Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park is a gorgeous destination for nature-lovers, with pristine wilderness, abundant wildlife, a sparkling river, and the highest point in Ontario.
Often referred to as “Lady Evelyn” by locals, the park is located nearly 6 hours north of Toronto in the heart of the Temagami region.
Forming the headwaters for a variety of rivers, it is connected to four waterway parks. The area exists at the centre of a 2400km interconnected canoeing network, which has existed for thousands of years.
Within the networks, there are numerous waterfalls to explore amidst towering pine forests and rugged cliffs.
Lady Evelyn boasts Ontario’s highest point, Ishpatina Ridge, made up of Precambrian bedrock. The ridge is estimated to reach 693 m (2,274 ft) above sea level.
To reach the point, hikers have to follow the 30.3 km out-and-back trail near Timiskaming District. The route is considered challenging, taking an average of 9.5 hours to complete so make sure you are well prepared if you set out on this trek.
At the top, you’ll come across the Ellis Fire Tower which stands 100 feet tall. The tower was decommissioned in the 1960s, but is still an impressive structure to see and marks your arrival at Ishpatina Ridge.
For a less-extreme hike, Maple Mountain Trail is one of the most popular trails in Temagami, which leads a spectacular panoramic view at the summit. However, the trail can only be reached by canoe.
If hiking isn’t your thing, there is plenty of other things to do and see. Lady Evelyn Lake is a calm, sprawling body of water flanked by breathtaking granite cliffs and pines. Visitors can paddle or fish, or simply swim, exploring hidden bays and outlets.
The park also offers a variety of camping options, from drive-in sites to remote backcountry locations. Camping reservations are not available at Lady Evelyn, and all sites are first-come first-served.
Permits will be required for backcountry camping, which can be purchased online up to two weeks in advance of your arrival date.