The top scenic drive in Ontario skirts Lake Superior from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. The Lake Superior scenic drive in northeastern Ontario provides access to some of the most stunning natural wonders of the area.
This picturesque route passes along Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area and third largest by volume. The lake provides 10 per cent of the world’s supply of fresh water by surface. The deepest spot in Lake Superior is 406 metres (1,322 feet). The entire distance around the shoreline is 2,939 kilometres (1,826 miles).
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Lake Superior Scenic Drive
Explore the vast wilderness of forests, lakes, rivers, valleys, canyons and waterfalls along the Lake Superior scenic drive.
Don’t forget a bug hat or bring along another bug deterrent if you visit this area from May through August.
Distance: 705 kilomitres
Duration: 8 1/2 hours driving, without stops
The shores of Lake Superior as viewed from one of the most scenic drives in Canada. This beach is outside the Visitor Centre in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©
Top things to do along the Lake Superior Route
Don’t miss experiencing these places along the scenic Lake Superior route in Ontario.
Sault Ste. Marie
Start in Sault Ste. Marie and discover its beautiful waterfront and why the famous Canadian landscape painters, the Group of Seven, were enchanted with the area. Learn about the rich history of First Nations and exploring voyageurs.
- Visit Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, which once were the longest locks in the world.
- Enjoy the stroll along the St. Marys River Boardwalk.
- Ride the rails of the Agawa Canyon Tour Train through Northern Ontario’s pristine wilderness in the Algoma region. It is one of Canada’s most scenic train trips. Book now for the fall 2021 season.
- Tour the Heritage Discovery Centre and two of the oldest stone buildings, located northwest of Toronto.
- See an impressive collection of about 24 bushplanes at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.
Read more about the top things to do in Sault Ste. Marie.
Explore the best things to do in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©
The Algoma region is noted for its incredible explosion of vivid fall colours in the last few weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.
This breathtaking scenery inspired the famed Canadian Group of Seven artists, to develop their own unique Canadian style of painting not found anywhere else in the world. See a photo gallery of the spectacular scenery of the area.
There are plenty of spots to canoe following historic routes once navigated by voyageurs. Learn more about the life of a voyageur.
Be sure to watch out for wild moose on the road at dusk and dawn.
The top scenic drive in Ontario provides access to the stunning fall colours of Algoma. Photo Credit: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership
Enjoy three miles of white sandy beach and the warm water of Batchwana Bay on Lake Superior.
Stop at the Voyageurs Lodge and Cookhouse across from Batchwana Bay for some of their world famous fritters or try their hearty portions of the fish fry special. If you see Frank O’Connor, the friendly owner of the lodge, he is happy to share stories of the voyageurs.
Beautiful Batchwana Bay on Lake Superior. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©
Frank O’Connor, owner of the Voyageurs Lodge. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©
Picnic at Chippewa Falls, located at the halfway mark of the Trans-Canada Highway’s 7,821-km-long highway.
Chippewa Falls is located on one of the top scenic drives in Ontario. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©
Lake Superior Provincial Park
Explore the rugged wilderness of Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario’s largest provincial park. Discover lakes, rivers, beaches and more. See 35 red ochre Agawa Rock pictographs, if you don’t mind navigating the rocky shoreline to reach them.
This pictograph site is one of the few easily accessible in Ontario. The route is closed from mid-September to mid-May and when the lake is rough.
Stop at the park’s Visitor Centre to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
Agawa Rock Pictographs Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Agawa Rock Pictographs Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Pukaskwa National Park
Experience the raw wilderness of Pukaskwa National Park. There are numerous hiking trails in the park, including the challenging 60-km Coastal Hiking Trail which is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
If you are ambitious, take the 18-km day hike to the White River Suspension Bridge. The bridge sways 23-metres above Chigamiwinigum Falls.
In the summer, learn about the culture of the Anishinaabe (Ojibway) First Nations.
Pukashwa National Park bridge on Pukaskwa Coastal Hiking Trail on one of Ontario’s most scenic routes near Thunder Bay. Photo: Darren McCristie, Ontario Tourism
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area
The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area provides incredible views of the lake that will soon be the largest protected fresh water lake in the world.
In the spring, during migration, the shores of Black Bay is a favourite spot for birdwatchers to see thousands of birds from hundreds of species as they made their way north.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
There are more than 100 kms of trails to choose from in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
There are all types of trails available from easy, short hikes to more difficult and challenging ones.
See the rugged shoreline of the area from the Thunder Bay Lookout Road, or hike the difficult Top of the Giant Trail to take in spectacular views from the top of one of Ontario’s highest cliffs. This trail is 6.6 km round-trip.
View from Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay on one of the most scenic road trips around Lake Superior in Ontario. Photo: Darren McChristie, Ontario Tourism
- Visit Fort William Historical Park. It is the world’s largest fur trading post. Relive the history of the North West Company and fur trading. The park sits on 250 acres and has 57 structures to tour.
- Explore Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The 40-metre falls are the second highest in Ontario. Take advantage of the easy to reach platforms to view the falls.
- Find out more about Thunder Bay.
Kakabeka Falls is the second highest falls in Ontario and can be found on one of the most scenic routes in Canada. Photo: Joey Panetta, Tourism Ontario