It's always fun to take the road less traveled. Old highways and backroads can you lead to adventures that you wouldn't have found any other way. Roads like these are generally are low traffic and always lead to magnificent panoramic views to charming rural countryside. The Deer Trail Touring Route is no different. This 120-km route follows old highways into some of the best scenery in Ontario.
It's a winding road with breathtaking views: rugged rock faces and cliffs, old style bridges, old growth forests and open road. In summer, the landscape is a lush and green, while in the fall the landscape is vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red. But it's more than just a road through wilderness. The Deer Trail Route leads to many outdoor activities that everyone can enjoy.
1. The Fire Tower Lookout
Located just outside of Elliot Lake is a replica of an old-fashioned fire ranger lookout station. It provides a 360-degree, panoramic view of the city and surrounding area: the North Channel of Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island, and even the United States. The Fire Tower Lookout stands 1,000 feet above sea level.
Onsite: Telescope, restored Ranger's cabin originally built in the mid-1950s, picnic area, the Cupola Gazebo and playground
2. Go For a Hike or Nature Walk
Nothing beats a hike surrounded by bright fall colours and pure crisp air! There are a wide range of hiking trails on the Deer Trail that lead to spectacular fall colour views and chances for wildlife viewing. Mississagi Provincial Park is home to six trails for beginners, intermediate and hikers who are looking for a challenge. If you want trails that are little less remote, try the Boom Camp Interpretive Park. The Boom Camp trails offer 12 km of trail that lead to really amazing vistas and coastal views. Elliot Lake is home to the Sheriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and local trails as well.
Remember to pack: water, snacks, trail maps
How to play: visit www.geocaching.com/play and sign up for a free account, then download the Geocaching app to your smartphone (there is a cost at $9.99 for a three month membership but that's cheaper than buying a handheld GPS which retails at $150-$300), then find a geocache near your location. The app feeds the geocaches based on your location and then click "Find Nearby Geocaches". It's that easy.
Don't forget to pack: water, snacks, and some trinkets to add to caches
4. A Fall Picnic at the Beach
Just because the water is a bit chilly for a swim, doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the beach. Fall is a beautiful time of year for a picnic on a sandy beach. Pack a lunch, fill the thermos with hot chocolate, grab a snuggle blanket and you're off. Beaches on the Deer Trail that you will want to picnic at: Spruce Beach or Spine Beach (Elliot Lake), Lauzon Beach (Algoma Mills), Fourth Sands Beach (Blind River). Don't feel like making a lunch? That's ok! There are a many restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks and grocery stores along the route where you can purchase take-out or pick up fixings to make your own lunch. Combine this with a hike or nature walk and you've got a date that's sure to impress.
Facilities: washrooms/change rooms, picnic areas
5. Artisan Tours, Fall Festivals, and Fairs
There are some excellent fall festivals, artisan tours and events that take place in the month of September:
More Activities to Do:
- Timber Village Museum (Blind River)
- Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum
- Iron Bridge Historical Museum (Open until the end of September)
Leg Stretch Stops: Tally Ho Park (Iron Bridge), Miners' Memorial Park (Elliot Lake)