Beautiful Places in Alaska 🇺🇸 – Gallery Images, Videos, & Profile | Earth’s Face

What is there to see in Alaska?


state Flag of Alaska
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ALASKA

Alax̂sxax̂ – Alaasikaq – Alas’kaaq – Alaskaq – Anáaski

Map of the United States with Alaska highlighted
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satellite map of Alaska with major ecoregions and capital city labeled

English: /uh-LAS-kuh/ * /a-LAS-kuh/

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Name Origin

from the term used by Russians to name the Alaska Peninsula, from the Aleut and Yupik languages for “object to which the sea’s action is directed” or “great land

Population

< 736,000

Main Languages

Predominantly English (~ 83%). The next most-spoken language is Spanish (~ 3%), though there are many native languages that are official in the state: Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Aleut, Dena’ina, Deng Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich’in, Lower Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. All indigenous languages are spoken by small percentages of the population.

Capital

*Juneau

Largest City

Anchorage

Location

Northwestern United States, a partial exclave state separated from the contiguous U.S., in the general Pacific Northwest and Arctic regions. The largest U.S. state, it is mostly on the mainland with many islands, including the Aleutian Islands. It borders Canada to the east / northeast, has Arctic coastline to the north, and Pacific coastline, including the Bering Sea, to the south and west.

Biogeography

Nearctic Realm (a small part in the East Palearctic)

Part of the United States’ Arctic tundra, Boreal forests / taiga, Pacific Range mountains, Arctic Range mountains, Pacific Marine Forests, and Pacific Marine lowlands. Home to North America’s highest mountain, Denali (Mt. McKinley).


Gallery Images & Videos: Places in Alaska

glacier in the woods within Tongass National Forest, Alaska
Tongass National Forest – Matt Artz
iceberg in the water at Tongass National Forest, place in Alaska
Steve Corey
aerial view of large glacier in Chugach National Forest, USA

Chugach National Forest – Izzy Majcher
man walking inside a glacier in Chugach National Forest, Alaska
Paxson Woelber
Alpenglow in the snowy mountains of Chugach National Forest, a place in Alaska
Paxson Woelber
humpback whale leaping from the water in Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park – jdegenhardt
opening to a fjord with cliffs and snowy mountains in the distance, Kenai Fjords National Park
CMy23
rocky island ahead of the fjords and snowy mountains of Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
lwtt93
forested rocks jutting out from the sea on the south coast of Alaska, USA
jdegenhardt
trail leading to a large distant mountain in Denali National Park and Preserve, place in Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve – Alex Proimos
bright fall colors in a valley in Denali National Park and Preserve, United States
Arthur T. LaBar
running A dog sled in the snow near Denali, Alaska
GPA Photo Archive
flowery garden in front of a white steeple in Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks – kinglear55
aurora borealis (northern lights) above a forest near Fairbanks
Kodachron
view of Attu Island from the sea, Aleutian Islands
Attu Island – Alaska Region U.S. Fish & W
view of towering volcano from the sea on a cloudy day, Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Aleutian Islands – naql
bright blue sea on the jagged coast of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, place in Alaska, USA
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve – Arthur T. LaBar
rugged glacier in the mountains of Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Don & Suzan Weller
boat sailing below the white mountains of southeastern Alaska
NOAA’s National Ocean Se
small shed in the forested foothills of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Reserve
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Reserve – NPS CulturalLandscapes
wide landscape in the fall of a town and distant mountains in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Reserve
JLS Photography – Alaska
twilight in the city of Anchorage, city in Alaska, USA
Anchorage – marco antonio torres
autumn forest landscape near the mountains and river near Anchorage
Zetong Li
blue lakes in the forests of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, place in Alaska
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve – GPA Photo Archive
young brown bears wrestling in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Katmai National Park and Preserve – cheryl strahl
caribou crossing a river in Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, place in Alaska
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servi
green wetlands in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge – Alaska Region U.S. Fish & W
sunrise in the snowy hills of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, place in Alaska
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve – Bering Land Bridge Nation
cabins at the foot of a rocky hill in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska, USA
Bering Land Bridge Nation
yellow hills and valley of Noatak National Preserve, United States
Noatak National Preserve – Western Arctic National Pa
fall colors near a snowcapped mountain in Noatak National Preserve, place in Alaska
Western Arctic National Pa
sand dunes and evergreens in Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley National Park – Western Arctic National Pa
camping in the fields near stony mountains at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve – National Park Service, Alas
yellow flowers on the grassy hills above a river valley in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servic
a seaplane landing on the waters near Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, place in Alaska
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge – Alaska Region U.S. Fish & 
temperate rainforest in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Arthur T. LaBar
mountains mirrored by the water on Kodiak Island
Kodiak Island – naql
herd of bison in the grasslands on coastal Kodiak Island, Alaska
James Brooks
on the Alaska Highway leading to a snowy mountain
Alaska Highway – JLS Photography – Alaska
a polar bear walking on the graveled Arctic coast near the town of Kaktovik, Alaska
town of Kaktovik – Arthur T. LaBar
totem pole closeup near Ketchikan, place in Alaska
town of Ketchikan – Ben Rogers
harbor of the town of Ketchikan, USA
ThreeIfByBike
large spikey rock formation in the snow near Coldfoot, Alaska
Anita Ritenour
rushing rapids along the stony shores of a forest along the Chilkoot Trail
Chilkoot Trail – Joseph
totem pole ahead of the harbor in the town of Haines, Alaska
town of Haines – dancingnomad3
tawny brown mountains and forest near the town of Talkeetna, USA
Talkeetna – JLS Photography – Alaska
a white Russian Orthodox church in the town of Sitka, place in Alaska
town of Sitka – Jeremy Keith
a graveyard in the dense forests near Sitka, Alaska
Melinda Shelton
harbor and docks of Valdez below snowy mountains, Alaska
town of Valdez –-Eric
waterfall on green hills near Valdez, town in Alaska, USA
FairbanksMike
docks below the green and white mountains of Seward, town and place in Alaska state
town of Seward – CMy23
glaciers and iceberg in the Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska
Tracy Arm Fjord – Alexander Shchukin
view of a lighted cruise ship in the fjords of Juneau at dusk
Juneau – Peter Scholten
a Russian Orthodox church top covered in snow on a clear day in Juneau, capital of Alaska
Brett Johnson
people standing on the sand near a waterfall ahead of a glacier and mountains near the town of Juneau, USA
Rod Ramsell
view from a cable car looking down at other cable car and a cruise ship in the harbor of Juneau, place in Alaska
Fernando Jorge
stream falling through a green valley before cascading into a green lake, scene in Alaska
Rich Manalang

Places in Yukon – Gallery Images, Videos, & Profile | Earth’s Face 🇨🇦

territorial Flag of Yukon, Canada
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YUKON

English: /YOO-kahn/

Listen

French: /yu-KON/

Listen

Canadian Provinces and Territories, the Yukon highlighted in red
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satellite map image of the Yukon territory
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Name Origin

after the Yukon River, possibly from the Gwich’in language for “white water river” or “great river

Population

~ 42,600

Main Languages

Predominantly English (~ 83%). The next most spoken language is French, also an official language in the territory (~ 4%). Both languages are spoken in local Canadian varieties.

Capital & Largest City

Whitehorse

Location

Northwestern Canada, a federal territory in the general Arctic and Pacific Mountains regions. Has some Arctic Ocean coastline to the north and borders the United States (Alaska) to the west.

Biogeography

Nearctic Realm

Part of Canada’s Pacific Cordillera mountains, Taiga Cordillera mountains, and taiga plains, with some Arctic tundra. Home to Mount Logan, Canada’s tallest mountain (2nd tallest in North America).


Gallery Images & Videos: Places in Yukon

totem poles made of hubcaps in Yukon, Canada
JLS Photography – Alaska
emerald lake with mountain backdrop, popular place in Yukon
Emerald Lake – JAYRNIV
dunes at the Carcross Desert, southern Yukon, Canada
Carcross Desert – teamscuby
monument of an indigenous person canoeing at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre – Travis
the SS Klondike in the snow in Whitehorse, Canada
SS Klondike – Gareth Sloan
northern lights (aurora borealis) in Whitehorse, famous sight in Yukon territory
Whitehorse – Studiolit
a bend at Miles Canyon, outside of Whitehorse
Miles Canyon – Timothy Neesam
a bend at Miles Canyon, a place in Yukon
Diego Delso
high snowy mountain peaks with sun rays reflecting, part of Yukon
Richard Droker
mountains, forests and a winding river in Kluane National Park and Reserve, place in Yukon
Kluane National Park and Reserve – Kalen Emsley
a wood stump on the stony shores of a river ahead of mountains in Kluane National Park and Reserve, the Yukon
WherezJeff
downtown hotel in Dawson City on a snowy day, northwestern Canada
Dawson City – Arthur T. LaBar
person walking on the road on the scenic Dempster Highway, Yukon
Dempster Highway – Joseph
mountain crest in the fields of Ivvavik National Park, a place in Yukon
Ivvavik National Park – Daniel Case
rugged beds of a river in the landscapes of Ivvavik National Park, in the Yukon
Daniel Case
flooded wetlands of Vuntut National Park, a place in Yukon
Vuntut National Park – Крис Кирзик
a section of a river in snowy frozen landscape at dawn in Yukon
Keith Williams
a section of the Yukon River in a snowy landscape with the sun barely over the horizon
Yukon River – Keith Williams
a boat/ canoe on a wide section of the Yukon River, Canada
Camera Eye Photography
white clouded mountains towering over a dark forest in the Yukon, near the Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway – Goran Vlacic
a section of the Alaska Highway with forests and snowy mountain backdrops in the Yukon
JLS Photography – Alaska
a dog sled team running in the snowy landscapes of the Yukon, Canada
Arthur T. LaBar
a unique black bear in the flowery fields of Yukon Wildlife Preserve, place in Canada
Yukon Wildlife Preserve – Keith Williams
a sweeping valley landscape in the Tombstone Territorial Park, a place in Yukon
Tombstone Territorial Park – Bo Mertz
bright purple/pink flowers on the shores of the Alsek River with mountains behind, the Yukon
Alsek River – zug zwang
moose antlers left ahead of the curving Alsek River in Yukon
zug zwang
a bald eagle perched near the Tatshenshini River in Yukon, Canada
Tatshenshini River – Matt Zimmerman
snowy mountains seen from the inside of a small passenger plane, flying over the Yukon
Jack Church

What makes southern British Columbia unique? (Besides Vancouver)- 9 Cool Reasons 🇨🇦

lake at Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia's coastal mountains
Garibaldi Lesly Derksen

Welcome to the south of British Columbia, a province like none of the rest. Distinct habitats and identities come out to make this place as unique as it gets in Canada. The Pacific Northwest meets the Rockies in this western frontier.

Provincial Flag of British Columbia
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At times infamously expensive, other times open and welcoming to immigrants, British Columbia has a whole lot of fames and features that make it unique in the world. And a pretty large concentration of those features happens to be in the south. Learn more about this spectacular province with a quick profile. Then see some of what makes this region so special.

southern BRITISH COLUMBIA: Quick Profile

Again when talking about Canada, the south of any province is where most of the action happens since it’s further from the Arctic. Southern British Columbia is generally considered what lies south of Queen Charlotte Sound on the coast and Prince George or Mount Robson, maybe. It is the location of the provincial capital, Victoria, as well as the biggest urban area of Vancouver.

BC takes up Canada’s whole west Pacific coast and in the south borders the United States. There are many large mountainous regions throughout, especially along the coast and with the Rockies and the Columbia Mountains in the east. The province overall has about 6,000 islands off its shores and around the Inside Passage. Here can be found large fjords and islands like the big Vancouver Island.

There’s also an Interior Plateau which has drier forests and valleys with a major wine-making region. The coast and islands have mostly oceanic climates with wet temperate forests, similar to the rest of Cascadia. Some areas in the interior are humid continental and some drier Mediterranean regions. The mountains generally have a tundra or Alpine climate.

The province is called British Columbia after the old mainland colony of the same name. This was for the basin around the Columbia River, called to distinguish it from the American-owned Columbia that would later become the Oregon Territory. The mainland was named after the Columbia River, named for a boat called the Columbia Rediviva, which comes from an old name for the New World, “Columbia.” Eventually, it all goes back to explorer Christopher Columbus.

Read more: about Canada; Earth’s Face places in Canada & beyond

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Why is southern British Columbia unique? …

1. Because of Okanagan

Vineyards of the central Okanagan Valley, Canada
valleys of OkanaganMack Male

What is it?:

The Okanagan Valley is that nice wine-making region I mentioned earlier. The weather here is among the most pleasant in Canada and the scenery is beautiful to match.

What’s it have?:

Besides those features, Okanagan has a number of valley towns and cities to check out. Kelowna, for instance, has the scenic Knox Mountain Park in the hills, as well as beach parks and waterfronts to enjoy on its beautiful lake. Kamloops has a cool Heritage Railway tracking the backbone of British Columbian history, along with the natural Lac du Bois Grasslands nearby.

The city of Vernon has excellent natural areas on its lakes like Ellison Provincial Park, or in Silver Star Mountain for skiing. There’s also the Davison Orchard’s Country Village which is like a fun frontier town inside Vernon. There are a bunch of other towns that seem popular for visitors … and they’ve all got wineries.

Read more: Okanagan Wine Country Tours

2. Because of its Frontier Parks

Takakkaw Falls and a rainbow in Yoho National Park, southern British Columbia
Takakkaw Falls, YohoFir0002

What are those?:

By this, I’m just talking about the national parks out near the border with Alberta. The Rocky Mountains of British Columbia are very pretty like all the other Rockies and are home to some unique parks. Two that stand out are Yoho National Park and Kootenay National Park.

What do they have?:

Other than amazing montane landscapes and deep blue lakes surrounded by serene forest? Well, Yoho is home to the famed Lake O’Hara which is popular for photographers and nature-goers.

Also here are Takakkaw Falls, Canada’s second-tallest and an amazing sight to see. Over in Kootenay are similar attractions, although there is a majestic glacier there, as well as its very own Grand Canyon to explore. This one has a lot more trees around it though.

3. Because of the Rocky & Columbia Mountains

Sunset by Wapta Falls.jpg
Wapta Falls, Canadian RockiesJakub Fryš

What are they?:

As you might know, the Rockies and the Columbia Mountains are two somewhat connected mountain chains that extend between the U.S. and Canada. They are home to some of the most gorgeous natural settings in all of North America. Snow-capped mountains and glaciers “cascade” down into picturesque lakes surrounded by pine forests and flowery meadows.

giant cedar trees and a forest boardwalk in Mount Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia
Giant Cedars Boardwalk, Mt. RevelstokeNatulive Canada

What do they have?:

To get more specific, there are a number of great parks to visit in the area. The Kakwa Wildland and Glacier National Park are two incredible choices, the former being the home of beautiful Kakwa Falls. In the Columbias is a range called the Selkirk Mountains.

These babies have a similar natural beauty to the Rockies but with some distinct rock compositions. The Purcell Wilderness is a notable park here, and the most incredible one based on what I’ve seen is Mount Revelstoke Provincial Park, a place that sure leaves visitors “reveling.”

4. Because of the Mountains around Squamish & Whistler

dense woodlands of the Joffre Lakes region of southern British Columbia, Canada
Joffre LakesAkshay Chauhan

What is that?:

So Squamish is a small rustic town amidst these towering mountains and wilderness areas. It seems like a cool getaway before going off on sporting adventures or to a cabin. Whistler is a similar mountain village a bit more in the hills. I’m sure it looks magical in the wintertime and with all the Christmas lights. As it happens, these two towns are surrounded by incredible mountain scenery, part of Canada’s Coastal Range.

Sea to Sky Gondola in the summertime outside of Squamish
Sea to Sky Gondola, SquamishJosephine Lin

What do they have?:

Squamish itself has a Sea to Sky Gondola which takes visitors from a sound on the ocean, basically, up high into the mountains. Whistler Blackcomb is set outside the town as a series of ski and snow sport resorts for athletes to take on. Not far is Garibaldi Provincial Park, a famed spot for hikers and explorers to reach (really high) heights and witness some of the calmest and snowiest parts of southern British Columbia.

The lake scenery there is just jaw-dropping too. Another lake haven is Joffre Lakes, similar but with a lot more forest. I’m telling you, just look up some pictures of these places, you won’t believe it. A little further out but in the general region is the Fraser River Canyon whose windy rapids lead to a cool cross-bridge called Hell’s Gate. Sinister.

5. Because of Nelson and Kokanee

people enjoying the beach at Kokanee Creek
Kokanee CreekPicryl

What are they?:

Nelson is a town out in southern BC that is utterly encircled by nature. It’s actually a quite pretty town situated on Lake Kootenay. Kokanee is really the name of a few natural parks around Nelson with amazing landscapes, as we should expect.

What do they have?:

Nelson seems like a cool forest getaway spot mixing in a unique availability of lake and wilderness excursions. Not far is Kokanee Lake with serene natural surroundings. Kokanee is also a glacier park and a creek park with some beaches to enjoy those winding waters.

6. Because of Vancouver Island

view from between trees at a lake and islet in Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island
Strathcona Provincial ParkLesly Derksen

What is it?:

Oh, only the biggest and most populous North American island in the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver Island was actually its own separate colony at one point until merging with British Columbia as a single province. Because of that, it’s got this separate Britain-y, colonial feel to it but with all the nature inclusive of the rest of BC. It’s even got a warmer climate than most of the country and is home to Victoria.

sunset on a beach near Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
beach near TofinoShlomo Shalev

What does it have?:

One of the best parts of Vancouver Island is the West Coast Trail. This trail rides the coast along with forests, quiet beaches, hidden coves, and even a waterfall or two. A major feature of this is the Pacific Rim (not the movie, sorry), a nature reserve filled with rocky tree-lined shores and some boardwalks that lead into the Pacific Northwest’s dense rainforests.

Popular coastal towns with a similar feel are Tofino and Ucluelet. Nanaimo is another important city with a rustic throwback village for visitors to wander back in time — and get good eats, of course. There is also a petroglyph park and Newcastle Island (Saysutshun) where the native heritage can be explored. Another quaint fishing village with just enough isolation is Ganges, set on Salt Spring Island just off the shore of larger Vancouver.

7. Because of Victoria

view of Parliament Buildings from a lamp around Victoria's inner harbour, British Columbia
Inner Harbour Reid Naaykens

What is it?

Located on the mighty Vancouver Island, Victoria is British Columbia’s coastal capital. The city sits along a pretty harbor and waterfront and is right next to an abundance of outdoor activities.

Craigdarroch Castle at evening, city of Victoria
Craigdarroch CastleMichal Klajban

What does it have?:

The main spot of Victoria is its Inner Harbour. Here are beautifully-built sights like the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, as well as the colorful Fisherman’s Wharf and park. There’s also the Royal BC Museum and Bug Zoo for you insect enthusiasts. Yep, one of a kind.

waterfall in Goldstream Provincial Park, south Vancouver Island outside of Victoria
Goldstream Provincial ParkRt44

Chinatown and Johnson Street are interesting neighborhoods to stroll through. Victoria has great urban parks like Beacon Hill and Abkhazi Gardens, and count the spectacular Butchart Gardens on the outskirts.

Nice coastal hangouts are Spiral Beach and Willows Beach, and there are even some full-out castles like Craigdarroch and Hatley. Outside of town are a number of great places to get into nature. To call out a few, you’ve got Gowlland Tod, the coastal East Sooke, and the falls-filled Goldstream Park.

8. Because of the Enchanted Forest & Big White

Big White village and ski resort covered in snow, Canada
Big White VillageFlickr

What are they?:

The Enchanted Forest is a woods area with themed forest adventures. Not far is Big White, another one of Canada’s famous ski resorts.

What do they have?:

Big White has snow activities in one of the most popular resorts in all BC. Within the Enchanted Forest is a setup like a fantasy world with fun adventures for whole families, including a skytrek, salmon run, and tons of fairies. Enjoy that.

9. Because of the Culture

Southern British Columbia is essentially the center of culture and identity for this province. Home to the biggest and most popular cities, resorts, and many an extraordinary wildlife wonderland. The outdoors are such a core part of this place, even if city life gets a little mixed in. This is the core of Canada’s West Coast culture since it’s really the only west coast it has. Traditional trains and logging tell their history amidst the booming new tech and business coming from all over the globe, especially with an Asia-Pacific flare.

The distinct Vancouver Island adds its special twist to the Cascades identity of this province that got its roots set by way of the railways. Trains, frontiers, western towns, and First Nations hold a deep significance here. That’s telling from the many places native traditions and symbols like totem poles are present. The diversity of its original and more contemporary settlers go hand in hand with the wide diversity of its landscapes.

With so much wilderness and unspoiled land, Southern British Columbia still hosts many of the animals that have diminished to rare in other parts of the continent. With wineries and vineyards running through some of Canada’s warmest locations, this is the nation’s setting sun to the far west. And the weather’s just a bit better than the north side.

**Thanks for reading about British Columbia’s southern portions. What’s your favorite part about this region? Are you from BC or have you been there? Share with us what else needs to be on this list! Contact me directly or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com. And please feel free to read some more posts here on the site. Take care and get out there! Peace.

Other reads: British Columbia ImmigrationBritish Columbia’s Unique GeographyBritish Columbia living & expensesBritish Columbia Wikipedia

Why is Northern Ontario Special? – 9 Cool Reasons 🇨🇦

Checking in for the second part of this huge province, Ontario is definitely too big for one post. For just one of anything, really. We’ll take a look at the biggest section of ON here to tack onto why it is such a unique place. You can read about Southern Ontario here if you wish. Okay, where exactly could this place be? And what makes Northern Ontario so special? Hmm, so mysterious!

map of Ontario, Canada, highlighted northern region
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map of Canadian Provinces and Territories, highlighted Ontario
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Northern ONTARIO: Quick Geography

As you can see on the map, this chunk of Ontario makes up the vast majority of land in the province, but with only a small portion of its people. In a land area about the size of Vietnam, it sits mostly on the Canadian Shield. In the southern portion are lots of boreal forests with more rugged terrain here and in the interior. Further north and inland are influenced more by tundra landscapes. The climate further north is subarctic while the south is more continental with warm summers.

The western edge stems out into Canada’s Midwest forests while the northeast is a vast wetland called the Hudson Plains. The plains cover the coasts of the huge Hudson Bay and smaller James Bay. Also in the Great Lakes region, Northern Ontario touches the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. Another very notable lake is Lake Nipigon. The French River and Algonquin Park are usually considered the areas that separate north from south in this province. Not far from these parts is Sudbury, the region’s biggest city. Otherwise, you can’t miss this place on a map, it’s really huge.

1. Lake Huron & Sudbury – nature & attractions

rocky and wet landscape around Killarney Provincial Park, Northern Ontario
Killarney – by Sergey Pesterev

Since we’re talking about Sudbury, I’ll start with her. The official name is Greater Sudbury, or Grand-Sudbury in French since there are lots of French speakers here. Besides being the most populous city in Northern Ontario, it’s also the biggest city in the whole province by land area. It’s the main urban center and a nice gateway to the vast north.

One standout feature in this city is Science North, a big science complex dedicated to sparking scientific curiosity. There are underground tunnels, exhibits of different sciences, boat tours, and an IMAX theater. There’s even the biggest coin in the world on the grounds. Sudbury’s the biggest urban attraction in the whole north, so it really deserves its dues. This city isn’t far from Lake Huron which has a number of great parks and trails to discover.

the big nickel, giant coin at the Science North center in Greater Sudbury, Ontario
the Big Nickel – By Phil Harvey

Two special parks on the lake are the French River and Killarney provincial parks. This part of Ontario is very rocky with tons of hills. This makes the perfect contrast along the rivers and lakes in these nearby parks. Particularly in Killarney, there’s a rocky overlook called the Crack that’s awesome for getting a view of the park’s best features all in one spot. There are beautiful forests and wild scenery laced up against tons of little islands and waterways. The French River itself forms a type of gorge with bridges to explore. Not far away, there is one island in particular that needs its own section.

2. Manitoulin Island – big island

view from the cup and saucer trail on Manitoulin island, northern Ontario
View from the Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin – By User:Jhapk

Manitoulin is a very special island indeed. It’s actually the biggest freshwater island in the world, so big that it holds over 100 lakes itself. Some of those lakes even have islands. Dang! More than its impressive size, Manitoulin is home to many great forests, falls, inlets, beaches, and little islands too. Several of the towns here have a nice rustic feel with some of the frontier-style buildings still preserved.

Two trails that hikers seemed to be very excited about are the Great Spirit Circle Trail and the Cup & Saucer Trail. The former offers up adventure from an indigenous perspective, providing rich cultural interactions. Cup & Saucer takes hikers up into the rugged hills, even scaling a ladder to get to a high viewpoint. From there the islands and lakes are free to take in.

3. Lake Superior – nature & hiking

shore of Lake Superior at sunrise
Lake Superior shore – by NOAA

Moving on to the next Great Lake, Lake Superior has some impressive nature as well. The biggest of the Great Lakes (if you don’t consider Michigan and Huron as the same body of water), it possesses a few beautiful parks and trails of its own. With all the forests, rugged coasts, waterfalls, and clear blue waters you would expect, Lake Superior Provincial Park has it all. There’s a nice set of trails to explore the coasts and get down into the cliffs.

Sunrise at Lake Superior Provincial Park, campground on the shore
Lake Superior Provincial ParkCC BY 2.0

Another cool park is Pukaskwa National Park, filled with rocky isles and peninsulas. There are even more waterfalls and inlets here. Hikers can even explore gorges with suspension bridges to walk above the rushing waters. The region is also cut by Ontario’s section of the Trans-Canada Highway, so it’s a logical stop for those driving through.

4. Thunder Bay – culture & history

Terry Fox Monument and lookout in Thunder Bay, special person in Canadian history
Terry Fox Monument – By Richard Keeling

It’s no Sudbury, but Thunder Bay is a really important city in the far corners of Lake Superior. In a region once dominated by the fur trade, there are a couple of preserved sites and villages for learning about the past like Fort William Historical Park. Another park that mixes history with the Canadian wild is Centennial Park. It’s a large natural area with a few historic sites dedicated to TB’s logging past.

A skip away from there is the Terry Fox Monument dedicated to this famous Canadian athlete. He is well known throughout the nation for attempting a cross-country marathon in order to bring awareness to cancer. Oh, and he did this with a synthetic leg! I’d say he deserves a monument, and there’s a nice one right in Thunder Bay.

sweeping snowy landscape in Thunder Bay, city in north Ontario
Thunder Bay – by Jaime Dantas

Further down is Loch Lomond, a quaint ski getaway near to the city. Besides its nature and its seriously sweet name, this city is also home to an important Art Gallery. It’s the biggest in all NorOn (don’t know if that exists, but I’m going with it) and is dedicated to showcasing contemporary First Nations art. To get a break from all the boreal forests, there’s the Centennial Conservatory. It shelters lots of tropical plants and beautiful gardens throughout the year, and it’s free to visit. We like free.

5. Around Thunder Bay – nature

Kekabeka Falls, a unique waterfall in Ontario, Canada
Kakabeka Falls – By Carport

Not just a city, Thunder Bay is practically the gateway to the Northwest which is a whole subregion on its own. There are some pretty amazing sights up here. The Sleeping Giant is a park area and rock formation that stretches out over the water. From the sky, it looks like a giant napping on a strip of land. Ouimet Canyon is a forested area centered on a big gorge. There’s yet another suspension bridge here to cut across and get a nice view of the area.

One of the main attractions around Thunder Bay is called Kakabeka Falls. It’s a big waterfall out in the forest, though that doesn’t stop it from being popular. The waters are so strong and it’s so easily accessible that it’s been given the nickname “Niagara of the North.” Really a unique spot in its own right.

6. Remote Nature – exploration & adventure

Canoes on Lake Temagami, popular lake and wilderness area in Northern Ontario
Canoeing on Lake Temagami – By Jordan Wan

If there’s one thing I feel that NorOn is known for, it’s got to be remote wilderness. There are so many huge provincial parks out here it’s ridiculous. You’ve got Quetico in the boundary waters region shared with Minnesota. There’s Wabakimi and Nagagamisis. I’m just tripping off of these names, though. There’s also a bendy lake called Lake Temagami with lots of parks surrounding it.

a caribou or reindeer at a river in the woods, relating to Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Ontario
Caribou – by Thomas Lefebvre

These places are mostly accessible just by small planes, like seaplanes, or by boat. Visitors to these parks usually fly into some remote part of the forest and spend time camping, canoeing, and trekking all through the wilderness. Another notable park is Woodland Caribou. It’s known for the same stuff as all the other parks but with some ancient pictographs to add. These places are great spots to get away from it all (far, far away) and get immersed in the wild.

7. Hudson Plains – remote towns & nature

a polar bear near Hudson Bay, common sight in northern Ontario
Near Hudson Bay – by Jason Hillier

So moose are pretty common throughout Canada, but polar bears are a different story. That’s why Ontario is home to Polar Bear Provincial Park, its biggest and most isolated park. It’s so isolated that it’s only accessible by air and visitors need special permission to enter. It covers a large section of the wet plains along Hudson Bay and is a much-needed sanctuary for tundra-dwelling creatures, like the polar bear.

Polar Bear Express train in north Ontario, Canada
Polar Bear Express – By Rev40

Speaking of those snowy furballs, there’s a train ride named after them. The Polar Bear Express transports people between the towns of Cochrane and Moosonee and is the only way to get to these two places on the ground. Interestingly enough, Moosonee is too far north to see moose and too far south to see polar bears. Still, I’d ride that train just to feel like I was in a Christmas adventure movie. Despite the lack of big game, Moosonee and Moose Factory Island are still some interesting and remote towns. They offer education about the First Nations and give off a distant feeling of isolation. Way to get away from all that city noise.

8. Agawa – views & trains

Agawa Canyon, beautiful place in northern Ontario
Agawa Canyon – By Carport

The area around Agawa is a canyon and wilderness park just inland from Lake Superior. The really neat thing about the canyon is a scenic railway that winds through it. It seems especially pretty during the fall months. Imagine riding a train over dips and curls across a valley filled with fiery colored trees and a tranquil running river. I’m about ready to drop what I’m doing and go there today.

On the Lake Superior coast, there’s an offshore island called Bathtub that has some beaches and natural pools to “bathe” in. Just leave the soap at home. Other than this beautiful canyon, the Agawa region is also home to some impressive pictographs made by ancient inhabitants in the area. What a cool slice of culture!

9. Culture (and Closing)

Really taking it into the backwoods! Northern Ontario is such a massive area with so much to see. The great thing is that it’s mostly wilderness and woodlands, so it hasn’t been changed much since pre-settlement times. The lakes and rivers are an immediate location of settlement for the people here, contributing to the strong boating, canoeing, and seaplane culture. There’s so much space and nature it could blow your mind way out into the outdoors.

From hiking beautiful shores to enjoying the remote wilderness, this region has been able to preserve lots of its indigenous character. There are a number of galleries and excursions dedicated to First Nations, and several historic sites preserved to show how life was like for fur traders and loggers. The woods are practically in the blood of these hardy folks. Northern Ontario shows how important it is to mesh its different historic identities into one, even if its population doesn’t quite match the south.

**Hey everybody! Did you enjoy learning about Northern Ontario? If there’s anybody out there that wants to add or share more about this place, please feel free to enlighten us! What makes Ontario special for you? Anyway, you’re all special and our whole planet is special, so keep taking care of each other and the Earth. Talk soon!