Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021

Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park is located in Englehart just off of Highway 11. It was named after the Ojibwe phrase for “high falls” or “water running over the edge”. It offers a few hiking trails and scenic lookouts that provide great opportunities to view the Englehart River and several cascades and waterfalls in the valley.

After spending the night at Finlayson Point, we continued on our Northern Ontario road trip towards Timmins. We made a detour at Kap-Kig-Iwan to go on a hike. We arrived at the park at around 10:30a.m.

We first drove to the lookout at High Falls. From the parking lot it’s a short walk to a viewing platform, which provides a great view of the Englehart River. It was already starting to look and feel like fall as some of the leaves had started to change colour.

Afterwards we hiked along the Hell’s Gate Trail (2.5km loop, rated moderate). At the parking lot there’s another viewing platform that overlooks the river. The High Falls Trail also originates here, but we figured we already had a nice view from the High Falls Lookout and wanted to see more of the waterfalls located within the park.

We walked down the road, past the picnic shelter, and found a sign for Hell’s Gate Trail in a clearing through the forest. The sign also indicated that this trail can be used for snowshoeing in the winter.

Despite the name, the trail itself was quite enjoyable. The first stretch follows along the shore of the river and you can hear the sounds of rushing water. There are a few scenic lookouts of the rapids and a series of cascading falls along the way. The path narrows in a few places and it looks like part of the path was starting to erode close to the edge of the gorge.

The path then winds through the forest and connects with the Upland Circle Trail (which forms an even longer loop) before coming out to the road.

From the trailhead, it’s a short stretch down the road to get back to the parking lot. Since we weren’t hungry yet, we decided to wait to eat lunch at our next stop at Esker Lakes Provincial Park.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

42 thoughts on “Kap-Kig-Iwan Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This trail was a great way to see more of the river, rapids and falls. I can see why there were a bunch of signs posted about no swimming. We haven’t done much hiking these past few months, but we’re hoping to go for a couple of hikes around the holidays. It’s a great way to burn off all those Christmas cookies and chocolates!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though it was dark and gloomy outside, thankfully it didn’t rain, otherwise the trail might have been more challenging with all those slick rocks. The nice thing about being up north over the Labour Day long weekend was that the park and trails weren’t too busy. And we didn’t have any issues with the bugs!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The park is located just north of Temagami. It’s too bad we didn’t camp here the previous night instead of Finlayson Point as the campground is much smaller and it seemed pretty quiet. I would definitely recommend adding it your list for the next time you’re in the area.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s a park that’s often overlooked, which means that it was nice and quiet and not very busy on the Labour Day long weekend when we visited. The park is open in the winter and provides cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a bit of a far drive, but seems like it would be nice to visit when there’s snow.

  1. Ab says:

    What a lovely trail and hike you went on that day. That river with the little falls is lovely.

    And what a difference just 4 months makes in terms of the weather! Feels so summery but you definitely could also see hints of fall in some of greenery!

    Looking forward to seeing your recap reach Timmins! 😊

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s a charming park. I actually wished we stayed here the previous night instead of at Finlayson Point as the campground is much smaller and it wasn’t very busy. Plus it offers more hiking trails. Next time.

      It was interesting how different the weather was the further north we drove. We had such a dry and hot summer in southern ontario, but it seemed like there was no shortage of rain in the Timmins area (more on that later).

      • Ab says:

        I remember you mentioning in real time the rain downpour you got during this trip. And yes, weather for sure changes as you head up north. Maybe it’s all that water and mountains/hills? Look forward to the next update!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The first week of our road trip was overcast and rainy, but thankfully it didn’t interfere much with our hiking. Most of the rain happened during the drive or overnight. Given that our travel over the past two years largely consisted of camping, we didn’t mind abandoning our campsite a few times and paying a bit extra for a last minute hotel room.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though we visited over the Labour Day long weekend, the park itself wasn’t very busy. This is when we knew we were really up north! It’s always nice to escape the crowds and just enjoy nature.

  2. carolinehelbig says:

    Your photos look so quintessential northern Ontario. The birch trees are lovely and the colours of early fall are beautiful. Some of your photos look like paintings. That certainly isn’t what I pictured for a trail called Hell’s Gate.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s amazing how different the landscape looks up north compared to southern Ontario. It was nice to visit in September when the parks are generally quieter and the leaves are just starting to turn. With a name like Hell’s Gate Trail we weren’t sure what to expect, but it definitely exceeded our expectations.

  3. ourcrossings says:

    I love the birch trees and the river with little falls and not to mention those beautiful views over the landscape. I’d say it would be amazing to go snowshoeing in the winter. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Birches are among some of my favourite trees. Their bark is so beautiful and I love how it glows in the sunlight. I was surprised to learn that this park is open in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing since it’s so remote. Agreed, it seems like it would be amazing to go in the winter as I imagine this area gets a lot of snow. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your week and happy holidays! Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Northern Ontario in general is very scenic. Much of the landscape consists largely of the Canadian Shield, which means there are lots of rocky outcrops and no shortage of rivers, lakes and wetlands. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Despite being called Hell’s Gate Trail, it was quite scenic and not overly strenuous. It was a great way to see more of the river and rapids and landscape in the park. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Happy holidays to you as well. Cheers. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The fall is my favourite time of the year and the best time to travel. We didn’t get as much daylight in Northern Ontario compared to when we visited last summer, but the parks and trails were much quieter. The name of the trail was very misleading as the scenery was beautiful. I imagine it would be very treacherous to canoe here, which is why it’s referred to as Hell’s Gate.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was nice to experience an early fall by heading up north. We didn’t get as much daylight as when we visited Northern Ontario last summer, but there were also no bugs. Enjoy the holidays. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Fall is my favourite time of the year and as an added bonus, the parks are typically quieter then. We definitely struggled with pronouncing the name of the park, but I like that they’ve tried to keep a connection with the Ojibwe who were the first people to settle in the area.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The name of the trail doesn’t sound all that inviting, eh? My guess is that it has something to do with the river being pretty treacherous from all the rapids and waterfalls. I bet paddling through here would be awful.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Despite the name of the trail, it was a lovely hike and a great way to see more of the rapids and waterfalls along the river. The leaves were just starting to turn and it was beginning to feel like fall. Best of luck on your upcoming nature trips. I always feel more refreshed after spending time outdoors.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though it was a bit dark and gloomy, the trail itself was lovely. It was a good way to see more of the rapids and falls along the river. It was also nice to see early signs of Fall through the forest.

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