Explore the Ride from Wawa to Hearst
The distance between the front door at Wawa Motor Inn and the Companion Hotel Motel in Hearst is three hundred and sixty kilometres. A distance that is often considered a day’s ride in the Northern Ontario snowmobiling community. We, however, are here for a good time, not a rushed time, and the plan is to enjoy some of the best snowmobiling trails in Ontario as we community-hop from Wawa to Hearst and back over the next four days.
It is always a pleasure staying at the Wawa Motor Inn; comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant, our sleds parked outside the door and ample space to park the truck and trailer for the duration of our trip.
We are greeted with blue skies and sunshine as we load the sleds in the morning, fill the tanks and point the sleds north across Wawa Lake and into the Algoma winter landscape. We have the world all to ourselves as we follow the ribbon of groomed snow through forests and along frozen lakes. The only other snowmobiles we see this morning are parked by the Sports Bar & Grill in Dubreuilville, the day’s midpoint and lunch stop.
On we roll, we make good time along snow-covered logging roads, then twist and turn our way onto Hornepayne. We drop our bags at the Agich’s Riverside Cabins, head to town for some supplies and refuel the body at the Hungry Bear Pub & Diner.
After enjoying that on-the-road experience of breakfast at the gas station, we top up the sleds and resume the adventure. The grey skies above confirm the approaching snowstorm, but the trails and energy are on point. The far north stretches of Ontario’s snowmobiling trail system are known for being wide, perfectly groomed and lacking corners. We turn east towards Hearst and pick up the pace as snowflakes flutter from above. By the time we pull into the parking lot at the Companion Hotel Motel, the snowstorm is on full. We had plans to explore some local trails around Hearst but are happy to pivot, park the sleds in the heated garage, settle into our room early, then pull up a bar stool at the on-site establishment for, you know, some good times.
Thanks to the overnight snow, we get to partake in the best experience in snowmobiling, fresh snow over the groomed trail. While the conditions made for an excellent and fun ride, we did have to deal with a few navigation challenges as the trail disappeared into open expanses of a snow-covered landscape.
We stop at the Hungry Bear Pub & Diner in Hornepayne, this time for lunch, before tackling the final stretch to another Ontario snowmobiling favourite, the Magpie Relay in Dubreuilville. Owned and operated by snowmobilers, you will find a heated garage for your sled and racks in your room to dry your gear. They provide a shuttle to get you around town or, in our case, pick up pizza and beer to enjoy over chit-chat and a game of pool in the motel’s party room.
We only have about 90 kilometres back to Wawa, so there is no need to rush. We pour an extra coffee while the conversation with fellow travellers relives snowmobiling adventures near and far. We linger over breakfast at Sports Bar & Grill, absorbing the local energy as discussions in English and French drift through the air.
Time to roll, a single track guides the way over a trail still smooth and soft from the recent snow. The experience is as good as it gets; the sun is back, the sky is blue, the landscape glistens pristine with its fresh blanket of snow, the rumble of engines and the company of friends.
All good things must eventually end, and this adventure is no exception. All that’s left to do is load up the trailer and drive home. On a side note, the logging roads that make up the trail between Dubreuilville and Hornepayne are no longer available. So for the 2023 season, a new snowmobile-specific trail will be open. New trail to explore, sounds like a good reason to return for a Wawa to Hearst and back replay.
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