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The North Shore Loop

Snowmobiling The Lake Huron North Channel

Updated: By Martin Lortz

The Lake Huron North Channel, with a combination of rugged shoreline, grand water views and friendly communities, is no surprise, an Algoma summer destination favourite. Summer sounds good; what about when the lake views become an expanse of ice, and the landscape disappears beneath a blanket of snow? Well, if you are a snowmobiler, it might be the best time to visit yet. Welcome to winter along the North Channel and the North Shore snowmobiling loop.

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At 446 kilometres in length, the North Shore Loop is perfect for the weekend adventurer; easily accessible via the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge and the Trans Canada Hwy 17 or even the ice bridge from Drummond Island, MI. With many staging options to choose from, you will be laying down fresh tracks on the perfectly groomed trail in no time. There is always the option of arriving by snowmobile on Ontario’s 30,000 kilometres long groomed snowmobile trail network.

While the plentiful snow and the flawlessly groomed trail is reason enough for a visit, the North Shore Loop’s most memorable quality is its offer of two unique snowmobiling experiences.

On the one hand, you are town hopping along the Lake Huron North Channel, where the relatively closely spaced communities of Bruce Mines, Thessalon, Iron Bridge, Blind River and Spanish offer a chance for food, fuel and accommodations aplenty. Along, of course, an unforgettable dose of northern hospitality.

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Stop in at the Group of Seven location in Bruce Mines, browse the shops along Blind River’s quaint main street and take in North Channel views from the trail between Algoma Mills and Spanish.

Food and Fuel

On the other hand, point the sled north. The distances between supply opportunities stretch into triple digits on the odometer, with Elliot Lake and Black Creek being the only supply options in nearly 350 kilometres. But what a ride it is, an out-there experience at its best, perfect trail, forest, frozen lakes, rushing rivers, all of it most likely all to yourself.

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Lunch at Dunlop Lake Lodge is highly recommended, and if you stay the night, your visit will most likely include some live music in the evening. At the northern reaches of the North Shore Loop, the gas pump at Black Creek Outfitters is a must as the next pump is 100 plus kilometres in either direction. There is more here than fuel for the sled; grab some lunch or, better yet, spend the night for a unique off-the-beaten-path experience.

Adding KMs

While the North Shore Loop makes for a perfect two-day ride, if you want more, no problem, you can add approximately 140 km to the North Shore Loop by taking a spin around the St. Joseph Island Loop. You will likely see more wildlife on this loop than other snowmobilers.

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Then there is the option of starting the ride in Sault Ste. Marie, or if a thousand-plus kilometre epic is what you after, staging in Sudbury will make for a fantastic adventure.

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Yes, the Lake Huron North Channel in the summer sounds good, but thanks to snow, ice and the North Shore snowmobiling loop, winter might be the best time to visit yet.

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About Martin Lortz

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

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