Manitoulin has many hiking trails which take anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day, requiring various degrees of fitness. For the casual walker, there are nature trails and boardwalks in and around many of the towns. Brief descriptions follow.
On Hwy 6, just north of Hwy 542, this private park offers a nature interpretive centre with three complimentary hiking trails through five different eco systems, (wetland, forest, meadow, pond, escarpment). The Interpretive Centre features mounted animal displays of bears, wolves, hawks and owls plus interpretive information on mushrooms, fossils, edible wilds, astronomy, birds, trees, wildflowers and animals. Picnic area, pool, mini putt, camping, tipi tenting, B&B and store. Observation Deck, Bird Blind, Dark Sky Sanctuary & Astronomy Observatory. www.gordonspark.com
This verdant 100-acre park is located on New England Road, a sideroad off Hwy 6 mid-way between Manitowaning and South Baymouth. The park, about 3km along the New England Rd. features hiking trails based on ancient logging paths. Hardwood bush with some huge trees. The walk takes about 1.5 hours.
The Lewis Twin Peaks Hiking Trail
This trail is in Sheguiandah and is accessible from the west side of Hwy 6, just across from Paradise Motel. Approximately 2km in length and a relatively easy hike, the trail nevertheless provides two quite spectacular views of Bass Lake and the North Channel. The lookouts are on Quartzite outcrops. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours.
Cup and Saucer
Eighteen km west of Little Current, just off Hwy 540 on the Bidwell Road, is the well known Cup and Saucer trail. With its dramatic 70 metre cliffs and breathtaking views, up to 12km of hiking trails, and a 2km adventure trail, it is one of the most popular trails in Ontario. Anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours.
Bebamikawe Memorial Trail
Located at the end of Beach Road in Wikwemikong, this trail is 14 km of easy to intermediate trails, spectacular lookouts and educational signage. The Outdoor Fitness Park section of the trail is a double track, granular surfaced trail with five fitness stations equipped with outdoor fitness equipment so that trail users can take advantage of resistance training in a scenic natural environment. Call (705)859-3477 for more information.
Right off one of Mindemoya’s main streets, Hwy 542, Wagg’s Woods is located almost directly across the street from the municipal office and library building. Features maple, basswood, birch and ash. Moss climbs the cliffs which are part of the Niagara escarpment. Watch for 15 different species of fern. Allow 1 hour.
Bridal Veil Falls
This trail is located on Hwy 540 at the entrance to Kagawong. A picnic area at the top of the falls leads down to the base of the falls, and the trail follows both sides of the stream to the bay. While your are there, take a dip in the falls, and take the walking tour of the old town. Allow 1 to 2 hours.
Misery Bay Provincial Nature Reserve is a 860 hectare provincial park on the south shore of Manitoulin Island, a ten minute drive west of Evansville. There is a trail network of eight trails totaling approximately 16 km (one way) and ranging in length from 0.2 km to 4.8 km (one way). The trails feature mixed woodland, old beach ridges, and rare alvars. There is a visitor centre/ interpretive centre to educate the public about this unique area. There is an easy loop of 4.1 km from the visitor centre consisting of the Lakeshore and Wolf Den Trails. For more information www.manitoulin.com/misery-bay
Sheshegwaning – Nimkees Hiking Trail
North of Silver Water, off Hwy 540, the Sheshegwaning First Nation is developing a 20km trail, which can be enjoyed in several sections, some offering wonderful views of the North Channel. There are facilities for camping and picnicking, Trail maps are available at the Band Office or at the Gas/ Convenience store at the trailhead. Allow 3 to 6 hours.
Located at the lighthouse near Meldrum Bay are several short trails that follow the craggy shoreline over flat limestone ledges, around enormous boulders and through rock fissures. Wildflowers and birds abound, and the trails offer fine views of Lake Huron. Allow 1 to 2 hours.
Heaven’s Gate Trail
This approx 50 km trail runs from the Willisville turn-off on Hwy 6 through to Fort Lacloche on the Sagamok First Nation, south of Massey. The multi-day hike runs through the magnificent Lacloche Mountains with beautiful views of the North Channel and surrounding lakes. However it is not well marked or maintained and only recommended for very skilled hikers. Guided hiking and canoeing tours of the area, with a native theme, are available from “Trails of The Eagle Clan”, 705-865-2526, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
South Baymouth Trail
While you’re waiting for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, or after you disembark, this trail is a great diversion. Access points are off the small boat harbour parking lot and across from the boat launch (south of the ferry terminal building) and also off Green Street in the same area. The trails take you up limestone steps, through the bush and offer Lake Huron views. Allow 1 hour.