Ever since we went hiking up Rib Mountain on the Ottawa-Temiskaming Highland Trail a few years ago, we’d been dying to go see more of Temagami‘s backcountry. So last spring, we decided it was time to explore the White Bear Forest Trails. Based at Finlayson Point Provincial Park for the weekend, it was easy to combine a fishing trip with some day hiking to see stands of old growth pine trees.
Our first night at the campground, we were treated to a fantastic sunset over Lake Temagami. Afterwards, we spent a relaxing evening enjoying the fresh air by the campfire.
The next day was a fishing day for Marc, and I meant to do a bit of hiking by myself. The Ontario Parks website lists several trails available at Finlayson Point Park, but it turns out these are actually the White Bear Forest Trails, to which there is access across the road from the park entrance.
Nevertheless, we still found time to stretch our legs. Since it was the end of May and the park was relatively empty, we donned our inline skates and navigated our way through the park roads.
What excited us most, though, were the White Bear Forest Trails located nearby. With approximately 25 kilometres of looping trails, there was more than enough to keep us happily hiking for a day.
Plus, since I’m a bit of a history buff and a committed greeniac, it was deeply thrilling to walk in the world’s sixth largest remaining stand of old-growth white pine forest. 1 Since Temagami is well-known for opposing logging projects that threaten old growth trees and ancient forests, it’s worth learning more by reading Ontario's Old Growth Forests by Michael Henry and Peter Quinby.
It was the perfect time of year to spot early wild flowers, and of course, the old growth pine trees we saw along the White Bear Forest Trails were hugely impressive.
Our plan was to follow a series of trails to the end of the stacked loops, coming out on Cassels Lake. We began at John’s Trail
, but unless things have changed since last year, we wouldn’t recommend the same to anyone else. The trail was so overgrown, we spent about 45 minutes battling branches and brush.
Update: A member of Temagami’s Old Growth Trails Partnership has reached out to let me know that maintenance was performed on John’s Trail after we hiked it. It’s all clear now!
When we emerged on a road at the Red Fox Trail junction, we realized that we could have driven to this point and began our hike from a scenic beaver pond.
We learned something while we were there. A man involved with the maintenance of the White Bear Forest Trails informed us that blue plastic is placed at the base of trees with nests in them, so otters can’t raid them and eat the eggs.
Red Fox Trail was easy to follow, and we soon gained the Link and Cross Trail.
We connected onto the Beaver Trail, which had several scenic lookout spots.
Then we turned onto the Peregrine Trail finally to reach the lakeshore.
We’d arranged to be picked up by boat, since we still had to drive back home that day and wouldn’t otherwise have time to hike back. That’s ok, since it means there are plenty of White Bear Forest Trails left to hike the next time we’re in Temagami (smiley face).