By Sault Tourism
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Sault Tourism
Robertson Cliffs, just 30 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, is one of best lookout hikes in Ontario. These cliffs offer views from several incredible lookouts that stretch for miles across Bellevue Valley towards the Goulais River and as far as Lake Superior.
The cliffs are owned and cared for by Algoma Highlands Conservancy, a not for profit organization that is run by local volunteers. Clearly marked trails are maintained through donations and memberships. To support this organization click here.
AHC’s Robertson Cliffs are located about 30 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, just east of the trans-Canada highway, highway 17. Click here for a Google Maps link to directions to one of the car park areas.
There are three parking areas at the trail heads, these are shown in the below maps.
The route to the top can take between 45 minutes and 2 hours depending on which trail you take, and then the same on the way back. So allow yourself at least 2 hours as a minimum.
It’s described a ‘moderate’ difficulty because there is some scrambling over rocks, small streams and occasion trees. Click on the below images to see some maps of the area.
There are 3 routes that will get you to the top. The Blue route is a 300 metre route that links up with the white route. It begins at the western parking lot.
The White route is a 2km, 45 minute route which begins at one of the two eastern parking lots. Well marked trails lead through the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest before meeting up with the blue trail. Once the blue and white trail meet the trail does get a little steeper as it ascends to the lookout points.
The yellow trail is a longer 2.5km trek that takes you along beautiful waterfalls. Allow 2 hours for this hike to the cliffs.
There are 3 main lookouts with several others you can find along the way too. The views… judge for yourself.
Three awesome local tour guides can show you the way and also give you some stellar insight into the area. Thrive Tours, Forest The Canoe and Blaq Bear Adventures.
A huge thanks to the Algoma Highlands Conservancy and its volunteers for maintaining these beautiful trails. You can donate or volunteer to the Conservancy here!
By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie
Forest The Canoe are offering a variety of guided tours to see some of the best fall colours in Ontario. The True North Adventure Bus has full day, morning and evening guided tours running in September and October.
Witness the stunning fall colours you’ve seen on Instagram. Paddle beautiful inland lakes. Hike up the iconic Robertson Cliffs to witness a stunning vista of autumn colours that stretch as far as Lake Superior.
Contact experienced tour guides Forest The Canoe to see some of the most beautiful fall colours in Ontario. Ride the True North Adventure Bus this fall, with daily tours departing from Sault Ste. Marie.
Four fall colour tours are offered on the True North Adventure Bus, each a truly unique adventure, and a each chance to see and explore a different part of Northern Ontario. Tours last a full day, a morning or an evening with pick ups from local hotels in Sault Ste. Marie throughout the day.
Sit back and enjoy the drive, that’s all you’ll have to do with the True North Adventure Bus. Expert, certified tour guides Ryan and Shana provide informative narration to help you get the most of your experience. Enjoy your day with all the quality equipment and safety information you will need.
By Sault Tourism
Lake Superior Provincial Park Visitor Centre is located at the south end of ‘the Park’, as locals call it, roughly halfway between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa, and just above the Montreal River. The drive up the coast from Sault Ste. Marie makes for a perfect daytrip, with several worthy stopping points along the way. More about this is available at the bottom of this article.
The park is known for its 150 km of maintained canoe routes, 11 hiking trails of over 130 km, fishing for Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, and backcountry camping. There are 163 backcountry campsites in Lake Superior Provincial Park which are divided into 76 zones. You can get all the information on it by visiting the website here.
The visitor centre is a great stopping point, with lots of information about the area, helpful staff and a fascinating recount of the history of Lake Superior.
As you enter the visitor centre you are greeted by a beautiful high-ceilinged room with an information desk, map of the area, notice board of daily information and bathrooms.
A short walk takes you a room filled with interactive displays that highlights the “Power of Lake Superior” as well as the park’s cultural history and natural ecosystems. You’ll also find a display about the Group of Seven, a replica lighthouse, plus there are large number of buttons and knobs for kids to press – perfect for a raining day activity for the little ones 🙂
The visitor centre is located on Agawa Bay beach, and there are some beautiful trails that lead to the water and the surrounding area. Located close to the entrance you’ll also find a Group of Seven easel, just one of many on the ‘Moments of Algoma’ Group of Seven Driving Tour.
Just behind the information desk there is a gift shop with lots of interesting souvenirs and apparel, and all Lake Superior themed of course.
A short drive north takes you to the Agawa Rock Pictographs. A clearly marked sign on the highway directs visitors to a parking area at the trail head – map coordinates here.
The trail to the site of the Pictographs is short but rugged; it contains slippery steps and rocks to climb over and around – so take care!
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.
The images visible today, include canoes and animals such as moose, deer, bear and caribou. The most recognizable painting consisting of a spined-horned animal said to be “Misshepezhieu”, or the Great Lynx, the spirit of the water. Read more about this important area here.
The Visitor Centre in the Provincial Park is just one stop of many on the beautiful Lake Superior coastal drive.
Heading south you may wish to make your next stop the Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail in Pancake Bay Provincial Park. A beautiful view across a luscious maple forest all the way to the Superior coast reward those who hike the 6 km round trip. You may also see the final resting place of the Edmund Fitzgerald ship.
Beautiful souvenirs and ice-cream treats are available at Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver further south and The Voyageur Lodge also has some great souvenirs and food options. Chippewa Falls, the famed halfway point on the trans-Canada highway is a great spot for a break. The falls are right beside parking lot, just off the highway. Check out another Group of Seven art easel while you are there.
By Sault Tourism
The Edmund Fitzgerald lookout trail, in Pancake Bay Provincial Park, is the perfect day trip activity from Sault Ste. Marie.
Just an hour north of the city, it’s one of best lookout hikes in all of Ontario. A beautiful woodland walk through towering maple trees leads you to spectacular views of Lake Superior, as far out as the resting position of the Edmund Fitzgerald ship.
The lookout trail is located just a few minutes north of Pancake Bay Provincial Park along highway 17. There is ample parking located about a hundred metres off the highway. Click here for a Google Maps link to directions.
The trail, parking and trailhead are all within the park, so day-use fee applies. You can get your daily vehicle permits in advance online here – both Pancake Bay and Batchewana Bay are both currently offering the advance daily permit online. And of course by buying a day pass you can have a swim at the beach after your hike!
A clearly marked trail-head sign with route information and a map marks the start of the trail. The hike to the lookout and back is around 6km and takes 2-3 hours. Longer side routes are available taking you to Pancake Falls or Tower Lakes.
The route to the lookout is a mix of flat hiking through forests, with some occasional up hill sections. All trails are well maintained by Parks Ontario crew!
The trails are clearly marked with blue signs, and there are maps at each trail intersection. The trails is described a ‘moderate’ difficulty because there may be some scrambling over rocks or small branches.
The most strenuous part of the trail is the climb up the wooden stairs to the lookout itself…
TOP TIP – Spend a few minutes reading the information sign in the middle of the climb as a way to gather your breath before the final ascent.
There are a couple of lookouts before you reach the actual top… and when you reach the top the views are simply stunning.
It won’t take long before you’re back at your car, and a beautiful drive south back to Sault Ste. Marie awaits. Why not stop for an ice cream at Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver? They also have some fantastic souvenirs. The Voyageur Lodge also has some great souvenirs and food options. Chippewa Falls is a great spot for a break and the falls are right beside parking lot just off the highway. Check out the Group of Seven art easel while you are there.
Or maybe you’ll spend the drive planning your return trip in a different season…
Picture this view in the fall… 🙂