Pukaskwa National Park: Coastal Trail – Hattie Cove to Hideaway Bay (10 days / 112 km)

A beautiful rocks view in Pukaskwa Coastal Trail white River

This is one of the more challenging hiking trails in Ontario. Not even in terms of technical difficulty, but in stamina and sure-footedness. It has rushing rivers, water crossings, coastal rocks, boreal forests, random fields of boulders, sandy beaches, and scenic views. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.

The coastal part of the trail is marked by rock cairns and is fairly easy to follow – if you pay attention. In the wooded sections the trail is also fairly obvious but stay alert and look carefully if your trail peters out – you likely just missed a turn. I lucked out with the weather and had little rain, but be prepared for storms as rain will make rocks slippery and slow you down even more than the uneven footing already does.

There is very limited cell service and emergency contact devices are recommended. I found hiking poles to be very helpful in providing extra anchorage in steep sections and additional stability during slippery sections such as river crossings. The full trail requires two river crossings, so water shoes or tough feet are a must! All campsites have food lockers, and I’ll admit it’s nice not to have to worry about hanging your food at the end of each day.

At this time of year, bugs were not a problem. Note that the trail can be done in different sections but requires a water taxi as there is no road access anywhere beyond the trailhead. I did the trail out and back, solo, and this was my longest backpacking trip.

Trip Completed: August 2021

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Pukaskwa National Park

Ending Point: Pukaskwa National Park

Total Distance: 112 km

Elevation Gain: Approximately 130 m

Duration: 10 days

Difficulty: Advanced

Location

The trail leaves from Pukaskwa National Park (Hattie Cove campground).

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki.

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: The Backcountry Hiking Trip Planner by Pukaskwa Nat...

To continue reading this Trip Report, please login below.

If you aren't a Member yet, please sign up here.