Mississagi Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020

Mississagi Provincial Park is located north of Elliot Lake and is situated in pristine wilderness. It is secluded and offers a range of camping options from car camping to backcountry camping for hikers and paddlers. Mississagi also offers seven hiking trails that weave through the park’s rugged landscape and several clear lakes for canoeing, boating and fishing.

We spent the morning hiking in Lake Superior Provincial Park and arrived at Mississagi just before 6:30p.m. The drive in was super sketchy as most of the road was gravel and under construction. The park is located in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t really pass much along the way in terms of houses, stores or even other vehicles. You know you’re in for a good time when the park sign has bullet holes in it. Then as you enter the park, there’s a sign with a massive mosquito carrying a human away.

We checked in at the gatehouse, collected our permit and purchased a bag of firewood. Mississagi has a small campground (about 70 sites) and many of the sites are on a slope, but it was very quiet and our site (#15) offered a lot of privacy.

It rained throughout the night and we woke up to overcast. Luckily our picnic table wasn’t too wet, so we made some breakfast there (unfortunately there is no sheltered picnic area at Mississagi). Afterwards we went hiking.

We first hiked along the Flack Lake Nature Trail (800m, easy). The trailhead is located on the west side of Highway 639. The first few steps along the trail seemed promising and provide a nice view of the lake. But then things went downhill real fast. We weren’t sure where the path proceeded. We followed some blue markers, but they led down a path that was in rough shape with fallen trees everywhere. We eventually gave up and walked back to our car.

We drove back to our campsite and then set out to hike along the Helenbar Trail (7km, rated moderate), which was one of the main reasons for coming to this park. The trail leads through the forest and is reputed to feature interesting geological features and a great view over Helenbar Lake.

The trail starts from the northern part of the campground. The first stretch of the trail gradually ascends through the forest along a ridge, and features two scenic lookouts of Helenbar Lake.

The path leads away from the lake and down the ridge. At this point the trail becomes more rugged. The path eventually reaches a junction and we followed the signs towards Semiwite Lake. We hiked along part of the Semiwite Lake Trail, which leads to the western side of the campground. When we completed the trail, we just had to walk back to our campsite.

When we returned to our site, we took a small break and packed up our tent. On our way out of the park, we stopped to hike along the Semiwite Creek Trail (1.5km, rated easy). The trail is signed with yellow markers and leads through the forest along the west shore of Semiwite Lake to the park gatehouse. The creek was once used for logging between 1908 to 1911 in the spring when water levels were higher.

The trail comes out to the road by the gatehouse where this is a random anchor. The path follows along the road for a few hundred metres before winding back through the forest. Shortly after the path loops back to the trailhead.

We wrapped up our hike at 1p.m and then headed out to the next and final stop on our Northern Ontario road trip at Killbear Provincial Park.


31 thoughts on “Mississagi Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for the kind words. And agreed! I couldn’t resist purchasing a t-shirt with the mosquito sign at the park’s gift shop. The trails that we hiked along were all excellent, with the exception of the Flack Lake Nature Trail, but that could just be because we weren’t sure where the actual trail was!

  1. kagould17 says:

    Wow. Bullet holes in one sign and helicopter mosquito on another. That’s a park. How were the skeeters in August? Love the view of the calm lake. Looks like a great hike. Hope all is well with you. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Can’t say we’ve ever seen a park sign with gunshots through it or an extreme warning sign for mosquitoes. Oddly enough, I don’t think we saw a single mosquito during our visit. But maybe that’s because I took precautions and coated my skin with a thick layer of insect repellent. I’m pretty sure I’ve “donated” enough blood this year to the mosquito cause. Thanks for reading. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      At that point it’s too late to turn back. They weren’t kidding when they said this park is located in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t much else around. Glad we made the trek out here as it was quite the memorable experience!

  2. Ab says:

    Beautiful pictures. Love the little creeks!

    I don’t remember going by this one during our summer trip so will have to keep an eye out for it.

    That mosquito sign is hilarious. Maybe that’s what that anchor you found later on is for. To hang onto to.

    And sometimes you do encounter weird and dead end paths. Very frustrating but still worth the adventure!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Mississagi is a bit out of the way from the Trans Canada Highway. And it was quite the adventure even just to get to the park. We kept our fingers crossed on the drive up that we wouldn’t get a flat tire from all the gravel. But it was well worth the visit. The Helenbar Trail was just spectacular. It would be nice to come back and do some canoeing. And I like your explanation for the anchor. It’s even more funny because it’s actually a few feet away from the mosquito sign!

      • Ab says:

        Funny you mention flat tire, we noticed in Thunder Bay we had a big gash on our tire. Thankfully we were able to get it replaced within a day or it would’ve eaten into our Killarny trip.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Flat tires are never fun, but glad it happened in Thunder Bay and not in the middle of nowhere! Happy to hear that it didn’t impact your trip to Killarney as it is easily one of the most scenic areas in Ontario.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Yes! I love that this park is full on embracing that it is a haven for mosquitoes! I ended up buying a t-shirt with this sign on it from the park’s gift shop. It’s one of my favourites and brings back such fond memories whenever I wear it.

  3. Lookoom says:

    Was the sign of the mosquito accurate? Wasn’t it a bit overstated :-)? This is the type of sign that disappears as a souvenir. The beautiful views of the lakes are typical of the region’s landscapes.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You know, now that I think of it, I’m not sure we saw a single mosquito. Granted, I did spray myself with a lot of insect repellent as a precaution. I ended up buying a t-shirt with the mosquito sign from the park’s gift shop as I thought it was pretty cute and a good way to remember my trip. And agreed, this area of the province is just so scenic and serene.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That mosquito sign is pretty awesome. I love that they are acknowledging that it’s a hot spot for mosquitoes and are having so much fun with it. Glad we visited later in the season when the bugs weren’t too bad.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, yes! I love how they aren’t even trying to hide the fact that this place is probably terrible in the spring and early summer because of the bugs, but instead are having so much fun with it. It’s an interesting marketing technique!

  4. carolinehelbig says:

    So, were the mosquitoes as bad as the sign might suggest? It would be me that they carry away as it seems I’m always the one who gets completely bitten up. The park looks lovely though and I love that it’s secluded and in the middle of nowhere.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The mosquitoes weren’t actually too bad. And this is why the end of August and September are some of my favourite times of the year to camp. The days are warm and nights cool, the lake is as warm as it’s going to get, and the bugs have calmed down. I’m the same as you and the bugs just love me. The feeling is not mutual.

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