Just 12 hours from Ontario’s Greater Toronto Area (GTA) lies the rugged and remote wilderness of Lake Superior’s North Shore. Located between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay, visitors are transported to a wilderness environment characterized by cobblestone beaches, towering rocky cliffs and forested hills. As scenic as the land may be, it is the cold, wild waters of Lake Superior that define the North Shore as a whole.
Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. As a protected wilderness archipelago, avid adventurers have been travelling to the North Shore to experience Lake Superior’s water in the most intimate way possible: paddling.
If you are looking to experience Lake Superior in its fullness, here’s why you should consider travelling to the North Shore for a remote paddling adventure.
You’ll Avoid the Crowds
Zack KruzinsDriving towards the North Shore, you’ll quickly notice that there are far fewer cars than in the GTA. The two-lane highway, hugged on both sides by thick boreal forest, passes by towering rocky cliffs. As you drive, the forest will part to showcase Lake Superior’s lapping, steely waves. The air feels crisp and fills your lungs with the smell of pine and the nearby coast. As the drive becomes more remote and contact with other humans becomes slimmer, your mind begins to prepare for the solitude that accompanies your upcoming paddling adventure.
“Once you get here, you’ll realize that there are no people,” says Zack Kruzins, founder of Such a Nice Day (SAND) Adventures, “There aren’t any crowds, campsites aren’t damaged from overuse—it’s a true wild experience.”
The Natural Beauty is Unmatched
Kruzins has paddled around the globe, completing international expeditions in places like Antarctica. However, his favourite place to paddle is on the North Shore.
With his company based in Rossport, Ontario, he has become connected to the natural environment. “It is the best place in the world—the best fresh water paddling archipelago in the world,” he says. “The water is crystal clear and cold, and it’s off the beaten path. It’s like a completely different world and definitely worth the drive.”
There are Trips Available for All Experience Levels
Zack KruzinsFor those looking for an advanced paddling experience on the North Shore, Kruzins suggests SAND’s seven-day Silver Islet to Rossport expedition. “This is our quintessential North Shore paddling opportunity,” explains Zack. “It is an intermediate, true wilderness island archipelago experience that takes you right through the entire Lake Superior National Conservation Area.” On this expedition, paddlers will enjoy remote camping opportunities, hidden saunas and incredible fishing.
One of Zack’s favourite trips to lead is the Nirivia to Rossport expedition. This five-day trip begins with a shuttle boat to Bowman Island, where paddlers will complete the journey back to Rossport on kayaks. “This trip is perfect for someone who is a little less experienced,” says Kruzins. “It gives people the chance to go to a really remote place and casually paddle back. It allows you to see all the different moods Lake Superior brings.” Paddlers will enjoy the remote eco-lodge and camp in secluded coves among the islands, providing the perfect setting to enjoy a sunset, to share a meal together and to soak in a sauna mid-trip.
For those who may not be entirely convinced to partake in a fully remote experience, Kruzins suggests a two-day skills course—what he likes to call “The Lake Superior Starter Course.” This course includes overnight accommodation at a local B&B, where paddlers will start and end their journey.
Paddling Guides Provide a Unique and Holistic Experience
When choosing a paddling adventure on the North Shore of Lake Superior, it is highly recommended to choose a tour provider that is deeply connected to the area. Kruzins’ love for the North Shore is evident, which is reflected in the level of care and expertise his staff exude when leading a trip.
Recently, Kruzins’ staff attended workshops led by Ontario Nature, a charity dedicated to protecting wild species and spaces through education, public engagement and conservation. Several members of his staff received training on geology, birds and grasses, allowing his team to have a more in-depth understanding of not only the water, but also the natural history and environment of where they are operating. With this enhanced level of knowledge, the SAND staff are better equipped to provide fun, technical and informative trips.
It’s An Adventure You’ll Never Forget
“When I’m on an expedition, it’s absolutely the best thing ever,” Kruzins says with a smile. “I want to inspire people to get out there—go off the beaten path. Make time for yourself and go the distance to get to those really wild and beautiful places. The more time and effort you put into going off the beaten path, the more rewards you’ll receive.”
If you are seeking a genuinely remote and wild experience, then Lake Superior’s North Shore is for you. With the help of companies like SAND who operate out of sheer passion for both paddling and the North Shore, you’re sure to partake in a holistic experience that will leave you wanting more.
“Don’t settle for busy, crowded, pay-for-parking kinds of trips. Come up to the true, proper North Shore and experience the wild.”