Chutes Provincial Park

Road tripping through Northern Ontario – Fairbank and Chutes Provincial Parks

After an excellent couple of days in Sudbury, we continued on our journey west to Lake Superior. Our next major destination was Sault Ste. Marie, but before we made it there, we had time to stop along the way at two small, but pretty, provincial parks – Fairbank and Chutes.

Fairbank Provincial Park

As we headed west from Sudbury on the Trans-Canada Highway, Fairbank Provincial Park was the perfect place to stop for lunch. The park might be a 25 minute detour off the highway, but we thought that was time well spent.

Pulling up at the day-use area and one of Fairbank’s two beaches, we got our camping chairs out of the car and sat on the beach’s edge, taking in the view on a sunny and warm day while eating our lunch. Apart from a couple of flies that wanted a bite of our lunch – or of us – it was a pretty good spot.

Fairbank Provincial Park
The beach at Fairbank Provincial Park made for a scenic spot to eat our lunch.

After lunch, we enjoyed Fairbank’s one trail, Wa-Shai-Ga-Mog, which is an Ojibway word for ‘clear water’ and is the original name of Fairbank Lake.

This short hike was a good way of burning off a few of the calories from the cookies we’d just devoured over lunch, but more importantly, thanks to a rocky outcrop, offered a memorable view overlooking Fairbank Lake.

Fairbank Provincial Park - Fairbank Lake
A rocky outcrop on the Wa-Shai-Ga-Mog trail provides a pretty view out over Fairbank Lake.

Fairbank Provincial Park - Fairbank lake

Fairbank Provincial Park - Wa-Shai-Ga-Mog trail
The trail winds its way down to a route closer to the lake…
Fairbank Provincial Park - Fairbank Lake shoreline
…with views along the Fairbank Lake shoreline.
Fairbank Provincial Park - Fairbank Lake
A beautiful day at Fairbank.

Chutes Provincial Park

From Fairbank, the drive to Chutes was only one hour, which meant that after checking in at our campsite, we still had plenty of time to explore the park.

Chutes’ main features are a series of scenic waterfalls and the gorge of the Aux Sables River that flows through the park. We turned up at the park thinking that its name was due to the waterfalls, whereas in fact, the name is thanks to a 60 metre long wooden chute that was built in the logging days to divert floating logs past the waterfalls and thus preventing log jams.

Chutes Provincial Park waterfall
The main waterfall at Chutes Provincial Park is located close to the start of the trail.

Like Fairbank, Chutes only has the one hiking trail, the Twin Bridges Trail, although it is considerably longer at 6.5 kms. The trail starts on the west bank of the Aux Sables River and works its way upstream, before crossing over to the east where a couple of loops give you options for extending your walk.

Near the start of the trail are the biggest waterfalls in the park, where the wooden chute was built in the logging days. We got a good view of the crashing, unrelenting water from a platform that juts out from the cliff and over the falls.

Chutes Provincial Park waterfall

Chutes Provincial Park - Aux Sables River
After the Aux Sables River crashes down the waterfalls the waters calm down and campers can enjoy a sandy beach.

We made our way upstream from the falls, catching glimpses now and then through the trees of the river gorge and other waterfalls below. The trail eventually leads to a couple of bridges that cross the river, and are how the trail gets its name. The steel bridges were built by hand in the winter of 2001, which, given what Canadian winters can be like, doesn’t sound like much fun!

Chutes Provincial Park - Aux Sables River gorge
The trail affords you glimpses of the serene river and occasional waterfall as you make your way upstream.
Chutes Provincial Park Twin Bridges Trail bridge
One of the bridges that gives the Twin Bridges Trail its name.
Chutes Provincial Park river
The river cascades over rocks after passing under the twin bridges.

Chutes Provincial Park (7)

We found that the views at the second of the bridges were better, as there were prettier views upstream and downstream and of the stepped falls, while we could explore the rocks down at the riverside and sit back in a couple of Muskoka chairs. With the shadows starting to get longer and our stomachs getting hungrier, we took in a short stretch of the trail on the eastern side that leads to a viewpoint of the river gorge, before heading back to our campsite and enjoying our first campfire dinner and toasted marshmallows of our trip.

Stewart

Chutes Provincial Park campsite
We returned to our campsite at Chutes after our hike to enjoy dinner and some toasted marshmallows on our campfire. Somehow we had ended up with a massive Jeep Wrangler as our rental car, although in the end it proved to be pretty useful for throwing lots of camping gear in!

Thank you to Ontario Parks for hosting us at Chutes Provincial Park by providing us with accommodation and firewood.

2 thoughts on “Road tripping through Northern Ontario – Fairbank and Chutes Provincial Parks

  1. Well Brown Bears, you do get to some truly beautiful places. That looks like a really wonderful trip, you lucky things – and toasted marshmallows too…!
    Thanks for sharing, Ian and Judy

    Like

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