RAINBOW FALLS PROVINCIAL PARK
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park is located on Highway 17, 26 kilometers west of Terrace Bay. Visitors have two sites to choose from; Rainbow Falls campground, which is located on Whitesand Lake, and Rossport campground. The former includes 113 tent and trailer sites, 28 of which have electrical hookup, while Rossport has an additional 40 sites, with 16 including electricity.
The park is named for the rainbows that often rise from the glittering cascades that fall down the rocky steps from Whitesand Lake to the Whitesand River, which also lie within the park’s boundaries.
Rainbow Falls is a surprise. The falls don’t begin and end all at once, but rather the erratic jointing of the bedrock has caused the river to run over a number of ledges and drop in a series of cascades rather than one large fall. Furthermore, the falls look pink, as the water drops over the reddest of granites. Masses of lichen turn the same pink bedrock gray.
Wildlife found within the park includes hares, chipmunks and squirrels, as well as the occasional appearance of deer, moose and black bear. Grouse and great blue herons also make their home here.
History buffs may be interested in the shipwrecks that litter the waters of Lake Superior, including the remains of the ship Gunilda. The Gunilda was in the employ of the Standard Oil Company when it struck a reef and sank in 1911. The 195 – foot vessel now rests in about 250 feet of water.
For the adventurous visitor, there are three trails to explore within the park, as well as a segment of the larger Voyageur Hiking Trail. The Rainbow Falls Trail is a self-guiding 11/2 mile trail which follows the Whitesand River before crossing the falls.
Further on, there are signs for the Casque Isles section of the Voyageur Hiking Trail., which winds along the shores of Superior, from Terrace Bay to Rossport. The second trail is the Back 40 Trail, which is rated as the most challenging of the park’s trails. It is an 11/2 mile climb that reveals grand vistas of the two lakes and surrounding country.
Finally, the Superior Trail begins with a series of high, rocky steps that terminate on a flat slab of Canadian Shield. Here are terrific views of Lake Superior and the surrounding hills. The trail winds over this rocky stretch before funneling into a spruce forest.
Canoeing is another popular activity at the park. Whitesand Lake has sand beaches for swimming as well as a boat launch. Visitors can rent canoes and paddle boats from the park for a day of paddling or pedaling. Whitesand is home to good populations of smallmouth bass, while the Whitesand River is the place for rainbow and speckled trout in spring and steelhead during the fall run.
Autumn Colours at Rainbow Falls
Large Winding Staircase to Viewing Areas and Bridges
Kids Playground at Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park runs a small Natural Heritage Education program with a small visitor centre on the beach as well as an interpretive program being offered during the summer months. The park’s gates are shut during the winter, but skiers can tackle the campground roads that double as cross-country trails.
Park print materials for download:
For more information:
Rainbow Falls Provincial Park
P.O. Box 280
Terrace Bay, Ontario