ATVs on a Train?

From amazing views to local hospitality, this is the way to see what Algoma Country has to offer.

One of the best features of a guided ATV tour is knowing the trip will be amazing and that you will hit all the best spots. Such was the case when we took a tour with the Bristol Off Road Outfitters based out of Wawa, Ontario.

Although the drive from Sault St. Marie is one of the most scenic drives in Ontario, as Highway 17 hugs the eastern shore of Lake Superior, we chose the complete package, including lodging, meals, tour guide, and a lift on the Algoma Central Railway to our origination. Many other packages were available, but we wanted to experience everything Algoma had to offer.

Algoma ATV Trip 04
Unloading the ATVs from the baggage car

We drove to Searchmount, roughly half an hour north of the Soo, and unloaded our machines and gear at the railway station. Our ATVs were loaded on a baggage car, and we were seated for our trip.

As we headed north, farther and farther away from civilization, we quickly realized that this train trip itself was to be one of the highlights of the entire holiday. One of the most breathtaking, scenic train tours in Ontario, we were travelling the same route as the world renowned Agawa Canyon Tour Train.

Algoma ATV Trip 02
We enjoyed a great breakfast in the dining car

Out our window, the view constantly changed: one minute a peacefully isolated lake, the next a panoramic view all the way to the sleeping giant, Lake Superior. If we weren't staring at the rolling hills and valleys, we had sheer rock faces a few feet from the train; what an endeavor it must have been to build this railway. The Agawa Canyon was the highlight of the ride: with its majestic mountains and tall waterfalls, what a rare sight to see.

Our rail destination was Hawk Junction, where we unloaded and met our guide Willy. A local resident of Wawa and owner of Bristol Off Road Tours and the Bristol Motel, Willy grew up in the area and knows every trail and back road. Willy took us to all sorts of hidden locations, Josephine, an abandoned iron mine, a few ghost towns, an even a circa-1900s cemetery you woudn't have found without a guide.

Algoma ATV Trip 05
Amazing view from above one of the abandoned mine shafts

Willy knew just where to go, and we could see him inspecting animal tracks every now and then. At one point he waved us up and pointed to fresh bear tracks: "Keep your eyes peeled! There is a bear up ahead, these are fresh tracks," he said. Sure enough, around the next bend we spotted a mother bear and three cubs.

Our tour of almost 200 km ended at Willy's camp, a huge peice of property in the middle of nowhere, with quite a collection of buildings. The main building slept 12 and had a dining area built for at least 30. He told us tales of groups of 30 or more touring and staying, and many other stories of local lore.

I would recomend this experience to anyone, whether new to the sport, or a seasoned ATVer. There is so much to see in this area, and a guide is the only way to get the full experience. Call Willy and book your trip of a lifetime!

About Mark Hamerton

Ontario facinates me; the farther I go in the bush, the more I feel at home. I love showing people new riding areas, and the countless stunning locations you can get to on an ATV.

Related Articles

6 Reasons Why Mattawa is Canada's Off Road Capital

Here's why VMUTS in Mattawa, Ontario is this rider's choice for the ATV (and UTV, and dirt bike, and ADV) capital of Canada.

Vintage ATVs: A Guide to Your Favourite Rides

From Honda's FourTrax to today's bush-bashing UTVs, here's a brief history of the ATV (and why you should care).

Ontario ATV Events

Poker Runs, Mud Bogs, Charity Rides, Rallies and more!

Getting Started on ATVing in Ontario

Everything you need to know.

Which Permit Do I Need for this Trail?

How to Navigate Ontario's ATV Trails

Will you ride the new electric wave?

Quieter, cooler, made in Canada, and better for the environment—these lean green ATVs have it all.

Everyone is welcome!

Law Change Allows All Off-Road Vehicles Access to Public Roads

Ride On

How to legally ride ATVs and Side by Sides

Ghost Towns by ATV - Part Two

A trip through history on Old Nipissing Road.

Guided ATV Tours

Are You Ready to Hit the Trails?

Ride Hard, Ride Fast

ATV Riding in Sudbury

One of Ontario's best-kept secrets

World-class riding in Bancroft

Central Ontario ATV Club

From Wasaga Beach to Barrie and beyond

Where to Stay in Ontario

10 Amazingly ATV-Friendly Lodges and Resorts

4 places to camp and ride in Ontario

Hop aboard for some ATV adventure camping!

Stay and Play in Kearney

An ATVer's dream at the Gateway to Algonquin Park

ATV Clubs of Ontario

The Complete List

Ghost Towns by ATV - Part One

A trip through history on Old Nipissing Road

Ride the North

5 ATV Adventures Worth Trailering To

Side-by-Sides and 2-Ups on Ontario Roads

Could it be for real this time?