Jetting out from the northwest shore of Lake Superior is one of Ontario‘s not-so-hidden gems, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This 244 km² peninsula dominates the skyline views from Thunder Bay and offers nature lovers plenty to see and do. On my cross Canada trip, I got to experience what makes it so special.
This is my time visiting Sleeping Giant Provincial Park including what to see and do.
Getting to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
By car, Sleeping Giant is 87 km east of Thunder Bay and takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive. I was arriving from the east on my trip home to Vancouver. It’s just 33-minutes off the TransCanada highway, making it a great detour and pitstop.
What Is There To See and Do at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park?
with seemingly endless trails, beaches, and a looming mountain, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has plenty to offer.
With over 100 km of trails, there’s no shortage of places to stretch your legs in the provincial park. If you are only visiting for a day or two, hiking the Top of the Giant is a must. Getting to the trailhead requires you to take the Kabeyun Trail for 5 km. Along the way, you pass park highlights such as the Sea Lion Trail and Tea Harbour.
The Top of the Giant trail takes you 2.7 km up the hillside and is a tough hike. Those that accept the challenge are rewarded with incredible views of Lake Superior along with this iconic postcard spot.
Although the main draw to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is the 553 m tall rocky outcrop of the same name, I quickly found there’s plenty of other trails to enjoy. For the full list, check out the park’s official website.
Thunder Bay Lookout
Those looking for similar views as the Top of the Giant without the sweat can head to the Thunder Bay lookout.
Note, the 9 km uphill gravel road is best suited for four-wheel-drive vehicles with plenty of clearance. The road can be rough. At the top you will find if you’re in platform jetting out over the force below.
Thanks to the many trails, mountain bike and fat-tire biking are very popular at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Bike rentals are normally available from the main park office although be sure to check ahead.
To cut down on the time it takes to get to the Top of the Giant trailhead, I recommend biking the 5 km Kabeyun Trail. This path is wide, well-maintained, and fairly level. It makes for a fun rip and your legs will thank you on the way back.
Other trails that are open to biking are:
- Sawyer Bay Trail
- Sawbill Lake Trail
- Burma Trail
- Pickerel Lake Trail
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayak and canoe rentals are also typically available from the park office – again be sure to check ahead.
With over 200 species of birds, paddling the waters of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers plenty to see. Kayaking also gets you up close to the unique shoreline landscape highlight such as the Sea Lion.
Within the peninsula itself, the calm waters of Marie Louise lake are perfect for a sunset paddle.
Marie Louise lake also features a large public beach and swimming area. If you can brave the cold waters of Lake Superior, there are several rocky beaches around the peninsula including Middlebrun Bay.
Sleeping at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Sleeping Giant has 200 drive-in access campsites, half of which include power. These are all centred around Marie Louise lake.
Facilities are well-maintained and plentiful. There is plenty of space with trees separating campsites for extra privacy. If you are looking for a little bit more comfort, there are five cabins available for rent.
Although I was visiting the park with the purpose of conquering the giant, I found a beautiful and relaxing spot just off the TransCanada highway. I highly recommend stopping in for a visit if you’re passing through or visiting nearby Thunder Bay!
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