Tower Mountain, Ontario

Prominence: 199 m, 653 ft

Elevation: 679 meters, 2228 feet

True Isolation: 42.48 km, 26.4 mi
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)48° 18' 29'' N, 90° 5' 40'' W
48.308011, -90.094438 (Dec Deg)
715438 E 5354616 N, Zone 15 (UTM)
County/Second Level RegionThunder Bay (Highest Point)

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Lists that contain Tower Mountain:
     Canada Sampler List (Rank #43)
     All Canada County/Census Division High Points (Rank #129)
     Ontario County High Points (Rank #2)
     Ontario 630-Meter Peaks (Rank #2)

Ascent Info

Total ascents/attempts logged by registered users: 8
     Show all viewable ascents/attempts (Total: 8)

Selected Trip Reports:
     2006-09-26 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     2009-08-21 by Derek Standen
     2016-07-28 by Ben Lostracco
     2016-07-28 by Derek Standen
     2021-08-13 by Matt Dougherty (GPS Track)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Tower Mountain
     Elevation Ladder from Tower Mountain
     Prominence Ladder from Tower Mountain


Tower Mountain is the second highest peak in Ontario, only 14 meters lower than provincial highpoint Ishpatina Ridge, a full 700 km to the east. The peak is part of the range of hills on the northwest shore of Lake Superior, not far from the city of Thunder Bay. Two summits just south of the U.S. border in Minnesota (one of them Eagle Mountain) are just a bit higher, making Tower Mountain the third highest summit in the Lake Superior area.

The name "Tower Mountain" is relatively new. For many years this summit was just known as a unnamed spot elevation in the "Thunder Bay Hills". But the recent Ontario Base Map 1:20,000 GIS database clearly labels the summit with its name and new elevation.

The peak looks like a broad, flat-topped ridge, with surprisingly steep slopes (even some real cliffs) surrounding the central plateau. The summit is a very broad flat area, and it is marked by clearings with lots of debris from an old tower. You can see the tower footings, the wreckage of the wooden observation box, old cables, and electrical junk lying around. A rise to the north of the tower area may be the actual highpoint, but it’s hard to tell. There are no views, but if you bushwhack to the west for a tenth of a mile you will come to the top of the cliffs, where a nice vista of clear-cut forests extends for miles.

Climbing Notes

From Thunder Bay, drive west on TCH 11-17 to Kakabeka Falls, then turn left on Route 590. Follow that west and south to Route 588, and turn right (west). Stay on Route 588 for 28 km (17.3 miles), passing a junction with Route 593 and the one-building town of Suomi, until you reach a junction with an unsigned dirt road heading right (north) into the woods.

If coming from the USA, start in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Take Route 61 north for 5 miles to the Canadian border, cross into Canada, and a mile past the border turn left on Route 593, a paved wilderness road that winds for 30 miles (48 km) before ending at Route 588. Turn left, and after 11.7 miles (19 km) you will reach the junction with the dirt road heading north.

This road is a bit rough, climbing short, steep, bouldery hills in a couple places, but my guess is that most passenger cars will make it with just a few undercarriage scrapes. The road is not on any maps I know of. You want to follow it for 7.7 miles (12.35 km) from Route 588, through massive clear-cuts. The open terrain gives you a good view of Tower Mountain as you approach it—it looks impressive, a large prominent ridge with steep cliffs guarding its southwest slopes. The road goes almost to its base and turns right, and the best place to park is at about WGS84 -90.08512, 48.30457, just before the road starts a steep, rocky descent.

From here, bushwhack north-northwest up the slope—if you go too far west, you will encounter brushy cliffs, so it is best to stay right when in doubt. After a short, steep stretch you will gain the flatter terrain at the top of the ridge, where you head west-northwest towards the summit. There is no sign of the trail on the topo map (or any trail at all), but the bushwhacking is not too bad. A GPS is useful—the summit is at WGS84 -90.09444, 48.30801.

Tower Mountain is the flat-topped ridge in the distance, very prominent for the Canadian Shield. Photo by Mike Moland (2006-09-15).
Web Map LinksPeakfinder Panorama
GeoHack Links   CalTopo   MyTopo   Bing Maps
Google Maps   Open Street Map
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 199 m/653 ft
  Optimistic Prominence: 199 m/653 ft
  Line Parent: Misquah Hills High Point
  Key Col: Height of Land Portage    480 m/1575 ft
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 42.48 km/26.4 mi
   Isolation Limit Point: 47.9867, -90.4033
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Lima Mountain  (SSW)
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: North America Plains
Range3: Canadian Shield
Range4: Northern Ontario
Ridges/DividesLaurentian Divide
Drainage Basins
Lake Superior
St. Marys
Lake Huron
St. Clair River
Lake St. Clair
Lake Erie
Lake Ontario
St. Lawrence
Gulf of St. Lawrence
Atlantic Ocean
Lake of the Woods
Lake Winnipeg
Hudson Bay
Hudson Strait
Labrador Sea
Atlantic Ocean
Topo Map 52 B/8 1:50,000
Data Source1:25,000 (or larger) Topographic Survey Map
Dynamic Map

 Tower Mountain    Other Peaks
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Other Photos

The summit area of Tower Mountain in open forest contains ruins of an old tower, long since fallen down. Photo by Mike Moland (2006-09-15).

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