I'm happy to have a few girlfriends who say yes to adventures most won't consider.…
Kakabeka Falls, also called the Niagara of the North, are the second highest waterfalls in Ontario with a drop of 40 m. They are truly magnificent and worth a stop at any time of the year. In winter, you’ll likely have the falls to yourself.
They make a great year-round stop if you need a break from driving the Trans-Canada Highway or if you’re visiting the Thunder Bay area especially as Kakabeka Falls are only a 25 – 30 minute drive west of town. You can camp at the falls too, and then head out on one of the many nature trails.
Kakabeka Falls – easy to view with boardwalks and observations platforms
Kah-kah-pee-kah means sheer cliff in Ojibway, a fitting name when you see the landscape. You can enjoy both the falls and the gorge from a boardwalk and observation platforms on both sides of the Kaministiquia River.
The views are very different so if you have the time be sure to view the falls from all angles. There are several areas to enjoy a picnic near the falls as well.
The falls are part of a historic route
The falls are on an historic route the voyageurs used. You’ll especially appreciate the hardships they endured carrying 90 pound loads on trails that were not nearly as easy to negotiate as they are now by hiking the 1.1 km Mountain Portage Trail.
If you want to see more of the area add on the 2.5 km Little Falls Trail. While most of it is in the woods you do get a chance to see Little Falls – and some lovely views of the river.
A few interesting facts about the falls
At the bottom of Kakabeka the Kaministiquia River has eroded the rocks to expose 1.6 million year old fossils.
At the base of the falls, the endangered Lake Sturgeon spawn.
In the fall you might see bald eagles below the falls feeding on the spawning salmon.
Camping in Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
If you want to spend more time in the area there are three campgrounds in the provincial park, with two of them close to the falls and river. The third campground – Whispering Hills, is very close to the 3.8 km Poplar Point Trail. The campground is open from early May until Thanksgiving weekend.
The Falls in winter
The falls are largely deserted in winter, but they are still a pretty place to visit with the falls ice-covered. Even the canyon walls get are snow and ice-covered. They look more like a painting than the real thing.
I stopped to take photos – with nary a soul around – though I understand all the summer hiking and nature trails become groomed cross-country ski trails in winter. If you’re in the Thunder Bay area it’s definitely worth the 25 minute drive.
There is a fee to enter the park of $12.25 per vehicle in 2020.
Visit the Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park website for more information.
Where to stay in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay has its first new full service hotel in years that opened in May 2019 – the Delta Hotels by Marriott Thunder Bay – a great addition to the city with its location on the waterfront.
The Hampton Inn & Suites would be another excellent choice.
Other posts related to northern Ontario
- The Top of the Giant Hike in Northwest Ontario
- A Week Long Canoeing Trip in Quetico Provincial Park
- How to Plan a Canoe Trip in Quetico Provincial Park
- Day 2 on the Coastal Trail in Pukaskwa National Park
Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.
Thank you to Ontario Parks and Ontario Travel for help in making this trip possible.