Sun. Feb 25th, 2024
Scenic view of Lake Superior

Are you planning a cross-province adventure? Review the Driving Routes in Ontario Parks.

The Lake Superior Shoreline Tour is a world-renowned driving tour that will take you to some of the most stunning scenery Canada has to offer.

On your journey, you will discover spectacular rugged coastlines, rivers and waterfalls, sandy beaches and soft rocks, unique geological features and excellent wildlife viewing.

Lake Superior Map

This driving route connects the northern communities of Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. We want to make sure we keep you and our northern communities safe. That means:

  • buy food and supplies at home before leaving
  • limit trips to the community as you would at home
  • wear masks indoors where required by public health units

Learn more about how to stay safe on your trip on our COVID-19 page.

Parks you’ll want to explore along the way:

There are nine stops along this route. We hope you visit them all, but if you have limited time, the must-see parks along the route are designated with an *.

Stop #1: Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Pancake Bay Beach

Driving time: The trip from Sault Ste. Marie to Pancake Bay should take you approximately one hour driving on Trans-Canada Highway 17.

The park: There’s a reason Pancake Bay was voted the best beach on Lake Superior six years in a row. Here you can stroll along the 3 km of sugary white sand and swim in the blue waters of the Caribbean.

High above Lake Superior, the Edmund Fitzgerald Overlook offers sweeping, stunning views of Whitefish Bay to the south and Batchawana Bay to the east, as well as the rugged landscape of the Algoma Highlands.

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Stop #2: Lake Superior Provincial Park *

Lake Superior Stellar Landscape

Driving time: From Pancake Bay to the north side of Lake Superior there will be 1.5 hours on highway 17.

The park: Lake Superior is synonymous with spectacular landscapes: towering cliffs, waterfalls and long beaches await you.

Recently designated a Dark Sky Reserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Lake Superior offers excellent astronomical opportunities for experts and amateurs alike. You might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Stop #3: White Lake Provincial Park

person with fish

Driving time: If you continue on Highway 17, driving to White Lake will take you approximately 1.5 hours.

The park: White Lake, at 6,500 hectares, is one of the largest inland lakes along the Lake Superior shoreline and offers excellent walleye and pike fishing.

White Lake takes a conservation approach to fishing to keep its waters sustainable, so catch and release whenever possible.

Stop #4: Neys Provincial Park *

Driving time: White Lake to Neys is about one hour Driving time on Highway 17.

The park: Neys has a long sandy beach on the shores of Lake Superior, adjacent to the campground. The park is surrounded by hills, always green thanks to the boreal forests that inhabit it.

Explore the park’s trails along exposed coastal rocks to discover why the park’s panoramic views were a popular subject for Group of Seven artwork. Here you will find the stunning view of Pic Island made famous by Lawren Harris in 1924.

Stop #5: Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

Stream at Rainbow Falls

Driving time: Continuing on Highway 17, Rainbow Falls will be about one hour past Neys.

The park: Stop in the park to watch cascades of water cascade over the rocky ledges of Rainbow Falls on their way to Lake Superior.

You can shake off the cobwebs with a hike along the Casque Isle Trail or camp along the rugged shore of Lake Superior at Rossport Campground.

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Stop #6: Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park *

View of the Ouimet Canyon from the air

Driving time: The Ouimet Canyon is approximately 1.5 hours Travel on highway 11/17 after leaving Neys.

The park: Enjoy a picnic at the top of the Ouimet Canyon, a 150m wide gorge that descends 100m to the canyon floor.

A barrier-free trail and boardwalk connect two viewing platforms for spectacular canyon views unlike anything you’ll find in Ontario.

Ouimet Canyon is a day-use only park.

Stop #7: Sleeping Giant Provincial Park *

View of cliff next to Lake Superior

Driving time: Sleeping Giant’s Marie Louise Campsite is a one hour by car from the Ouimet canyon. You will need to exit Highway 11/17 and turn onto Highway 587 South toward the park campground.

The park: The park has over 100 km of incredible hiking trails with many spectacular geological features, including “Sea Lion” and Tee Harbour. Of course, the most famous natural feature of all is the Giant itself, a geographic formation that looks like a sleeping person from a distance.

Experience stunning views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area from a hike to the top of the Giant Trail or driving to Thunder Bay Lookout.

Stop #8: Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park *

huge waterfall

Driving time: Drive north on Highway 587 and then continue west on Highway 11/17 through Thunder Bay until you reach Kakabeka Falls. It should take you approximately 1.5 hours.

The park: At 40 meters high, Kakabeka Falls is the second tallest waterfall in Ontario. The park offers great views from a boardwalk that surrounds the top of the falls.

Just 30 minutes from Thunder Bay, Kakabeka Falls is a great basecamp for exploring all the city has to offer.

Stop #9: Quetico Provincial Park *

Driving time: Follow Highway 17 until you can turn left onto Highway 11 and then follow it until you reach Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground. The total travel time will be 1.5 hours.

The park: Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground is surrounded by 35 km of trails that will expose you to Quetico’s pine and spruce forests, scenic lakes and rivers, and biodiversity.

We recommend hiking the French Portage Trail if you’re looking for a challenge. It’s a walk into the past, tracing a transportation first established by First Nations and later used by European explorers and fur traders.

Ready to see Lake Superior?

Total driving time: 11.5 hours

Estimated trip duration (full route): 9 – 18 days

Estimated trip length (highlights only): 5 to 10 days

Visit us online to book your trip today!