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Closer Than You Think

The North Shore • Credit: Virgil Knapp
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Closer Than You Think

The North Shore of Lake Superior

If you want to get away from it all, REALLY get away from it all, there's only one place to go...

More and more, people around the world are choosing to live in cities. Yet, very few have the luxury of still living within a day’s ride of unspoiled natural beauty to match any in the world. For those in Southern Ontario, though, Lake Superior is closer than you think—and more stunning than you thought possible.

Ride Lake Superior is an epic, 2,100-km motorcycle ride that starts and ends in Sault Ste. Marie and crosses from Canada into the United States and back again. But the most invigorating stretch of all is the north shore ride through Algoma Country—more than 700 km from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay on two-lane blacktop that opens up in front of you like a rainbow after a summer storm.


Along the way, riders have the chance to visit such unabashed monuments as the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, the Great Canada Goose in Wawa and Kakebeka Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Ontario.


You can also rest your weary head and your saddle sores at unforgettable stopovers such as the historic Lake Shore Salzburger Hof Resort and the quirky Jackfish Lake Motel Efficiency Cottages.

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While the optimal time of year to ride may be open to some debate, there are practical considerations to keep in mind. Some towns on the shore of Lake Superior, including Sault Ste. Marie, experience milder than expected temperatures in the winter. But there still is a winter and the weather in northwestern Ontario can be unpredictable in late autumn or after the snow has, theoretically, melted for the season.

Springtime can be problematic from a weather standpoint as well; you’ll need excellent wet weather gear to ward off the elements. Summer may be the most challenging time of all due to the heat. Also, if your accommodation plan involves camping off the beaten path, the prevalence of black flies and other winged annoyances from May to June should have you thinking again. Riding along the Trans Canada Highway, insects aren’t a serious concern, but you may want to stick with ballistic nylon just to be safe.

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If the summer happens to be an exceptionally warm one, most of the black flies and mosquitos will have flown off into the sunset by the time July rolls into town. The last full month of summer can still get toasty, though, so our recommendation is to ride in September when the heat has started to wane, the evenings get downright cool and the colour begins to appear in the foliage.  

This province has an abundance of natural beauty and the north shore of Lake Superior in early autumn ranks right near the top of the order. A cityscape can be beautiful, of course, but there’s nothing quite like unspoiled, natural beauty to reset your balance and bring added perspective to any given situation.

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These goals are far easier to realize when you’re at the controls of a motorcycle—the rush of fresh air all around keeps you in direct contact with nature and the demands of safe riding trigger the heightened awareness that brings various sights and sounds into sharp relief.

To the uninitiated, on the surface of it, this legendary ride might seem exhausting—700 km is no lark, after all, it requires proper planning and even better equipment. But the north shore of Lake Superior also possesses tremendous restorative power. The lesson here: The motorcycle trip of a lifetime is right around the proverbial corner.

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