After visiting Voyageurs National Park, we drove back to Grand Portage through Canada and visited two Ontario Provincial Parks. Ontario has 112 Provincial Parks, about the same as you find in the state of Texas. Ontario’s size is equivalent to Texas and Montana combined.
The first provincial park we visited was Quetico: “a wilderness sanctum in the heart of the continent.” Quetico is the Canadian equivalent of Voyageurs. It is a water wilderness with over 1 million acres accessible only by water. There are not as many powerboats at Quetico as there are at Voyageurs and there are many canoe routes where only canoes and kayaks are allowed. There are over 2,000 campsites set up on the islands of Quetico. We checked out the Visitor Center (stopped in the restrooms) which was an odd mix of nature, history, and a tiny little gift shop packed to the gills with items to buy. We couldn’t really enjoy the gift shop, however, because we were trying not to knock over stacks of shirts and towers of hats.
We took the boardwalk hike at the Visitor Center. They said the hike was a 1 km loop, but we couldn’t find the loop part and ended up hiking closer to two miles. We were fine with that because we had been in the truck for a while and it was good to stretch our legs. It was a drizzly day, but the scenery was beautiful.
The second provincial park we visited on our way home was Kakabeka Falls. This park is very close to Thunder Bay and is on the Kaministiquia River. It may not be the tallest waterfall in Ontario, but it is definitely impressive. It was traditionally one of the routes of the voyageurs and, when the North West Company moved from Grand Portage to Fort William (Thunder Bay), there was a long portage around this waterfall.
One of the things we really liked about Kakabeka was the boardwalk overlooks on both sides of the falls. We walked down to one overlook on the north side of the river, then walked across a bridge which gave us more viewpoints, and ended up at several overlooks on the south side of the river. There is a large, spacious campground at Kakabeka Falls.
It was nice to explore a couple of provincial parks in Ontario, even if we didn’t spend very long at either of them. The provincial parks in Canada are just as beautiful and diverse as any state parks in the United States.