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 Conor Mihell
It’s no surprise that a community located in the heart of the Great Lakes would embrace all forms of paddlesports. Not only is Sault Ste. Marie the gateway city for some of the best coastal sea kayaking and wilderness canoeing in Canada, it also boasts amazing options for paddling minutes from downtown. Regardless if you’re passionate about standup paddleboarding, canoe tripping, sea kayaking, whitewater or recreational kayaking, there’s something for you in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Sault College Waterfront Adventure Centre is a community hub on the shore of the St. Marys River. Not only does the gorgeous facility feature a cafe with amazing views, the Waterfront Adventure Centre rents canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards to explore the historic waterway that has always been central to Sault Ste. Marie’s raison d’etre. Evening is the best time of day for a paddleboard tour on the St. Marys River. Head east (downstream), past the Pine Street Marina, hugging the shore to appreciate the wildlife-rich wetlands of Bellevue Park, watching for ducks, mink and beaver. Rounding the isthmus of Topsail Island provides a new perspective on the city’s most popular park. If you time it right you’ll be graced with a spectacular sunset over the International Bridge on your way back.
Thrive Tours, a local Indigenous nature-based tour operator, offers guided canoe trips from the Waterfront Adventure Centre. These beginner-friendly outings share the full story of how the St. Marys River has supported life since time immemorial.
A downriver trip on the Goulais River, located just north of Sault Ste. Marie, is a springtime rite of passage for whitewater paddlers. This section of river requires high water, and the section from Mountainview Lodge on Highway 556 to the Highway 552 bridge can be done in as little as 4 hours thanks to a steady current. It’s best to make it a day trip to enjoy the Goulais’s soaring, pine-clad hills and great wildlife, including moose, waterfowl and beaver. This section includes Class I and II rapids, as well as plenty of swift water, making it suitable for novice whitewater paddlers–just make sure you travel with companions and dress for cold water temperatures. Stay at the nearby Bellevue Valley Lodge and pack a lunch to enjoy on one of the Goulais’s many gravel bars. As water levels decrease in late May and early June this section is great for anglers, with abundant walleye and smallmouth bass, as well as the possibility of rainbow- and brook trout.
Forest the Canoe offer guided nature tours on the lakes and rivers in the area, as well as on Lake Superior.
You won’t find a more remote–and picture perfect–retreat than Norm’s Cabin, tucked away in the Precambrian hills of the Algoma Highlands, north of Sault Ste. Marie. This off-grid cabin is located in Goulais River, a half-hour drive north of Sault Ste. Marie, and is accessible only by food or mountain bike. Rental comes with access to a canoe, and the freedom to explore gem-like lakes atop the rooftop of Ontario. Norm’s is popular for couples, families and getaways with friends. Contact Blaq Bear Eco Adventure Routes to plan your stay.
The hamlet of Gros Cap at the end of Highway 550, only 20 minutes west of Sault Ste. Marie, marks the eastern terminus of Lake Superior. An official launch on the Lake Superior Water Trail (a segment of the Trans Canada Trail) includes an accessibility dock, outhouses, picnic area and kayak storage locker. Paddling west provides an immediate glimpse of Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline: you’ll encounter spectacular cliffs, gravel beaches and a vast, open horizon along the 10-km section to Red Rock. Be sure to check the weather conditions in advance; this exposed stretch of shoreline is suitable for experienced paddlers only, with sea kayaks, sprayskirts and safety gear to mitigate the risk of cold water.
Central Algoma is a bucolic landscape of maple, oak and pine forests and small inland lakes, just east of Sault Ste. Marie. There are several public parks accessible via Highway 638, a quiet secondary route between Echo Bay and Bruce Mines, with great options for canoeing and recreational kayaking on calm and sheltered water. Visit Old Mill Beach Park on Rock Lake to discover a family-friendly waterfront for swimming and quiet paddling at the mouth of the meandering Thessalon River; this area is especially attractive to birders and naturalists, with a wide variety of song- and shorebirds and aquatic mammals. The Central Algoma Freshwater Coalition has produced an adventure map highlighting paddling and other outdoor activities throughout the region.
It’s amazing to discover a quiet, scenic, wilderness canoe route on Crown land barely 30 minutes from downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The Jarvis Circle Route is a perfect long-weekend getaway for novice and intermediate paddlers. The journey begins at a small public launch on Northland Lake, located off of Highway 556. A series of rugged portages (watch for discrete yellow signs to mark most) links nearly a dozen secluded lakes with many options for primitive camping, including Jarvis, Reserve and Crooked lakes—all of which boast excellent fishing for trout. This is a great area to practice your canoe tripping skills and get a taste of the wilderness of Northern Ontario.
By Sault Tourism
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.
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 40km of trails including 12km of newly built world-class trails — 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. Visit out new Mountain Bike page for more info.
The Edmund Fitzgerald lookout trail, in Pancake Bay Provincial Park, is the perfect day trip activity from Sault Ste. Marie, and the perfect way to experience Lake Superior.
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.
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.
New to 2022, Thrive Tours will be offering a ‘Learn to Powwow‘ tour; a guided experience of vibrant celebrations of Indigenous life. Or if you are visiting in June, experience the Summer Moon Festival featuring real-time creation of large-scale public art.
Visit our Indigenous Tourism page for more info.
The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is one of north America’s iconic train rides and a Destination Canada signature experience. See the boreal forests, rivers, and waterfalls that inspired Canada’s most iconic artists – the Group of Seven, and 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 is tentatively planned for Aug. 1 through Oct. 10. More details on pricing and purchasing tickets will be available soon at the Agawa train website.
Stay up to date by visiting our Events page here!
Nestled between Great Lakes Superior and Huron, Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect jumping off point to discover wild rivers, majestic channels, hidden coves, stunning waterfalls and more freshwater lakes than you could ever count. This is what makes us one of Canada’s top outdoor adventure destinations.
Take a tour with Canoes for Conservation, Blaq Bear Eco Adventures, Forest the Canoe and Thrive Tours or do it yourself. Our website will give you all you need to begin your adventure, as well as some Travel Inspiration stories to inspire you!
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.
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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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 Conor Mihell
With water all around, Sault Ste. Marie is one of the best places in Ontario to go paddling. The city is located in the heart of the Great Lakes, with pristine freshwater coastlines, wilderness lakes and rivers located within easy access. Great Lakes Superior and Huron offer some of the best sea kayaking in the world; the St. Mary’s River is a scenic and historic waterway flowing right through downtown; and Lake Superior Provincial Park offers excellent canoe tripping, backcountry angling opportunities and rugged Canadian Shield scenery. Whether you love sea kayaking, canoeing or standup paddle boarding, Sault Ste. Marie is an amazing destination for an Ontario paddling trip.
The Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy offers guided big canoe tours on the St. Mary’s River in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. No previous paddling experience is necessary to join a group tour in a safe and stable 26- or 36-foot canoe. Veteran paddlers will also relish the opportunity to step back in time and experience the watercraft used in the Canadian fur trade. Interpretive guides will share stories about the St. Mary’s River’s rich cultural history and wildlife. Group bookings are available for 1.5-, 2- and 3-hour tours.
Based just north of Sault Ste. Marie in Goulais River, Forest The Canoe provides guided interpretive in Lake Superior Provincial Park. This brand-new outfitter focuses on small-group tours that reveal the wonders of nature in Northern Ontario. You don’t have to be a veteran paddler to participate. Forest The Canoe provides inclusive wilderness programs for families and beginners, as well as rentals and logistical support for more experienced paddlers.
Naturally Superior Adventures in Wawa has offered guided sea kayak trips and certified instruction since 1994. The company specializes in Lake Superior sea kayak trips for all experience levels. Multi-day wilderness tours are offered in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park—world-class sea kayak destinations located within a short drive of Sault Ste. Marie. The company also offers accommodations on Lake Superior, vehicle shuttles and canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals.
Looking for a quick paddling trip in Sault Ste. Marie? Check out the Sault College Waterfront Adventure Centre on the St. Marys River. You can rent a canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard to explore the shoreline and get a new perspective of the city. Enjoy a coffee and baked snack when you’re done on the waterfront patio.
Joe’s Sports is a locally owned Sault Ste. Marie outdoor store that has recently invested in a fleet of canoes, sea kayaks and standup paddleboards with a plan to be able offer rental in 2022. Experienced paddlers can rent gear and set off on their own adventure, near or far.
Bring your canoe or kayak down to this new public dock! Complete with accessible transfer system, this new feature to the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront is located in Bellevue Marina and features user friendly technology suitable for all skill levels. The location is connected to a paved path leading from the car park for greater accessibility.
Standup paddleboards can use it too, just off to the side. Click on this link to view the facebook post, see more photos and join in the discussion!
By Conor Mihell
Put these routes on your canoeing bucket list
From half-day jaunts to wilderness expeditions, these rivers offer the very best canoeing, fishing, and rapids in Ontario.
Ontario has some of the best river canoe trips in the world. I’m especially fond of the wild rivers in Northern Ontario. As an avid backcountry canoeist, I sometimes worry that my bucket list may exceed my longevity. Here is a collection of eleven of my personal favourites in Northern Ontario.
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By Conor Mihell
As a medium-sized city located on the doorstep of rugged northern Ontario wilderness and the heart of the Great Lakes, Sault Ste. Marie is rapidly emerging as one of Canada’s best outdoor towns. Locals have always recognized the city’s adventurous charms, which include over 100 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails at the Hiawatha Highlands and Stokely Creek Lodge (within a 30-minute drive of downtown); world-class fly fishing on the St. Mary’s River; incredible backcountry skiing at Bellevue Valley Lodge and Searchmont Resort (one of Ontario’s largest downhill ski areas); and easy access to long-distance canoe tripping on countless inland waterways and outstanding sea kayaking on Lake Superior. Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to go paddling in Ontario.
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By Peter Greve
Take a canoe trip along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie
Water runs through us, around us, and in our homes. Love water. Respect water. Take care of it. Experience all this and more on the St. Marys River, a great place to go canoeing in Northern Ontario.
We are freshwater people. People of gaaming and people of ziibi. Water runs through us, around us, and in our homes. Water breaks before we enter the world. The Anishinaabe (original people) have many words for nibi, because it can mean many things to life.
In English, we have one word for water. Freshwater is sacred. It is something worth protecting. When the McGuffins, a charismatic, conservation-oriented canoeing couple, travelled the thousands of kilometres of Lake Superior shoreline, they also carried an important message: Love water. Respect water. Take care of it.
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