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!

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 racers 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. 

By Sault Tourism

 

How to Experience Ontario's Awesome Fall colours

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!

Robertson Lake
Robertson Lake

1. Ride The Agawa Canyon Tour Train

This attraction is a bucket-list adventure and a big 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!

2. Hike Robertson Cliffs

There are so many hikes in and around Sault Ste. Marie that it can be difficult to narrow it down to just one. But if you are only looking to do one hike, try the Robertson Cliffs lookout hike.

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!  

3. Hike or Bike Hiawatha Highlands / Kinsmen Park

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 new mountain biking trails located in the same area of the Hiawatha Highlands. Check out fall colours while you enjoy our new flow trails, berms, jumps, techy climbs and more. 

4. Check out Fort Creek Conservation Area on the Hub Trail

Enjoy 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.

5. Take a river cruise on the Miss Marie Sault Lock Tours

Another activity to do in Sault Ste. Marie is take a Sault Locks boat tour. They leave every day until the middle of October at 10am and 1pm. Click here for all the info. 

Want the expert touch? Go guided!

Sault Ste. Marie has excellent, experienced, informative, trained guides to help you get the most out of your time in the city. 

Take a day guided tour on the True North Adventure Bus and witness the fall colours you’ve seen on Instagram. Paddle on some of the most beautiful inland lakes in Ontario, and hike to one of best vistas for fall colours anywhere. The True North Adventure bus offers you these experiences. Experienced tour guides Forest The Canoe offer all day adventure tours to some of the most beautiful places in Ontario. Click here to read more. 

Go guided with Thrive Tours who offer fall colour hikes, as well as and canoe and kayak tours throughout the Algoma region. Red Pine Tours offer bike tours, Walk Among The Trees specializes in simple, 2- to 3-hour hiking tours sharing Indigenous teachings, culture, ceremony and language. Metis Tours shares Metis history in Sault Ste. Marie and Blaq Bear Tours do culinary and walking tours of the area!

How else can I experience fall colours?

Sault Ste. Marie is a great destination to experience incredible fall colours, with countless other ways to see spectacular reds, oranges and yellows. A scenic drive through the Bellevue Valley to Goulais River is a great way to some stunning colours. Or check out this blog post featuring 4 more ‘unknown’ spots

We hope you enjoy your time in the Soo! 🙂 

Bellevue Valley Road
Bellevue Valley Road

By Sault Tourism

 

How to Experience one of Ontario's best lookout hikes

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

Where Are Robertson Cliffs?

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. 

Where Can I park?

There are three parking areas at the trail heads, these are shown in the below maps. 

Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Road to Algoma Highlands Conservancy towards Robertson Cliffs
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
One of the eastern parking lots

How Long Does the Hike Take and How Difficult Is It?

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. 

Map of Robertson Cliffs
Map of local area
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Crossing a stream
Map of Robertson Cliffs
The trail map, easily found along the routes

What Routes are there and Are the trails well marked?

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. 

Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
White and yellow trail, trail head
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
White and Yellow routes diverge
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
The Blue route marker
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Hiking through the forest
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
More route signs
Blue route trail-head

What about the lookouts and what is view like?

There are 3 main lookouts with several others you can find along the way too. The views… judge for yourself. 

Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Western lookout
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Eastern lookout

Are there any Tour guides?

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

How Can I Help Maintain this area?

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!

Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
Algoma Highlands Conservancy
Robertson Cliffs near Sault Ste. Marie
QR code to donate

By Sault Tourism

 

Enjoy the Spectacular fall colours in and around the city thanks to these four great spots

Sault Ste Marie has a number of well known hiking and fall-colour viewing areas in or around the city, including Robertson Cliffs, Fort Creek and Bellevue Park, but not everyone will be aware of these four relatively hidden spots. 

So keep reading to learn about four of the best ‘other’ places to explore and to enjoy the fall colours from. 

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. 

Wishart ParK

Wishart Park, just off Fourth Line East, is a cute little park, and a perfect place for a short hike to take fall fall photos in. Enjoy a walk through the woods or alongside the Root River as it winds its way south towards the city.

Root River and Root Cascade

Root River and Root Cascade at the west side of Sixth Line is another pretty place to visit. Beautiful falls cascade into the Root River, and the surrounding maple trees create a vibrant and bright scene. 

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. 

From Powwows to Art and Places of Learning, Sault Ste. Marie is a city rich with Indigenous culture

Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place to spend some time together as a family. Also referred to as Bawating, meaning “place of the rapids”, the area is rich in Indigenous culture and history. From the whir of excitement at a local powwow to the somber history of the residential school system, there is so much for you to learn and experience together in Sault Ste. Marie.

Here are 7 ways you can experience Indigenous culture in the Soo:

Go on a Learn to Powwow Tour

Whether you’ve been to a powwow before or want to experience one for the first time, you will love the Learn to Powwow Tour with Thrive Tours. Your tour guides will start you off with an introduction, covering powwow history and etiquette, and explain how you can engage in the celebration as a non-Indigenous person. You will also learn the significance of the music and about the different kinds of dances. After your powwow intro, you will join your guides for the spectacular Grand Entry where you’ll watch the dancers enter the circle in their regalia and listen as the drummers echo the heartbeat of Mother Earth. To complete your experience, make sure to try some food, explore the vendors and maybe even join in during an intertribal dance!

Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
The Powwow Tour
Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
Brad from Thrive Tours explaining Powwow customs
Powwow at Sault Ste. Marie
All are welcome at intertribal dances

See the Indigenous Art Murals

As you make your way through the buildings and streets of Sault Ste. Marie, you will notice the many large murals painted throughout the city. Many of the murals you’ll find here have been painted by local Indigenous artists. This display of artwork adds a splash of color and vibrancy to the city that everyone in the family will enjoy! Each June, during the Summer Moon Festival, you can watch new murals being painted around the Soo and experience many other Indigenous arts & culture workshops, exhibits and performances.

Explore Whitefish Island

Grab your bikes or walking shoes and spend some time exploring the Indigenous history of Whitefish Island. Whitefish Island is a territory of the Batchewana First Nation and a National Historic Site of Canada. Plaques located around the island provide information about the history and significance of the area, dating back hundreds of years. Once home to many, Whitefish Island was a significant site for fishing and trading throughout history. Now, the island is a popular birding location and the well-maintained trails and boardwalks allow visitors to easily access and enjoy nature.

Paddle on the St Marys River

Get out on the river in a kayak or canoe with Thrive Tours. Your adventure begins with acknowledging the history of the land and showing respect to the water by saying “Miigwetch”, which means “thank you”. Next, you will receive instruction on paddling and water safety before getting in your boat and setting off on the river. Boats, paddles and life jackets are available for both adults and children. While on the water, you will learn about the history of the area and you may even be treated to a traditional song sung by your tour guide.

Canoes for Conservation also offer interpretive tours of the St Marys river in their popular ‘big canoe’. Dip your paddle into the famous Whitefish Rapids at Bawating, one of the most significant cultural gathering places of the Anishinaabe People since time immemorial. These tours are popular with groups and families and expert guides provide a rich description of the area. 

Take a Residential School Tour

The Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie was operational from 1875 until 1970. Join Thrive Tours to see the residential school grounds and buildings, now part of the Algoma University campus, and learn about the residential school system. You will hear about the devastation the system had on the Indigenous people in the not-so-distant past and the inter-generational trauma affecting communities and families today. If you are touring with kids, information is shared in a truthful yet age-appropriate way. Learn about what is being done for healing and restoration and what you can do in this process as an ally.

Hike to See the Agawa Rock Pictographs

Take a beautiful drive along the Trans Canada Highway to see the Agawa Rock Pictographs in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Located about 1 hour North of Sault Ste. Marie, this 0.5km loop trail will take you right along the shore of Lake Superior to the Indigenous archaeological site where you can see sacred Ojibwe paintings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The hike is rated as moderate, but some scrambling over rocks is required. To see the pictographs, you’ll need to walk out on a sloped rock shelf beside the lake. The views are definitely worth it, but please take caution as the rocks can be slippery!

Enjoy a Meal at Chummy’s Grill

After working up an appetite during your Sault Ste. Marie adventures, stop by Chummy’s Grill for a delicious meal. This local Indigenous-owned and operated family restaurant has a wide variety of delicious food available. The restaurant has a great kids menu and even has all-day breakfast (except Friday 4-8pm). While here, make sure you spend some time admiring the wood carvings located throughout the restaurant.

Now it’s time to get your family and come explore Bawating! With so many different ways to experience Indigenous culture in the Soo, you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

And read our blog post from summer 2021 about spending a day with the family in Sault Ste. Marie here!

By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

Experience Spectacular Fall Colours with the True North Adventure Bus

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. 

Choose your Adventure

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.

Friends of Fall Colours

Explore the autumn colour change by water and land.  Tours run 9.30am – 6.30pm.  

Sunday, Sept 18th,

Friday, Sept 23rd,

Saturday, Sept 24th,

Sunday, Sept 25th,

Saturday, Oct 1st,

Sunday, Oct 2nd,

Wednesday, Oct 5th, 

Friday, Oct 7th,

Friends of Fall Colours: Lite Edition

A micro version of Friends of Fall Colours. Tours run 4.30pm – 9.30pm

Wednesday, Sept 21st

Monday, Oct 3rd 

 

Chase The Train

Chase the train all the way to Searchmont, then explore a beautiful waterfall on the Goulais River. Tours run 8am – 12.30pm.

Thursday, Sept 22nd

Monday, Oct 3rd

Tuesday, Oct 4th

Thursday, Oct 6th

Coastal Fall Colours at Sunset

Experience breathtaking views of Algoma Highlands along the greatest lake all the way to Montreal River. Tours run 5pm – 9.30pm

Thursday, Sept 22nd,

Monday, Sept 26th, Thursday, Sept 29th

Tuesday, Oct 4th,

Thursday, Oct 6th,

The True North Adventure Bus

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

 

Agawa Bay is The perfect stopping point on the Lake Superior Coastal Drive

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. 

WHERE IS THE VISITOR CENTRE LOCATED?​

The visitor centre is around 90 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie. Click here for a Google Maps link to directions. The centre is open from early May until late October. Exact opening days and hours can be found here

What can I see and Do in the Visitor Centre?

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 🙂 

Lake Superior Visitor Cen
The main entrance and information desk
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
Maps and artwork of the Lake
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
Displays about the local ecosystems
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
Information about local history
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
A replica lighthouse
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
The Group of Seven display
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
A Bushplane!

Is there anything else to see?

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. 

Lake Superior Visitor Cen
A walkout deck
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
Trail to the beach
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
A boardwalk to the beach
Lake Superior Visitor Cen
Agawa Bay beach
Group of Seven easel

There's also a giftshop

Just behind the information desk there is a gift shop with lots of interesting souvenirs and apparel, and all Lake Superior themed of course.  

Agawa Rock Pictographs

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 coastal Drive to or From Sault Ste Marie

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.  

Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail
Edmund Fitzgerald Lookout Trail
Agawa Crafts
Agawa Crafts and the Canadian Carver
Voyageurs' Lodge and Cookhouse
Voyageur Lodge
Chippewa Falls
Chippewa Falls