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The Sault Ste Marie experience: New MTB trails and awesome hangs

Upgraded cycling terrain makes for great escapades

Charlotte Batty riding trails in Sault Ste Marie Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

Like every rider knows, cycling is all about fun and adventures. Riding solo is fine, but riding with your friends on some cool trails makes it that much more enjoyable. A great destination that fits the bill? Sault Ste Marie.

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

The Soo, as it is known, is Northern Ontario’s third biggest city. It has a charming downtown, with many things to do, and more recently boasts some of the best mountain bike trails in Ontario too. What’s more is that these trails are just ten minutes from downtown, meaning you can be riding hard one minute then relaxing at a microbrewery almost the next.

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

This combination of awesome trails and close proximity to the city is what makes Sault Ste. Marie the perfect mountain biking destination, and a reason to put it on your “must ride” list today!

The mountain bike trails of Sault Ste Marie

There’s a boatload of new trails in the area, for riders of all abilities. You can mix and match or focus on one, since there’s plenty of ground to cover.

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Farmer Lake

You can start your MTB adventure on the newly constructed Farmer Lake trail. It’s a 7 km out and back trail through the stunning Canadian Shield that will eventually take you to the beautiful Farmer Lake. Before you get there you are going to have to navigate up the rocky Climb to Canyon section, a new modern flow XC trail that is a fun test of your technical skills. With your heart pumping hard from climbing the almost 50 m hill you’ll then be met by the many berms and hairpin turns of Farmer Lake trail. Finally, you’ll descend to reach the beautiful oasis that is Farmer Lake.

On the way back many advanced riders may want to test their skills on the new Crazy Train trail. The name is apt for a reason. It’s an adventurous and aptly named downhill trail which has enough vertical to keep any adrenaline junkie interested.

Crystal System

Well, you may want a little breather after that but not for long because the end of the Farmer Lake system is one of the jumping on points for the popular Crystal System. The Crystal is what everyone is talking about up these days in the Soo; there’s an additional 12 km of new machine-built flow trails here last year bringing the total to over 20. You can ride alongside (and over) beautiful creeks, take in some spectacular lookouts, or simply enjoy the rollercoaster experience of new flow trails such as “Berm Baby Berm.”

The Crystal really has something for every ability, and with so many trails and combinations of trails, you can easily spend a day up there alone.

Hiawatha Highlands / Kinsmen Park

The Farmer Lake and Crystal systems make up just over half of the trails at Hiawatha Highlands, with the Pinder and Red Pine System completing the list. The Pinder has around 8 km of green-rated single track, so it’s perfect for beginners or families with young riders. There’s also the the Red Pine system, which at 15 km long, is a bit tougher with more elevation, but still has a wide array of trails. The Red Pine is a combination of blue and black trails and has a bunch of great singletrack trails, transporting you from the historic beginning of MTB to new modern hand-built fun-flow trails like Stick Man.

Hub Trail

There’s only so many MTB trails a regular person can ride and after a day and a half at Hiawatha, so you may feel like cranking the pace down a touch. If that’s the case, Sault Ste. Marie’s Hub Trail could be the perfect ride for you. It’s a 22.5 km easy loop of the city where you can ride at your leisure and soak up the sights. You’ll pass some of the well-known tourist spots like Fort Creek, the Canal between Lake Superior and Lake Huron or the beautiful St Marys River waterfront.

Fort Creek

The Hub Trail takes you over the beautiful Fort Creek Conservation area, with three bridges giving you incredible views of the creek and surrounding forests. Then, continue south through the city to the Canal District and Machine Shop area. This area has been restored from a previous industrial area to become one of the hottest parts in town for great food and drinks. Delicious pizzerias, cozy pubs or fine dining can all be found in one centralized area. The vibe of the Canal District is warm and inviting and perfect after a day of riding.

A side-trip along Whitefish Island’s boardwalks and trails gives you some spectacular views of the international bridge as well as the famous Sault Ste. Marie rapids.

Back on the Hub Trail and riding along the waterfront you might notice some of the many pubs and restaurants in the area. Fluid Restaurant has some great food, as well as beautiful views of the rivers. At the Bondar Pavilion you can hop on a two hour river cruise of the newly launched Miss Marie Sault Locks boat. Or if you’d like to enjoy the waterfront a different way, visit the Waterfront Adventure Centre. The WAC rents canoe, kayaks and SUPs; great for exploring the waterfront.

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

By now though you will definitely be craving some great post-ride hydration, and the Soo has a great pick of watering holes. Outspoken Brewing and Northern Superior’s Tap Room are great microbreweries if you’re looking to try some local suds.

So consider a trip to Sault Ste Marie with your friends. Go for a ride, but stick around after and check out the sites. It’s worth the drive to the Soo. To learn more visit SaultTourism.com

If you want a taste of some of the new trails, check out the video with Charlotte Batty as your tour guide.

This story is presented by the City of Sault Ste. Marie