Whether you are travelling by car, RV or motorcycle, a side trip from the Inn through Algoma Country will expose you to scenic vistas, unmarred shorelines, sun-warmed beaches, and the rugged Canadian Shield landscape of granite rock faces and towering maples and white pines. The north and east section of Hwy. 17, even though part of the TransCanada Route, is surprisingly traffic-quiet, even mid-summer. Plus there are so many side-road jaunts to spectacular places. The scenery is amazing at any time of the year, but fall brings the multi-coloured palette of red maple and birch. Our Trailhead Adventure Hosts will help you with your trip planning and our kitchen will pack you a fresh and tasty picnic lunch. If you are travelling by motorcycle, you can park your bike in our secured garage overnight, worry-free.
This is a "must do" drive during the fall colour period but is always seasonally scenic. You can simply drive and feast your eyes on the spectacular vistas, or explore along the way. Touring along Highway 17 north from Sault Ste. Marie provides you with awesome views of the rugged Lake Superior coastal area. Photography and painting opportunities abound. Visit attractions like the Canadian Carver/Agawa Indian Crafts tourist centre. Swim at Pancake Bay or Katherine’s Cove. Hike a trail right off the highway. Linger at lookout pullovers at Old Woman Bay, Sand River, and Agawa Bay. Ponder the Agawa Pictographs. There is no loop back…you return the way you came. But you get a lovely second perspective coming home.
A drive to the village of Searchmont using Highway 17 and Highway 556 gives you excellent vistas of this geo-rugged inland route that runs alongside the Goulais River. Colours in the Fall are miraculous. Return via the same route, (43km./27mi. x 2). You can also take a side loop from Hwy. 556 through the pretty Bellevue Valley, which dips down to the Goulais River then back up to Hwy. 556 just outside Heyden. Stop for lunch at Mountain View Lodge just outside Searchmont, on the Goulais River amid huge pine trees. Chris and Brennan are your hosts.
Highway 638 from Echo Bay to Bruce Mines is a scenic back-road trip, quiet, all paved, offering visitors attractive views of rural agricultural lands, rolling rock upland country with inland lakes and streams, and rural villages. The area was originally settled for logging, farming and railroad interests and today has a strong Mennonite community offering seasonal farm-gate produce. The area also has a vibrant artist community that organizes the Sylvan Valley Circle Art Tour the third weekend of September. From the Inn, the tour is 193 km/120 mi. round trip. You can take the Hwy. 17 bypass to the turn-off at Hwy. 638, or travel the old Hwy, through Garden River First Nations territory to Echo Bay, along the St. Mary’s River. You’ll return to Hwy. 17 at Bruce Mines, a historic village that grew from copper mining, and eat lunch at several restaurants there. There are points of interest along the way that our Trailhead Adventure Hosts can share with you.
Highway 548 circles St. Joseph Island (72 km./45mi.) and provides visitors with scenic views of the St. Mary’s River and the North Channel flowing into Lake Huron (also a Great Lakes shipping channel), as well as rolling inland forest and farming areas. St. Joe’s is the second largest freshwater island in Canada. It was linked to the mainland by bridge in 1972 and has been home to year-round settlement for generations. Highlights of this tour include the waterside villages of Richard’s Landing and Hilton Beach. St. Joe’s is known for its maple syrup production, deer population, and the Fort Joseph National Historic Site, famous for the role it played in the war of 1812 between Britain and the United States. There are many side roads to explore in this forested and pastoral landscape. The turn off to Hwy. 548 is 45 km./28 mi. from the Inn. Ask one of our Trailhead Adventure Hosts for a circle tour map.
Discover our winter wonderland by snowshoe or cross country ski with our Nordic Package.
My first stay at the Water Tower Inn was after a family trip across Canada. We pulled in to the brand new facility in the wee hours of the morning after 5 weeks of camping. It was heavenly!!!! So much so that it became our first and last night stop whenever we headed west. Those stays are something of a legend in my family and this July I had the chance to show my son why. On a cold rainy day, coming back from Thunder Bay, we ditched the tent and checked in on our last night. I wouldn't have thought it could be better than my memories but it was. From the warm welcome at the front desk to the 2 hours we spent in the water. Thanks to the wonderful staff, facility and service the legend continues!- Dawn