Round-trip: 5 km
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Make a day of it and ride the train to hike in the Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park. You can only get to Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park by hiking trail or the Algoma Central Railway. The park is located 114 rail miles northwest of Sault Ste. Marie. Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park has trails that lead to the most scenic spots, including four waterfalls and a lookout platform. It’s possible to see them all on one trip but you might want to do all your eating on the train to give yourself as much time as possible to hike. The four waterfalls in the park can all be seen in one visit:
- North and South Black Beaver Falls are 53.3 meters (175 ft) high
- Bridal Veil Falls are the highest falls at 68.5 meters (225 ft).
- Otter Creek Falls is the shortest waterfall at 13.7 meters (45 ft).
The five well-signed hiking trails will take you to all the scenic locations. They are the
- Ed Foote Trail–this trail is named in honour of Ed Foote who was Park Supervisor from 1970 to 1982 and who drowned while retrieving a boat from the Agawa River. The trail follows a glacial river terrace to a level 50ft/15.2m above the tracks.
- Lookout Trail–this trail climbs 375 stairs to two viewing platforms and an ultimate height of 250ft/76m above the tracks for a panoramic view of the Canyon.
- Otter Creek Trail–This trail follows alongside Otter Creek and leads you to the park’s smallest waterfalls.
- River Trail–Follow this gently rolling trail along the bank of the Agawa River to Black Beaver and Bridal Veil Falls. You could hike on the River Trail on the way to the Bridal Veil Falls and then the Talus Trail on the way back.
- Talus Trail–The Talus Trail continues past the Ed Foote Trail along the base of the west Canyon wall. This trail will also lead you to the viewing platforms for North and South Black Beaver Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
The Algoma Central Railway offers tour trains to the canyon in the summer, fall and winter months; during late September and October for the changing colours and in December, January and February for the “snow train”. Another attraction at Agawa Canyon is ice climbing during the winter months. The train drops off the climbers between mile 110 to 114 and the climbers usually have tents, or non-permanent shelters set up near the tracks. I read in the brochure that some of the members of Canada’s Group of Seven painted in the Algoma region between 1918 and 1923. They rented a boxcar from the railway that was outfitted like a cabin and was shunted to sidings near the choice painting locations. From these locations, they would set out on foot or canoe to paint. I was interested to find out that you can still rent a train car to stay in, which I would love to do someday!