While North Bay in Northeastern Ontario has a lot to offer, you’ll find plenty to see beyond the city limits, too. There are many day trips in every direction from this small city on the shores of Lake Nipissing. Whether you’re looking for exciting places, spectacular views, or a day on the beach, it’s all only a day trip away.
North Bay Day Trips to the North
Temagami Fire Tower
On top of Caribou Mountain to the north is the Temagami Fire Tower. First built in 1910, the forest industry constructed this 100-foot (30.5-meter) wooden structure to watch for fires in the early logging days. The tower was rebuilt out of steel in 1951, giving us the chance to take in the spectacular views—especially for those capturing pictures of Northeastern Ontario.
Back Down South
Powassan Farm Stand Tour
For a great day trip south of North Bay, the community of Powassan is an excellent choice. Stopping at a fruit stand in the spring, summer, and fall is an Ontario staple—what if you combined that with a day trip? Powassan Farm Stand Tour does just that.
Up to 30 farmers in four towns sell their wares on the Powassan Farm Stand Tour. You can buy anything from fresh eggs and produce to meat, with a chance to visit markets and general stores as well. It’s a great way to visit small-town Northern Ontario, and we suggest picking up some fresh maple syrup, too. Mmmmm, delicious!
To the West
Duchesnay Falls Nature Trail
Heading west along Highway 17 is Duchesnay Falls Nature Trails. Just a short drive from North Bay, this two-mile loop trail takes you along a flowing waterfall made up of several steep drops. Two of the largest ones are 15 feet (4.5 meters) high! In high water, these falls split into two rivers creating dual waterfalls. There are no fences, so be careful—the rocks are slippery when wet.
A little farther west down Highway 17 is the town of Sturgeon Falls. The Sturgeon Falls Lookout is a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) hike that enjoys a beautiful view of the river atop the falls. While you’re there, set time aside to visit the Sturgeon River House Museum. This museum houses artifacts from the fur trading era from 1623 to 1879 and represents pioneer life from 1878 to 1939. Take a step back in time during your visit!
Eau Claire Gorge
Just 40 minutes east of North Bay is Eau Claire Gorge. This self-guided one-mile trail leads you past a log slide as well as a dam built in 1870 (when logging was the primary industry here). Farther down the path, you will pass an original loggers cabin reconstructed in 1989, then a series of rapids and a beautiful cascading waterfall. If you love a waterfall, Eau Claire Gorge is the perfect day trip.
If you drive past Eau Claire Gorge on Road 630, you’ll find a little town called Kiosk. Now a ghost town, Kiosk is all that’s left of the 1936 mill town that once stood here. Eerily enough, the mill burned down in 1973 on Friday the 13th. It was eventually purchased by the province to include in Algonquin Park. If you leave the road and explore a little, you may find artifacts from where the town once stood. A supernatural horror movie called The Witch was filmed here in 2015.
If you go farther east, you will find something truly out of this world. Brent Crater is a meteorite impact site formed about 450 million years ago and first identified in 1951 with aerial photography. The crater became a geological survey site in 1953 when over 3 miles (5 kilometers) of core were found, making it one of the most comprehensively studied impact craters ever.
A short trail will lead you to an observation deck that overlooks this over-2-mile-wide crater (3.8 kilometers). Follow the trail loop and go to the bottom of Brent Crater to observe cracks in the earth from the meteorite’s explosive energy as it hit the ground. This day trip is definitely one of a kind!
A Day at the Beach
There is nothing that a day at the beach can’t cure. Champlain Park offers a beautiful beach, a great playground, and a lovely setting for a picnic lunch within the city limits.
If you’re looking for an island feel, hop aboard a boat and float across to Manitou Islands Provincial Park. This nature preserve is four islands formed in a circle just off the shores of North Bay.
Part of an eroded volcanic pipe, the uninhabited islands have plenty of myths and legends surrounding them. From rumours of haunting to myths that Great Manitou (the largest of the four) will speak to explorers who paddle too close to its shores, these islands are shrouded in plenty of mystery. Which makes them an interesting place to explore!
Take a day trip out to the park and explore the beautiful beaches for an island escape in Northeastern Ontario. The rich volcanic soils mean that there’s plenty of greenery, from prickly thickets to towering maple trees, and therefore plenty of birdlife to observe. The warm waters of Lake Nipissing also mean it’s the perfect place to swim and boat.
Want to go green and take more than a day? Mattawa, just east of North Bay, offers eco-friendly cabins at Nature’s Harmony for the ultimate sustainable outdoor experience. It’s also nestled at the confluence of the Mattawa and Ottawa rivers, which means you can spend the day paddling both channels. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in sweet seclusion on the sandy banks with unmatched views of the rolling hillsides of the north.
Near or far, there’s plenty to do in North Bay. To explore more of this diverse destination and nearby towns, read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide.