Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park
Some vistas are so spectacular that a picture just doesn’t do them justice, they need to be appreciated in person. Ouimet Canyon is a jaw-dropping 100 metre deep, 150 metre wide and 2,000 metre long gorge flanked by dramatic stone cliffs and rugged weather-beaten trees and shrubs. It is one of the many incredible natural attractions along the north shore of Lake Superior that you need to see to believe.
Ouimet Canyon is located within Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park in the municipality of Dorion, 60 km northeast of Thunder Bay in Northwest Ontario. The park entrance is about 10 km west along Ouimet Canyon Road, off of TransCanada Highway 17.
There is a small picnic area next to the parking lot and trailhead. Cross a short bridge and follow the forested 1 km loop trail and boardwalk to two lookout platforms perched on the canyon’s edge. Be sure to always stay on the clearly marked walkway. From these observation pods, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the steep, sheer cliffs that drop right down to the canyon floor. Beyond the canyon, looking out towards Lake Superior, you’ll see a shimmering smaller body of water. Pause at the interpretive display panels to learn more about the significant features of this natural wonder.
The gorge was most likely shaped over a billion years ago from glacier activity, and the subsequent erosion has resulted in fascinating rock columns and formations. Researchers have found rare Arctic flora flourishing in the bottom of the canyon. Typically these plants would be over 1,000 km north, but remarkably manage to survive in the unique conditions and climate below the rocks on the canyon floor.
For up-to-date information and details on Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park, we recommend you visit the Ontario Parks website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
More about Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park
A host of boreal forest bird species can be spotted at Ouimet Canyon, and you’ll find both migratory summer guests and year round residents. Look for grosbeak and kingfishers, warblers and owls. And if you’re lucky, you may glimpse a nesting peregrine falcon.
For those who dare to experience the canyon from a bird’s eye view, head further along the canyon to Eagle Canyon Adventures (privately owned, charges vary). The ride is 800 metres long, over 50 metres high and reaches speeds of over 70 km/hr. Or cross the canyon on one of two suspension footbridges, one is almost 100 metres long and the other over 180 metres. There are also some pleasant hiking trails with scenic vistas on the property, as well as a picnic area.
Camping is not available at Ouimet Canyon, as the park is designated as day-use only, but you’ll find camping and RV facilities at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, which is just an hour away.