Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park is located just west of Thunder Bay. It features the second largest waterfall in Ontario, which is commonly referred to as the Niagara of the North. The park contains a number of viewing platforms and trails that provide excellent views of Kakabeka Falls and the surrounding area.

We were initially supposed to camp at Kakabeka Falls the night before. But it had rained throughout the day and the weather forecast was calling for even more rain overnight. It didn’t take much (or any) convincing for us to stay in a hotel in Thunder Bay instead. After spending the morning hiking in Pigeon River Provincial Park, we arrived at Kakabeka Falls in the early afternoon.

After eating some lunch at the picnic area, we set off to hike along the Boardwalk Trail (750m one-way, rated easy). The trail consists of a wide boardwalk and features several viewing platforms at different angles and viewpoints of Kakabeka Falls, the Kaministiquia River and the gorge below.

We then followed the path to the Visitor Centre to get to the trailhead for the Mountain Portage Trail (1.25km loop, rated easy). This trail is part of the historic portage that early travellers and voyageurs used from 1800 to 1820 to bypass the falls and to connect Lake Superior with Lake of the Woods and the West. It was later abandoned in favour of the shorter Grand Portage-Pigeon River route.

The trail is predominantly flat and the path is lined with gravel. There are a few benches and interpretive signs that provide more information about the Mountain Portage.

Mid-way through, the path connects with the Little Falls Trail (2.5km loop, rated moderate to difficult), which is also part of the historic Mountain Portage and leads down the slopes to the river below. We hiked counter-clockwise along the loop, which is arguably the best direction as there’s a super steep hill at the end, which is probably easier to climb up then down. The path winds through the forest, leads to Little Falls, follows a creek and then meanders along the river bank.

Towards the end there’s a super steep climb up a ridge to get back to the trailhead. We then hiked the rest of the Mountain Portage Trail, which features a few viewing platforms over the Kaministiquia River and gorge below. The gorge was carved through the rocks by melting glaciers and continues to be shaped by the falls.

Once we returned to the trailhead, we hiked along part of the Boardwalk Trail again, crossed the bridge, and walked back to the parking lot. It was nice to stretch our legs as we still had another hour and a half of driving to reach our next destination at Quetico Provincial Park where we planned to spend the night.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

70 thoughts on “Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Kakabeka falls is such an impressive waterfall (and it’s really fun to say its name). I love that there are lots of different viewing platforms along the river and it helps to spread out the crowds. This was our first day without any rain and I’m glad we made the most of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ab says:

    The photos you captured of Kakabeka Falls are lovely. Brings back such wonderful memories!

    It’s too bad you didn’t get to camp cuz of the rain. I wonder how sleeping near the falls and the sound of the rushing falls would’ve been like. But good call. Rain is never fun during camping!

    Those trails you hiked were lovely and seems like a lifetime ago for us. Will have to back again one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Kakabeka Falls is gorgeous and I can easily see why it’s often referred to as the Niagara of the North. The park did an excellent job with the boardwalk and all the various viewing platforms.

      It’s too bad we didn’t camp here the night before, but I have no regrets about ditching our campsite to avoid the rain! We should have at least driven through the campground to see what the campsites were like, but were running low on time since we still needed to drive to the next park and set up our tents before it got dark. We’ll just have to come back someday too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        We too didn’t drive through the campgrounds. Should’ve thought about doing while we were up there. I guess there’s always next time! 🙂

        And yes, the viewing platforms were so well done. We were very fortunate to have spotted a bald Eagle when we were up there too. It didn’t look overly friendly perched up high. 😆

        Like

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        There will definitely be a next time. We’re actually thinking of flying into Thunder Bay at some point this year instead of doing the long drive again. Of course all of that depends on COVID. It’s tough to plan ahead.

        How neat to spot a bald eagle when you were visiting Kakabeka Falls. It’s always a huge bonus to see some wildlife, regardless of whether they want to be seen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        Flying will certainly save some time! 😊I don’t even want to guess what summer will be like this year after thinking last summer would be the end the pandemic. 😆

        Like

      • Ab says:

        If we get screwed over with travel again this year, we’re thinking of checking out Yukon and North West Territories in the summer… with the almost 24-hour sunshine. Should be an experience. If you and K have not done that, might be of interest.

        Happy Friday. And PA Day too! 😆

        Like

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I’ve never been to the territories before but have heard wonderful things about the scenery. The almost 24 hours of sunshine sounds amazing, especially these days when it’s been so dark and dreary outside. Maybe I should look into it as well if we’re just travelling within Canada this year.

        Happy Fri-YAY! I guess this means that you’re done with remote learning for now. Woohoo! Have a wonderful weekend!

        Liked by 2 people

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Kakabeka Falls is one of the nicest waterfalls in Ontario. The park was very lovely and all the trails were well-signed and easy to follow. I also like that there were lots of interpretive panels and storyboards that provide more information about the history and geology of the area. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kagould17 says:

    Hey, at last, a park where we have been. We loved the falls and the fact that there was a nice burger joint near by for supper. We never did the Little Falls Trail, but it would have been nice to get down to river’s edge. Thanks for sharing. Happy Wednesday. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Glad this triggered some fond memories of your drive through Ontario. Kakabeka Falls is such a nice park and the waterfall is gorgeous. I like that some of the trails have storyboards along the way that provide more fun facts about the history of the area and how the landscape and river were formed. The Little Falls was a bit of a let down after seeing Kakabeka Falls, but the walk along the edge of the river more than made up for it. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your week. Linda

      Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The park did an excellent job with the boardwalk and I loved that there were various viewing platforms located on either side of the river and at different angles of the falls. The trails were all well-signed and easy to navigate. It was definitely a great day to be outside and just enjoy the nice weather and beautiful scenery.

      Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s been fun writing about our two week Northern Ontario road trip from the fall. The scenery is so different compared to in the south and the parks are typically quieter. We finally had nice weather and glad we took advantage of it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Kakabeka Falls is easily one of the nicest waterfalls in Ontario. I’m glad there were lots of different viewing platforms on both sides of the river to see the falls from up close and at different angles. I could have spent the whole day here watching the rushing water fall over the edge.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Last summer when we visited Northern Ontario we didn’t have enough time to drive past Thunder Bay. I’m glad we decided to return for longer as there are so many hidden gems in the Thunder Bay area, like Kakabeka Falls and Pigeon River. Apparently flights are pretty cheap from Toronto to Thunder Bay so we’re thinking about returning this summer and to just fly there to cut down on driving time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I imagine all the rain from the day before helped fuel the falls. I’m glad it didn’t rain when we visited though! This was actually the first day of no rain during our road trip. I’m glad we were able to make the most of it and enjoy the nice views and many of the trails within the park.

      Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’d say Kakabeka Falls lived up to its reputation. I liked that there were all these different viewing platforms to see the falls up close and from different angles. The gorge is also quite impressive and it was neat to learn how it was formed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dillon says:

    I stumbled into Kakabeka Falls during a road trip out west this summer. I was only looking for a place to sleep, and knew nothing about the park so I was definitely suprised with what I saw when I got there lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      What a great park to stumble upon! The waterfall is gorgeous and there’s a nice range of hiking trails. It’s also in a great location as it’s close to Thunder Bay and it’s surrounded by a few other amazing parks like Sleeping Giant, Ouimet Canyon, Pigeon River and Quetico.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I can easily see why Kakabeka Falls is referred to as the Niagara of the North. It’s quite impressive. The park has done an excellent job with their trail system and has built a few viewing platforms on either side of the river to see the waterfall up close and spread out the crowds.

      Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve come to appreciate parks that provide interpretive signs along the trail or throughout the park that contain more information about the history and geology of the area. It’s a great way to step back in time and think about how the area once looked or what it was used for. When we were hiking along part of the historic Mountain Portage route all I kept thinking about was how much harder it must have been to do this while carrying a canoe …especially when going up that hill towards the end!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Great photos and such excellent views of the mighty Kakabeka falls and there’s even a viewing platform to see it in its full glory! The name is a bit funny tho, especially when you say it out loud and fast! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s impressive how much water actually flows over the cliff into the gorge below. What I found the most amazing was that there were a few trees and plants growing among the rocks in the middle of the falls. Agreed, it’s a lot of fun to say the name Kakabeka Falls. It’s got a nice ring to it! Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful weekend. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The scenery in Northern Ontario is beautiful and there is no shortage of great views and hiking trails. If you love spending time in nature, you’d love it here. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda

      Like

  5. alisendopf says:

    What amazing waterfalls. So beautiful! You are very lucky. Whole the falls are beautiful, the hike along the river is just as stunning. Thank goodness Ontario has reserved so much land for Parks.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s