Rather than taking Highway 17 East, modern day explorers are well advised to turn off at Echo Bay and follow Highway 638 through Sylvan Valley. From here a variety of backroad or trail options are available which allows you to continue easterly and access natural, as well as cultural, attractions within the Huron North area. Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites' Trailhead Hosts can provide you with detailed maps and suggested day trips of the area.
There are no defined mountain bike trails in this area but the township roads (both paved and gravel) and the Crown land resource access roads provide very good routes for this activity.
Using Echo Bay, Desbarats or Bruce Mines as a starting point, you’ll discover road riding nirvana in back roads Echo Bay. Many optimal routes include paved and hard packed surfaces with rolling terrain through Mennonite farm land.
Highway 638 from Echo Bay to Bruce Mines is a scenic trip offering visitors attractive views of rural agricultural lands and rolling rock upland country with inland lakes and streams. This route has little traffic.
Three sections of the Voyageur hiking trail can be accessed in this area. Hikers interested in the area should obtain maps for the trail sections before leaving the Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites. The landscape is varied and involves forested uplands separated by open farmlands or wetland valleys.
Iron, Bass, McCarrel, Desbarats, Gordon, Rock and Ottertail lakes can be fished for small mouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike and walleye (yellow pickerel). Some deep water lakes like Lonely and Patten are lake trout lakes. Smaller cold water lakes provide brook trout angling.
This area provides opportunities for sheltered inland lake canoeing. The Trailhead map should be consulted for choices. The Trailhead Host can also provide suggestions.
Resource access roads north of Highways 638 and off of Highway 670 provide access routes for ATVers. Good topographic maps are needed.
The TOPS D and TOPS D106 snowmobile trails can be accessed in this area. In addition, there are a number of local snowmobile link trails. Collectively, these trails provide connections between Searchmont and Sault Ste. Marie in the north and west to Echo Bay, Desbarats, Bruce Mines and Thessalon. When designated open for travel, ice trail connections provide access to St. Joseph Island at Richards Landing and Hilton Beach.
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. 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