Temagami Day Trips
You don’t have to be super outdoorsy to enjoy the Temagami wilderness. If your idea of a perfect day’s adventure ends with a cozy room and a hot shower rather than a tent and a dip in the lake, a lodge-based vacation at Smoothwater is the perfect choice. Explore Temagami’s lakes and forests by day, then return to the lodge for a home-cooked meal and an evening of pure relaxation (we suggest firing up the sauna!).
Below are some of our favourite hiking trails/viewpoints. You’ll get a taste of Temagami’s majesty without biting off more than you can chew!
White Bear Forest
The White Bear Forest trails offer you the chance to walk among majestic Old Growth red and white pines without committing to a multi-day canoe trip. The ancestral home of the White Bear clan of the Teme-Augama Anishnaabe people, the forest escaped logging in the 1920s when it was preserved by the local lumber baron for his workers to enjoy in their spare time.
Length: Numerous trails range from 2.5 km to 5 km in length.
Difficulty: Easy to challenging.
Access: 15-minute drive to the westerly trails; 20-minute drive plus 1-hour paddle to the easterly trails.
Time commitment: 1 hour to 8+ hours.
Caribou Mountain Fire Tower
A 30-metre-high, fully restored fire tower with stairs all the way to the top! Well, almost all the way to the top - a ladder brings you the last few feet into the cupola, and into the world of forest rangers. From their perch on Caribou Mountain, rangers kept watch over 1000 square kilometres of forest, and could spot smoke up to 24 kilometres away.
Length: 115 m trail from parking lot to tower; 30 m vertical climb.
Difficulty: Moderate. If you can climb stairs, you can climb the tower!
Access: 15-minute drive to parking lot. (You can also access the White Bear Forest trails from here.)
Time commitment: 1 hour.
Towering 150 metres above the rugged shoreline of Lake Temiskaming, Devil's Rock is the stuff of legend. According to local Ojibway lore, the cliff is inhabited by memegwesiwag, a species of hairy little water spirits who live in high, remote ledges on the banks of lakes and rivers. Respectful travellers have nothing to fear from these secretive, human-like creatures (an offering of tobacco helps establish goodwill). If they feel their homes have been disrespected, however, they have been known to blow canoes off course or steal the day's catch!
Length: 2 km loop.
Difficulty: Easy. Trail is flat, but footing is rocky in places.
Access: 35-minute drive to trailhead.
Time commitment: 2+ hours.
Cliff Lake Ridge
A somewhat involved day trip, involving a paddle, portage, and more paddling to reach the trailhead. In our opinion, it's definitely worth the effort - in fact, it's Johanna's favourite hike in all of Temagami. The Cliff Lake Ridge is the star of the Cliff Lake Conservation Reserve. On this hike you'll ascend the west side of the ridge, from a cool wetland, dominated by ferns and cedar, into a classic boreal landscape of spongey mosses, aromatic spruces, and lanky red, white, and jack pines. The trail loops around the top of the ridge, but depending on timing, you may simply hike a few kilometres, have lunch, and backtrack. Regardless of how far you get, the views are lovely and the forest somewhat magical.
Length: 7 km loop.
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. Some rocky portions where scrambling is required.
Access: 5 minute drive to boat launch, 4.5 km paddle, 500 m portage, 1.75 km paddle to trailhead.
Time commitment: 6+ hours. If you want to hike the whole loop, you should leave early in the morning!
Ferguson Mountain / Sandy Inlet Beach
At the top of Lake Temagami lies a 2-km long natural beach, adorning the lake like a golden crown. This sandy inlet of Ferguson Bay is the perfect place to while away your time swimming & sunbathing. It's a popular day spot for cottagers and canoe trippers, so it can be busy, especially on a hot, sunny day.
Fewer people, however, take advantage of the hiking trails up and around Ferguson Mountain, which offers gorgeous views of Ferguson Bay from three separate (but close) look-out points. Along the trail you will find the ruins of a fire tower.
Length: 5 km loop.
Access: 45-minute drive to parking, 300 m portage to beach, 2 km paddle to campsite where trail begins. (For those not wanting to paddle, the trail may be accessed by walking 3 km along the perimeter of the bay to the base of the mountain. This trail crosses Camp Wanapitei property, so be sure to check-in at the camp office and make sure dogs are leashed for this portion.)
Time Commitment: 5+ hours.
High Rock is a First Nations sacred site, traditionally used for vision quests. Located on an island just south of Lake Temagami's hub, its short, steep trail and commanding view make High Rock a popular picnic spot. It’s a particularly pretty hike - juniper and blueberry bushes mingle with oaks and pines, fern-covered boulders dot the hillside, and the ground is soft with golden pine needles. Can be reached by canoe or water taxi.
Length: 400 m trail.
Difficulty: Moderate. The trail is steep but footing is good. The most challenging part is the paddle to the island; the hub is a wide open space and can be windy. Should only be attempted by competent paddlers under favourable conditions; avoid if water is choppy.
Access: 40-minute drive to boat launch plus 4 km paddle (or water taxi ride). Paddling takes roughly 1.5 - 2 hours depending on wind; water taxi takes 5 minutes.
Time commitment: 6+ hours if paddling.
Speck, Frank. Myths and Folk-lore of the Temiskaming Algonkian and Timagami Ojibwa. Anthropological Series, No. 9, Canada Department of Mines (1915).
Jenness, Diamond. The Ojibwa Indians of Parry Island, Their Social and Religious Life. Anthropological Series, No. 17, Canada Department of Mines (1935).