Hike Elliot Lake
There are hundreds of kilometres of hiking, walking and backpacking opportunities within the City of Elliot Lake and along the Deer Trail Touring Route. The area boasts some of the most magnificent and geologically significant rock formations in the world, not to mention abandoned logging camps and mines from a bygone era. The 12,000 acre Mississagi Provincial Park is within minutes of the city and has six nature trails ranging from ½ kilometre to 22 kilometres. Immediately south of Elliot Lake lies the well known Voyageur Hiking Trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail network.
The Sherriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the City of Elliot Lake, offers well defined hiking trails traversing marshes and forested areas which offer superb opportunities for birding.
A bird blind is located near the beginning of the sanctuary and loon and goose nesting platforms and bird boxes have been built and erected by members of the Penokean Hills Field Naturalists, volunteers who generously maintain the park for all residents and tourists alike.
Many forms of animal life are being successfully protected in this area. We have a great variety of waterfowl, wading and other smaller birds nesting on site. Mammals such as mink, beaver, otter, and groundhogs live and raise their families in this sanctuary. There are also many species of reptiles and amphibians. Up to a dozen different species of frogs can be heard and seen in the marsh habitat. There are at least 14 species of native orchids growing at Sherriff Creek along with hundreds of other native herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. A species list is being developed by the naturalists to inventory all wildlife, both plant and animal, on the site.
There are several trails to choose from, all with the chance to catch a rare glimpse of the wildlife that call this area home. The trails are:
- Cattail Marsh
- Tamarack Bog
- Beaver Meadow
- Upland Mixed Forest
- Lowland Transition Forest
Travelling around Horne Lake, this is a challenging trail with some spectacular views. The 6 km route goes all the way round Horne Lake, with the option of further trails up the cliffs.
Mississagi Provincial Park
Mississippi offers several hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. From a pleasant stroll to a days-long hiking trip, Mississagi has so much to offer.
The McKenzie Interior Trail is 22 km long, and suitable for expert hikers. Because of the trail's ruggedness, it is suggested that the trip be a two-day exclusion, although doing it in one is possible. The trail starts on the Helenbar Lookout Trail, and ends on the Semiwite Lake Trail. It circles the Brush Lakes, and comes around to complete the loop at the campground on Semiwite Lake.
The Helenbar Lake Lookout Trail is 7 km long, leading through a hardwood forest to a ridge with a spectacular lookout, and then back to Semiwite Lake. Helenbar is a shallow lake, being on average only 4m deep, which allows for a rich ecosystem to develop. Be on the lookout for loons and osprey as you hike
The Semiwite Lake Trail is a challenging 12-km trail than circles Semiwite Lake. Make sure to bring a bathing suit and a towel along, as there are several fine beaches along the trail and on the shores. Along this trail you can also see an old abandoned mining camp, and the ruins of a 1946 British jet fighter, which crashed in Helenbar Lake when the pilot ran out of fuel. The pilot survived three weeks in the wilderness before being reduced by a fisherman on the north shore of Semiwite Lake. The McKenzie Interior Trail is named for the pilot, who has become part of Mississaugi history.
The Semiwite Creek Trail is 1.2 km long, beginning from the Exhibit Centre on Semiwite Lake, and ending at the gatehouse. Enjoy wildlife, flowers, and plant life from several paths that branch off to access the creek. You can return via the camp road, or go back along the trail.
The Flack Lake Nature Trail is only 0.8 km long, but there is such a lot to see! Taking you from the landing on Flack Lake to the parking lot by the picnic area, the trail shows off a variety of trees and interested geological figures, as well as the remains of an old mining camp.
Cobre Lake Trail
Just outside Mississagi Provincial Park, the Cobre Lake Trail is an 11 km loop, which passes 4 different lakes. While hiking this rugged trail, watch for old mine sites, as the area was inspected for diamonds in the past. Look for clues like fragments of core samples and old piping. You will also pass what was Blue Sky Mine, established in 1955 by the Harvard Uranium Mine to extract chalcopyrite, a copper ore.
During the hike you will follow an old mining road, where evidence of the 'corduroy' roads, roads the prospectors made by lying logs side by side in extremely rocky areas, can be seen. This section of the path leads past yet another diamond drill site. You will also pass an immense boulder, deposited by a glacier some 10 000 years ago.
The trail takes you past Cobre Lake, Vasseau Lake, Tenfish Lake, and Blue Sky Lake before looping back to the parking area.
Near the City
A long drive out of the city is not necessary to experience excellent hiking trails. There are several within the city limits.
The Westview Nature Trail starts at Westview Park, and is 3.5 km long. It follows the south shore of Elliot Lake, with boardwalks over the more rocky or boggy sections. It passes two beach areas with picnic facilities before joining the Spine Road Cross Country Ski Trail, which may also be hiked.
The Horne Lake Trail loops the 6 km around Horne Lake, providing some spectacular views of both the lake and the City. The cliffs, although not part of the trail, can be scaled by the more experienced hikers for a lovely view of the lake, with the city in the background.
The Mount Dufour Area and Fire Tower Lookout Trails pass the Mount Dufour ski hill, Westerner Lake, and Fire Tower Lookout areas. The trail looping to the Fire Tower Lookout and continuing above Westner Lake is 4.5 km in length, to reach a stunning 360 degree view of the area at the Lookout.