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TRAILS OF MANITOULIN

Trails in The Western Lands

Manitoulin's west end is a great place for a hike. You can choose from secluded trails, or take a walk in town. Here are some of the places to hike:

  • Gore Bay Boardwalk - 1.2 km of very easy trails and boardwalk along the waterfront in downtown Gore Bay.

  • Manitoulin Golf - The golf course just outside of Gore Bay grooms their 5.5 km of trails for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Noble Nature Trail - 1.1. km of easy to moderate trails that lead to the East Bluff lookout and the H. Noble Memorial Park.

  • Ice Lake Trail - The Ice Lake Trail is located on Ice Lake Drive and offers 4 km of easy to moderate trails.

  • Misery Bay - Misery Bay is a popular hiking destination. There are 14 km of various trails that go out to the shores of Lake Huron and the famous alvars.

  • Nimkee's Trail - This large trail system winds through the woods of Sheshegwaning. There are 16 km of easy to moderate trails.

  • Mississagi Lighthouse Trails - These 3 km of trails are located at the Mississagi Lighthouse in Meldrum Bay, and offer beautiful views of the rockfaces and Lake Huron.

Trails in The Middle Lands

The Middle Lands of Manitoulin have lots of scenic trails that are great for the whole family. These trails include:

  • M'Chigeeng Aboriginal Trail - 4 km of moderate to difficult trails beginning at the M'Chigeeng ballfields. These trails run below the bluff and up to the top for picturesque views of the area.

  • Maple Ridge Trails - Located in Mindemoya behind Community Living, this 4.7 km long trail system is easy to moderate, and winds through the hardwood bush of Central Manitoulin. The trails are also groomed for skiing/snowshoeing in the winter.

  • Wagg's Woods - 4 km of easy trails in the heart of Mindemoya. Immerse yourself in Manitoulin's ecosystem with views of the rock faces, woods, and a stream running through this park.

  • Providence Bay Boardwalk - A 1.5 km boardwalk along the Providence Bay Beach with gorgeous views of the sandy beach and Lake Huron. There are multiple access points down to the beach as well as a bridge with views of the Mindemoya River. 

  • Gibraltar Trails - This winter trail in Big Lake is roughly 2 km in length, and is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Bridal Veil Falls (Billings Connection Trail) - 6 km of easy to moderate trails surrounding Bridal Veil Falls and the Kagawong River. Follow the trails from the museum/waterfront along the river and finish at the famous Bridal Veil Falls. There are also permanent art installations along the way to find.

Trails in The Eastern Lands

The Eastern Lands of Manitoulin are home to some of the most scenic views on the island, with a large variety of trails, lookouts, and hiking destinations. These include:

  • Bowerman Nature Trails - 3 km of easy trails located in South Baymouth behind the marina/pond that lead out to the south shores of Lake Huron and "Make Believe Island." This adventure is perfect for kids, with "fairy houses" and other surprises along the way to discover.

  • Gordon's Park - This park is home to 4.5 km of easy to moderate trails in Tehkummah. The trails take you through the ecosystems of Manitoulin with lots of flora and fauna to see along the way. These trails are available for free for overnight guests, and the public can buy their pass at the main office.

  • McLean's Park - Located in the hardwood forests between Manitowaning and Tehkummah, McLean's Park offers 8 km of easy to moderate trails. There is a specific stretch of trail designing for mountain biking, and the trails are groomed for winter use.

  • Fossil Hill - Also located between Manitowaning and Tehkummah, the Fossil Hill trails are 3 km in length and range from easy to moderate. Take a step back in time and see the ancient fossil formations on your adventure.

  • Bebamikawe Memorial Trail - 14 km of easy to moderate trails located in Wiikwemkoong at the end of Beach Road. This trail system includes multiple ammenities including an outdoor fitness park, a lakefront pavillion, and a specially designed stretch for mountain biking.

  • Lewis Twin Peaks Trails - Located in Sheguiandah, this easy trail system is roughly 2 km in length with fantastic views of both Lake Huron and Bass Lake.

  • Ten Mile Point Trail - The Ten Mile Point Trail is located just outside of Sheguiandah on Highway 6, and is roughly 2 km in length. This trail offers spectacular views of Lake Huron and takes you on a descent to the Georgian Bay shore.

  • Dan Bingaman Trail - This easy 2 km trail is located outside of Little Current near the Ski Club chalet. It winds along and climbs up the escarpment.

  • Little Current Recreational Walking Trail - This 7 km system of interconnected trails takes you on a full loop of Little Current, and includes the trails/boardwalk at Low Island Park, the boardwalk along the channel downtown, and the trails near the Information Booth and Swing Bridge. Visitors can choose to walk specific sections, or tackle the whole loop to take in the entire town.

  • McLean's Mountain Trail - 3 km of easy trails located at the McLean's Mountain Lookout on McLean's Mountain Road, just outside of Little Current. These trails offer stunning views of the town and the North Channel, as well as the rolling farmland surrounding it.

  • Cup and Saucer - Perhaps the most famous trail on Manitoulin, The Cup and Saucer is located between Aundeck Omni Kaning and M'Chigeeng on Highway 540. The system includes 14 km of moderate trails up to the top of the Niagara Escarpment. From the sharp cliff faces and lookouts, hikers can see for miles across the island and take in the breathtaking scenery.

LOOKOUTS OF MANITOULIN

Lookouts in the Western Lands

Western Manitoulin is known for its quiet, laidback lifestyle and sprawling lands. There are several lookouts that allow you to take this all in from above.

  • H. Noble Memorial Park Lookout - Located on the East Bluff in Gore Bay, this lookout provides stunning views of the town of Gore Bay, the harbour, Lake Huron, and the stretches of lush farmland beyond. There are public washrooms, picnic tables, and ample parking available.

  • Hindman Park Lookout - Located on Scotland Road, Hindman Park also gives wonderful views of Gore Bay and beyond. There is also a picnic area at this location.

  • Misery Bay Provincial Park - Misery Bay is a famous destination on Manitoulin Island. Their winding trails lead to many lookout points, including the beach where you can see out into southern Lake Huron. 

  • Mississagi Strait Lookout - Located in Meldrum Bay at the Mississagi Lighthouse, the Mississagi Strait Lookout is one of the hidden gems of Manitoulin. Visitors are able to see out across the straits of Lake Huron, and take in the sharp rock faces and cliffs that are so unique to the area

Lookouts in the Middle Lands

Take a trip to the Middle Lands and visit a diverse array of lookouts that are perfect for any sightseer. These include:

  • Maple Point Lookout - Located just outside of Kagawong, Maple Point offers scenic views of Lake Huron and the edges of Mudge Bay.

  • M'Chigeeng Lookout - Follow the M'Chigeeng trail up the escarpment for picturesque views of the First Nation and the lands beyond.

  • Bridal Veil Falls Lookout - Located at the end of the Billings Connection Trail, Bridal Veil Falls is a popular tourist destination. There are several sets of stairs that take you up to the main parking lot, with lookout platforms at various levels. These allow visitors to get the best views of the falls and the river below.

Lookouts in the Eastern Lands

Eastern Manitoulin is the perfect area for any hiker or sightseer looking to take in all of what Manitoulin has to offer. They have several renowned trail systems and lookouts that have been captivating travellers for years, including:

  • South Baymouth Boardwalk Lookout - Located near the playground at the South Baymouth marina, this lookout platform provides perfect views of the lighthouse, the rock formations and Lake Huron. This is a perfect destination to watch the sunset as the Chi-Cheemaun ferry arrives.

  • Buzwah Lookout - This lookout in Wiikwemikong offers breathtaking views of Manitowaning Bay from above. There is also a small, rugged trail down to the shoreline allowing visitors to get a closer look as well.

  • Bebamikawe Memorial - Located at the Bebamikwe Memorial park/trail, there are scenic views throughout the park area that lookout across Lake Huron and the woods of Wiikwemkoong. The park itself offers a picnic area, a lakeshore pavilion, an outdoor fitness park, and more.

  • Prairie Point - This lookout can be found in the northeast end of Wiikwemkoong. There is a small park area and boat launch with a dock that allows you to look out over Lake Huron, the shores, and the blossoming wildflower fields that surround it. 

  • Ten Mile Point - On Highway 6 just before Sheguiandah is the Ten Mile Point lookout. This lookout provides stunning views of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, with a lookout platform for visitors to use. There is also a trading post, public washrooms, and a picnic area at this rest stop.

  • McLean's Mountain - A hidden gem of Little Current, McLean's Mountain offers scenic views of the town of Little Current, rolling farmlands, and the North Channel of Lake Huron. You can also spot the famous swing bridge from here!

  • Strawberry Channel Lookout - Just outside of Little Current on Highway 6, this lookout give visitors the perfect vantage point to see across the endless fields to the Strawberry Channel and Lake Huron.

  • Turner's Park - This lookout is at the heart of Little Current on Campbell Street. It is the perfect spot to take in the downtown area, and is high above the waterfront, marina, and boardwalk. There are benches and a picnic area as well.

NATURE EXPERIENCES OF MANITOULIN

Lakes of Manitoulin

Manitoulin Island is well-known for having over one hundred freshwater inland lakes,  and has been a haven for those who love to fish, paddle, and explore. Here are some of the most popular lakes on the island, as well as some examples of what locals + travellers have been catching:

  • Big Lake (Middle Lands) - Pike, Perch

  • Lake Kagawong (Middle/Western Lands) - Perch, Pike, Walleye, Bass

  • Kagawong Bay/River - Perch, Pike, Rainbow Trout, Bass, Salmon, Smelts

  • Lake Manitou - Bass, Lake Trout, Perch, Walleye, Pike

  • Lake Mindemoya - Bass, Perch, Pike, Walleye

  • Lake Wolsey - Perch, Pike, Rainbow Trout

  • Manitou River - Speckled Trout, Salmon, Brown Trout

  • Manitowaning Bay - Bass, Walleye, Pike, Rainbow Trout, Salmon

  • Meldrum Bay - Rainbow Trout, Salmon, Brown Trout

  • Michael's Bay - Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Salmon

  • North Channel - Bass, Perch, Pike, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, Walleye

  • Providence Bay - Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Salmon

  • South Bay - Bass, Lake Trout, Perch, Pike, Rainbow Trout, Salmon

  • South Baymouth - Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Salmon

  • Windfall Lake - Walleye, Pike, Bass, Perch

Provincial Parks of Manitoulin

Many travellers don't realize that Manitoulin is actually home to 4 provincial parks. These parks support rare and endangered species, while giving families and visitors more opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the province's natural beauty, a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources states. They also draw attention to protecting the province's rare ecosystems. These 4 parks include:

  • Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Mnidoo Mnising - One of the newest parks, Queen Mother Mnidoo Mnising (Queen Mum Park) is located at the far west end of Manitoulin, and was given its designation in 2014. 

  • Misery Bay Provincial Park - Misery Bay has been captivating visitors for decades. The unique alvar formations on the shores of Lake Huron draw travellers, and the trails, lookouts, and park centre provide a great place to explore.

  • Strawberry Island Provincial Park - Also one of the new parks, Strawberry Island Provincial Park is located near Little Current. The park does not allow for camping, but does provide opportunities for hiking and birdwatching.

  • Blue Jay Creek Provincial Park - Located in Tehkummah Township, Blue Jay Creek Provincial Park contains some of the largest raised beach and swale system on Manitoulin Island. The park does not provide camping or facilities, but does have opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, etc.

Island Species at Risk

The Manitoulin Island region has the greatest richness of globally significant species and communities of any ecological district within the Canadian portion of the Great Lakes Basin. Manitoulin is home to an exceptional abundance of endemic and globally rare species and some of the best representative examples of ecological communities that are found nowhere else in the world, including the significant alvar habitat. Here are 12 example of species that live on Manitoulin and are rare or at risk:

  1. Aweme Borer Moth - ENDANGERED - This moth is naturally threatened by rodents, skunks, and woodpeckers. One of these rare moths was found on Manitoulin Island in 2005 - one of the first sightings in almost 70 years.

  2. Peregrine Falcon - SPECIAL CONCERN - In the 1960s the Peregrine Falcon population decreased dramatically, later on it was discovered that the pesticide DDT was responsible. Today, the Peregrine Falcon is still a special concern, along with many other species, due to environmental contaminants and habitat loss.

  3. Piping Plover - ENDANGERED - Within an hour of hatching and drying off, the chicks are able to find their own prey. Unfortunately these chicks are slowly becoming extinct because the beaches where they reside are popular for human recreation, which creates open beaches for predators.

  4. Eastern Ribbonsnake - SPECIAL CONCERN - This snake can be found close to water, in marshy areas. It is greatly threatened by the decrease in wetland areas, and is one of the few species of snakes that give birth to live young.

  5. Blanding's Turtle - THREATENED - Blandings Turtles can be found in shallow lakes and ponds with lots of water plants. THis species is threatened by motor vehicles due to their nesting tendencies, as well as racoons which prey on their eggs. These turtles can survive in the wild for more than 75 years.

  6. Loggerhead Shrike - ENDANGERED - The Loggerhead Shrike used to be a very common bird to see, bit over the years the population declined dramatically due to agricultural developments such as crop land and pesticide use. Sometimes called butcher birds because they impale their prey on thorns, barbed wires, or sharp twigs.

  7. Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot) - THREATENED - The Eastern Musk Turtle resides in slow moving bodies of water that are abundant in vegetation. The Stinkpot is becoming forced out of their original range in southwestern Ontario as they are extremely vulnerable to drought and habitat destruction. Unlike other turtles, they rarely leave the water, except when the females lay their eggs.

  8. Eastern Small Footed Bat - ENDANGERED - Once the most common bat in Ontario, it is now an endangered species. They can live 6-12 years in the wild. Typically they find a habitat in and around rocks, buildings, under bridges, in caves or in trees. They are threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fungus brought to North America from Europe.

  9. Lake Sturgeon - SPECIAL CONCERN - Found in large freshwater lakes and rivers, with mud, sand, or gravel, the Lake Sturgeon has ancestral ties to related species dating back 200 million years. Also, they can live up to around 100 years. Poor water quality and the harvesting of dams is posing a threat to their population.

  10. Eastern Wolf (Algonquin Wolf) - SPECIAL CONCERN - The Eastern Wolf is a hybridization between an Eastern Wolf, Grey Wolf, and a coyote. They are mainly threatened by humans as we hunt them, and our housing development interferes with their habitat. They like to live in deciduous and mixed forests with lots of prey such as beavers, white tailed deer, and moose. Very rare on Manitoulin, but sightings have been confirmed.

  11. Bald Eagle - SPECIAL CONCERN - The Bald Eagle has a wingspan of between 1.8 and 2 meters (5.9 - 7 feet). The raspy scream of the bald eagle that you most often hear on TV is actually from a red-tailed hawk. The eagle actually makes a gurgling, watery sort of trill that is much less impressive. They were threatened by humans, at one time they were shot for trophies and impacts by the use of harsh pesticides such as DDT.

  12. Lakeside Daisy - THREATENED - Lakeside Daisy is a small perennial plant, usually found in grassland alvars. Lakeside Daisy is mainly threatened by increase of limestone quarrying. Approximately 95% of the Lakeside Daisy's global population exists in Ontario. On Manitoulin Island, Lakeside Daisy is also called "Manitoulin Gold."

Birds of Manitoulin

There are 282 different species of birds recorded living on Manitoulin Island. Of these, 4 are threatened, 1 is extinct, and 6 are invasive. Here are some of the well-known species:

  • Cedar Waxwing - There are 3 species of waxwings in the world, and Manitoulin's is the Cedar Waxwing. They can live up to 13 years and have the dubious reputation of getting intoxicated through the consumption of overripe fruits and berries.

  • Bald Eagle - The bald eagle is a very large bird, which lives year round in a select few areas of North America, including the Great Lakes region. It has an average wingspan of 6 to 8 feet, and can live in the wild for up to 28 years. Up to 14 lbs in weight, bald eagles are believes to mate for life, creating massive nests, The Anishnaabeg regard the eagle with the greatest respect as it flies closest to the creator.

  • Sandhill Crane - Believed to be one of the oldest species of bird, their wingspan can reach the length of a man, 5-6 ft. They can reach four feet in height making them the tallest flying bird, and live in the wild for up to 20 years. Sandhill cranes are a familiar sight on Manitoulin Island, and a familiar sound. They have a fanciful mating ritual dance, where they hop up in the air and turn around and announce themselves - clearly showing off.

  • Blue Jay - The Blue Jay is a solid looking bird hulled in a distinctive blue feather coat. The striking colour is fitting of its' character - a curious and courageous bird, they will suddenly appear and in close proximity to people. It is a relative of the crow and can use tools and mock other bird calls.

  • Ruby-Throated Hummingbird - The only species that can be found on Manitoulin Island is the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Hummingbirds have the highest metabolic rate of any animal, and have the largest heart per body. They have an average lifespan of 5 to 9 years, enduring incredible migration to Mexico and Central America.

  • Pileated Woodpecker - The largest woodpecker on the continent, the name can be attributed to the unmistakable red helmet. The knock made by this unique bird sounds more like a tree being hit with a hammer than a woodpecker's beak. The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the nine commonly sighted woodpecker species on Manitoulin. They are monogamous and hold large territories alone with their mate.

EXPLORE OUR AMAZING

Trails + Nature + Landmarks

LIGHTHOUSES OF MANITOULIN

Lighthouses in the Western Lands

Western Manitoulin has a rich marine history, meaning that it has some of the most fascinating lighthouses to visit. These include:

  • Janet Head Lighthouse - Located at 621 Lighthouse Road in Gore Bay is the second oldest standing lighthouse on Manitoulin, and is a recognized Federal Heritage Building. The building can be toured throughout the summer, and visitors can enjoy the beautiful picnic grounds and views surrounding it.

  • Mississagi LighthouseLocated on Lighthouse Road in Meldrum Bay, the Mississagi Lighthouse is a popular destination for many reasons. The scenic trails along the limestone rock shelves enchant those that travel them, and there is a breathtaking lookout across Lake Huron. The lighthouse is also available to be toured, and doubles as a museum. There is also a campground at this location.

  • Clapperton Island Lighthouse - Built off of Mudge Bay, this is one of the oldest lighthouses on Manitoulin. The original structure was torn down and replaced by a steel tower, but the site can still be visited by hikers on Nimkee's Trail is Sheshegwaning.

  • Great Duck Island Lighthouse - Located just off the coast of Manitoulin on the south side, Great Duck Island and its lighthouse hold a great deal of history to the area. The lighthouse is now fully automated, but can be seen by boat.

Lighthouses in the Middle Lands

The Middle Lands provide conveniently located lighthouses, which are situated in two wonderful parks with lots to see and do. These are:

  • Kagawong Lighthouse - This small lighthouse can be found on a small hill overlooking the Kagawong harbour and beach. Just a small walk away from the playground, waterfront, and museum, the Kagawong Lighthouse is automated and still operational. A smaller, miniature lighthouse is located at the docks by the museum.

  • Providence Bay Lighthouse - While the original wooden structure has since burned down, a metal tower stands to mark where it once was. Visitors can walk out to the point of Providence Bay and visit the tower, which is not far from Providence Bay Beach, the playground, and the boardwalk.

Lighthouses in the Eastern Lands

The Eastern Lands are home to some of the most well-kept and beautiful lighthouses on Manitoulin. These include:

  • Little Current Lighthouse - The Little Current Lighthouse was originally a pair of range lights - one on Spider Island and one closer to downtown by the docks. The original lighthouse in Little Current was torn down, but a small replica "bird cage" lighthouse remains along the harbour. There is still a skeletal structure remaining on Spider Island.

  • Lonely Island Lighthouse - Located off of the shores of Wiikwemkoong, Lonely Island Lighthouse helps to guide travellers through a dangerous area. The original lighthouse burned down and was rebuilt, and is now fully automated. The building can be seen by boat.

  • Manitowaning Lighthouse - The Manitowaning Lighthouse can be found on Arthur Street near the Anglican Church. The lighthouse is fully operational and autoamted.

  • South Baymouth Lighthouse - The South Baymouth Lighthouse consists of a pair of two range lights. Travellers often visit the front lighthouse, which is accessible by a small boardwalk. The lights are now automated and greet visitors aboard the Chi-Cheemaun as they sail into the bay.

  • Strawberry Island Lighthouse - This lighthouse lies on the northrn tip of Strawberry Island, and includes a 44 foot tower with a keeper's dwelling attached.

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