By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

check out some of the best hiking trails in ontario

Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to visit if you want to enjoy some of the best hiking trail in Ontario. Incredible lookouts, magnificent waterfalls, the rugged Canadian Shield, important historical sites, and clean fresh air with just the sound of the wind in trees or waves on the shoreline… Here are eleven hikes in and around Sault Ste. Marie for you to enjoy. 

Hikes within Sault ste. Marie

If you are looking to stay within the city limits then check out these three great trails, perfect for a family hike or if you are looking for a less strenuous trail.  

1. The Hub Trail and Fort Creek
  • Length: 2km – 22.5km                          
  • Difficulty: Easy    
  • Must See: Bridges over Fort Creek Conservation Area

If you are looking for a family-friendly hike in Sault Ste. Marie, then the Hub Trail is perfect for you. The trail as a whole is 22.5km of paved path and wooden boardwalk that circles the city.

You can of course choose the section you want to hike and the Fort Creek section is a popular choice for many. The trail takes hikers over three picturesque bridges, where there are lots of opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the creek below as well as many opportunities to spot all the interesting creatures that live there. Keep an eye out for  hawks, great blue herons, and monarch butterflies. 

Visit this Hub Trail page for more information including a link to a complete map!

2. Attikamek trail and Whitefish Island
  • Length: 1km                          
  • Difficulty: Easy     
  • Must See: The St Marys River Rapids

Choose the Attikamek trail and Whitefish Island trail, part of Batchewana First Nation, for a beautiful and well paced hike within the city limits. Parking and trailhead is located at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site and you can access the Island across the locks itself. 

Whitefish Island is a National Historic Site for Canada. It’s also a traditional territory and meeting ground of the Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes due to the abundance of natural resources and fish in the St. Mary’s River. 

This site is complete with an easy to follow trail system marked with informational plaques explaining the importance and historical relevance of the island. These trails will lead you through nature preserves right to the historic fishery of the St. Marys River Rapids.  

3. The Voyageur Trail at the Hiawatha Highlands
  • Length: 20km                          
  • Difficulty: Easy to intermediate    
  • Must See: Crystal Falls

The Voyageur Trail is a public hiking trail consisting of almost 600km of wilderness style trails in Northern Ontario. The Hiawatha Loop (which goes past the stunning Crystal Falls), Odena Loop, Beaver Loop and Mabel Lake Loop make up around 20km of trails in this area.

Lots of information is available on the Voyageur Trail Association website here. With maps of the trails at Hiawatha here. In addition all the maps are available via the Ondago App.

Hikes within a one hour Drive of Sault Ste. Marie

These hikes are perfect for a day or half day of hiking and are within one hour’s drive of Sault Ste. Marie. 

4. Robertson Cliffs
  • Length: 4km – 7km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Robertson Cliffs Lookout

This there-and-back trail through the beautiful maple forests of the Algoma Highlands takes you to one of best lookout hikes in Ontario. The trail begins at Robertson Cliffs Road and takes you to three incredible south and west facing lookouts. From there you can continue along and do the Robertson Cliffs Loop, passing a beautiful waterfall loop hike, or head back the way you came. 

The trails are owned and cared for by Algoma Highlands Conservancy, a not for profit organization that is run by local volunteers. To access maps of the trail system click here.

5. Eagle Ridge Lookout at Harmony Beach
  • Length: 3km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Lookout over Harmony Beach

A 30 minute drive north of Sault Ste. Marie takes you to Harmony Beach, where you hike to a spectacular lookout, Eagle Ridge Lookout, overlooking Lake Superior. 

This moderate trail is part of the Voyageur Trail System, and maps are available online or as hard copies. Forest The Canoe run guided tours to the lookout, click here for more info!

6. Chippewa Falls 
  • Length: 1km-3km                          
  • Difficulty: Easy to intermediate    
  • Must See: The fall themselves

Chippewa Falls is a 35-minutes drive north of Sault Ste. Marie, parking and trailhead is right along the Trans Canada Hwy. The falls, which are visible from the highway itself, stand 25 feet high. 

The hiking trail offers an easy 2.5km hike to the upper falls, which starts in the parking area and follows the river upstream to the top of the main falls. The path continues alongside the river past the upper falls if you want to explore further.

Chippewa Falls are a stop on the Group of Seven driving tour – the falls and rapids rapids inspired A.Y Jackson’s sketch ‘Stream Bed’. Lookout for a ‘Moments of Algoma’ art easel at the trailhead with more information about the falls and the famous group of artists!

7. Rock Lake
  • Length: 5km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: The unusual smooth rocks overlooking the lake

An beautifully scenic drive east of the city through the Sylvan Valley, and just north of Bruce Mines, takes you to the Rock Lake trailhead. The Rock Lake trail is a offshoot from the Voyageur Trail system, and end up at a unique, smooth rock-top that feels like it should be inspiration for a Group of Seven painting. 

Theses smooth rocks face north and lookout over Rock Lake, with an array of maple forests beautifully surrounding it. 

8. Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout
  • Length: 13.5km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Lookout over Pancake Bay

The Edmund Fitzgerald lookout trail is another trail with a spectacular lookout. This one overlooks Pancake Bay Provincial Park (in which the trail is situated), Lake Superior and even as far as place where the Edmund Fitzgerald ship tragically sunk in 1975.

The trail system has 3 hikes available; 6km, 10.5km and 13.5km, with the latter hikes taking you to waterfalls and the inland Tower Lakes. For further information click here.

Hikes To The Lake Superior Coast

If you are looking further afield and want to take in all that the Lake Superior coast has to offer, then consider these beautiful hikes. 

9. Agawa Rock Pictographs
  • Length: 1km                          
  • Difficulty: Difficult (slippery, steep steps)  
  • Must See: The Sacred Pictographs

At the south end of Lake Superior Provincial Park are the Agawa Rock Pictographs. A clearly marked sign on Highway 17 directs visitors to a parking area at the trail head – map coordinates here.

The Agawa Rock Pictographs is one of the most famous pictograph sites in Canada and is one of the most visited indigenous archaeological sites too. It is a sacred site where generations of Ojibwe have come to record dreams, visions and events. Please respect and preserve the pictographs by not touching the paintings.

10. Lake Superior Coastal Trail
  • Length: 65km                          
  • Difficulty: Difficult    
  • Must See: The Rugged Beauty of the Big Lake

For those seeking true adventure, consider this spectacular and rugged coastal trail. It extends from Agawa Bay in the south to Chalfant Cove just north of Warp Bay in the north and will give you a true experience of Lake Superior. Local experts recommend taking 5-6 days because many sections require climbing over rocky headlands and cobble beaches, which can be technically challenging and require a steady pace for safety.

There are various spots for beach camping along the trail; you’ll enjoy incredible coastal scenery during the day and perfectly dark starry skies from your beached-down tent at night.

11. Nokomis Trail
  • Length: 3.8km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Lookout over Old Woman Bay

The Nokomis trail is a 3.8km  round-trip lookout hike to overlook Old Woman Bay, in Lake Superior Provincial Park. 

The trailhead is across the road from Old Woman Bay Beach parking, and the trail itself takes around 2 hours, with breaks to enjoy the incredible views!

Other Hikes

Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma District have countless hiking trails. Others include Gros Cap, Wishart Park and Odena Lookout, all within the Sault Ste. Marie city limits. The Ojibway Park Nature Trail in Garden River, just to the east of Sault Ste. Marie, is a beautiful ~4km trail that includes a boardwalk out to a lookout area. King Mountain is a great hike and can be reached by continuing your route past Robertson Cliffs. The Orphan Lake trail, in Lake Superior Provincial Park is popular in the summer and fall. 

Do you have any other hikes in the area that you particularly enjoy? Tag us in your social media photos #outsideofexpected or our account handles @sault.ste.marie for Instagram and @saulttourism for Facebook. Happy hiking!

Discover Ontario’s best trails at a mountain bike event in Sault Ste. Marie

By Conor Mihell

An epic trail network and incredible terrain is rapidly making Sault Ste. Marie a hub for mountain biking. Ontario cyclists are buzzing about the new trails in the Hiawatha Highlands, only a few minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie’s city centre. Hiawatha has it all: Over 50 km of trails include a mix of impeccably-built, flow trails with fun tabletops and banked corners; old-school, lovingly handbuilt trails with steep drops and rooty climbs; a pump track; and a challenging and scenic backcountry route that blends machine-built features with handmade technical sections.

Three events scheduled for this spring and summer promise to showcase Sault Ste. Marie mountain biking and reveal why this bustling city in Northern Ontario is emerging as one of Ontario’s best cycling destinations.

Skeeter Slam, June 15-16

You may have heard that June is mosquito season in Northern Ontario. But mountain bike competitors at the Ontario Cup races in Sault Ste. Marie will leave biting insects in their slipstreams as they flow along Ontario’s most exciting network of single-track in the Hiawatha Highlands, in the third stage of these province-wide mountain bike events.

Skeeter Slam – Ocup #3, presented by Ontario Cycling and the Sault Cycling Club, is scheduled for June 15-16, and it features something for everyone: a grueling 45-km XC Marathon on Saturday morning, high-speed Short Track racing for all ages on Saturday afternoon, and a full day of OCup age-bracket racing for kids, youth and adults on Sunday.

“The races are open to anyone,” says Travis Anderson, one of the event organizers. “We’re hoping to get people who want to try racing for the first time, all the way up to some of the best up and coming racers in the province—the future World Cup and Olympic racers. We’re really positioning the event as a fun-filled event highlighting our world class trail system, rather than your conventional OCup.”

Hiawatha’s outstanding trails will be the centrepiece of this Ontario mountain bike event. Ontario Cup racers will be challenged by rocky uphills and thrilled by flowing descends. Out of towners will surely fall in love with the area’s wilderness feel—yet it’s so close to great accommodations and dining in Sault Ste. Marie. “I think the new trails are a great fit for the event,” adds Anderson. “They’re the perfect combination of fun, fast and technical with features that you won’t see on any other race courses in Ontario.”

  • Register online for the 2024 OCup Mountain Bike #3, hosted by the Sault Cycling Club at the Hiawatha Highlands

Salty Marie Trails Festival, July 27

Last year, Sault Ste. Marie cyclist Graham Atkinson and a few friends came up with a clever play on words to name the city’s newest mountain bike event, hosted in the Hiawatha Highlands. The Salty Marie is a nod to “people not being able to pronounce ‘Sault’ Ste. Marie,” Atkinson says. “Turns out ‘salt’ names are also easy to come up with for different races.”

Atkinson was blown away with the support for the inaugural Salty Marie, which attracted over 200 participants last year, including 50 visitors from Ontario and the United States. Registration is already booming for this year’s event, scheduled for July 27, and Atkinson is anticipating an even larger contingent of out-of-towners as Sault Ste. Marie gains recognition as a top destination for mountain biking in Ontario.

“Last year’s success showed us that the city was ready for something like this,” says Atkinson. “This year we’ve decided to double down, and we think a lot of our growth will come from cross-pollination with the OCup races in June and Crank the Shield in August.”

The Salty Marie is equal parts “trails festival” and a “party in the woods,” Atkinson explains. There are multiple mountain bike race options, ranging from the beginner friendly 2 km Saltine Shred to the epic 50 km Big Brine (further evidence that Atkinson and the team of organizers take their salt puns seriously). Mid-distance 10- and 25-km events are also available so anyone can test their limits while having fun. What’s more, you don’t need to be a mountain biker to participate, with 10- and 21-km trail running events also on the schedule.

“It’s a trails festival for everyone,” says Atkinson. “The racers are going to love it, but you can have just as much fun attending as a spectator, with live music, great food, beer and races to watch.”

  • Register online for the Salty Marie Trails Festival, hosted by Red Pine Tours and the Sault Cycling Club at the Hiawatha Highlands
Racers at the start line
Racers preparing to race
Racers receiving medals
Winners on the podium
Racers enjoying drinks
Enjoying some relaxing drinks afterwards!

Crank the Shield, August 16-18

The passion for “adventure cycling” oozing from Sault Ste. Marie native Sean Ruppel is a big reason why the area has become prominent on the Ontario mountain bike map. Ruppel’s 3-day Crank the Shield stage race has earned a reputation for being a seriously challenging mountain bike event, with rugged climbs, river crossings, incredible vistas and the feel of a long-distance adventure race through remote backcountry. Ruppel scoured the Algoma wilderness north of Sault Ste. Marie to weave together Canadian Shield trails, double-track and flowy single-track to create Ontario’s toughest mountain bike event.

Adventure remains a central element of the 2024 Crank the Shield, slated for August 16 to 18. But this time, Ruppel has tweaked the race itinerary with more focus on single-track, creating a more accessible event and taking advantage of the smooth and flowing machine-built Sault Cycling Club trails in the Hiawatha Highlands.

“Crank the Shield opened people’s eyes about the great mountain biking in Northern Ontario,” Ruppel says. “Now it’s time to showcase the great trails that the city has put so much investment into. This year, the pitch is more single track than ever.”

Crank the Shield has always given riders an excellent cross-section of mountain biking in Sault Ste. Marie This year is true to form. Day One follows a 52-km route through the backcountry of Stokely Creek and the Algoma Highlands Conservancy, a wilderness network of single- and double-track with plenty of climbing and hidden swimming holes along the way. Day Two makes a 35-km link from Stokely to Hiawatha, including the challenging handbuilt trails at Bellevue Tower, which ranks amongst the longest downhill single-track for mountain biking in Ontario. Day Three is brand new for Crank the Shield, featuring over 55 km of riding in the Hiawatha Highlands.

Besides running great mountain biking events, Ruppel also knows how to put on a serious party, and apres Crank the Shield doesn’t disappoint with food and beer at the awards ceremony and post-race dinner at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum.

  • Register online and check out accommodations options for Crank the Shield 2024
Mountain Bike Racing
Racers at the start line
Mountain bikers enjoying the view
Racers enjoying the view
Mountain bikers descending
Racers on a downhill
Racers at the podium
Racers on the podium

Make a weekend of it!

Come for a races, stay for the weekend! Enjoy a 90-minute river cruise on the Miss Marie Soo Locks Tour boat! If you are just looking to relax and enjoy some local drinks, check out our own microbrewery Northern Superior.

Check out our famous Bushplane Museum featuring 24 real Bushplanes to explore! Inside the Bushplane Museum you’ll also find Entomica Insectarium, complete with a host of real life insects and bugs you can actually hold! 

Have you ever tried axe throwing? Check out one of our newest and most fun indoor activities! Missing golf and still need a fix? The Up and Down Lounge has state of the art golf simulators, which can be booked by the hour. 

Get info about hotel stays or any other info by visiting the respective page on our website… and enjoy the races!

By Sault Tourism

 

adventures just steps away from your hotel or downtown

Sault Ste Marie has a number of well known hiking, lookout and fall-colour viewing areas just outside the city including Robertson Cliffs, King Mountain or Lake Superior. But you actually don’t have to travel as far to see some pretty spectacular sights! You can stay within the city limits and still get lookout views, see incredible waterfalls or enjoy beautiful, glassy in-land lakes. 

So keep reading to learn about these mini-urban adventures in Sault Ste. Marie

Crystal Creek Waterfalls: Part 1

The beautiful Crystal Falls at Kinsmen Park, with a total height of around 80 metres, is one of the most popular visitor spots in Sault Ste. Marie, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Easily accessible from the Kinsmen Park parking lot at Hiawatha Highlands, a boardwalk with handrails leads to the base of the falls with steps leading up to several viewing platforms. 

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

CRYSTAL CREEK WATERFALLS: PART 2

On the other side of Thayer Reservoir, in Kinsmen Park, are the lower Crystal Falls, including the delightfully named Minnehaha Falls. Access to these falls requires a little more work than the higher ones, with some hiking and exploring just off the multi-use cycling/hiking trail TLC, but the rewards are worth it! 

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

Odena Lookout at Hiawatha

The Odena lookout and Odena Loop at Hiawatha Highlands is part of the Voyageur Trail. The large ‘Loop’ trail is a 4.2km hike that starts at Sixth Line and weaves itself over to Connor Road. Alternatively if you just want to enjoy the incredible view, the Lookout hike is a short 400 metre trot uphill. Once you get to the top the view will take your breath away. Beautiful maple fall colours blended with vibrant coniferous greens make this lookout truly spectacular. 

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

BEAVER LOOP (FARMER LAKE TRAIL)

Checkout the Beaver Loop, an out and back 4km loop with a beautiful lookout at Farmer Lake – also part of the Voyageur Trail at Hiawatha Highlands. The trail head is at the end of Connor Road, where there is ample parking, then the trail heads north and east, initially along the route of the Odena Loop before forking off to the right. The trail is a multi-use trail so you’ll find hikers and cyclists alike!

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

Attikamek trail on Whitefish Island

The Attikamek trail on Whitefish Island is a beautiful and easy-paced hike, perfect for enjoying nature. Parking is at the trailhead, located at Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, from where you can access the Island across the famous locks. Batchewana First Nation Whitefish Island Reserve is a traditional territory and meeting ground of the Anishinaabe peoples of the Great Lakes due to the abundance of natural resources and fish in the St. Marys River

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

Gros Cap Conservation Area

The lookout at Gros Cap Conversation area is another great spot just outside the city limits. While the tree species here don’t offer the vibrant red and oranges of Hiawatha, you can still enjoy fall tones with incredible views of the place where Lake Superior flows into the St. Marys river, the Gros Cap lighthouse, and any Lake Superior ‘lakers’ that happen to be cruising past. 

The lookout is part of the Saulteaux-Goulais section of the Voyageur Trail, which leads west and north towards Red Rock. 

Click here for a link to a google map pin!

Tour Boat, train, trails and outdoor adventures aplenty. Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect Summer Destination

By Sault Tourism

Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

Introducing The Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours Boat, which last year officially launched for its first full year and is back in 2024!

The Miss Marie takes passengers on a 90-minute cruise up and down the picturesque St Marys River. Enjoy the downtown sights of both Canadian and US Sault Ste. Marie, then pass through both set of historic locks and underneath the spectacular International bridge. Wave to Lake Superior ‘lakers’ as well as pleasure boat riders on this famous waterway, or just can sit back and relax and take in the many sights of this beautiful boat ride.

Take a bucket-list train ride

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is one of North America’s iconic train rides. See the boreal forests, rivers, and waterfalls that inspired Canada’s most iconic artists – the Group of Seven. If traveling in latter part of summer, witness some of the most incredible colours as the maple forests create a stunning palette of reds, oranges and yellows. 

This year’s tour season will be from Aug. 1 through Oct. 13. More details on pricing and purchasing tickets can be found on the Agawa train website.

Discover Awesome new Mountain Biking Trails

Sault Ste. Marie is the best destination for mountain biking in Ontario. Discover trails for every age, ability or style from jump and flow trails to enduro-style trails carved out of the Canadian Shield. Come and see why Sault Ste. Marie is being called Ontario’s new bike town. 

Visit the Hiawatha Highlands, with over 55km of trails including 12km of newly built world-class trails — just a short ride from downtown. Visit out new Mountain Bike page for more info or check our out post on spending a weekend mountain biking in the city. For mountain biking events, read more here!

Explore our incredible hiking and paddling trails

Cradled by the ancient mountains of the Canadian Shield and the biggest fresh water lake in the world, Sault Ste. Marie is Ontario’s best Trail Town.
 
Hike trails that will lead you to incredible lookout vistas, or along the largest fresh water lake in the world. Or paddle one of our many and varied waterways, from winding rivers to portage-friendly inland lakes, or course the Big Lake, Lake Superior. Whatever your own personal mode of transport is, be it foot or paddle, we’ve got a trail for you.

Enjoy The best Sandy Beaches In Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie has some of the best sandy beaches in Ontario. Our beaches are incredible! All around our city you’ll find perfectly beautiful, long sandy beaches with crystal clear water that are perfect for a swim, a play in the sand or just to relax and soak up the sun. Great beaches are just one reason Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place for a summer vacation.

Click here to check out 6 of the best sandy beaches in Ontario, all just a short drive from Sault Ste. Marie.  

Enjoy so many unique events

Sault Ste. Marie has so many fun events happening all through the summer. From the three mountain biking races to Rotary Fest and the much-loved Queen Street Cruise. Looking for a show or musical performance? Check out all the events listed at the Sault Community Theatre website.

As well as three biking races, we also have a number of running events happening in June; Run The Great Lakes as well as the Community Strong Festival – a series of races over a weekend in June, including a Boston Marathon qualifier!

We also have the Fringe North Festival and an Italian Festival, which are very popular with locals and visitors alike. Stay up to date by visiting our Events page here!

Experience Lake Superior

Lake Superior is wild, rugged and beautiful. It can be angry and violent, it can be calm with glassy water reflecting a perfectly clear blue sky. The sunsets can be some of most beautiful anywhere, and the maple forests that hug the coastline put on a fall colour display of bright reds, oranges and yellows so spectacular you’ll be telling your friends for years.

A drive along the coastline from Sault Ste. Marie will let you experience all of this. Get out of your car, RV or motorbike at any of the many stops along the way. Fill your camera up with countless shots of this beautiful coast. Visit in spring, summer, fall or winter for a different experience each season. Be inspired by the incredible Lake Superior coastal drive from Sault Ste. Marie.

Visit The Bushplane Museum

The Bushplane Museum, or the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre to give its full name, is one of Sault Ste. Marie’s top attractions. Perfect for kids to learn about bushplanes, women in aviation, forest fire prevention, plus, kids can run around, climb into planes and have fun exploring. For adults, it’s a museum full of beautiful and fascinating aircraft that shows the important history of bushplanes in Ontario. 

Check out Entomica while inside the museum; a wonderful Insectarium where you can meet and hold some pretty interesting creatures!

Other cultural attractions include: Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site, The Sault Ste. Marie Museum, Art Gallery of Algoma and Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Immerse yourself In Indigenous Culture

Traditionally known as Bawating (“the place of the rapids”), Sault Ste. Marie is a place of cultural importance. Follow this long weekend itinerary to experience and learn about Anishinaabe culture in our city. 

Thrive Tours offer interpretive eco-tours offering a guided experience of vibrant celebrations of Indigenous life. Metis Tours offer walking and paddling tours that connects historic and community points of interest between the Sault Ste. Marie and and the St. Marys River. Walk Among The Trees specializes in simple, 3 hour walking tours Through an Anishinaabe cultural lens, participants will learn about the natural and cultural history, experience ceremony, storytelling, teachings and cuisine for creating important long-lasting memories

Visit our Indigenous Tourism page for more info. 

Relax, Dine and Drink

After a day of adventuring you’ll want to refuel and recharge, and we have some great restaurants serving some fantastic food for any taste. From Syrian Shawarma to spicy Indian, delicious Italian or sizzling steak, the Sault has so many great restaurants

We also brew our own beer! Northern Superior and Outspoken offer craft beers with names including ‘Rabbit’s Foot’, ‘Maglia Rosa’ and ‘Gitche Gumee’. Great beers, great atmosphere equals great times. 

With a vast network of trails on land, lake and river, Sault Ste. Marie is Ontario’s best Trail Town

By Sault Tourism

Cradled by the ancient mountains of the Canadian Shield and the biggest fresh water lake in the world, Sault Ste. Marie is home to some of the best trails for hiking, biking or paddling in Ontario.
 
Hike trails that will lead you to incredible lookout vistas, or along the largest fresh water lake in the world. Bike on newly built machine-cut mountain bike trails, or along some quiet yet beautiful gravel roads. Or paddle one of our many and varied waterways, from winding rivers to portage-friendly inland lakes, or course the Big Lake, Lake Superior. Whatever your own personal mode of transport is, be it foot, peddle or paddle, we’ve got a trail for you.
 
So keep reading and get inspired by a sample of these routes ready make for hiking, biking or paddling, and learn why Sault Ste. Marie is known as ‘trail town’. 
Odena Loop at Hiawatha
Hiking the Voyageur Trail
Canoeing
Paddling Inland Lakes
Mountain Biking
Biking at Hiawatha

Hiking

From the stunning Lake Superior coast to the rugged mountains of the Canadian Shield, Sault Ste. Marie has easy access to a vast network of hiking trails. Our mixed hardwood and conifer forests provide a vibrant canopy of colour in the summer and fall months, and are starkly beautiful and perfectly quiet in winter.

The Voyageur Trail at the Hiawatha Highlands
  • Length: 20km                          
  • Difficulty: easy to intermediate    
  • Must See: Crystal Falls

The Voyageur Trail is a public hiking trail consisting of almost 600km of wilderness style trails in Northern Ontario. The Hiawatha Loop (which goes past the stunning Crystal Falls), Odena Loop, Beaver Loop and Mabel Lake Loop make up around 20km of trails in this area.

Lots of information is available on the Voyageur Trail Association website here. With maps of the trails at Hiawatha here. 

King Mountain Via Robertson Cliffs
  • Length: 12km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Robertson Cliffs Lookout

This there-and-back trail in the Algoma Highlands takes you past one of best lookout hikes in Ontario, on the way to one of the higher mountains in Ontario. The trail begins at Robertson Cliffs road and takes you to three incredible south and west facing lookouts. From there you head through beautiful maple forests of the Algoma Highlands to King Mountain. 

The trails are owned and cared for by Algoma Highlands Conservancy, a not for profit organization that is run by local volunteers. To access maps of the trail system click here.

Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout
  • Length: 13.5km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Lookout over Pancake Bay

The Edmund Fitzgerald lookout trail is another trail with a spectacular lookout. This one overlooks Pancake Bay Provincial Park (in which the trail is situated), Lake Superior and even as far as place where the Edmund Fitzgerald ship tragically sunk in 1975.

The trail system has 3 hikes available; 6km, 10.5km and 13.5km, with the latter hikes taking you to waterfalls and the inland Tower Lakes. For further information click here.

Lake Superior Coastal Trail
  • Length: 65km                          
  • Difficulty: Difficult    
  • Must See: The Rugged Beauty of the Big Lake

For those seeking true adventure, consider this spectacular and rugged coastal trail. It extends from Agawa Bay in the south to Chalfant Cove just north of Warp Bay in the north and will give you a true experience of Lake Superior. Local experts recommend taking 5-6 days because many sections require climbing over rocky headlands and cobble beaches, which can be technically challenging and require a steady pace for safety.

There are various spots for beach camping along the trail; you’ll enjoy incredible coastal scenery during the day and perfectly dark starry skies from your beached down tent at night.

Paddling

Nestled between the Great Lakes, Sault Ste. Marie has wild rivers, majestic channels, hidden coves, stunning waterfalls and, of course, more freshwater lakes than you could ever count. Here are 4 mouthwatering paddling routes to wet your appetite.

St. Marys River
  • Length: 1-10km                          
  • Difficulty: Easy    
  • Must See: Lake Superior ‘Lakers’

There are a number of entry points to the river including Pine St. Marina, Bondar Marina and the Waterfront Adventure Centre (which has rentals). A paddle west will take you to the historic canal, rapids and International Bridge. East will take you towards Bellevue Park and Topsail Island. Keep an eye out for the formidable Lake Superior ‘Lakers’ who use this waterway daily. 

 

Gros Cap and the Lake Superior Water Trail
  • Length: 10km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: The Rugged Superior Coastline

Lake Superior is a huge draw for paddlers, and the Water Trail maps out the 1,000km Canadian route from the Bobbi Bennett Memorial Park in Gros Cap to Lorne Allard Fisherman’s Park in Thunder Bay. Paddling west from Gros Cap’s entry point provides an immediate glimpse of Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline; you’ll see spectacular cliffs, gravel beaches and a vast, open horizon along the 10-km section to Red Rock.

Goulais River
  • Length: 70km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult    
  • Must See: The Goulais River Falls

A backcountry paddler’s dream; 70km of winding river from Witchdoctor Lake in the heart of Algoma to Lake Superior’s Goulais Bay just north of Sault Ste. Marie. The full route can take up to 5 days with numerous portages to get past some pretty lively waterfalls. A logging road leads to the Witchdoctor Lake, though there are of course many other entry points. For a half day paddle consider starting at Mountain View Lodge and paddling to Kirby’s Corner in Goulais. This section includes Class I and II rapids, as well as plenty of swift water, making it suitable for novice whitewater paddlers. Paddling in spring or fall is best when water levels are high.

Jarvis Circle Route
  • Length: 30km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult    
  • Must See: Tiny moss-topped islands perfect for camping

The Jarvis Circle Route is a perfect inland-lake paddling route, and with all the shore-lined maple trees, a great route to paddle in the fall. The full loop is 30km long, with fifteen rugged portages along the way varying from 50 to 750 metres. You start and end at Northland Lake then take a clockwise or anticlockwise route through numerous small lakes including Jarvis, Reserve and Clearwater.

Check out this great video below: 

Biking

Sault Ste. Marie has world-class mountain biking trails on newly machine-built flow trails as well as challenging cross country climbs over the Canadian Shield. For gravel riders we have flat open gravel roads where you can burn through the kilometres while enjoying picturesque Northern Ontario countryside.

Mountain Bike trails at Hiawatha
  • Length: 40km                          
  • Difficulty: easy to intermediate    
  • Must See: Newly built trail ‘Berm Baby Berm’

More than 40km, over three unique systems; Crystal, Red Pine and Pinder. A mix of newly machine built trails, and older traditional single-track trails, alongside (and over) beautiful creeks, waterfalls and towering forests. Trails are available for all skill levels, plus there is a new skills park!

Get all the info including trail maps and videos on our Mountain Bike page here

Farmer Lake Trail
  • Length: 7km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult    
  • Must See: The view across Farmer Lake

This 7km out-and-back trail through the stunning Canadian Shield will take you to the beautiful Farmer Lake. Navigate the technically challenging Climb to Canyon section, climbing almost 50 metres, then take on the many berms and hairpin turns of Farmer Lake trail. On the way back advanced riders may want to test their skills on the new Crazy Train trail; an adventurous and aptly named downhill trail which has enough vertical to keep any adrenalin junky interested.

Gravel Biking the Sylvan Valley
  • Length: 140km                          
  • Difficulty: Intermediate    
  • Must See: Fall colours and wide open vistas

Just east of the city is the relatively flat and fertile Sylvan Valley, with almost endless kilometers of picturesque and winding gravel and backcountry roads. One popular day ride, at around 140km is the Rock Lake loop. The route threads through Sylvan Valley road, south along McCarrel Lake, circles Otter Lake then back north past Rock Lake, before returning to Sault Ste. Marie. Of course, Google maps and the many plan-your-route apps means you can tailor any version of this route to your own tastes.

Go Guided or Get outfitted

Sault Ste. Marie has expert guides to help you get the most out of your adventure. Visit our Tours & Guides page for more info. 

Needing to get outfitted? We have plenty of stores with the latest and best equipment to help you out. Visit our Outfitters page for more info.