Revel in the Views from Atop the Robertson Cliffs
Escape. Every person in the world is currently looking for an escape. Escape from the barrage of apocalyptic news, from our homes, from the dreariness of winter…. While Netflix offers temporary relief from boredom, our souls struggle to connect with something meaningful, something that can transcend the loss of a hug and human touch.
There is a mounting body of evidence showing that trees can help ward off mental illness and depression. Botanists have long known about this phenomenon, understanding that being in the midst of other living things can offer solace, even in the centre of downtown bustle. Humans have an intrinsic desire to find meaning, and observing nature in its purest form stimulates the senses and allows one to connect with one’s being: breath, brain, body.
Algoma, the region that surrounds Sault Ste. Marie, is a nature-seeker’s haven. Fascinating eco systems are accessible within city limits and beyond. Lake Superior Provincial Park, with its vast sand and pebble beaches overlooking a lake as expansive as an ocean, old-growth Boreal forest and endless lakes, offer vistas and respites to clear a troubled mind. Perhaps this is why many artists, such as world-famous pianist Glenn Gould and the Group of Seven, spent so much time in the Algoma wilderness.
With snowy Algoma winters, area hiking trails often take a while to transition from snowshoeing to trekking. The Robertson Cliffs, located 20 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, is often one of the first trails outside city limits to clear. With its beautiful lookouts towards Lake Superior perched upon bare Canadian Shield rock, Robertson Cliffs is a perfect spring picnic hike.
View kilometres away from atop the cliffs. Lake Superior shines blue in the distance.
The trailhead is located down Old Highway 17 (Buttermilk Ski Hill Rd)…park in the second parking area. Continue down the road on foot for about 20m, then follow the white blazes to start your hike. A warning, the uphill climb is challenging but manageable if taking it easy. Veer off on the blue trail to enjoy the beautiful Robertson water falls. Once you’ve returned to the main trail, continue upwards along the wooded trail until you’ve reached the 150m tall sheer cliffs. The look outs are spectacular and after a challenging 1.5km, a picnic is well-deserved.
After your lunch, continue on the white trail until it intersects with the yellow. Descend via the more gentle grade of the yellow trail (turns into a double track roadway) to return to the trailhead. The full loop is 5km. If you’re with little people, you may opt to go up and return via the same trail to cut the distance.
The flora and fauna are spectacular in this area. In the spring, look out for rare Scarlet Elf Cups (a bright red fungus that grows on the forest floor) and the many colours and signs of life.
Scarlet Elf Cup