I don’t remember how I discovered this place or its location. I know I have had it on my vast list of places to explore ever since I started making a list of places to go. Jumbo’s Cove Train Tunnel would be one of our stops on our way to Alaska.
It has always been a plan of mine to travel the entire length of Highway 11 in Northern Ontario. This Alaska-bound trip was a perfect excuse to see many attractions on this northern road. To my dismay, many places we wanted to see had been closed, so I wasn’t too hopeful about Jumbo’s Cove.
There is little information about this train tunnel, so most of my planning used the satellite view in Google Maps. There was an area on the road where we could park, and there appeared to be a roadway to the former track tracks leading to the tunnel. My fear was that the roadway was a private drive, and we could not walk on it. I could not devise an alternate plan because I could not find the tunnel’s exit or any trail leading to it on the other side when I was scouring the internet and maps before our visit.
It makes me uncomfortable not having a backup plan when it comes to travelling. I had to go to the location and hope what I saw on grainy satellite images was what I planned. Fortunately, everything worked out. There was ample space on the road to park, and someone was already parked there, too. The access road said nothing about being private, nor was it gated off, and the walk to the tunnel was half the distance I expected.
Train tunnels are essentially artificial caves. Older tunnels can even start developing cave-like structures like flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, soda straws and columns. Jumbo’s Cove was oddly lacking in these features, which was disappointing. The experience wasn’t disappointing – after all, travel is all about the experience.
For us, this was the second day of our epic 39-day roundtrip to Alaska and back. We had hundreds of stops to check out on the way. We were still very much new on this journey, and Jumbo’s Cove Train Tunnel helped set the tone for the rest of the trip.
We parked on the only major road in the area. One would think it would be busy, but the traffic on it is next to non-existent, especially for us, who are very familiar with the traffic volume in the Golden Horseshoe of Southern Ontario. The setting was very remote. There was obvious evidence of other humans, but we could hear nothing and saw nobody there. As we approached the tunnel, the air noticeably cooled, and inside the tunnel, there was enough light to see as we traversed from one end to the other. The path was maintained and appears to be an ATV/snowmobile trail. Our only genuine concern was a pile of rubble that appeared to come from the ceiling. I suspect that only the path is maintained, and nothing is done to preserve the tunnel or its structural integrity.
We have been to a few tunnels, and by comparison, this was relatively short. It was still a perfect location on a long road to see how nature has been reclaiming the area and experience the natural cooling effect of the tunnel on a hot summer day. Considering how close it is to the road, it makes a good spot to stretch one’s legs during a long drive.
- To find this and all the other locations we have visited, check out Featured Map for directions on how to get here.
- Parking is at: 49°25’30.2″N 88°07’31.1″W
- To see the original map of our Alaska trip, click here. Some of the places we could not go to (for various reasons), and some areas we added which are not included in this map. To see those, click on the Featured Map.
- The original itinerary for this trip can be seen here.
- High Rock Lookout DAY 1 – JULY 1, 2023
- Laurier Woods Conservation Area
- Black Forest Park
- Marten River Pickerel
- Arctic/Atlantic Watershed
- 20-Foot Tall Guy-Paul Treefall
- 49th Parallel Park
- Fauquier-Strickland Heritage Park
- Moonbeam UFO
- Kapuskasing Cenotaph
- Kapuskasing Internment Cemetery
- Reesor Siding Memorial
- Voyageur at Missinaibi River
- Moose and Wolves statue in Hearst
- Our Veterans Park
- Fushimi Lake Provincial Park
- Arctic Watershed DAY 2 – JULY 2, 2023
- World’s Largest Snowman
- Jumbo’s Cove Train Tunnel
- Terry Fox National Historic Plaque and Lookout
- Centennial Conservatory
- International Friendship Gardens
- Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park