Chutes Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021

Chutes Provincial Park is located on the Aux Sables River and is the only provincial park between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. It was named after a logging chute which was built at the main falls to reduce the risk of logs jamming up the river and instead divert them downstream. The park offers a few activities on and along the river, including hiking, swimming, fishing and camping.

After spending the morning in Sault Ste. Marie, we arrived at Chutes just before 4p.m. The park office was temporarily closed and there was a sign to indicate that it would open again later in the afternoon. So we figured we might as well go on a hike to stretch our legs.

We parked at the day-use area near the picnic facilities and designated swimming area and first walked to the scenic lookout overlooking the main falls. There are a few interpretive signs that provide more information about the history of the area and how the park was created.

Many rivers in Northeastern Ontario have a rich history as transportation routes, including the Aux Sables. Each winter from the late 1800s to the 1930s, trees were chopped down and dragged onto the ice-covered river. In the spring, thousands of pine logs floated down the Aux Sables when the ice and snow started to melt. Special chutes were built around difficult sections, like the main falls in Chutes, to reduce the risk of log jams.

The viewpoint at the falls also marks the start of the Twin Bridges Trail (6km round trip, rated moderate), the only trail in the park. We first had to walk up a bunch of steps to get to the actual trail though.

The trail can be hiked in portions and there are options to scale up or down. It meanders through the forest and follows the shore of the Aux Sables River and Seven Sisters rapids. Along the way the trail crosses two bridges (for which the trail is named) and contains three viewing platforms.

The second viewing platform is located about a kilometre from the trailhead at the base of the Seven Sisters Rapids. Most of the views are obstructed by trees though, but it helped build up the anticipation of seeing the rapids.

After the second viewing platform, the trail crosses the twin bridges. These bridges were built in the winter of 2001 by hand. The steel on the bridges is a special alloy that never needs painting, but will eventually turn a dark brown colour as it oxidizes and seals.

Beyond the second bridge, the trail follows the eastern shore of the river and loops through the forest. The terrain on this section is a bit more rugged, but the path leads to another viewing platform that provides lovely views of the Seven Sisters series of waterfalls.

Once we looped back to the junction, we crossed over the two bridges and walked the same way we came to the trailhead.

Overall it took us just under 2 hours to complete the trail. We drove back to the park office, which was now open, to check in. We found our campsite and set up our tents one final time. The forecast was calling for a 40% chance of rain in the evening. While the skies turned to overcast, thankfully it didn’t rain. What better way to end our trip than by having one last campfire.

The next morning we packed up our tents for the last time. After eating a hot breakfast, we headed off to Sudbury to see the Big Nickel. The nickel is a 9 metre replica of the Canadian nickel and the largest coin in the world.

We hopped back in the car and continued our drive home. We planned to make a couple more stops to make the most of the nice weather and our final day of our road trip.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

56 thoughts on “Chutes Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    Love walks along a rushing river. This walk seems to have it all. I also like taking photos of the campfire at night. You never know what kind of spark trace you will get. Thanks for sharing Linda. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This was a very lovely hike with great signage and lots of awesome viewpoints of the rapids and cascading falls. We couldn’t resist having one last campfire to burn all our remaining wood. There’s just something so mesmerizing about watching the flames flicker, especially at night. Thanks for reading. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I always find it interesting to learn more about the history of the park and how it was created and named. This was the perfect spot to spend our last night on our two week Northern Ontario road trip. And naturally we had to check out the trails in the park as well.

  2. John says:

    Another beautiful park! I love the river and the path in the forest, a great place to get mellow. I’ve really enjoyed this series so much! There is a river in northern lower Michigan called the Aux Sables River. When I was a teen, my dad and I and some of his friends would go up there most weekends to ride our dirt bikes along that river. Fun!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m such a fan of Northern Ontario, especially the area around Lake Superior. There are so many awesome parks and great hiking trails, but the best part is that it’s never really busy or crowded. That’s funny how there’s an Aux Sables River in Michigan. Sounds like you had some great memories of biking along it during your childhood. You should totally bike here again the next time you’re in Michigan (assuming it’s not in the winter).

      • John says:

        It’s a fun thing that there are two rivers wiht the same name fairly close together. I usually only go to michigan once in winter for our family Christmas, and maybe three times in sumer with three airline flights.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I wonder what other places or lakes are named the same in Michigan and Ontario besides the Aux Sables River and Sault Ste. Marie. I was thinking about visiting Michigan to do some hiking. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore look awesome.

  3. wetanddustyroads says:

    You had some nice views on this trail – love the pictures of the rapids. What a great campfire … perfect way of ending a camping/road trip! The Canadian Nickel is huge – great picture!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This was a lovely trail where the path was wide, it was well signed and there were lots of great vantage points of the rushing water and cascading falls. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend our last night camping than by sitting around the campfire in the evening. It was neat to see another giant Canadian coin. The Big Nickel is actually the largest coin in the world.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s really such a shame that you had rainy weather as you were driving through Northern Ontario. Chutes is a great park to break up the drive and check out the falls, especially since it’s located conveniently right off the Trans-Canada Highway, assuming the weather is nice of course.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Logging doesn’t seem like it would be a fun gig, but it would be neat to see the chutes in action. The Big Nickel is the largest coin in the world. It’s very shiny and worth the drive to Sudbury.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Chutes was a lovely park to spend the last night of our road trip. I’m glad we had nice enough weather to enjoy one last evening by the fire. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, the sound of rushing water is very relaxing. This was a lovely hike that provided plenty of great viewpoints of the rapids and series of waterfalls. I’m glad we had such fabulous weather to enjoy our time outdoors.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. The trail was also nice and wide and had great signage so it was easy to navigate. The views of the rapids just kept getting better and better. It was a bit of a detour to get to the Big Nickel, but we couldn’t resist, especially after seeing the giant loonie the day before.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s just something so peaceful and relaxing about being by the water. I could have watched the water rushing over the rocks all afternoon. The last time we stayed at Chutes in 2020, we could hear the falls right from our campsite.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The first time we visited Chutes I was disappointed to learn that there was only one hiking trail in the park, but at least it was a great one! We had such a nice time camping here back in the summer of 2020 that I didn’t hesitate to book a site at Chutes again. The campsites are pretty spacious and private. As an added bonus, you can even hear the main falls from a few of them.

  4. Bama says:

    This might sound a bit weird, but I really love the look of those bridges. The dark color of the oxidized alloy is a perfect match for the light-colored wooden planks, and together they provide a stark contrast to the greenery and blue skies. Just beautiful.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a sucker for taking pictures of bridges, so your comment about loving the look of the twin bridges is not weird at all. It was neat to learn about how they were made and how they never need painting. Agreed, they look beautiful in contrast to the natural landscape.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It is definitely a fan favourite and worth the visit to Chutes alone. The campgrounds are also really nice and I love how the sites feel secluded. I would totally camp here again the next time we visit Northern Ontario.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The rushing rapids were captivating and made for an eventful hike along the shoreline. It would be interesting to see the chutes in action, but those days of logging are a thing of the past. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend the last night of our road trip than by sitting around the campfire.

  5. Olympus Mountaineering says:

    It’s always nice to follow your posts, because I get to learn about all these “provincial parks” that I would not be aware otherwise.

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your updates.

    Greetings from Greece.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s been so much fun exploring more of Ontario’s parks during the pandemic. I tend to take where I live for granted, so it was nice to finally see more of what’s in my own backyard. I’ve come to enjoy discovering new trails and learning about the history of how each park was created and named. Now that restrictions are easing, I’m hoping to start travelling abroad again. I would love to visit Greece!

  6. Ab says:

    Those rushing rivers and Seven Sisters falls look lovely! This was on our wishlist for last summer that never happened so thank you for the tour! 🙂

    That big nickel was also a fun detour. What a great way to bring tourists to the heart of Sudbury! It was the first touristy thing we did during the pandemic in summer 2020 and I remember how excited we all were just to do something other than play in our backyard. 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You’ll have to add this back to your list for when you return. Chutes is a wonderful park to spend the day. The campgrounds are also super nice and secluded. You can even hear the main falls from a few of the campsites. The Big Nickel is definitely a great excuse to visit Sudbury. Who doesn’t love seeing something big and shiney? We’ve seen it three times now and it doesn’t get old.

      • Ab says:

        Thank you! Chutes is definitely on our to-visit list one day. If T didn’t have school, we’d totally do an autumn Northern Ontario Roadtrip to. Pesky school just had to get in the way. 😆

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Pesky school and work always seem to get in the way!! The only downside to visiting in the fall was that we had fewer hours of daylight. The tradeoff was that we didn’t have to deal with any buggies and that many of the parks were also noticeably quieter, except along Lake Superior (but it was all retired people who go to bed super early like us, so that was great) or on the weekend as we were driving back towards the city.

      • Ab says:

        That’s a good point about the shorter daylight in the fall. That’s what I love most about the summer. I guess the bugs are the trade off!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Aiva. Agreed, there’s something so comforting about hearing the sounds of rushing water. The last time we stayed at Chutes we managed to snag one of the campsites where you could hear the main falls, which was awesome for falling asleep at night. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the week. Linda.

  7. travelling_han says:

    I love the falls – one of my favourite things on hikes is to follow a river as I love the sound of the water on a nice sunny day. This hike looks right up my street – thanks for sharing 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I love hearing the sounds of rushing water as well. It’s also captivating to watch it flow over and around the rocks. This was such a pleasant trail and I’m glad we had fabulous weather so we could take our time and enjoy the views. Thanks for reading. Linda

  8. BrittnyLee says:

    That’s pretty incredible that some of the bridges were made by hand, wow. That must’ve been a lot of work . The result is gorgeous though. The rapids would’ve motivated me, too. Watching streams and creeks is so calming.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      No kidding. I’m such a fan of bridges in general, but the fact that these were made by hand makes me appreciate them even more. This was a lovely trail by the rapids and a great way to spend our afternoon.

  9. rkrontheroad says:

    Those rugged rapids look a little scary. Good to be hiking a trail to enjoy them rather than being on the water! Again, I wonder how difficult it must have been to build those bridges.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I certainly would not want to go swimming in those rapids either! It was much better walking alongside them and seeing the series of waterfalls and hearing the sounds of rushing water. I imagine the bridges took awhile to make since they were made by hand. They looked really pretty and I appreciated the effort.

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