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Ontario, Canada: Slate Islands Provincial Park

This multi-day paddling trip tours Slate Islands Provincial Park, a group of islands off the coast of Ontario and home to the world’s densest population woodland caribou.

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Pack your kayak, sneakers, fishing rod, and camping gear, and spend a few days exploring the small, wooded group of islands that make up Slate Islands Provincial Park. Located at the northern tip of Lake Superior, this unmanaged natural area owned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources boasts picturesque landscapes and the world’s densest caribou population.
From the mainland town of Terrace Bay, Ontario, it’s an 8-mile open water crossing (by kayak or by ferry) on Lake Superior to reach the islands. Once you’re there, set up camp by the deserted cabin sites scattered among the islands—you’ll find open areas to pitch tents, along with fire pits and outhouses.
During the day, troll for lake trout while paddling around Slates’ interior bays and inlets and scout for woodland caribou. Hikers visiting Patterson Island—the Slates’ biggest island at 12 square miles—can tour the spiderweb network of caribou trails that lead deep into the forest interior. 
WATCH VIDEO: Writer Gustave Axelson catches more than a little glimpse of caribou in this short clip.
MAPS AND PERMIT: Request a map when you call the park office (807-825-3403) to purchase your required Crown Land Camping Permit ($10/night Canadian).
-Mapped by Gustave Axelson

To Trailhead

Access the Slates from the public dock at the mouth of the Aguasabon River in the town of Terrace Bay along the King's Highway 17, roughly 500 miles from Minneapolis-St. Paul or 650 miles from Detroit. Paddle (or take a ferry) the final eight miles of open water on Lake Superior. Ferry: Slate Islands Charter, (807) 825-9333. Captain Tom Falzetta can tell you where the caribou have been most active.

Caribou

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