By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie
Four Great Kid-Friendly Rides on One Awesome Urban Bicycle Trail
Looking for a family-friendly bike ride in Sault Ste. Marie? The 22.5-km John Rowswell Hub Trail stretches like a ribbon through the city’s residential neighbourhoods, commercial districts and urban greenspace, with minimal hills and a paved surface for easy bike trips for the family. This non-motorized trail is your gateway to family friendly cycling in Sault Ste. Marie.
Riding the entire Hub Trail is an excellent half-day trip for adventurous families looking to cover some distance. An interactive map is available online to help identify starting points around the city, plan your route and discover all the sights along the way. Or, if you prefer a shorter family cycling tour, focus on these shorter sections of trail. A dedicated website here has maps and info to help you enjoy your day!
Fort Creek Conservation Area
Fort Creek is a natural oasis in Sault Ste. Marie, the perfect destination for a family bike ride along a 3-km (one-way) forested path. Access the trailhead on Second Line West, a short drive from The Water Tower Inn. The great Northern Ontario wilderness is closer than you think on this easy ride suitable for all types of bicycles.
You may see herons, eagles, hawks and monarch butterflies along this section of Hub Trail, with the potential of spotting beaver hard at work in wetland areas as well. The trail features two stunning bridges spanning deep valleys cut by meandering streams. Mature trees along the trail provide natural air conditioning on even the hottest days.
Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
The historic Sault Ste. Marie Canal is located a short side trip west of the downtown Hub Trail. Leave your car at the Machine Shop, a great spot for a post-ride coffee and gelato (Italian ice cream). Ride along Canal Drive to the stately sandstone Parks Canada buildings commemorating what was the world’s longest lock when it was built in 1895. Today, the lock is used by recreational boaters travelling between Great Lakes Superior and Huron in the summer months.
It’s easy to spend a half-day at the canal: Sign up for a tour with a Parks Canada interpreter, explore the Visitor Centre, or enjoy Victorian tea at the Superintendent’s Residence. Cycle to the end of the pier, watching for vessels navigating the canal along the way. Or, you can rent a fat bike (adult and youth sizes are available) and explore the easy gravel trails of South St. Marys and Whitefish islands, rolling alongside vast wetlands and beneath the monstrous International Bridge.
Along St. Marys River Waterfront to the Historic District
Check out the Hub Trail along the downtown waterfront for an easy family-friendly bike ride in Sault Ste. Marie.
The broad river is the centre of attention, with passing freighters and great views of whitewater rapids cascading along the international border. Allow your spirit to fall back in time as you retrace this ancient pilgrimage to Bawating, the community’s Indigenous Anishnaabe namesake meaning “place by the rapids.”
Bring your camera for a pretty sunset bike ride, with dining options along the way (check out Fluid Boardwalk Patio + Grill at the Delta Hotel). Head east away from the muted roar of the St. Marys Rapids and ride 2.6km towards the Historic District along a smooth asphalt path and wooden boardwalk that’s suitable for any type of bicycle. Go past the Clergue Park (near the Sleep Inn on Bay Street), and end up at the iconic Canadian Heritage Bushplane Museum, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s top attractions. A happy day with the family can be spent looking at these iconic planes and exhibitions. Complete your family’s itinerary with a visit to the fascinating Entomic Insectarium too.
Located adjacent to the east end section of the Hub Trail, Bellevue Park is Sault Ste. Marie’s largest park featuring 2.4 km of paved paths. Towering trees and cool breezes off the St. Mary’s River make this 17-ha greenspace a great refuge on hot summer days. Combine a family bike ride with stops at Bellevue Park’s multiple playgrounds, picnic areas and splash pad. Post-ride, Sandro’s Family Restaurant, also located in the city’s east end, is a wonderful place to introduce your kids to tasty and authentic Italian cuisine in a casual dining setting.