One of the places we like to return to is Samuel de Champlain Park, located between North Bay and Mattawa, because there are a lot of options for day hiking on the Etienne Trail. Four loops provide visitors with a variety of landscapes, distances, and difficulty levels.
The first time we went to Samuel de Champlain Park, we spent the day hiking on the Etienne Trail’s Geography Loop (yellow trail markers match the yellow route identified on the park map). At 5 kilometres, it’s rated a moderate hike of 3 hours. Still, we were captivated by the scenery and swore to return.
The next time, we spent more time in the park, day hiking on the Etienne Trail’s History Loop (marked in blue). At 9 kilometres, it’s the park’s longest hike, a moderate 5-hour trek. We got lucky that time, and saw a lot of wildlife, including a milk snake.
Most recently, we tackled the two remaining trails at once, though we didn’t plan on it. We intended to spend the whole day hiking on the Etienne Trail’s Nature Loop (marked in green). At 8.5 kilometres, it’s supposed to take 4.5 hours, but having covered most of the terrain before and being familiar with the trail, we were done after 3 hours.
So in addition, we decided to hike the Red Pine Loop, an easy 2.5 kilometres which only took an hour. Had we known, we could have done this portion at the beginning of the day and avoided returning on our steps, but at least now we know for another time (winky face).
Since Samuel de Champlain Park has so many different options, we’re sure we’ll be back again. We’re thinking that the Geography Loop would be a great way to spend the day hiking on the Etienne Trail with our older niece and nephew. We’re even contemplating the idea of having a family picnic at the park, since the Red Pine Loop — or even Kag Trail — would be perfect for the younger kids (smiley face).