The following is from Carol Dersch, the Natural Heritage Education Leader at Lake Superior Provincial Park:
“What could be more compelling than a hike along the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake? Combine Lake Superior vistas with fall colours, few biting insects, uncrowded trails and fall becomes a pretty attractive time to go hiking. No need to book campsites ahead of time.
September and early October are best; the peak of fall colours is generally between the 3rd week in September and first week in October. Later in October and November are more variable weather conditions; some years it can be quite nice into November. Although the colours have faded, this is fall storm season on Superior. The park officially closes on October 21, however Hwy 17 goes right through the park, so people can still access trails and areas along the Lake Superior shoreline (just no services or facilities provided at this time of year); we do close the Agawa Rock Pictographs September 23.
Some suggestions for fall hikes (from shortest to longest trail):
Orphan Lake Trail
Moderate; 8 km loop; 2 – 4 hours
Highlights: very diverse scenery; a favourite trail; medium length and difficulty; vistas over Lake Superior; beach on Lake Superior; waterfalls; transition of forests; great fall colours; burn area; could make a longer hike by linking with a section of Coastal Trail
Demanding; 10 km loop; 4 – 6 hours; first lookout – 45 min. return
Highlights: great fall colour, dominated by maple and Yellow Birch; several lookouts up to 200 metres above Lake Superior and Agawa River Valley
Very Demanding; 24 km return, linear trail; recommended as overnight trip for entire trail, but could do shorter hike in and out
Highlights: Agawa River; Agawa Falls (if hike complete trail); fall colours
(no view of Lake Superior from this trail; regarding the train option – people would have to know where they were going or go with a hike organized by a local outfitter as the trail is not well marked at the railway)
Moderate to very demanding (depending on the section); total distance 65 km linear trail; 5 – 7 days for whole trail; several access points allow shorter hikes (go in and out same way, so could hike for 30 minutes to several hours)
Highlights: Lake Superior; beaches; great vistas; interesting geology; campsites”
Images thanks to Carol Dersch, Bob Elliott & Joel Cooper