It’s been just too long since we took a day trip to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. To keep our social distance on a busy early-fall weekend (and to keep our driving time down too) we decided to stick to hiking trails at the north end of the park, rather returning to our old friends Middlebrun Bay and the Sea Lion. Bonus: they were trails we’ve never tried before, and they were fantastic!
Joe Creek Nature Trail
This short nature trail is just off Hwy 587 (which runs north-south down Sibley Peninsula) and is the northernmost trail in the park—perfect for kids who have the wiggles after the drive from TBay. A total of 1.6 km over mostly flat ground with some exposed rocks and tree roots, it immediately rewards you with a series of cascades over flat, smooth rocks. “If I were a fairy, I would live here,” announced my daughter as she took in the step-like rocks and creek fringed by ferns, moss, cedar and birch. As you continue down the trail, you end up at the pale turquoise waters of Sibley Bay just south of Black Bay.
Piney Wood Hills Nature Trail
Want to see huge big giant trees? This is your trail! A small plaque at the beginning of the 3-km (round trip) trail tells us that that the last significant forest fire on Sibley was in 1810, meaning that these towering white pines, red pines and cedar have been growing ever since then. You can definitely get a picture of two or three kids wrapping their arms around one granddaddy tree. The first part of the trail takes you on a gentle slope through mixed forest so you can look out over the treetops and see Superior in the distance. After that, as the name implies, there are steeper hills that take you to a lookout over Joeboy Lake. We spotted some wildlife along the way, including three ruffed grouse that scooted off into the brush.
We checked out a few small lakes that each have a picnic table or two: Rita Lake, which is a nice clearing among the red pines, Lizard Lake (not all that interesting, to be honest, but if anyone knows why it’s called Lizard Lake let us know) and Poundsford Lake where a couple of families were unloading kayaks.
And if you time it right, on the way home there’s time for another stop! (Chocolate, of course.)
For other family-friendly hikes in and around Thunder Bay, check out these two waterfall walks and eight hikes.