Snowmobiling in Algoma
Welcome to our favourite corner of snowmobiling paradise, Hearst, Ontario. Located in the northern reaches of Algoma Country and a popular stop along the Northern Ontario Adventure Tour, Hearst is a worthy snowmobiling destination in its own right. Thanks to the fact that sledders in Hearst can ride along the downtown streets and park their machines in front ofthe door of their accommodation, over 1000 kilometres of snowmobile riding goodness is accessible from your front door.
So here you are, all set up in your cozy room and your sled parked outside; now what?
Let's start with the best local trails along the 165 km Missinaibi Expedition Tour. You can ride this loop in either direction, but we opted to ride it counterclockwise on this day. The south end of the Missinaibi Expedition Tour along trail L155 offers long straight stretches of wide trail peppered with grand vistas of the surrounding landscape. The highlight of the morning was spotting a moose just off the trail. We knew to
keep a lookout for them by the many footprints along the route.
In Mattice, you can grab a coffee and a snack at Tibob Gaz and top up the gas tank, as there will be no gas available until back in Hearst, approximately 120km away.
On we roll, we are following the historic Missinaibi River north along a tree-lined trail that saw some fresh snow recently and only a little sled traffic making for the kind of experience snowmobilers dream of. A single-track trail guides us over the Missinaibi River and back on to more of the same fantastic riding along the northern stretches of the loop.
We stop at the warming sack along trail L159 and chat with the only two other sledders we see all day before continuing along L165, south on L163, back to the A trail and Hearst. What a ride; we set first tracks on the freshly groomed trail for most of the day and only came across two other snowmobiles along the way.
• Ride local trail: There are plenty more trails to explore. Follow the A Trail west to the warming shack, then to L163, which
will loop you back towards Hearst with a choice of local trail options along the way. Be sure to stop by Veilleux Camping
& Marina for a late breakfast or lunch; the breakfast poutine is highly recommended.
• Day trip: Ride to Hornepayne to the west or Kapuskasing to the east, a fantastic way to spend the day.
• Explore the backcountry - Hearst is the starting point for Ontario's ultimate snowmobiling adventure Destination James
Bay an off-the-beaten-path ride along the Missinaibi and the Moose River to the shores of James Bay. Although this might
be a bucket list trip, the next best thing is a local backcountry tour with Follow Her North.
• Ice fishing: Combine some trail time with ice fishing. The area's many lakes are known for their abundance of Walleye,
Pike and Perch. Ride your sled to a cozy ice fishing hut or a backcountry lake with Follow Her North in search of Trout.
Out and About Town
If you still have energy left after a day on the trails, here are a few around-town ideas to explore.
• Lumber Jacks Hockey Game - enjoy some Junior A hockey action.
• Curling - Winter in northern Ontario sounds like a perfect setting to give curling a try.
• Theatre / Théatre - Hearst Theatre is an independently owned Cinema with current movie releases being shown
• Distillerie Rheault Distillery - a small, artisan distillery located in Northern Ontario, home to the award-winning "Loon
• Scierie Heritage Sawmill - Discover how the Hearst area became a leader in Ontario's lumber industry.
• Galerie 815 - Gallery 815 offers visual arts exhibitions throughout the year.
• Bowling - good food and bowling, sounds like a plan.
The Companion Hotel Motel is a favourite with snowmobilers. Offering 50 guest rooms, a 24-hour front desk, a convenient gift shop, an on-site restaurant, a sports bar and indoor parking for your snowmobile.
The Super 8 by Wyndham offers an indoor pool, continental breakfast, hot tubs, steam and sauna, and 67 modern rooms. The Villa Inn & Suites is transformed into a new 60-guest room hotel providing you with suites, king beds, kitchenettes and more. A familiar spot for snowmobilers as OFSC trails are a few metres away.
For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, the cozy INN The North bed and breakfast, located around 15km north of town, can provide the R&R you are looking for.
This is also the home of the local adventure expert and guide Mylene Coulombe-Gratton, aka @followhernorth. Hearst is a worthy snowmobiling destination in its own right. With over 1000 kilometres of snowmobile riding goodness accessible from your front door and so much more, come for a ride and stay awhile.