• mountain biking
  • hiking
  • whitewater paddling
  • sea kayaking
  • rock climbing
  • ice climbing
  • skiing
  • fat biking

Why Go? Start listing the outdoor attributes of T-Bay and it quickly sounds like it should be located a few thousand kilometres to the west. Numerous rock-climbing crags range from city-centre top-ropes to multi-pitch epics. Sea kayaking along Lake Superior’s north shore includes demanding crossings, empty coastlines and a wary eye on winds and waves. Hikes include lofty views and overnight trips.

Play: Dominating the city’s skyline is the Sleeping Giant, a long peninsula that resembles a man lying down. Protected in a provincial park, it’s full of hiking routes—none better-known than the Chimney Hike, a tiring route to the giant’s chest, an isolated rock pinnacle backstopped by the lake. There is great sea kayaking along the peninsula’s shore, but it gets better heading east. The remote chunk of island-rich coast between the peninsula and Rossport is wild and rarely visited. The canoeing is equally enthralling—try the many arms of Northern Lights Lake, in Arrowhead Peninsula Reserve. Off the water, T-Bay is a rock-climbing destination with no less than nine crags within an hour of town. One of the best is Centennial Bluffs, right in the city overlooking Boulevard Lake. And there’s mountain biking too, on three networks. These become fat-biking trails in winter. (The sport is steadily taking over from the area’s traditional winter activity, cross-country skiing.) Plus, there is a lot of great ice climbing in the area—if you can hack the cold. 

Thunder BayTourism Thunder Bay

Stay: As a city of more than 100,000 people, there are plenty of places to stay. Hike right out your door from the cabins at Rose Valley Lodge & Restaurant. Essentially in town, but feeling like wilderness, Trowbridge Falls Campground’s sites back onto forest and the cascading Current River.

Eat: If your palate is as adventurous as your spirit, try the Uptown Cut’s multi-course tasting dinner. A local secret, especially for vegetarians, is Bonobos. Try the veggie burger; you won’t miss the meat.