How to Find Bathtub Island in Lake Superior Provincial Park

Lake Superior Provincial Park in mid-Ontario is one of the biggest provincial parks in the province covering 1550 square kilometers. It’s located along the shore of Lake Superior (duh right?) between St. Sault Marie and Wawa. Highway 17 runs straight through the park so if you’re heading even further north you get to drive through some of this fantastic landscape on your way! For perspective on distance, Lake Superior Provincial Park is located almost 10 hours north of Toronto. It’s a fantastic park though and definitely worth the road trip during a long weekend. Lake Superior Provincial Park contains many gems but one stands out the most as being naturally unique and that is Bathtub Island. It’s a natural island in the lake and the best part is that it’s accessible through a hike!

How to Get to Bathtub Island

There are two different ways to get to Bathtub Island of which one is harder (take the coastal trail) and the other one is easy (walk along the highway and find the alternative entrance). Plenty of people park on the highway shoulders to park closer to the alternative entrance but it is illegal to park on highway shoulders in this area and a few people have been ticketed for doing so.

I listed “hard” as the route first because it’s really gratifying to take a dip in the “bathtub” after the more difficult hike. My suggestion is to take the hard trail going there, and go back to your parked car at Katherine Cove via the “easy” way. Of course, if time is limited, then just take the “easy” route to and fro!

If you have Google Maps on your phone, then you’ll notice that this island is not “mapped out” in the app. But, the park’s map will show you its location roughly. Or, just punch these coordinates into your Google Maps: 47°26’10.9″N 84°44’46.4″W.

Bathtub Island
Bathtub Island is the tiny island at the tip of the arrow

The Hard Way (Katherine Cove):

This is the safest way in terms of avoiding parking tickets. The authorities have become more dilligent in ticketing cars that are illegally parked on the shoulders of the highway. Do it at your own risk.

The trail head is part of the Coastal Trail, and can be found in the Katherine Cove Day-use area at south-end of the cove. Wear comfortable shoes, preferrably water shoes — the trail is short, but demanding and dirty, but the reward is worth it.

Bathtub Island
The Katherine Cove day-use area parking
Bathtub Island
The trailhead to Coastal Trail at Katherine Cove

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
Whenever you feel lost, just find these blue hiking-man tags on the trees

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
At time treacherous, but the trail offers some great lookout views

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
Closer to the “end” of the trail, you get first spotting of the Bathtub Island
Bathtub Island
Almost there! 
Bathtub Island
At the “end” of that trail (looking back at it) before the Bathtub Island
Bathtub Island
It’s a breezy walk along the beach shore from here!

The Easy Way (The Alternative Entrance):

This entrance is not clearly marked anywhere, by any signs. So, here’s the exact spot: 47°26’25.4″N 84°44’45.9″W. From there, walk through a little bit of forestry and you’ll eventually come across the sand dunes (as denoted by a pictorial signage). Even when walking on the sand dunes, be very mindful of where you’re walking — keep on an existing trail and don’t wonder off. This is because the plants that are growing out of the sand are there to make smooth transition into land. For more info, have a read on this (teach others!).

Bathtub Island
The trail for this one is short(er) and straightforward. If you see this blue sign, you’re on the right track!

From the sand dunes, it’s all pretty intuitive on how to get to the Bathtub Island. You’ll see two islands in the distance; it’s the one closest to shore. You won’t see the “bathtub” itself until you stand on the island itself, so don’t be discouraged at first.

Bathtub Island
The Sand Dunes! Have a read on this sign before you proceed

The Sandbar:

At the shore, look down. You’ll see that the “bottom” of the water is actually really shallow with more sand. This sandbar is where you’ll begin your walk to the island. Wear clothes that you don’t mind being wet. The water will reach up to your belly button, depending on your height and the sand-bottom path trajectory you take going to the island. I carried a backpack and my DSLR by lifting them over my head.

Bathtub Island
As you can see, the beginning of the sand bar is quite shallow; a nice break from the hiking to be dipping your feet in the lake
Bathtub Island
Midway, the water is at about shin-high
Bathtub Island
At this point, the water reaches your hips, so wear something you don’t mind being wet
Bathtub Island
It may not look like it, but there’s a natural bathtub in there!

The Bathtub Island:

Once you’re on the island, pat yourself in the back, jump around! When you enter the “bathtub”, be cautious, it’s very slippery. My friend fell and  hurt his wrist. I also fell, but not into the “bathtub”, but into a water hole, and I landed on my tailbone, and it was pain for days. Be careful of these, too.

After you’ve acclimated to the small island, take pictures! Make sure to get you and the “bathtub” in the picture. Take it in, enjoy the cool after a hot hike. Make new friends if they are there. Watch the sunset, if you can!

Bathtub Island
The Bathtub in all its natural glory
Bathtub Island
Make sure to get proof that you took a “bath”
Bathtub Island
Wide shot of The Bathtub Island
Bathtub Island
This is another “bathtub” on the island, but the water here doesn’t get replenished from the lake, so don’t do it
Bathtub Island
A view of the bathtub with the sand dunes in the background.                        

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
Obligatory signature “jumping picture”
Bathtub Island
A view of where the bathtub meets the lake; replenishing the water
Bathtub Island
The bathtub water is likely cold, but you acclimatize to it fairly quickly when you’re having fun
Bathtub Island
Water-level view of the bathtub

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
We were lucky to have the bathtub all to ourselves — come around sunset to get the same

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
The bathtub looks magnificent in the sunset

Bathtub Island

Bathtub Island
Beware of this hole. I fell walking backwards into it, catching my ankle in the hole, slamming my tailbone on the hard rock in front of friends and strangers. #ActCool

Things to Bring:

You want to make sure to be prepared for the hike so the following is a list of suggested items to bring with you but it’s of course not an exhaustive list:

  • Water shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Phone with waterproof case or ziploc
  • Friends

Other Things to do in the Area:

Aside from toweling off and drying off, there are other interesting locations in the park.

  • Drive over to Agawa Rock Pictographs and find the newest Pokemon — it’s really one of 35 red ochre images that are visible on the rocks, only accessible when the lake water is calm
  • Participate in some water activities

Have you been to Lake Superior Provincial Park? Did you get a chance to check out Bathtub Island? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments and pin this post for your upcoming visit!

How to find the stunning Bathtub Island in Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada How to find the stunning Bathtub Island in Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada How to find the stunning Bathtub Island in Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *