Hiking in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021

Rainbow Falls Provincial Park is situated on the rugged shore of Lake Superior. It features several hiking trails that range in length and difficulty that are reputed to provide panoramic views of the surrounding area. Rainbow Falls also offers a variety of water-based recreational activities like fishing, canoeing and swimming on either Whitesand Lake or Lake Superior.

After spending the morning at Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park, we drove to Rainbow Falls. Along the way we made a few detours. We first stopped at the Nipigon Lookout Tower to check out the views, find a Moments of Algoma art installation and eat some lunch. The tower involves climbing up 65 steps and from the top it provides panoramic views of Lake Helen and the Nipigon River.

We then drove to Wardrope Park in Rossport to check out another Moments of Algoma installation, which provided some fun facts about the Group of Seven painters. In their later visits to the Algoma region, Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson decided to explore more of Lake Superior’s northern shore, which led them to Rossport.

By the time we arrived at Rainbow Falls, it was late in the afternoon. We were eager to stretch our legs.

We hiked along the Rainbow Falls Trail (2.2km round trip, rated moderate) after which the park was named. Rainbow Falls is part of a river that flows from Whitesand Lake to Lake Superior. The trail is an out and back trail that follows along a boardwalk. Along the way there are a few great viewpoints of the cascading falls and a series of interpretive plaques that provide some interesting information about the natural features found near the trail.

The trail follows the falls to a footbridge and then crosses to the far side of the river. At the end of the bridge, there’s a sign for the Nature Trail, which is really the start of the Casque Isles Trail, a 52km hike that leads to a few of the smaller communities along the shore of Lake Superior, including Terrace Bay, Schreiber and Rossport.

At the Nature Trail sign, we first turned left as there’s a nice viewpoint overlooking the bridge.

We then followed part of the Casque Isles Trail to the first lookout. The terrain was rocky and it’s a steady slog uphill, but we were rewarded with a nice view of the surrounding area.

We turned around and walked back the way we came. Once we returned to the trailhead, we walked along the shore of Whitesand Lake to admire the views. We then hopped back in the car and drove to Neys Provincial Park where we planned to spend the next two nights.

But we had one last detour to make in Terrace Bay at the Terrace Bay Lighthouse to check out another Moments of Algoma installation. Since the lighthouse was open, we climbed to the top to check out the views of Lake Superior and Slate Islands.

We hopped back in the car one last time and continued our drive to Neys.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

82 thoughts on “Hiking in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    Some of this looks very familiar. We stopped in Nipigon, drove across the new bridge and stopped at a restaurant in Rossport for a delightful lunch with a lake view. Rainbow Falls Park looks worth a stop. Have a great weekend. Allan

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Glad to hear that this brought back memories from your road trip across Canada. The stretch along Lake Superior is is easily the most scenic drive in Ontario. And there are also lots of fabulous hiking options along the way. Rainbow Falls is located right off the main highway, so it was a convenient detour to stretch our legs and soak in the scenery. Enjoy your weekend as well. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Moments of Algoma installations are such a great way to highlight the Group of Seven and their connection with the area. We went on a bit of a scavenger hunt to try to find as many as we could on our drive back along Lake Superior. Unfortunately the Agawa Canyon Train Tour was closed when we visited so we’re still missing a few.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Starling Fajãzinha says:

    I had to go check on Google where on earth were these parks. Lake Superior is just huuuuge. Thanks for sharing these posts and photos of that amazing region so far away from where I live!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Lake Superior really is superior to all the other Great Lakes. The drive along this stretch of our road trip was easily the most scenic. There are also lots of great viewpoints and hiking trails along the way. I’d love to take a road trip around the entire lake someday. Thanks for reading. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. We certainly had fabulous weather for being outdoors. It was fun to go on a scavenger hunt for all those Moments of Algoma art installations and to learn more about the famous Group of Seven painters. Rainbow Falls was also very scenic and a great place to go for a hike and stretch our legs. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Josy A says:

    What gorgeous view for a relaxing day in the sunshine! I love that you managed to find a waterfall, a lookout aaand lake views within such a short hike. Rainbow Falls has all the ingredients for a fabulous park!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There are a few trails at Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, but I figure you can’t go wrong with visiting the waterfall for which the park and trail were named after. It was a short hike, but it featured lots of great views along the way. It also sounds like a sweet spot to camp, especially since one of the campgrounds is right along the shores of Lake Superior. Next time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The scenic viewpoint of the bridge is actually not part of the trail and the turnoff for it isn’t marked on the map. I read about it in advance and I’m glad we decided to check it out since we didn’t have to venture far and the overlook was beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Great post and so many amazing photos, Linda 🙂 The Nipigon Lookout Tower is such a fun and fantastic feature and so are the splendid views from it including the cargo train. I still remember driving from Calgary to Vancouver and seeing for the first time railcars carrying cargo containers in pairs, one atop the other – I was in awe 🙂

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and lovely comment. It’s always good to break up the drive on a long road trip. The Nipigon Lookout Tower was a lovely spot to eat some lunch and check out the views of the surrounding area. And talk about perfect timing to reach the top of the tower just in time to see the train come through. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though we had a bit of a rainy start to our road trip, I’m glad we ended with such fabulous weather. The stretch along Lake Superior was easily the most scenic part of the drive. That’s too bad that you had overcast and rain as you were driving through this area. The hiking here is incredible, but much tougher and less fun to do in the pouring rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rose says:

    Moments of Algoma; what a neat art installation! I’m definitely going to research that a bit further to find out more. Your images from the towers and viewpoints are so lovely.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks so much. The Moments of Algoma installations are such a great way to connect the landscape with art. I have such a newfound appreciation of the Group of Seven painters and it was fun learning more about their history, their artwork, and where they drew their inspiration from in Northern Ontario.

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  6. Ab says:

    What a beautiful day you had and wonderful scenery. Rainbow Halls and Terrace Bay were on our itinerary for the Roadtrip we ended up not taking last summer so I am thankful for your update. Such a wonderful part of our province.

    I’m looking very forward to your recap of Neys – also on our wishlist last summer! 😊

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I am such a fan of Lake Superior and all the various provincial parks in the area. Rainbow Falls is a great spot to spend the afternoon. There’s a few shorter hiking trails, but we only had time for one, so I figure you can’t go wrong with hiking the trail to the falls for which the park is named after.

      Neys is hands down one of my favourites. I would love to return this summer, except it’s such a far drive to get to, even when flying into Thunder Bay.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        Our only experience with Neys was on our drive home from Thunder Bay in 2020. We stopped at the registration Centre to pick up a crest. 😆 I wish we had stayed longer now that I’ve read up more about it but we were in such a rush. I think this summer is not gonna happen for us but maybe 2023! 🙏

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        There just never seems to be enough time! Even though we’ve been to Northern Ontario three times now, I feel like there is still so much left to be discovered. There were so many parks that we visited that I wish we could have stayed just a bit longer or camped there overnight. I can’t wait to retire. I’ve been trying to convince K that we should buy a campervan and just tour through all the provincial parks for an entire year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        We’ve looked into campervan rentals. Might be a way to ease K into it instead of full on purchase. Good luck with the pitch. I can live vicariously through you both!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That sounds like an incredible experience!! I heard the bug situation there is brutal, so it’s probably a good thing your friend went in the fall. I would be too terrified to travel to the Yukon alone. I’d be too worried about the bears and being stranded somewhere remote. I am terrible with navigation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        The thought of heads alone would terrify me. But the prospect of seeing the Northern Lights would certainly be an incentive. I never would’ve thought you were bad at navigation! 😆

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I didn’t even think about the Northern Lights, but the Yukon would be pretty amazing for seeing them. I bet their winters are freeeeezing. And speaking of winter, best of luck with this snow storm that’s coming our way on Thursday. I’m not looking forward to all the rain and then snow. It’s going to be a mess.

        I am awful with navigation and often rely on my husband to pay attention and figure out directions. I do all the trip planning and then turn it over to him to handle driving and navigating!

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The roads should be fine by Saturday morning, but the trails might be a bit dodgy. We just booked our accommodations last night and I was surprised that there was zero availability for anything in Huntsville or the surrounding area. I guess a lot of people have a similar idea and are either going to Arrowhead or Algonquin. Maybe this rain and snow might deter them??

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        I saw that Arrowhead reached capacity at 8 am, yes AM, last weekend. If you’re planning on going, you should book a day pass in advance. Good luck and have a great time!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s crazy. I made sure to book our day-use permit for Algonquin five days in advance right when the reservation window opened at 7a.m. Too bad we didn’t do the same for our accommodations! Oh well, I’m just happy that we’re getting away this weekend to enjoy the snow. Best of luck shovelling this morning. I wonder whether today will be a snow day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        Good thing you got the permit! Enjoy your get away this weekend! We’re taking it it easy but will be doing a nature hike on Monday. It’s beautiful out. 🙂

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Exactly, that’s the most important part! We’re hoping to head out early this morning, but I’m a bit concerned with this snow squall warning. It looks fierce outside with the wind and all this blowing snow. Enjoy your long weekend as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The drive to Algonquin was terrible with all the blowing snow. It took us just over 5 hours to get here. We saw a few accidents and had to make a detour as part of the highway was blocked off. By the time we got to Algonquin, it wasn’t very windy anymore. It wasn’t very busy either. Thankfully we still had a few hours of daylight left and managed to squeeze in one hike for the day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks! Yesterday was a bit blustery, but the drive back home wasn’t nearly as bad. There was some congestion near Toronto though. I guess this is just a preview for what the weekends will be like in the summer!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s pretty amazing to think of how much upkeep some of these parks must deal with around trail maintenance, adding proper signage, and for trails that contain wooden boardwalks, steps or bridges. It’s much appreciated as it creates for such such a great experience and hiking adventure.

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  7. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Such gorgeous scenery, Linda, and your photos are terrific. I love Lawren Harris in particular, but the Group of Seven in general had some rather wonderful material work with.

    Weirdly enough, this comment for you initially went to Allan as WP was doing some strange things yesterday. He let me know and I’ve copied to you. I hope you get it this time!

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The drive around Lake Superior was the most scenic part of our road trip. I can easily see why the Group of Seven drew inspiration from this area. It was pretty neat to learn more about their history through the Moments of Algoma signs. P.S. Lawren Harris is my favourite from the Group of Seven as well.

      The comment section in WP Reader has been acting up on me too. I have to type out a comment in word and then copy and paste it over in the comments section. Otherwise whenever I type the letter “l”, it likes/unlikes the post and the letter “k” moves to a different post altogether. It’s so strange.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. alisendopf says:

    I really am appreciating how your Parks combine natural beauty and scenery with man-made structures like the lookouts and lighthouses. I think the mix of both is ideal, and makes for an interesting and educational day out.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It’s nice to have these man made structures like boardwalks and bridges, otherwise these areas would be inaccessible to us hikers. I’ve also come to appreciate the storyboards and interpretive panels along the trail to learn more about the history of the area, how the park was created or named, and about the types of plants along the trail. It’s a great way to educate visitors. Agreed, it’s all about having the right balance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • alisendopf says:

        you’re right, it is a balance. Even out here in Alberta, past industry makes it possible for us to recreate so easily. Logging roads put into the valleys 100 years ago are now our roads to access hikes and climbs. Even a few old mine sites (coal and gypsum) provide easy access to mountains that would otherwise we unattainable.

        Like

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s pretty amazing to think how the infrastructure from the past, like old logging roads, is still being used today. Nowadays not much is done by our government to help improve trail access (or even creating more provincial parks). I guess there are bigger priorities like housing development.

        Liked by 1 person

      • alisendopf says:

        Absolutely. Plus, when we have a natural disaster (like the 2013 floods here) that take out infrastructure, very little of it gets puts back. So 40 years of parks construction gets wiped out in one week of flooding, and that’s it. Gone. Plus, nothing new is done either because bridges have to be rebuilt, etc. It’s depressing because the population isn’t slowing down any. There is SO much pressure on the parks, and no parks mean the ones we have get trashed.

        Like

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The issue is that natural disasters seem to be more frequent these days with climate change.

        Our parks have seen a huge increase in visitors during the pandemic. It’s great that more people want to camp and spend time in nature, but I worry about what impact this will have on the environment. There is noticeably more trash on the trails. Instead of building new parks or expanding existing ones, there’s a push to just cram in more campsites, which means more noise. It’s just going to get worse as there’s a push to bring in more and more people to Ontario without growing our existing facilities, infrastructures and green spaces.

        We’re having a similar issue with the area where we live and how to add more housing. Unfortunately the only way to do it is by paving over farmland and conservation areas that have been protected for decades. One of the things Canada has that many other countries don’t is our pristine wilderness. I just wish we could do more to celebrate and protect it.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a fan of lighthouses. I love how even though they are typically white and red, each one has such a unique design, shape and size. The lighthouse at Terrace Bay was very picturesque and it was fun to be able to climb our way to the top to get a view of the surrounding area.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was neat to watch the train pass by from the top of the lookout tower. Talk about about great timing. It was also a lovely spot to stop for a picnic and just enough our surroundings. That’s one of the things I really enjoyed about our road trips was that we were able to discover some of these smaller places along the highway to break up the drive.

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  9. wetanddustyroads says:

    What a lovely view from the lookout tower! I really enjoyed your hike along the Rainbow Falls Trail – beautiful views and the waterfall is the perfect picture representing nature ☺️. And I always love seeing a lighthouse somewhere on a trail – thanks for showing it!

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve driven by the lookout tower a couple of times the previous summer and I’m glad we finally stopped to check it out. It’s a short climb to the top, but the views were lovely. Rainbow Falls was another great detour. The views of the cascading falls just kept getting better and better. I’m such a fan of lighthouses so naturally I couldn’t resist pulling over to check it out. As you can probably tell, I really enjoy making plenty of stops along a road trip. Thanks for reading. Linda

      Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for following along on our adventures. We had a wonderful time during our road trip across Northern Ontario and it was such a scenic drive, especially along Lake Superior. The scenery was just breathtaking.

      Like

  10. dailywriter says:

    Thanks the area looks beautiful though I am sure the winter scenery is quite a bit different. When I first saw the tower I though of a high dive design! The lighthouse is constructed of what type of wood?

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s amazing how the landscape can look so different through the seasons. I would love to return to Northern Ontario in the winter as I bet it’s great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Nipigon Lookout Tower was a lovely place to enjoy our surroundings and eat some lunch. I’m not sure what type of wood the Terrace Bay Lighthouse is made of. It looks beautiful though and it was such a treal that it was open and we could climb to the top.

      Like

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