agawa rock pictographs

Agawa Rock in Ontario is covered in ancient pictographs next to turquoise waters

Agawa Rock is a breathtaking location inside Lake Superior Provincial Park that features a series of ancient pictographs alongside the clear blue-green waters of Lake Superior. 

The cliff is one of the most famous pictograph sites in the country. Most of the paintings still visible on the rock are thought to have been created between 150 and 500 years ago. 

There's no telling how the 35 or so paintings were able to withstand the harsh elements of the area for five centuries, but anyone who's lucky enough to witness them IRL will be happy they did. 

Ojibwe spiritual leaders left the red-coloured pictographs, coming to Agawa Rock to record visions and meaningful events. One of the most notable paintings is of Mishipeshu, a powerful water spirit that acts as the ultimate metaphor for Lake Superior. 

Follow a short half-kilometre trail down through rock chasms and past broken boulders and rugged cliffs in order to reach the rock shelf that leads out to the pictographs. 

Use lots of caution when making your way out to the paintings, the rocks can be slippery and the lake is often unpredictable. On a summer day when the water is completely undisturbed, however, the rocky landing is the perfect spot to launch off for a swim.

The trail leading to the site is open from May 29 to September 17 and the pictographs can only be accessed when the lake is calm.

Another way to soak in the majesty of the sacred rock is with a canoe or kayak, just keep in mind the detail of the faded paintings might be harder to see from the water. 

Keep this spot on your radar for the next time you journey up to Lake Superior or even Sault Ste. Marie as it's just a few hours north of there. 

Make sure to respect the rules of the area during your visit. Avoid touching the pictographs, adhere to social distancing and pick up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it.

Lead photo by

flickr/robin_ottawa


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