Lake Superior is cold and unpredictable. Although water near the shore may be warmer, the lake’s average temperature is only 4°C / 39°F year-round. Hypothermia can start within 5-10 minutes if you are not wearing a wetsuit or dry suit. Fog is common and can last for days. Be prepared to navigate using a compass. If you’re paddling in May, June, or July, be prepared to be windbound for 1 out of every 5 days. If you’re planning to paddle in August or September, prepare to be windbound 3 out of 5 days.


In general

  • Register-in and register-out for every overnight backcountry excursion.
  • Receive a mandatory orientation from Park staff before entering backcountry.
  • Never hike or paddle alone.
  • Know your limits, your group's limits and the limits of your equipment.
  • Carry a detailed map.
  • Be aware that weather changes are often abrupt and dangerous.
  • Dress for the adverse conditions, especially cold and wet.
  • Recognize symptoms and treatment for hypothermia.
  • Be careful of over-exposure to the sun; wear a hat and use sun screen.
  • Be aware of over-exertion and dehydration; drink fluids regularly.
  • Treat all surface water before consumption. There are two recommended methods of water treatment:
    • boiling for at least two minutes, or
    • filtration (with a one micron size filter, or smaller) followed by disinfection.
  • Ask park staff about any concerns you may have.

Weather

The weather along the Superior coast is remarkably unpredictable. Sunny skies cloud over quickly - the wind shifts - the temperature falls, and behold - storm clouds appear.

Current weather forecasts for Pukaskwa National Park and the surrounding area may be obtained by phoning the park or by visiting the Environment Canada website.