There are many ways to take in the grandeur of Ontario's Algoma Country. A road tour by car or motorcycle, by paddle in a kayak or canoe, even on foot—but if there is a "best way" to combine covering distance and absorbing your surroundings, it might just be from the seat of a bicycle. With the rise in popularity of adventure by bike, Algoma's collection of roads and trails, from paved to gravel to a dirt path in the forest, might just be Ontario's best cycling playground. So, whether you are a cycle tourer, mountain biker, bikepacker or gravel grinder, Algoma has you covered.
If you are into exploring for days on end along picturesque country roads but never far from the comforts of a community, then the Waterfront Trail is for you. This 3,600 km signed route connects 155 communities and First Nations along the shores of the Great Lakes. Just follow the signs from Lake Superior's edge, along the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront and east along with the Lake Huron North Chanel and beyond. Communities of Bruce Mines, Thessalon, Iron Bridge, Blind River, Algoma Mills and Spanish will welcome you with famous northern hospitality. Replenish your supplies, take in the sights, spend the night and maybe even stay a while and explore the surroundings.
A short deviation from the Waterfront Trail, Algoma's St Joseph Island is a worthy cycle destination, be it as part of a grand tour or a destination in its own right. Its low-traffic roads, points of interest and island vibe make it a favourite with local cyclists and visitors.
If bikepacking and going self-supported in search of dirt roads in remote places is what you are after, welcome to the playground. With a lifetime of exploration possible along thousands of kilometres of gravel and dirt roads, time might just be the biggest hurdle. Picture a three-day 300km journey along country roads, gravel and trail, clifftop camping spots, backcountry solitude and fall colours. Algoma's first official bikepacking route has been ridden, tested, and soon coming to your favourite mapping app. In the meantime, you can read about the memorable experience on bikepacking.com.
If you can't wait, a quick browse of google maps and let the planning begin. While finding your own way is all part of the bikepacking experience, if you prefer the comfort of an organized tour, the crew at Red Pine Tours are the local experts and will be happy to show you around.
Located within Sault Ste. Marie city limits, the Hiawatha Highlands' trails have already carved out a reputation as one of Ontario's best mountain biking destinations. As good as the trail system is, things are about to get even better. With commitment from the city, the government and the local cycling community, new trails are already being built, and the future plan is epic.
Located roughly 20 minutes north of the Soo, you are in for some good times along a fun single track at the Algoma Highlands Mountain Bike Trail System and some challenging climbs and downhill thrills on the Bellevue Valley Trails.
The Gravel Grind
When it comes to exploring by bike, the gravel bike and Algoma are a perfect match. While paved roads can access most of the region, just meters beyond the tar is a maze of gravel and dirt roads that will put a smile on the face of any gravel cyclist. A couple of hours or a full-day epic, Algoma has what you are looking for. Be sure to check with the crew at Vélorution Bike and Skis, Red Pine Tours or the Sault Cycling Club for route suggestions.
There are more ways now than ever to explore by bike, road bike, gravel bike, bikepacking, mountain biking and even fat biking in the winter. One thing is for sure, however, you choose to turn your cranks, Algoma has you covered!