Canada // Ontario //

Pukaskwa National Park

Beyond White River, Hwy-17 turns west, heading back towards the Lake Superior shoreline. After about 85km, just short of the little lakeshore town of Marathon, Hwy-17 clips past Hwy-627, the 15km-long side road that provides the only access to Pukaskwa National Park, a large chunk of hilly boreal forest interspersed by muskeg and loch that fills out an enormous headland with a stunningly wild and remote coastline. Apart from a scattering of facilities beside the road at Hattie Cove, the park is untrammelled wilderness, attracting a mixed bag of canoeists and backcountry campers. At Hattie Cove, most visitors embark on the Coastal Hiking Trail, which travels 60km south through the boreal forest and over the ridges and cliffs of the Canadian Shield. It is not an easy hike, but it is magnificent and there are regular backcountry campsites on the way. In the summer, McCuaig Marine Services (t 807 229 0193) offers a water taxi service to Swallow River, so you can just hike one-way back to Hattie Cove. Far less arduous are the short trails departing from or near the visitor centre. Of these, the rocky Southern Headland Trail (2.2km) offers superb views over Lake Superior before hitting Horseshoe Beach, where you can continue on the Beach Trail (1.5km) leading you back to the campsite.