Ride Your Bike to These Top Sault Ste. Marie Attractions

Come find out why this scenic Northern Ontario city is best seen on two wheels.

Home to a world-class mountain bike trail system and a plethora of pedal-pleasing road and gravel routes, Sault Ste. Marie has emerged as one of the best destinations for biking in Ontario.

The cycling here is outstanding for many reasons. The first thing most riders notice is the spectacular natural setting. The Soo boasts a beautiful waterfront on the St. Marys River, with Lake Superior just up the road and the Algoma Highlands rising from the city’s north end.

Spend a bit more time in the saddle, and you’ll also discover a welcoming cycling community and a fantastic network of dedicated recreational paths, trails and bike-friendly businesses. In fact, you can enjoy many of the Soo’s top attractions and scenic sights from the Hub Trail—a 22.5-kilometre, family-friendly paved pathway linking the city’s historic waterfront, downtown and green spaces.

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or just looking for a leisurely pedal, it’s easy to create a self-guided cycling tour taking in the best of this vibrant northern Ontario city. Sample from the suggestions below, and save the legwork for your ride.

You can also choose to explore with an expert cycle tour guide. Based downtown, Red Pine Tours offers a variety of fully guided options including urban adventures on the Hub Trail and guided mountain bike tours (2-hour, half day and full day tours available).

John Roswell Hub Trail

Better known simply as the Hub Trail, this fully paved multi-use trail system provides access to all areas of the city and links together key cultural, historical and natural areas of the community. The trail is divided into seven sections, each offering a unique vantage on the city. You can cruise the St. Marys River waterfront boardwalk, check out the scenic bridges and ravines at Fort Creek, or head downtown where you’ll find plenty of options for food and drink. Find maps, amenities and more on the Hub Trail website.

cyclists stop outside the Roberta Bondar Marina
Bicycle rentals are available at the Roberta Bondar Park and Marina, located at KM 0 of the Hub Trail. Photo: Colin Field // Destination Ontario

Roberta Bondar Park and Pavilion

Start your ride in the heart of the city with an exploration of the Soo’s attraction-packed waterfront. Parking and bicycle rentals (July to September) are available at the Roberta Bondar Park and Marina, located at KM 0 of the Hub Trail. The park’s giant white tent pavilion is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, and houses the weekly Algoma Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings from June to October.

For bike rentals, repairs and sales, Algoma Bicycle Company and Duke of Windsor Sports are located just two blocks away on Queen Street East.

the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site operates as a Parks Canada recreational lock and is surrounded by acres of picturesque parkland. Photo: Colin Field // Destination Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

Follow the Hub Trail upriver, coasting along the scenic waterfront boardwalk with expansive views of this Canadian Heritage River. Cyclists can download an audio tour to learn more about the cultural and natural importance of this area as they ride. Just after passing the Soo Market (pop in here Saturdays for delicious farm-to-table picnic supplies), turn left on Canal Drive for a short side trip to the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site.

This former shipping canal—built to bypass the thundering rapids of the St. Marys River—was the longest lock in the world when it opened in 1895. Today, it operates as a Parks Canada recreational lock surrounded by acres of picturesque parkland, nature trails and the bird-filled wetlands of South St. Marys and Whitefish islands.

Pedal to the island’s westernmost point for superb views upriver with the International Bridge arching overhead. Watch ships locking through, explore the visitor centre, or rent a fat bike. For an Indigenous perspective on the city’s waterfront, board a Big Canoe for a Métis-led interpretive paddling and walking tour (2 hours, canoe departs from the Parks Canada dock).

The Machine Shop

Back on the Hub Trail, this vibrant collection of arts, dining and entertainment venues is a remarkable example of adaptive reuse—restoring old buildings and giving them a new purpose. The Machine Shop occupies the former site of St. Marys Paper, with the mill’s 120-year-old sandstone great hall now hosting some of the Soo’s tastiest and most atmospheric dining. Refuel on wood-oven pizza, enjoy deli delights and microbrews, or treat yourself to a house-made gelato. While you’re here, pop into the stately train station to pick up tickets for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train (August to mid-October, 4.5 hours return) and shop for outdoor gear at Outfitters SSM.

Esposito Park Pump Track

Young riders (and the young-at-heart) will enjoy this paved pump track accessible from the Hub Trail at Albert Street. Pump tracks challenge riders to complete a circuit of asphalted rollers and banked turns using only momentum generated by up and down body movements, instead of pedaling or pushing.

Fort Creek Conservation Area

After Mill Square, the Hub Trail leaves the waterfront and turns north through the city, taking riders through neighbourhood’s reflecting the Soo’s early French, Italian and Finnish immigrants. Shift down for the steep climb into Fort Creek Conservation Area, a 191-acre green space that transports cyclists from the busy urban landscape to a peaceful wilderness of forest and wetlands. As you roll across the many steel and wooden bridges, keep your eyes and ears open for hawks, great blue herons, songbirds, beavers and even bears. A series of short, steep nature trails can also be accessed by mountain bikers and hikers from this section of the Hub Trail.

cyclists ride through the forest at Hiawatha Highlands
Hiawatha Highlands is a beautiful 3,000-acre conservation area located within the city limits, offering world-class mountain bike trails. Photo: Colin Field // Destination Ontario

Hiawatha Highlands

A straightforward, six-kilometre ride from the Hub Trail’s northern section connects cyclists with the Hiawatha Highlands—a beautiful 3,000-acre conservation area located within the city limits, offering world-class mountain bike trails. Members of the Sault Cycling Club have invested thousands of volunteer hours making this Ontario’s premier singletrack trail system. You’ll ride through towering white pines and sandy inclines, punctuated with meandering creeks and cascading waterfalls. With over 40 kilometres of trails there’s something for every rider, from easy to expert.

To get here, leave the Hub Trail near KM 14 and follow Third Line East to Old Garden River Road, then turn north to Landslide Road. Stop in at Vélorution bike shop on Fish Hatchery Road for detailed trail maps and ride suggestions. The Highlands’ Red Pine trails start from the end of this road. Or continue north just past Fifth Line and look for the Kinsmen Park trailhead. The steeper hills of the Crystal Creek trails challenge more advanced riders, while across the road, the Pinder trails offer tight and twisty flow for beginner-to-intermediate riders. Head further afield to the Farmer Lake system to hit the Highlands’ newest trails, promising amazing views, giant berms and the Super Happy Fun Bowl.

Return to the Hub Trail along Old Garden River Road and stop in at Sault College where culinary students serve up cheap and tasty dishes at the campus’ Willow Restaurant. If you’re looking for a shortcut back to the city’s waterfront, Pine Street has a dedicated bike lane from the college all the way to Queen Street.

Finn Hill

This popular parkland is prettiest in the fall, when Finn Hill’s hardwood forests are ablaze with autumn colour. It’s a steep climb along the Hub Trail to the top; take a moment to rest at the summit pavilion and consider Sault Ste. Marie’s unusual geography. Half of the city is built on a plateau, with the Soo’s highest point almost 140 metres higher than the waterfront. In fact, much of the downtown area used to be underwater before the locks were built. If you’ve ridden this far, you have probably already noticed the many hills!

Holy Cows Ice Cream Parlour

Heading south along the Hub Trail, cool off with a hand-scooped cone or milkshake at Holy Cows Ice Cream Parlour on McNabb Street. Serving up fresh, locally produced Lock City Dairies goodies from spring to fall, the quality ice cream and eye-catching statue of three acrobatic cows has made this a popular tourist attraction in the city’s east neighbourhood.

Bellevue Park

The Hub Trail returns to the waterfront at aptly named Bellevue Park. Detour into this leafy green space for prime picnicking and sweeping vistas of lake freighters plying the currents of the St. Marys River. Scattered along 2.5 kilometres of paved pathways are a playground, splash pad, children’s locomotive, duck pond and greenhouse. Leaving the park, you’ll pedal through the outdoor arboretum of the adjacent Great Lakes Forestry Centre and Ontario Forest Research Institute.

Waterfront Adventure Centre

Next to Bellevue Marina off McPhail Avenue, Sault College’s Waterfront Adventure Centre is a one-stop shop for watersports enthusiasts. Stop by to rent canoes, kayaks or standup paddleboards (hourly and half-day rentals available) and launch right from the dock. After your paddle, enjoy a snack or refreshment at the centre’s riverside café.

planes on display at the Bushplane Museum
Aviation enthusiasts of all ages can learn about the importance of bushplanes to Northern Ontario at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. Photo: Colin Field // Destination Ontario

Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

Continuing up Queen Street on the Hub Trail, cyclists enter the city’s diversion-filled Historic District. Approaching along the waterfront bike path, you’ll likely spot the floatplanes docked out front of the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre before you reach this top Sault Ste. Marie attraction. At this museum, aviation enthusiasts of all ages can learn about the importance of bushplanes to Northern Ontario while climbing aboard flight simulators, stepping inside real planes, and watching videos about flying adventures. The hangar housing the museum was once home to the Ontario Provincial Air Service, which was responsible for protecting Ontario’s vast forests from wildfires.

A glass of beer on the counter at Northern Superior Brewing
In Sault Ste Marie’s Historic District, pay a visit to Northern Superior Brewing and sip craft ale, lager or pilsner brewed on-site. Photo: Colin Field // Destination Ontario

After your visit, take a break at the Northern Superior Brewing taproom. Sip craft ale, lager or pilsner brewed on-site while enjoying mouthwatering in-house specialties including warm pretzel and beer cheese. The brewery’s bike-friendly outdoor patio is located on the rear side of the Bushplane Museum.

Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site

Just across Bay Street, take a closer look at the two historic buildings occupying this national historic site. The Old Stone House and the Clergue Blockhouse were once the homes of 19th-century North West Company clerk Charles Oakes Ermatinger and industrialist Francis H. Clergue, respectively. Today, visitors can tour the restored buildings and learn more about the city’s history at the interactive Heritage Discovery Centre. Browse a unique selection of souvenirs at the site’s well-stocked gift shop.

Downtown Murals & Dining

Scattered along three kilometres of Bay and Queen streets, this collection of 13 culturally significant murals invites cyclists to discover downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The murals showcase the talents of local Indigenous artists as well as artists from around the world. If you’re visiting in June, don’t miss the annual Summer Moon Festival, which has grown to become an arts and music festival featuring real-time creation of large-scale public art and live music performances.

Downtown is also where you’ll find the Soo’s most eclectic options for food and drinks. Choose from tasty Vietnamese, Asian fusion and Syrian cuisine (think mouthwatering shawarma). For more traditional fare, try Stackburger, Low & Slow Smokehouse or East Street Pizza Company. The summer patio at Outspoken Brewing is a cyclist favourite. Families and cat lovers can pop into the Cat-urday Cat Café for quality teas, coffee and baked goods while spending time with adorable (and adoptable) felines.

Art Gallery of Algoma & Elsie Savoie Sculpture Park

Complete your loop of the Hub Trail at this lovely waterfront park and arts space. Peruse the outdoor sculpture park or simply rest beneath the shade trees. The Art Gallery of Algoma collects and displays work by local artists and pieces that depict areas of local importance. Head inside to experience the wilderness of Algoma in paintings by the Group of Seven, or the energy and beauty of the St. Marys River in Anishinaabe artist John Laford’s “Spirit of the Sault Rapids.” The gallery gift shop is the perfect place to pick up a unique gift for the art lovers in your life.

Where to Stay

Delta Hotels Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront

The city’s only full-service waterfront hotel sits right on the Hub Trail with sweeping views of the St. Mary’s River, and actively partners with local and Indigenous-led tourism.

Holiday Inn Express Sault Ste. Marie

A great downtown location and recently renovated guest rooms make this comfortable hotel an ideal base for exploring the city.

The Water Tower Inn

Located in the city’s north end with direct access to the Hub Trail, this local landmark caters to outdoor lovers with gear storage, trip planning assistance from dedicated Adventure Hosts, and hearty boxed lunches. Indoor pools, sauna and spa make this a family favourite.

About Virginia Marshall

Virginia Marshall is a freelance outdoor adventure writer, photographer and editor with roots in Muskoka and Lake Superior. Read her work in Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots, Rapid, Paddling Magazine and Backroad Mapbooks.

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