Established in 1944, this upper Ontario park is 94 square miles of pure winter bliss. It is located on the Sibley Peninsula in northwestern Ontario, just east of Thunder Bay. The eye-popping landscapes are incredible, especially when covered in a blanket of snow. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park houses several natural wonders including the Sea Lion—a rocky outcropping that forms an arch under which visitors can swim, skate, or walk (depending on the season).
The communities closest to Sleeping Giant are Pass Lake, located at the northern entrance to the park, and Dorion, which is 22 miles northwest. These quaint towns are the perfect escape from busy city life, whether you are traveling from Toronto, New York, or nearby (closer) Chicago. Lodging is relatively limited, but more seasonal and perennial residents have begun to use AirBnb; finding a lovely place to spend the evenings is not difficult, and the tranquility of the area is unmatched.
The park itself offers numerous recreational activities. With more than 62 miles of trails, it is a popular destination regardless of season. However, the park is especially magical when doused in a layer of powdery white snow. Rent some snowshoes, strap on your cross-country skis, and embark on the Kabeyun Trail—the park’s longest, reaching just around 25 miles.
The primary feature of the park is also its namesake—the Sleeping Giant. This is a formation of mesas and sills on Sibley Peninsula resembling a giant lying on its back. As visitors more southward along the shoreline, the Sleeping Giant begins to separate into its various sections. To get the best view, visit the cliffs at Squaw Bay—from there, it is said, visitors can glimpse an Adam’s Apple on the hulking figure.