By Sault Tourism
Witnessing summer’s deep greens change into an explosion of red, orange and yellow is one of the many perks of living in Ontario. There are plenty of places across the province that are perfect for watching the leaves change, but if you want to experience the season’s vibrancy in new and exciting ways, consider looking north of the GTA.
The region of Sault Ste. Marie (also affectionately known as “the Soo”) is one of Canada’s top five locations for fall foliage, according to Forbes. Think of a place where maple forests turn cozy shades of red, where you can lose yourself in the coast’s orange and yellow splendour, and where the vast multicolour landscape takes your breath away — this is Sault Ste. Marie in the fall.
But the Soo is more than just a pretty face. On top of being a magical spot in autumn, Sault Ste. Marie — which is just a one-hour plane ride or six-hour scenic drive north of the GTA — is one of Ontario’s most exciting outdoor adventure destinations.
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By Sault Tourism
Sault Ste Marie is well-known for its breathtaking beauty during the fall season. Nothing can compare to the vivid colours of the leaves, the numerous trails that can be explored, along with views that will never be forgotten that capture Mother Nature’s true-beauty. From mid-September to mid-October you can find so many ways to enjoy the best of fall in our northern community. In the meantime we have narrowed it down to the top five ways that won’t disappoint!
Come to Sault Ste. Marie and experience Ontario’s awesome fall colours as you’ve never seen them before!
This attraction is a long-time tourist favourite when it comes to seeing the fall colours in its prime. Hop on this day-long journey that starts in our Canal District and travels 114km into the Agawa Canyon; along the way you will be immersed by wilderness and its array of oranges, reds and yellows. Once you reach the Canyon you will get to walk around and explore various trails that will take you to beautiful scenic lookouts and various waterfalls where the Group of Seven once painted some of their iconic paintings. This can’t miss experience will certainly be one for the books!
To escape to this beautiful scenic lookout, you only need to travel about 20 minutes north of the City. This intermediate hike will not only get your blood flowing but will guide you through the colourful brush and trees. A helpful tip is to make sure you dress accordingly and be prepared to be in awe once you reach the top! When you have completed this 5km hike on Ila’s Trail, you will come upon the breathtaking fall scenery of the boreal forest. You will undoubtedly want to make sure you capture this view with a picture, as the vibrant colours will take your breath away!
You don’t have to venture far to experience what Fall is all about in Sault Ste Marie. Located just north of the city you will find bridges and paths in Kinsmen Park that will take you through a network of trails, such as the Crystal Creek System, where you will see Fall in all its perfection. You can also explore and visit Crystal Falls at one end of the park and then follow the trails to Minnehaha Falls at the other end.
Another must-do fall experience, are the Hiawatha Highlands via the Pinder System or Red Pine System, these pristine trails, whether traveled by foot or on wheels, will be certain to take your breath away and will surely have you wanting to catch all of the fall colours on camera.
Take fall in at its best right here in the heart of Sault Ste Marie! The John Roswell Hub Trail is a 22.5km trail that surrounds our beautiful city, with paved paths that you can walk or bike on. One of our favourite parts of the hub trail in the fall specifically, is the Fort Creek section. You can park at the Fort Creek Conservation Area and take the trail through the forest where you will come upon some incredible bridges that overlook the stunning ravine. This simple trail system is nice laid-back one hour walk from the Conversation Area to the Third Line section and back.
This beautiful gem of a spot will surely have you loving fall in all its glory. With beautiful walking/biking trails that take you throughout Bellevue park, and bringing you upon the St. Mary’s River where you will then find Topsail Island . Here you can explore the paved trail around Prince Island and take in the scenic views of the St. Mary’s river and marina. With the paths lined with trees and benches you can truly take in the crisp air and colours that fall has to offer at your leisure.
After a full day of fall colour watching it’s time to relax while eating supper at one of the many delicious restaurants in town. Finish off your day by watching the sunset over the St. Marys River and then get some well deserved rest at one of Sault Ste. Marie’s hotels.
After such a great day of family fun and activities, the whole family will want to come back and do it all again! Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to see the fall colours.
Whether you’re road-tripping through Northern Ontario or looking for somewhere to get away for the day, Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place for family adventure! There are so many exciting things to do in Sault Ste. Marie, from biking and boating to eating delicious treats and enjoying local artwork! With all these great places to visit in Sault Ste. Marie (nicknamed “the Soo”), this will be a day that everyone in the family will love!
Start your day off with some coffee from The Machine Shop and then head over to the Soo Canal. When the lock was built here in 1895, it was the longest in all of Canada. Today, pleasure watercraft are transported up and down the river through the lock to bypass the St. Marys River Rapids. Here you can enjoy watching the boats lock through as you walk along the canal.
Next, grab your bicycles and get ready to explore the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront. Bikes can be rented at the canal or from the Roberta Bonda marina in town during summer months.
Take one of the bridges across the canal lock gates to get over to Whitefish Island. Bike or hike along trails and boardwalks as you take in views of the rapids along St. Marys River. You can learn about the island’s culture and history by reading the information signs along the trail. Make sure you also keep a lookout for the fairy doors painted around the island!
The main loop will take a family with young kids around 45 minutes to complete by bike or an hour hiking. Side trails are available if you want to extend your adventure – like going under the international bridge! There are plenty of trail maps to keep you on track.
After exploring Whitefish Island, you can continue your bike ride or stroll along the John Rowswell Hub trail. This beautiful trail & boardwalk provides you with amazing views of the St. Marys River as you pass significant landmarks along the waterfront. Stop to eat a sweet treat at BeaverTails located right on the boardwalk and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
The whole loop is 22.5km and a great ride for the adventurous family, but equally, you can divide and conquer smaller sections too. The Fort Creek section is a beautiful 6km there-and-back trail with three awesome bridges that take you high over the ravine below. Parking is available at the south end.
Next, head into town to get some lunch or continue along the Hub Trail to Bellevue Park to enjoy a picnic. With 7 separate playground structures, Bellevue Park is a kid’s dream come true. Along with its impressive playgrounds, the park also includes a splash pad, beautiful paths along the waterfront and picnic areas.
Now it’s time to experience Sault Ste. Marie from the St. Marys River! You can launch your canoe or kayaks from the accessible boat launch located at Bellevue Marina, making it easy for you to get in the water and explore the river. Don’t have your own boat? No problem! Canoes and kayaks can be rented from the Waterfront Adventure Centre or from Thrive Tours who operate from the same building.
After enjoying your time on the water, head downtown to see the incredible mural artwork around Sault Ste. Marie. These murals have been painted by local and visiting artists, adding vibrant character to the city! If you are visiting during the month of June, you can watch new murals being painted as part of the Summer Moon Festival.
While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Elliot’s Ice Cream for a treat that not only tastes delicious but also looks like a work of art!
Crystal Falls is located in Kinsmen Park at the North edge of Sault Ste. Marie. The falls are a short walk from the parking lot and can be accessed by walking along a wooden boardwalk. The amazing views keep coming as you walk up a series of steps to viewing platforms and experience the many layers of this waterfall.
If you have time, you can continue your hike along some of the many great trails nearby into the Hiawatha Highlands and the Voyageur trail system.
Now it’s time to relax while eating supper at one of the many delicious restaurants in town. Finish off your day by watching the sunset over the St. Marys River and then get some well deserved rest at one of Sault Ste. Marie’s hotels.
After such a great day of family fun and activities, the whole family will want to come back and do it all again! Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place for family adventure.
By Sault Tourism
Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect destination for a weekend adventure. And now with the international border being opened to allow Americans to enter Canada as of August 9th, we wanted to remind our American friends of all the many things there is to see and do in our city. While you’re here, check out this article on what you’ll need to do before you to visit Canada.
Sault Ste. Marie is a city built for outdoor adventure with some of the best access to forests, waterways and rugged hills anywhere in the area.
Come and check out our incredible and expanding mountain biking in and around the city. The Hiawatha Highlands are home to a world-class mountain bike trail system – just a short ride from downtown. If you’re looking for more adrenaline, head to Bellevue Valley, where a 5km trail drops 200m into a beautiful valley of lush maple trees.
Being a city between two of the Great Lakes and on the St Marys River we know how to enjoy the water. From kayaking to canoeing and standup paddle boarding we have expert tour guides and outfitters ready to get you on the water this summer and fall. Our watersports webpage has all the info you need to get started.
Get that extra thrill for a limited time between August 7th and 15th by taking a high-speed adventure up and down the St. Mary’s river on board the Zodiac Hurricane. You can book a half day excursion or a 60 or 90 minute explore east or west from the city.
World famous and entirely unique, the Bushplane Museum is one of the biggest and best attractions in the region. Come check out this massive collection of classic airplanes (over 30 to be exact), interact with equipment and let the kids run around too. More displays have been recently added plus you can now see and hold some fascinating insects in the newly housed Entomica Insectarium; a variety of live exotic insects from around the world!
Blink and another patio has appeared downtown, that’s certainly what it feels like in Sault Ste. Marie these days. Come and have a craft beer and experience the warm atmosphere of Outspoken Brewing, Northern Superior Co. or The Whiskey Barrel to name just a few. Another addition to the downtown core is the stunning Broers Jansen which boasts an offering of wines made in-house, local craft beers, and a selection of hand-picked Scotch and Whiskeys from Canada and around the world.
Looking for a cool and quaint eatery? We have those too! Grab a bite at the Big Lake Cabin, the delicious Georgie’s Shawarma, or the colourful Ernie’s Coffee Shop. Incredible buttertarts at The Queen’s Tarts are hard to pass up too, especially the new Cheesecake and Whiskey Maple Bacon varieties!
Come for a stroll down Queen Street and see if you can find all 10 of our murals painted by an exciting mix of local Indigenous and world famous artists! It will surely be an inspiring stroll along the main street of our city.
For fans of the Group of Seven, Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to base yourself. Visit a replica train carriage used to transport many of the artists around the region, and then go for a road trip up the coast yourself to see some of the inspiration behind many of the paintings. The Moments of Algoma website is a great resource.
Speaking of the coast, the rugged beauty of the Canadian Lake Superior coastline is a must-visit experience. With more trails to hike, coves to explore and beaches to stroll down than could be mentioned, it’s the perfect place to explore and get immersed in nature. Visit the Hike page of our website for more information.
While you are on on the Superior coast don’t forget to stop in at the Voyageur Lodge & Cookhouse for the fan-favourite apple fritters. This delicious dessert sells quickly so it’s suggested you get up there before 3pm daily, you certainly don’t want to miss out!
Fall is when the Soo comes alive because it’s when our forever-forests of Maple trees turn every shade of red, orange and gold. Take a hike to Robertson cliffs for one of the best views you’ll experience. A coastal drive will do it too, in fact just being in Sault Ste. Marie will help you experience a truly beautiful fall season.
Take a stroll along our beautiful boardwalk or around Whitefish Island for some fantastic views of the United States. The historic Sault canal are always frequented by smaller boats venturing to and from Lake Superior. Cross the canal and enter the picturesque and culturally significant Whitefish Island, where you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from home.
The Sault rapids that sit between our countries have some of the best fishing anywhere in North America. Check out our Fish webpage for a link to some travel inspiration or a list of expert guides.
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.
By Tourism 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.
Duration: 1 hour
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.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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.
Duration: 1 hour
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.
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.
Duration: 3-4 hours
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.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Google Map link here
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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