8 Reasons to Explore Sleeping Giant Provincial Park’s Beauty

The Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has welcomed guests from around the world for 80+ years. If you plan a nature retreat, nothing is more suited for a memorable trip.

The park is located in the district of Thunder Bay in Ontario, which also happens to be the closest city to the park. However, the nearest community that can be found in the town of Sibley is Pass Lake.

Interestingly, the park was formerly named after the township of Sibley. In other words, it was formerly known as Sibley Provincial Park.

When you read the name Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, it is hard to imagine anything other than Snorlax.  There are plenty of other great national parks, but here are eight concrete reasons to give the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park chance. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it!

Amazing Reasons to Visit Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Planning to visit Sleeping Giant Provincial Park? Here are 10 reasons which will convince you to visit the park.

1. Mountain Biking

While hiking is one of the most favoured exploration methods, let’s look at the next best thing, biking. Five different park trails allow visitors to explore on a bike, namely:

  • South Kabeyun/Talus Lake Trail
  • Sawyer Bay Trail
  • Sawbill Lake Trail
  • Burma Trail
  • Pickerel Lake Trail

The South Kabeyun/Talus Lake Trail will take about 2 hours to complete. The distance of the trail is roughly around 6.7 kilometers. 

It is an all-season trail and is of moderate difficulty. So, most riders will not have trouble navigating this trail at any time of the year.

Unlike the South Kabeyun Trail, the Sawyer Bay Trail is a single-track trail that spreads over 5.9 kilometers.

Despite being less than the former trail, it takes about half an hour to complete. Part of why it takes longer to finish is because of the ascent and descent factors.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

This trail provides hikers and bikers access to the Sawbill Lake Trail and some views of Thunder Mountain. 

The Sawbill Lake Trail is only about 2 kilometres long and is more suitable for beginners. May to October is the recommended time to use the trail.

Cross-country skiers frequently visit the Burma Trail. However, it is not very popular amongst bikers who stay in the summer due to the accumulation of water on the trail following a rather snowy winter every year. 

It is also a giant trail in itself because it is 11.3 kilometres long, and the fact that it passes through some of the highest hills makes it very difficult to navigate.

Part of the cross-country ski network, the Pickerel Lake Trail passes through some of the most scenic stretches of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

 You’ll find white pines along the trail, which is about 9.7 kilometres long but takes a mere 45 minutes to complete due to the relatively basic course.

2. Go Fish!

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

Sportfishing is allowed at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Yellow perch and northern pike are among the most popular catches in the area.

You might find a walleye or a smallmouth bass in bigger lakes like Marie Louise Lake. However, do take note that bait fishing is prohibited at the parks.

3. Swim and Sink a Little!

The Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is very popular with people who like to swim. Ponsford Lake, Lake Superior, and Marie Louise Lake are popular places to dip. 

If you find yourself on the Kabeyun Hiking Trail, check out the natural bays you’ll find in the area. Mare Louise Lake is among the most preferred of all the names mentioned above, mainly because there is a public beach separated from the rest by floating buoys.

Lake Superior houses a beach at Middlebrun Bay, from where visitors can indulge in a plunge into the pleasant waters of the lake. One thing to keep in mind is that lifeguards are not present on any of the beaches. 

So, visitors must take care of themselves and others who might need help at the beach. Hence, it’s a great place to be if you can swim.

4. Birdwatching

Photo by Gabriele Agrillo on Unsplash

Birdwatching is one of the signature attractions of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. 

Especially because over 200 bird species have been found in the park, and of those 200, 75 birds are confirmed to be nesting in the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

You might come across plenty of common and rare species of birds in the park. Besides, the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is close to the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory, located at the southern end of the Sibley Peninsula. 

In other words, you’ll find the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory at the foot of the Sleeping Giant. As one might assume, the birdwatching season is during the summer months of April or May through October, with the onset of autumn.

The purpose of the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory is to keep track of the migrating bird species in the region. According to them, the popular birds use the sleeping giant as a migratory route. 

It includes Sharp-shinned Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Merlin, Peregrine Falcons, Boreal Chickadees, and Black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers.

Among the rarer species found at Thunder Cape are the scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, Western Tanagers, Pacific Loons, Harlequin Ducks, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Lark Buntings, and Townsend’s Solitaires.

As you can see, this place is an absolute paradise for those who love to have a quiet time with nature and have a glimpse of the feathered fliers that inhabit the area.

 If you’re interested in having an experience with birdwatching or are simply curious about the concept of it, then click here to check out their website.

5. Boating and Canoeing

Photo by Alan Bishop on Unsplash

If you’re the kind that’s passionate about taking a ride out on the water, then Sleeping Giant Provincial Park offers you a fair number of water bodies to explore.

While powerboats are only allowed on Marie Louise Lake, they should not exceed ten hp.

To facilitate the launch and housing of boats, there is a small boat launch area in the Marie Louise Lake campground, which also functions as a docking area for the ships on the lake’s surface.

6. Winter

Winter is a brilliant time to explore Canada, especially since the landscape changes so much due to the heavy snowfall in most parts of the country. 

The Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is a great spot for snowshoeing, ski hiking, or cross-country skiing.  Accommodation is also available in the winter park, and we recommend that you check it out if you’re in for the exploration.

Similarly, Christmas in Canada is one of the best holiday experiences. Click here to find out all the amazing things that make a Christmas in Canada an amazing experience.

7. Camping

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

Camping is right there with hiking as Canada’s favourite exploration method. And it holds for the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park as well.

Backcountry camping is the most rewarding camping experience that you can have at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Do note that park visitors need a camping permit to spend the night at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The pass can be obtained from the Marie Louise Lake Gatehouse.

Detailed maps of the park and the camping areas can be purchased at the Marie Louise Lake Visitor Centre and Marie Louise Lake Gatehouse.

On a side note, You can also call the park and buy the map before you head out for a camping experience. There are about 200 campsites at the Marie Louise Lake Campground. Almost half of them have electricity. Also, various types of sites are available at the park.

The Rustic Cabin is the only form of permanent roofed accommodation at the park, which sleeps six. Group camping and vehicle camping spots are available at the park. Reservations can be made online or over the phone.

8. Hiking

The hiking trails throughout the park include a list of brilliant ways to explore the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. 

Look at the top three best hiking trails you’ll find at the park. The trails are some of the most well-maintained in Canada, with regular brushing and cleaning.

  1. Kabeyun Trail, which leads to the top of the Sleeping Giant, is easily the cream of the crop. The 22.7-kilometre-long trail is of moderate difficulty and takes about 7 hours to complete.
  2. Sleeping Giant Head Trail is laden with beautiful flowers and makes for some very serene viewing. It is about 17 kilometres long and takes 6 hours to complete.
  3. Sawyer Bay Trail is one of the easier trails of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and is the preferred one for beginners with little hiking experience. At about 12 kilometres long, the trail takes close to four hours to complete.

Closing Thoughts

That does for the 10 ways of exploring the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

You can immerse yourself in giant provincial park camping activities, take the lake superior circle tour with your family or go on any designated park trails at the sleeping giant park.

Located at the Thunder Bay, Ontario parks. There’s plenty to explore, and a weekend away is the best method of going about your adventure since there is so much to study at the park.


1. Does the Part Offer Programs and Events for Kids?

The visitor center offers discovery programs that show visitors around the Sibley Peninsula and the area constituting the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. 

Various programs are usually held in the prime months of July and August.

Visitors are given knowledge of the natural and cultural significance of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, in addition to the wildlife viewing opportunities and the flora found in the region.

On top of that, the leaders offer a great amount of knowledge on the neighbouring water bodies, such as Lake Superior and the history of the Silver Islet mine, amongst other tidbits of information that will increase your appreciation for the area.

2. Is It a Good Idea to Explore the Sleeping Giant and the Sea Lion?

Like most other parks in Canada, the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has plenty of hiking trails. 

We’ll get to the details of the trails in just a while, but for now, let’s look at the park’s main attractions, the Sleeping Giant and the Sea Lion.

While hiking along the Head Trail, you’ll find a brilliant view of Lake Superior. The view from the Head Trail is simply unparalleled and worth checking out if you’re in the area.

The Sleeping Giant is a volcanic rock formation that extends into Lake Superior. According to the first country’s people (the Ojibway), the giant is known as the Nanabijou. 

The Nanabijou was cursed by the Sea Lion, the other main attraction of the park. The sea lion is known as the Nagochee in the local language.

As the legends of the Ojibway say, the sleeping giant contains the spirit of deep seawater. As mentioned, the sea lion cursed the spirit and was set in stone on the rock formation.

When you’re at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, you have the freedom to choose to hike to the top of the sleeping giant. 

The Kabeyun Trail is where you should be headed if you want to walk to the top of the giant.  Although the trail can get a bit challenging at times, it is well worth the effort due to the brilliant views you’ll come across.

Sidenote: Silver Islet on Highway 587 is where you should head if you want to glimpse the sea lion. Park along the Kabeyun Trailhead and take a short walk to see one of the most brilliant features of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Last Updated on by alishbarehman


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