Sitting at 1000 feet over Thunder Bay, Mount McKay is an incredible site to see and a must do while on your visit to Thunder Bay. From the top you can see all of Thunder Bay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and so much more. Mount McKay is located on the Fort William First Nations land and is one of Thunder Bays most recognizable landscapes. This volcanic plateau is covered with hardwood forest on its slopes that gives way to pines at the top. To get to Mount McKay drive to the Mount McKay Scenic Lookout on Mission Road off of Chippewa Road and City Road. There is a small toll to pay to get to the lookout area. Once you are through the toll gate head over to the lookout area first and enjoy the views from here. You will also see Pow-Wow grounds, a war memorial, the wooden boardwalk that gives you a great view and lots of parking.
Although if this view is not enough for you there is a hiking trail that takes you up the east face to the top of Mount McKay that offers panoramic views of Thunder Bay, the harbour, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and as far as the eye can see and it is well worth the climb. The trail is not the easiest to find unless you know where you are looking for it. You can ask the lovely people at the gate but when we asked her directions seemed a bit confusing. When you come in through the toll gates there is a gravel parking lot on your left. Park in here and look for a garbage can which is pictured below.
From the garbage can you can see to the right there is a small cow path worn into the ground. The trail starts here and is easy once you are on it! The trail should only take you about 20 to 30 minutes but it is a steep climb the entire way up. Two things to be aware of on your climb is there is poison ivey along the trail as well as the mosquitos are very aggressive in the thick forest. We did not wear bug spray and got eaten absolutely alive.
Ensure to wear proper hiking footwear as the trail as seen by the two photos above is very rocky. There is a lot of loose gravel / rock. We saw someone on the trail in flip flops and they were struggling.
There is no marked signage on this trail but you will know you are starting to reach the top when the forest begins to thin and very shortly after this you will hit the volcanic plateau that is more rock with little vegatation.
We reached the top just as the sun was setting and it truly was breathtaking. Although the bugs were insanely bad it was well worth the sweat hike to watch the sun set into the horizon.
The hike although steep and rocky up Mount McKay in Thunder Bay is well worth it for the views. If you have not planned on doing this hike while visiting Thunder Bay you should consider changing your plans or at least to visit the viewpoint!