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Hello Winter: Snowmobiling Algoma Country

Updated: By Martin Lortz

Editor’s Note: COVID-19 public health & safety measures may affect how snowmobile services operate during this time. If you have any questions, please contact the Algoma Sno-Plan Affiliation, Algoma Country, or tourism businesses.

Few things put a smile on a snowmobiler’s face like the words “winter is coming.” Add details such as 3,200 km of groomed trail, 300 cm of snow annually, and the longest snowmobiling season in Ontario and that smile transitions to an ear-to-ear grin that will last for months, often from December to April.

Welcome snowmobilers to Ontario’s Algoma region; now, let’s ride.

Getting here couldn’t be easier: it’s a hop and a skip over the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge for our U.S.A friends. The Trans Canada Hwy 17 can get you here from anywhere in Canada. Of course, there is always the option of arriving by snowmobile by way of the ice bridge from Drummond Island, MI., or along Ontario’s 3,200 kilometres long groomed snowmobile trail network.

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Decisions, decisions, what to do? Mix town and country, perhaps?

Enjoy the comforts and amenities of Sault Ste. Marie at your fingertips and let the Soo Highlands Loop provide the snowmobiling satisfaction. At 169 kilometres, the Soo Highlands Loop is a perfect day ride. With trail access possible within city limits, follow trail D130 north until you reach the D trail. Along the way, take the optional short detour to the shore of Lake Superior. Stop for lunch at Searchmont Resort, then meander south along with SSM 5 and the D trail through a landscape of forest and frozen lakes back to Sault Ste. Marie. Back at the hotel, enjoy a relaxing spa, a delicious meal and perhaps a night on the town.

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If a grand adventure is what you’re after, pack the bags and fill that tank as the epic All The Way There Tour will surely satisfy.

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Staging from Sault Ste. Marie or Searchmont, the D trail is your snowmobiling Algoma expressway. First stop, the famous Halfway Haven Lodge, so appreciated for the gas pump that makes exploring this area of Algoma possible and relished for the excellent food and a chance to spend an unforgettable night in the backcountry.

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On to Wawa, where sleds outnumber cars in the parking lots during the winter season, thanks to groomed trail access and the abundance off-trail riding opportunities in the area. Accommodation, supplies, repairs and gas, can all be found here.

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In Dubreuilville, the good folks at Magpie Relay Resort might provide the most snowmobile-friendly accommodations anywhere. Owned and operated by snowmobilers, here you will find a comfortable room for you and a heated garage for your sled. There is even a shuttle that will get you out on the town and back.

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From Dubreuilville, point the sled north, bound for Hornepayne and on to Hearst. When you drop your bags in Hearst, you will be 645 kilometres into your adventure, and at the halfway point of your All The Way There experience. If you want more, there is good sledding to be had on local loops in Hearst.

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Retracing your ride back to Sault Ste. Marie, mix things up along some local trails in Hornepayne, Dubreuilvill and Wawa. Long days on the trail or short, with many choices of accommodations along the route, you can make time or take your time; it’s all possible. No matter your approach, a good time is ensured.

Yes, winter is coming; fortunately, Algoma’s 3,200 km of groomed trail, 300 cm of snow annually, and the longest snowmobiling season in Ontario will have you grinning.

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About Martin Lortz

Martin Lortz is a freelance photographer/writer specializing in the outdoor lifestyle.

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