Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021
Fushimi Lake Provincial Park is located in the heart of Northern Ontario, just outside of Hearst. While most of the park is left to wilderness, there’s a small campground located on Lake Fushimi with around 40 sites for car camping and 12 backcountry sites that are only accessible by canoe or boat. Fushimi Lake also has two hiking trails that weave through the boreal forest.
Day 1: Sunset
We rolled into the park just before 6:30p.m and checked in at the gatehouse to collect our permit and pick up a park badge. We then drove to our site, which was located along the shore of Lake Fushimi. We even had our own secret path down to the water.
After setting up our tents, we decided to hike along the Achilles Lake Trail (1km, rated easy) to take advantage of the nice weather. The path is relatively flat and leads through the forest to a rocky outcrop on Achilles Lake. The water was as smooth as glass and the sun was just starting to set. We sat on the rocks to admire the views and soak in the warmth from the sun.
We then headed back to our campsite to make a late dinner and start a fire. We were a bit concerned about the rainfall warning that was in store for us tomorrow (the forecast was calling for about 30-50mm of rain throughout the day), but for now we just enjoyed the clear skies and nice weather.
Day 2: Rain
We woke up rather early at 6:30a.m. It was overcast and windy, but it wasn’t raining. We figured we might as well get up and pack up our tents while they were still dry. We then decided to push our luck to see if we can squeeze in the Fire Tower Trail (7km, rated strenuous). Since today was mostly a day of driving, we figured we might as well get some steps in, especially since it wasn’t raining. Yet.
The trailhead is located in the campground near the comfort station. It’s an out and back trail that leads to a fire tower. It follows the same path the fire ranger took in the 1930s as he hiked from his cabin through the boreal forest to the fire tower.
For the first stretch, the path is wide and leads through the forest. The path then narrows as it hugs the shoreline of Fushimi Lake. Along the way there are a few opportunities to walk down to the water and look out over the lake.
The trail leads to a junction where the ruins of the former ranger cabin are located. There wasn’t much left standing, just a few pieces of wood and an old stove. The original cabin was built in the early 1930s to serve as the living quarters for the fire ranger working in the tower from May to September.
At the junction there’s a turn-off for a backcountry campsite, which is located down by the water. The site comes complete with a proper fire pit and picnic table, but the real highlight is the secluded sandy beach.
From the junction it’s about a 15 minute walk to the fire tower, which marks the end of the trail. After taking a few pictures at the base (it’s not permitted to climb the tower), it started to lightly rain. This seemed like a good sign to turn around and hike back the way that we came.
It continued to rain for the entire hike back and it got progressively worse towards the end. Overall it took us 2.5 hours to complete the trail. Since we’d be spending most of the day in the car, we changed into dry clothes at the comfort station. We then headed back out onto the open road.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here