Camping, kayaking, mountain biking and more!

One of the perks of living in Ontario is that this beautiful province can be enjoyed all year round. With an abundance of natural beauty and opportunities for adventure, there’s one question every Ontarian has to face — where should my next staycation be?

That being said, current restrictions are keeping us from going farther afield, and anyone itching to escape their surroundings and step into nature is encouraged to stay as close to home as possible. But when we are allowed to freely travel again and explore all Ontario has to offer, you might want to consider looking north.

Sault Ste. Marie (affectionately nicknamed “the Soo”) is the place to go for unforgettable experiences right in your own backyard.

Nestled in between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, the Soo is just an hour by plane from the GTA (or a scenic seven-hour road trip) and has something to offer every adventurer.

From camping and fishing to kayaking, biking and much more, it can be hard to know where to start. Arriving with a convenient three-day itinerary like this one will help you make the most of the Soo for when it’s safe to go exploring once again.

Day 1: A Healthy Mix Of The Outdoors & City Life

Mountain Bike The Hiawatha Highlands

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By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

6 Best hikes in Sault Ste. Marie

During spring, summer or fall, hiking is a great way to explore the beauty of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area. Sault Ste. Marie is home to some of the best hiking in Ontario. Explore hiking trails to great Ontario waterfalls; hikes with great Ontario views; and trails to ancient historical sites. Here is a list of six of the best hikes around Sault Ste. Marie. 

No.1 Bellevue Park

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy 

Google Map link here 

Beautiful Bellevue Park is the perfect spot for a family to enjoy themselves at. Easy hiking trails and paths weave around the park and take you to the adjoining Topsail Island and Algoma Sailing club. 

At seventeen hectares its Sault Ste. Marie’s largest park and is immaculately maintained by the city’s many gardeners. It consists of three large children’s playgrounds, a splash pad and offers a little over two kilometres of easy walkways, leading past floral beds, a display greenhouse as well as many other natural attractions. Feed the birds and watch the great freighters go by along the St Mary’s River. 

The park is located in the heart of the city ample parking is available just off Queen Street East on the south east end. 

No.2 The Hub Trail and Fort Creek

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: easy 

Google Map link here 

Hub Trail website here

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 long and circles the city but you can choose the section you want to hike. 

The Fort Creek section is a popular route for hikers as it offers the beautiful scenery of the creek itself and many opportunities to spot all the amazing creatures that live there, including hawks, great blue herons, and monarch butterflies. 

The paved trail is approximately 1.6 km and leads you over two picturesque bridges. Visit the dedicated Hub Trail website for more information to help you plan your hike.

No.3 Whitefish Island

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy 

Google Map link here

Choose Whitefish Island 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. Mary’s River Rapids.  

No.4 Hiawatha Highlands and Kinsmen Park

Duration: 1-4 hours

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Google Map link here

Hiawatha Highlands and Kinsmen Park area has many loop trails that offers hikers choices of terrain, lookouts and varying lengths to suit anyone’s schedule and abilities. Walking beneath towering Pines and beautiful Maple’s, these trails are well signposted at each entrance and along the way. Descriptive name of trails including Beaver Loop Trail or Mable Lake Loop trail and some of these link up with the larger Voyageur Trail systems. For a downloadable map here. Or visit the Trailforks, Alltrails, or Voyageur Trails websites.

A highlight along in the Hiawatha Highlands area is the impressive Crystal Creek Falls. You can park at Kinsmen Park and take a two minute walk to the base, followed by a short climb up wooden steps to the top.

No.5 Hike Robertson Cliffs

Duration: 3-4 hours

Difficulty: moderate 

Google Map link here

The lookout from the top of Robertson Cliffs is fast becoming a must see for tourists and locals alike. Take a 30-minute drive north from Sault Ste. Marie where you’ll find parking and the trailhead 5km down Robertson Lake Road. For more information visit the Alltrails or Voyageur Trail websites. 

The 5km hike through ancient forest is beautiful and the 150 metre climb / scramble up rocks can be challenging to some, but the view over Goulais River valley is well worth the effort. 

The cliffs are part of the Algoma Highlands Conservancy who protect the area. Follow the white markings which will lead you to the top of the cliffs.

No.6 Chippewa Falls

Duration: 2-3 hours

Difficulty: easy 

Google Map link here

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

By Jake O’Flaherty

Camp on the beach, hike up to lookouts, and reflect at sacred sites on Ontario’s best backpacking trail

Plan your day, overnight or multi-day adventure on this world-class backpacking trail.

The Lake Superior Coastal Trail is coastal in the truest sense. The 65-km trail runs from the Agawa Bay Visitor Centre in the southern end of Lake Superior Provincial Park to Warp Bay in the northern end. Along the way, it clings to the cobble beaches, rocky headlands, and dense boreal-transition forests on the shore of the largest and least developed Great Lake. Camping along the coast offers spectacular scenery and its remote location makes it one of the darkest Dark Sky Preserves in Ontario.

The rugged nature of the trail and significant distance from Toronto means you can expect technical walking and few crowds along the way.

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By Sheri Minardi

Hike Ontario’s Best Hiking Trail for an Autumn View

Robertson Cliffs is a challenging hike, but worth the climb to view Goulais’ magnificent autumn colours. There is a marked trail called Ila’s Loop to venture on. Robertson Cliffs is situated north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in the Algoma Region.

Ila’s Trail was named after an avid hiker (Iila Aho) who hiked and developed this trail herself. The trail in total is 5 km, but you do not need to do the whole loop. You can just do the uphill assent directly to the cliffs, which are part of the Algoma Highlands Conservancy. If you do the whole loop, you will walk through Algoma’s beautiful Boreal Forest, peer out from the cliffs overlooking the valley, and encounter a waterfall along the way.

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