Manitoulin Island Hiking
Visiting Manitoulin Island is akin to reawakening the carefree spirit you had as a child. It is an idyllic place with something new to discover every day. With breathtaking scenery and boundless recreational activities, people from all walks of life are drawn to the island, and with a myriad of accommodation and culinary delights, it’s no wonder why visitors tend to stay awhile.
For those in search of hiking trails, the island does not disappoint. Whether you are visiting during spring to witness a kaleidoscope of new colours, enjoying long summer days in search of the perfect sunset vantage point, or weathering winter’s elements to witness the magic of Manitoulin’s nature with a fresh coat of snow, there is something to see no matter when you visit.
There are countless trail options to satisfy your casual stroll or full-day, full-body climb. Regardless of which of the island’s trails you choose to explore, it will invigorate your soul and leave you wanting more. Here are a several to keep in mind when planning your hike.
Cup and Saucer
The Cup and Saucer trail is one of the most popular trails in all of Ontario. It is located 18km west of Little Current at the junction of Highway 650 and Bidwell Road. Depending on your fitness level and how much time you have available, you can choose hiking options ranging from 15 minutes to 4 hours in length. With dramatic 70-metre high cliffs that run for over 2km, I highly recommend that you spend some time here. There are 12km of hiking trails and 2km of adventure trails to discover.
Bebamikawe Memorial Trail
The Bebamikawe Memorial Trail is Manitoulin Island’s only professionally-built trail system. There are three trails available offering 14km of easy-to-moderate hiking through a diverse ecological habitat. The trails will have you spending most of the time in the forest, but there are three stunning vantage points with educational signage describing the historic and ecological significance of the area. The trail system also has a lakefront picnic pavilion and an outdoor fitness park, accessible for $2 per person. Make sure to bring the exact change with you. You can also pay to use the facilities at the office in Wikwemikong.
The picturesque Mississagi Lighthouse, established as a lighthouse and fog station in 1873, is at the far west end of Manitoulin Island near Meldrum Bay. Several short walking trails allow you to explore the shoreline with its flat limestone ledges, rock fissures, and enormous boulders. The landscape is dotted with colourful wildflowers and an abundance of fauna. The trails provide stunning views of Lake Huron and an investment of as little as 1 to 2 hours will give you enough time to enjoy this isolated treasure.
Lewis Twins Peak Hiking Trail
The Lewis Twins Peak Hiking Trail is a relatively easy hike, accessible from the east side of Highway 6 in Sheguiandah. The trail is only 2 km in length, but it does provide impressive views of Bass Lake and the North Channel. You need to leave yourself approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours to complete the hike.
Bridal Veil Falls
The Bridal Veil Falls trail is located on Highway 540 at the entrance to Kagawong. There is a nice picnic area at the top of the falls that offers a path down to the base of the falls. Make sure you bring your bathing suit as you can swim in the pool at the base of the falls. You can also follow the path to the town of Kagawong where you’ll find a museum and art galleries. Give yourself approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete this trek.
Misery Bay Provincial Park
Misery Bay Provincial Park is a beautiful 1,100-ha nature reserve park located along the southern shores of Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron. Just a 10 minute drive west of Evansville, there are more than 15 km of hiking trails, as well as a boardwalk and bird viewing platform overlooking the wetland. Allow yourself approximately 2 to 4 hours to fully explore the area.
Coastal Alvar Trail
The Coastal Alvar Trail is a large loop that visits old glacial beaches, dolostone pavements, and the Lake Huron alvar coastline. This hike is a fairly moderate, 8-km route.
Inland Alvar Trail
The Inland Alvar Trail is an easier 5-km loop, taking you through mixed woodlands, old glacial beaches and a variety of open alvar pavements.
Misery Bay Trail
The Misery Bay Trail begins where the Coastal Alvar Trail hits the Lake Huron coastline, travelling over beautiful sandy outwash towards the western side of the park. There are two trail loop options at the west end of the park that take you to the largest open alvar pavement in the park. The whole loop is 5 km and its moderate to difficult rating makes it suitable for more experienced hikers.
Mac’s Bay Trail
Mac’s Bay Trail is the shortest trail in the park, making it the perfect choice if your time is limited. It meanders through shady cedars to Mac’s Bay shoreline, an open and marshy place that is excellent for birdwatching.