Slate Islands Provincial Park TR

We went up to the Slate Islands Provincial Park in July.

The Slates ( are located 8 miles due south of Terrace Bay on Lake Superior. I first heard of the Slates years ago and became enthralled with them. They have the highest concentration of Woodland Caribou anywhere in North America.

We had the option of either paddling or taking a charter/ferry to the islands. We elected to take the ferry. Doug the Captain was a wealth of information on the Slates and the area in general. They can be best descibed as very similar to Isle Royale in geology and to some extent fauna and flora, with a good selection of plants that appear in the Artic.

We spent 4 days exploring the islands. Not enough time.

We camped in the same place the first 2 nights, McGreevy Harbor. We saw Caribou the first day we were there. It was quite exciting to see them, especially close. They have no predators on the islands and that with people feeding them, they are actually quite tame as you can see from the pictures. We spent the days alternating between hiking and paddling. There are only caribou trails to follow as there are no established hiking trails. Map and compass skills are necessary.

We ran into other people mostly paddling and most from Canada. We also ran into local folks out for the day.

The next 2 days we spent at Come n’ Rest, a nice cabin used mainly by MNR researchers etc. Nice to have a roof overhead, particularly with the last nights storms.

The winds crank up during the day funneling through the passages between the islands making for challenging paddling. A couple of neat things. First no squirrels, red or otherwise nor mice for that matter. The absence of red squirrels was almost weird compared to Isle Royale.

We also saw a bald eagle dive for a fish that turned out to be so large, the eagle flopped along the surface dragging the fish to a small island. I paddled over to

see the eagle and fish. The fish was a 6 or 7 # steelhead. I could see the talon marks in its flesh.

We will definitely be back, as Doug told us on our way out the first day!!

I am interested in the ferry. Does it run every day? Or is it a charter? How much does it cost round trip? Extra charge for your boat?

I was there two years ago but we paddled the crossing. I think there was a ferry out of Rossport which is a slightly larger town just to the west of Terrace Bay. I see a couple of outfitters have trips there but other than that it’s hard to find info about the islands.

We never got that lucky with the caribou but they did come fairly close. There’s a lighthouse at the southern end of the island and a great place to camp right near it. And yes, plan to go back again someday!


– Last Updated: Aug-13-05 4:05 AM EST –

The ferry service is pretty much when you want to go-weather dependant of course. Doug's boat is small, 22' and will take 2 kayaks at a time.
We paid about $230 Canadian, and it was well worth it. Doug is working on a bigger boat but didn't say when it would be ready.

Doug's phone number: Caribou Charters 807-825-3719. Tell him hello for us!!


– Last Updated: Aug-13-05 3:58 AM EST –

I heard there was a tug type vessel out of Rossport that was slower to go across and did not have the access that Doug's smaller boat had,

We read about a few who kayaked across in the journal at Come N' Rest who got caughr in 9' waves coming across. The paddle across would be ok given decent weather, but because of time constraints we opted for the ferry and were glad we did because of 3-5' waves going both ways, and we went first thing in the am both ways.

We spoke at length to a guy from London, ON who was canoing with his dog. Doug had dropped him off near the lighthouse. He spent a few days on the south side-and was welcomed with fine hospitality from the 2 brothers who lease the lighthouse. Apparently they grew up out there.
We plan on going there and exploring the south side next time.