing and stay well. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This trail definitely lived up to its reputation of providing some of the best views of Lake Superior from the park. It also helped that we had fabulous weather and were able to enjoy the nice views. Thanks for reading. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There is no shortage of nature here in Canada. It sure makes me glad that we have so many trails, parks, and conservation areas, especially during the pandemic. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Oh my, this is gorgeous! What a beautiful and diverse country we live in. I hope we’re able to get back to Ontario when we have the time to just explore (and after this damn virus is under control). Great photos!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ugh, no kidding. On one hand I’m looking forward to travelling to other cities and countries once it’s safe to do so, but on the other I’ve really been enjoying exploring more of my home province. This pandemic has really made me appreciate how fortunate we are to live in Canada.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve always enjoyed a hike with a nice view. The whole area around Lake Superior is simply stunning. We were initially planning on taking a road trip around Atlantic Canada, but we had to change our plans because of the pandemic. Hearing that this reminds you of coastal Nova Scotia makes me want to go to Atlantic Canada even more.

  4. ourcrossings says:

    The size of the lake is truly staggering! And so are the stunning views over it. I hope I’ll get to visit Ontario one day to see everything in person. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s incredible how huge Lake Superior is. We drove about 700km around it before turning around to head back home and I don’t think that was even half-way. The lake certainly provided great photo opportunities. We even went “swimming” in it a few times (I use this term loosely as the water was so cold that we pretty much went in and straight back out). Thanks for reading. Take care.

  5. Lookoom says:

    It feels good to get a little higher to discover such a wide landscape. Apart from the road layout, the human footprint is still minimal, which makes it a great place to get away from it all. Thanks for the hike.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, you can truly appreciate how expansive the wilderness is from above. You get a sense that you are just surrounded by nature in every direction. And yes, glad that the human footprint is quite minimal in this part of Ontario. Thanks for reading.

  6. corinnaweber says:

    Wow! This is a lake?!!! Getting Fernweh here in Germany! Looks like Cape Breton to me…what a beach. Looking forward to that day, when we can travel again. 🙂 Take care!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I was initially planning on taking a road trip to Atlantic Canada this summer, and Cape Breton was on my itinerary. However, we had to change our plans due to the pandemic. Hearing that this reminds you of Nova Scotia makes me want to visit even more now. I’m glad we had the opportunity to visit Lake Superior instead as it’s such a beautiful area in Ontario. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Lake Superior Provincial Park is such an incredibly scenic area. We visited earlier in the summer and had such a wonderful time that we decided to return a couple of months later. The park offers a wide range of activities like hiking, canoeing, swimming and camping. There’s a little something here for everyone.

      • Phil says:

        Fantastic. I grew up on Lake Superior (Marquette, Michigan) and have always enjoyed her beauty. Thanks for sharing 👍

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        They don’t call it Superior for nothing! We’re planning on visiting Northern Ontario again over the summer. We’re hoping by then the border will open up so we can drive around the other side of Lake Superior on the return journey. Thanks for reading.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! It was a bit of a slog to hike up the ridge, but the scenic views above Lake Superior were outstanding. I’m glad we had such lovely weather and were able to see and enjoy the views.

  7. kagould17 says:

    Too bad we missed that hike when we did our 2018 drive across Canada. It looks like it offers some spectacular views. Next time, although my beloved says there will not be a next time for a cross Canada drive. Cheers. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Since international travel is off the table for the foreseeable future, a cross Canada road trip may start seeming like a good option! We spent a lot of time driving and hiking around Lake Superior last summer and this trail really did provide the best viewpoints of the lake.

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