The images visible today, include canoes and familiar animals such as moose, deer, bear and caribou. Other animal-like figures have horns and spines. The horned animal is said to be Misshepezhieu, the Great Lynx, the spirit of the water. Misshepezhieu could work for or against humans – he could calm the waters, or he could bring wind and storms by thrashing his tail.
The pictographs have proven to be remarkably durable, withstanding the harshest of elements. The paintings are, nevertheless, fading and perishing as time wears them down. Sun, wind, wave action and ice all contribute to gradual erosion of the cliff face. In some spots lichen or mineral deposition covers the figures. We will never know how many pictographs have already disappeared from Agawa Rock.
The trail to Agawa Rock is rugged, descending 30 metres (98 feet) through some interesting geological features: rock chasms, broken boulders and sheer cliffs. Beside the lake, a rock ledge stretches along the base of the pictograph cliff, which is accessible only when Lake Superior is calm.
!!Caution is advised when venturing onto this rock ledge due to its slope and the unpredictable nature of Lake Superior and its wave action!!
Agawa Rock Pictographs Trail
Length: 0.5 km (0.3 mi) loop
Hiking Time: ½ - 1 hour
Difficulty: Moderate, with steep rocky sections.
Note: The pictographs can only be viewed when Lake Superior is calm.
Open: May 29 to September 17, 2017