Pancake Bay Provincial Park is located approximately 75 kilometres north of Sault Ste Marie and 150 kilometres south of Wawa in Northern Ontario. Pancake Bay has one of the most beautiful and large sand beaches on all of Lake Superior.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park – The Campground
The Park is 5 minutes north of Batchewana Bay Provincial Park and Batchewana first nation. Pancake Bay boasts over 200 campsites, many with electrical hookups. The Park is spread out over five different individual campgrounds. The campgrounds names are East, East-Central, West-Central, West and Hilltop which is a radio-free campground. Nearly half of the campsites have views of the water but those sites book up fast. The park has three shower facilities, flushing toilets, a store, canoe rentals and five yurts. There are also five large group campsites located at the west end of the park with a more private beach area and very little traffic. The group sites provide families and groups together on one site for campfires and story telling.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park has a very long, significant history. The park was one of the last stopping areas for the Voyageurs as they made their voyage across Lake Superior to Thunder Bay and Old Fort William. Historians called it Pancake Bay because all the Voyageurs had remaining on their voyage was flour to make Pancakes. Others claim because of the beach follows the roundness of the bay out to the two points, it makes the bay look like a Pancake. Either way, the stop was extremely important during the fur trade and many artifacts have been found in the area.
What to do at Pancake Bay Provincial Park
The beach is over three kilometres long of fine sand and Pancake Bay is protected by two points that go out into Lake Superior. There are plenty of areas on the beach where park visitors can enjoy Frisbee, football or swimming in the sand bottom lake. The Day Use Area is located right at the Gatehouse and has ample picnic tables and barbeques to enjoy.
During the Salmon run in the fall, it is normal to see fishermen up to their chest in hip waders casting out into Superior. With the Leaves changing colours in the distance, it is fishing at its finest. Although there is no boat launch at the park, the Pancake River and surrounding Lakes in the park are home to Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout and Salmon. It may take a little while to locate a good lake on the nearby logging roads, the fishing is well worth it.
The Natural Heritage Education staff at Pancake Bay Provincial Park always seem to have an event going on. From nighttime walks on the shores of Lake Superior to look at constellations to catching bugs in the little creeks that run into the Lake, there is something for every age group. The August long weekend always features a fish fry with the Batchewana Fire Department.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park is a Family Friendly Campground near Sault Ste Marie
Pancake Bay campground is very family friendly. From the superior sand beach to the playground area there are plenty of things for Children to do. The Natural Heritage Education staff usually have two events a weekend for kids. The park also features two hiking trails, one that has an Edmund Fitzgerald lookout. For those with young children, the Hilltop campground is radio free and can provide ample opportunity for napping children. At nighttime, the lights from the Wind Farm can be seen across Lake Superior in an interruption of nature but still a cool sight to behold.
A short one minute drive will bring you to Agawa Indian Crafts, a combination of stores that features handmade art and carvings. The proximity to Batchewana First Nation gives many of its inhabitants to use their hands and sale to thousands of tourists a day. One wing of one of the stores has a large moccasin collection and handmade leather goods. The ice cream stand and camper’s store give families the opportunity to have a break to enjoy a treat.
Pancake Bay Provincial Park consistently ranks on top 5 lists for Ontario Provincial Parks. A magnificent beach, plenty of well treed campsites and plenty of history make this a beautiful park that should not be missed. The only downfall is that some of the sites are located relatively close to the Trans Canada highway.