The Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay

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Quinten Moulson
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There’s something about visiting Thunder Bay. It seems every time I come back, I am introduced to something new and beautiful. I finally had the opportunity to hike the Sleeping Giant chimney in the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park after having wanted to make the trek for almost 2 years now. If you are thinking of trying to ascend to the top, I can promise you that its a sight to see and one you will never forget.

My cousin Sydney, her friend Austyn and I spent the day making the 23km round trip hike up the Sleeping Giant chimney. We woke up at 5:30 am and were out of the house by quarter past 6 to pick up Austyn. After the 45 minute drive into the park, we arrived at the entrance of the hike. The hike follows an in and out trail, so whichever trail you decide to take after the initial 6km walk, make sure you pack enough food and fluids depending on how long you are planning to spend hiking. The Sleeping Giant Chimney took us roughly 6 hours, with several stops to take stunning photos.

The hike began with a 6km walk to the chimney trailhead. It seems that most people bike the initial walk, but we decided to take the extra challenge of walking the whole 23km. The walk itself is fairly simple. It has very small elevation changes and is a dirt path that changes to shale every so often. After almost 2 hours, we had arrived at the chimney trailhead to begin our ascend.

The climb didn’t seem that long, but because of the sheer incline, it felt that much harder. My legs were on fire and I found we were taking many more breaks just to catch our breath. There were several spots to stop and enjoy the view of lake superior, and we took full advantage. Pause for 2 minutes, grab a drink of water, snap some photos, then continue.

After the ascend, we started to gather why people bike the beginning because it is a 500m elevation gain to the top from the trailhead. The ascend twists around the mountain and does not get any bit easier from the beginning to the end.

After the gruelling hike up, we had finally arrived at the most picturesque spot in all of Thunder Bay.

The top of the Sleeping Giant chimney is breathtaking. You can see through the crystal clear water and standing on the edge of the cliff felt like you were on the top of the world.

Key takeaways from this hike

If you are planning on hiking the chimney, make sure you leave early. By the time we were heading back down, it had already reached 30 degrees Celsius and to be hiking in that heat, with that much elevation takes a toll on the body.

Whichever trail you choose to hike in the provincial park, it will take hours and you need to be prepared with adequate amounts of fluids and snacks.

What goes up must come down. This is no amateur hike and if you decide to start making the trek to the top, you have to get yourself down. I would highly suggest doing your research to see if you are capable of making the ascend.

Enjoy the time, there are so many serene spots along the trail that you are going to want to stop and cherish the moments.