A Photo In The Life Of

A Photo In the Life Of is a weekly photo blog written by Larry Lewis. Topics include photo opportunities, past and present, product reviews and other topics of interest to photographers and photo lovers.

Hiking on The Manitoulin Island - Cup and Saucer

On an island full of beautiful photo opportunities the Cup and Saucer Trail is an opportunity not to be missed.

The Cup and Saucer Trail, located 18 km west of Little Current, Manitoulin Island at the junction of Highway 540 and Bidwell Road is the perfect combination of hiking and photography.  The area is the Manitoulin portion of the Niagara Escarpment and is the highest point on the island. It is only one of many networks of trails on The Island but it is one of my favourites.

Cup and Saucer Map in the parking lot.

There are 12 km of trails ranging in difficulty from intermediate to advanced including a 2 km adventure trail. Don't expect manicured stairs, railings or boardwalks. There is a sign with a crude map of the trail system, colour coded trail flags and that is all. If you decide to make your way to the lookout at the top you will be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of The Island to the west with 70 meter cliffs beneath you. If you don't like heights don't get too close because there are no railings! 

The view from the lookout is truly breathtaking but most of the fun is getting to the top. Since the map isn't that great you will be questioning whether or not you are going in the right direction and, being a lightly traveled network of trails, on most occasions there is a good chance that you won't see anyone to ask. Never fear, as long as you continue upward you will make it to the top. Some routes just take a little longer. 

The trail starts out rising gently from the parking lot along a large quarry. You will want to look out from the quarry for some nice panoramic views to the east. Also Urbex Photographers can find the ruins of an old quarry truck near this quarry. The trail continues through a hardwood forest and a pleasant meadow that is an excellent picnic area. As the trail takes you further along you will notice the hardwoods get more dense and moss covered boulders are strewn throughout the woods. These boulders make intriguing formations. I once pointed out the formations to fellow hikers that I met travelling in the opposite direction. They looked for about 3 minutes and moved on. Maybe it's only interesting to photographers. I could spend a day among these giants shooting from hundreds of angles! Past these boulders is a steep bluff with a natural stone staircase that will lead you to the top. At the top of the bluff is the plateau. It is a short descent along the plateau to the pinnacle of your hike, the massive cliffs.

Standing on the edge of the cliff is truly terrifying. If you have the nerve creep up to the edge and look down.

There are many vantage points along the trail. You will see areas where you stood previous that have concave cliffs. It is a little unnerving to know you were standing in mid air! Also on the plateau you may find remanences left from logging the area.      

The trail follows the edge of the cliff for less than a kilometer, and then you start the descent down another bluff. In this area you can experience adventure trails with crevices and caves with old wooden ladders to help you along.

The images that I am featuring are from October 2014. I hiked up to the top lookout and back again the way I came. Images in the gallery for the most part are in the order that I shot them. It was difficult to decide which to feature because there were many that I like. On this day I walked less than half of the trails. If you plan to hike the full circle of trails allow at least 4 hours to be safe.

In closing I must state that I never tire of walking these trails at Cup and Saucer.

All images are shot with my Canon Mark II, 17-40mm f4 L and 70-200mm f4 L lenses. The selfy was taken with my Samsung S4 phone.


A Photo In The Life Of is a weekly PHOTO blog on LARRYLEWISPHOTO.COM.   It is an evolution of my original blog A Photo in the life of  that began in 2006.  I hope to give a little context to my photography and maybe make a few new photography friends. To purchase a print visit Shop. If the image is not listed Contact Me for availability.

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