Cup and Saucer Trail Guide – Manitoulin Island

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Cup and Saucer trail

The Cup and Saucer trail is a 14 kilometer hiking trail located on Manitoulin Island, just west of Little Current, Ontario. It navigates an extension of the of the Niagara Escarpment, and features 70-meter sheer cliffs, large forested areas, narrow rock-lined footpaths, and several awe-inspiring lookouts over the island’s many lakes, including the largest lake on an island on a lake in the world, Lake Manitou.

About a 6-hour drive from Toronto and 2 hours west of Sudbury, the Cup and Saucer trail is no day trip for many. However, it makes for a great opportunity to camp overnight and take in the sites of beautiful Northern Ontario. Personally, I recommend staying at Chutes Provincial Park, a small yet picturesque park located about an hour drive away in Massey, Ontario, which offers its own scenic trails, a raging river, and a large waterfall.

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The parking lot at the trailhead of the Cup and Saucer is split into 2 parts: an upper and lower level. The lots are small; when I arrived at around 11 a.m. the upper lot was already jam packed, and the lower lot was quickly filling up, so I recommend getting there early. Each level has convenient access to a porta potty, and considering this is a longer hike I would make use of their availability (although make sure to bring your own toilet paper!).

Cup and Saucer Trail Map
The trailhead map of the Cup and Saucer Trail

The hike consists of 3 sections: the Main Trail (4 km), the South Loop (5 km), and the Adventure Trail (500m). If your looking to keep it short, 3 of the 4 marked lookouts are located on the Main Trail and they alone make the trip worth the effort. This is as far as I went when I did the hike and I was very content with not going any further. However, if you’re looking for more, the South Loop and Adventure Trail are both excellent additions with the latter being relatively more difficult.

The hike along the Main Trail took me just under 2 hours, totaling 5.62 km according to my Samsung Galaxy Fit. Although the parking lot was full, the trail congestion itself was fairly spaced out, making for quite an enjoyable experience. There are several steep and rocky sections that may be more difficult for some than others, but in general the Cup and Saucer can be enjoyed by anyone. (I saw quite a few people that brought their small children, and even dogs along with them!)

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All in all, the Cup and Saucer is well worth the stop. The hike can be challenging at times, but what it asks from you, it gives twice as much back. Manitoulin Island itself is a fantastic destination to visit on its own, offering memorable scenery, quaint communities, and rich Indigenous culture and history which I implore you take the time to discover yourself.

Cup and Saucer trail

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6 thoughts on “Cup and Saucer Trail Guide – Manitoulin Island”

  1. I stayed on site #98 and definitely thought it was the best area of the campground. Listening to the falls as I fell asleep were a huge plus I didn’t expect. Manitoulin is well worth the visit, I just wish I had more than one day to explore. Alas, work gets in the way. Good luck on your planning!

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  2. I’m planning on visiting Manitoulin Island next summer and the Cup and Saucer Trail is definitely on my itinerary. I agree with your recommendation to stay at Chutes. It’s a relatively small park, but the campgrounds are quiet. We managed to book a site close to the falls and could hear them right from our site.

    Liked by 1 person

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