Jackfish Beach, Lake Superior

CanadaOntarioLake Superior coast
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Richard Clark Culpeper
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
5 km
1 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
0 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 


Jackfish Beach is a magnificient white cobble beach approximately 25 km / 25 minutes east of Terrace Bay on Lake Superior.  The primary access point is at the western end of the main beach (Pebble Beach) and is car accessible.  Take great care when lifting over the railroad tracks or when walking beside the tracks.


There is also foot access to the middle of the main beach (Pebble Beach) near the cell tower and at the eastern bay of the beach, but neither are ideal for portaging boats and gear when compared to the simple lift-over at the western end of the main beach.  There is a disused access to the eastern beach at the end of the access road that parallels the railway which requires a steep climb and descent, but then crosses several ancient cobble shorelines.

Technical Guide: 


Jackfish Beach is the loveliest white cobble beach on Lake Superior, 2.5 kilometers long (main beach / Pebble Beach, and east bay) looking out toward the Slate Islands (where thar be woodland caribou if you are up for a 9 km wind exposed ice water paddle out there and then back again).   Stop for a walk along the cobble, walk inland in the mossed forest, paddle the beach for a day trip, or make it an overnight on the the beach's secluded east bay.  You will never forget the beauty of the cobble.


Jackfish Beach (paddle -- kayak):


Jackfish Beach (walk -- moss and cobble):



Although the main beach is more scenic, the eastern bay is more suitable to camping due to it having sand rather than just cobble.  There are several ancient cobble beaches in the bush behind the eastern bay that are a must-see, for there is greater variety in the cobble than on the main beach (Pebble Beach).  

Either way, there are trains that make train noises, not because they want to be disruptive, but rather simply because, like land whales trying to be friendly by greeting the world, they can so they do.  The benefit of this is that due to the proximity to the main CP Rail line, there is cellular coverage so that you can live-link your cobble experience to the rest of the world rather than simply become human again by grokking the land, water, air, light, and wondrous variety of life there.



Jackfish was a primary coal depot on the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  The few remains of the village of Jackfish can be found by walking ten or fifteen minutes west along the tracks (look for grafitti by early freighter crews) from the western end of the main beach, ending at a trail that is only suitable to 4WD that has more than cross-over ground clearance.  A forest fire burned most of the buildings, so the annual living history weekend is no longer held, but the foundations of the school, administration building and water tower, and a surviving abandined home remain.


The Jackfish Tunnel is to the west at the opposite side of Tunnel Bay.


The last spite between Montreal and Winnipeg is a little to the west of the tunnel.


The lake from Jackfish to Terrace Bay is an Area of Special Concern that has resulted in a Remedial Action Plan to clean up the crap from many decades of mill pollution -- ever wonder why the creek on the east side of Terrace Bay is covered over?  Out of sight out of mind.




The water is c-c-c-c-c-cold.  Deadly cold, so take care.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 
Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
Other Maps: 
Suggested Resource Material: