The Orphan Lake Trail

A late summer hike in Lake Superior Provincial Park

Updated: By Cory St. Pierre

As the air starts to cool and the leaves begin the much-anticipated transition from their many hues of green to a brighter amber, crimson and auburn, it’s time to hit the trails!

From birding and fishing to canoeing and kayaking, Lake Superior Provincial Park has you covered for several day trip opportunities. Additionally, the Park is a mecca for fall hiking in Algoma Country boasting 11 popular trails with a variety of Northern Ontario terrains.

Located 1 hr 50 mins North of Sault Ste. Marie or 45 mins south of Wawa, the Orphan Lake Trail especially, offers the adventurer a little bit of everything from cascading waterfalls and panoramic lookouts to rocky shores and pebble beaches. The moderately rated trail is approximately 8km (2 – 4 hours) and it is recommended to bring appropriate footwear, ample water, bug spray and weatherproof gear.



Access to the trailhead begins only a few feet from the maintained gravel parking lot just off Highway 17 North. As you begin the trail, you are quickly immersed in the dense northern wilderness that brings many visitors to this spot time and time again. As you progress along the marked trail, the terrain although relatively smooth until this point, quickly begins to incline en route to the first lookout location.




At the top of the incline, as you emerge from the dense forest onto a rock ledge, you are greeted by a panoramic view of rolling hills in the distance while overlooking Orphan Lake. The lookout is the perfect opportunity to stretch, have a break and snap your next Instagram post before descending back onto the main trail.



Your next stretch of the journey brings you down along the edge of the lake towards the next scenic lookout. As you reach the top of the trail incline, a breathtaking view of the mighty Lake Superior and the Baldhead River awaits! Be sure to rest, hydrate and take in the picturesque view before you descend toward the river.



Reaching the pebble beach marks the halfway point of your adventure and is also a junction with the Lake Superior Park Coastal Trail. Walk along the beach, take in the fresh air and rest your legs while listening to the sounds of crashing waves along the shoreline. The area also offers ample opportunities for photos and exploring.



Continue on and follow the trail upstream along the Baldhead River until you reach a series of cascading waterfalls that looks like a Group of Seven painting come to life. Take this opportunity to take a final break, stretch and of course hydrate before the final leg of your adventure.



The final leg of the trail brings you along the eastern shore of Orphan Lake until you eventually complete the trail loop joining you back towards the trailhead.


The Lake Superior Provincial Park has no shortage of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and the Orphan Lake Trail should be at the top of your list!


About Cory St. Pierre

As a member of the Algoma Country staff, I enjoy hiking and the great outdoors. I hope my blogs and stories encourage you to explore and plan your next vacation to the Algoma region.

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