‘Imagine hiking through a thick forest, scramble over rocks. You start to feel your legs aching and your heart is beating fast. Then suddenly you see it, the reason you came: a forest of maple trees stretching as far as the horizon.’ – This is hiking in Sault Ste. Marie. This is living.
Sault Ste. Marie earns its reputation as one of Canada’s best adventure towns for having easy access to vast networks of hiking trails, available to all skill levels in all seasons. The landscape is cradled by the ancient mountains of the Canadian Shield and surrounded by freshwater; hiking in Sault Ste. Marie gives you the immediate sensation of wilderness. Yet these great Northern Ontario hiking adventures are mere minutes from the city centre.
Choose from an easy two-hour stroll around the famous St. Marys rapids to a multi-day Ontario backcountry camping adventure along the Lake Superior coast. Or, follow in the footsteps of early European fur traders along the famous Voyageur Hiking Trail and discover some of Ontario’s best waterfalls. Make Sault Ste. Marie the starting place for your next adventure.
Hike in the City
Sault Ste. Marie has plenty of options for hiking in the city. The 22.5 km John Roswell Hub Trail is a circular route that’s open to cyclists and hikers alike. The well marked, paved trail stretches through residential neighbourhoods, commercial districts and even over a stunning ravine. A wonderful boardwalk path takes you through downtown to the St. Marys rapids and Whitefish Island. Whitefish Island has a 3 km winding trail beside the rapids; enjoy a leisurely hike and take in the beauty of the island: smell the flowers and listening to the cascading water on a trail that’s located mere minutes from downtown.
The Fort Creek Conservation Area is another great Sault Ste. Marie Hub Trail hiking destination featuring picturesque bridges and beautiful forests.
To the north, discover an energizing 3.5 km hike that weaves around Crimson Ridge golf course and offers stunning with views of the city. This trail links up with the famous Voyageur Trail. This long-distancing hiking route connects to the Hiawatha Highlands (and beyond). Hiawatha has numerous hiking trails, beneath towering pine trees and vibrant maples.
Hiking Day Trips from Sault Ste. Marie
There are countless options for hiking day trips in Sault Ste. Marie.
A short section of the Voyageur Trail heads north from Gros Cap, featuring incredible views of the dynamic waters of Lake Superior. Or a little further north of the city and you can take “that” picture from Robertson Cliffs. (You’ll know what we mean when you visit the lookout, which is undoubtedly one of the prettiest places in Ontario.) The area is managed by the Algoma Highlands Conservancy, and they have a number of maps of the area available here.
The Lake Superior Coastal Trail is a bucket-list destination starting at Agawa Bay, just a short drive north on the Trans Canada Highway. Taking in its entirety, 65 km backpacking route is one of Canada’s best hikes and takes about a week of backcountry camping to complete. However, the Coastal Trail’s mind-blowing lookouts and spectacular Lake Superior beaches can also be explored in day hikes. Hiking the Superior coast will immerse you in the same landscapes that inspired Canada’s famous Group of Seven artists.
The culturally significant Agawa Rock pictographs are another highlight of Lake Superior Provincial Park. This significant Indigenous spiritual site features the ancient art of the Ojibwa, the region’s original inhabitants. Other hiking highlights a short drive from the city include the Batchawana Bay beach walk, the Eagle ridge lookout overlooking Havilland Bay, the Edmund Fitzgerald lookout walk near Pancake Bay, and the Orphan Lake trail.