Algoma,Ontario

Seven Days In Algoma

A Snowmobiling  Adventure

Every adventure has to start somewhere, and that somewhere often is months before we push the go button. Our seven-day plan to explore Ontario’s Algoma Country by snowmobile is no exception. With the early March date set well in advance, it was nail-biting time watching the weather toy with the conditions.

Happy to say, as we pull the sleds from the trailer, that the Lake Superior lake effect snow machine has done its job delivering the usual 12 feet of snow on Algoma’s 2,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. And the weather forecast is looking stellar.

Just as a plan has to start somewhere, the actual ride needs a home base, and for us, it’s the Fairfield by Marriott in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. A long-time favourite with snowmobilers, it checks all the boxes. Easy access from the U.S.A., around 5 hours north of Detroit along I-75. In Canada, accessible via Trans Canada Highway 17 from east or west. Parking for truck and trailer, check. Comfortable rooms, nearby eateries, nightlife, gas stations, check, check, check. But most importantly, the trailhead to some of the best snowmobiling trails anywhere at its doorstep.

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Day One and Two – The 395-mile North Shore Loop

Quickly the city limits fade behind us as the trail narrows and twist and turn through a snow-blanketed forest. We don’t see anybody for hours; it’s as if we have the whole place to ourselves. At Black Creek Outfitters, we refuel the body with a hot lunch, top up the gas tanks, and point the sleds east toward Elliot Lake. Along the way, some impressive ups and downs make for spectacular views. We drop our bags at Dunlop Lake Lodge just in time for dinner and the evening’s live musical entertainment.

Welcome to the north, where everyone wears many hats; last night’s lead singer is now the breakfast cook. We make our way south towards the North Channel of Lake Huron before turning west. On paper, the day’s ride looks easily achievable, but with views of the North Channel to distract, side trails to local communities and a noticeable lack of straightaways, time ticks away. We stop for a late lunch at the famous Bobbers Restaurant in Bruce Mines, then cross over to St. Joseph Island for a look around. At one point, the end was in sight, as we could see the hotel, probably 15 minutes away as the crow flew, but the trail had a different plan. A couple of hours later, we pull in in the dark with low-fuel lights glowing.

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Day Three – We Embrace Plan B

The original plan was to head out from Sault Ste. Marie on the All The Way There Tour, but that option was no longer available. After breakfast, we hop on the sleds and tick off the 120-mile Soo Highlands Loop through the old-growth forests of the Soo Highlands. Then load the sleds for the two-hour drive to Wawa.

The Wawa Motor Inn, our home for the night, is another snowmobiling favourite where sleds often outnumber cars in the parking lot. I will say, I am a motel fan. I love having our sleds parked outside the door and a chance to mingle with fellow travellers as we prep for another day out and about.

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Day Four to Seven – Destination Hearst

At around 251 miles between Wawa and Hearst, it’s a day ride for those that enjoy ticking off miles on their odometer. We, however, are here for a good time, not a fast time. A late start in Wawa and a lengthy lunch at the Sports Bar & Grill in Dubreuilville, then on to Hornepayne, where we top the day with a tasty burger at the Hungry Bear Pub & Diner and settle in for the night at Agich’s Riverside Cabins. Hard to believe, but I don’t recall seeing any other sleds on the trail all day; amazing.

Day four plans are to get to Hearst and explore some of the local trails, but by the time we pull into town, a snowstorm is brewing. Applying our good time, not a fast time, approach to the trip, we park the sleds in the heated garage at Companion Hotel-Motel and pull up a barstool at the on-site sports bar.

On day five, the fresh snow overnight makes for fun riding and challenging navigation. We are back at the Hungry Bear Pub & Diner in Hornepayne, this time for lunch, then on to Dubreuilville – Magpie Relay Motel. Owned and operated by snowmobilers, you will find a heated garage for your sled and racks in the rooms to hang and dry your gear and helmet. We spend the evening reliving our adventure so far over pizza and beer in the motel’s social gathering spot, aka the Man Cave.

Day seven, the ride is not over until it’s over as we set first tracks in fresh snow on a silky-smooth trail under sunshine and blue sky, a perfect ending to a fantastic adventure. 

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

Algoma,Ontario

2023 Season Update

According to the latest information, Halfway Haven will not be open this season for fuel, food, or accommodations. However, the snowmobile clubs will be grooming the trail, and it will be open. The ride between Sault Ste Marie and Wawa or Sault Ste Marie and Chapleau is long, and carrying extra fuel is strongly advised.

Plan Your Ride

Ontario’s Algoma Country – algomacountry.com/sledalgoma

Algoma Sno Plan Affiliation – algomatrails.com

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs – ofsc.on.ca

Destination Ontario – www.destinationontario.com/en-ca/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/snow-winter/snowmobiling

Crossing the Border – www.travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/ exemptions

Algoma,Ontario

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