The legacy of visionaries Chuck Peterson and Hakon Lien, lives on in the Algoma Highlands in the form of Stokely Creek Lodge and its associated trail system. As many repeat users know, two of the main routes on this extensive system of trails are specifically named in honour of these early pioneers of cross-country skiing in the highlands area.
In an effort to perpetuate that legacy, in 2007, the Algoma Highlands Conservancy (AHC) negotiated and signed a three-way partnership agreement with the Byker family – current owners of Stokely Creek Lodge, and Astina Forest AG, who own property surrounding the conservancy. The partnership specifically includes a 10-year trail-use agreement assuring continued use of the trail system (that spans across all three properties) for skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking, as well as the potential to broaden use to service a variety of other silent sport recreation, such as mountain biking and back country skiing.
Snowshoeing is becoming increasingly popular in the area for people of all ages and experience levels, particularly on the well-signed trails established by Bob Yankus and Lucy Gagnon that meander throughout the property along creeks, frozen waterfalls, and up to magnificent views. The 130 km of ski trails that have been developed since Chuck and Hakon’s first adventures in the area, in combination with the scenic beauty of the Highlands and a reliable annual snowfall averaging more than 3 m (9 ft), assures this will remain “the” destination of choice for track and back-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities in eastern North America for many years to come.
Of course the fun doesn’t stop with the snow melt. The unique beauty of this area can be appreciated in any of the four seasons and the changing seasons provide a variety of other silent sport opportunities. The trail system provides excellent opportunities for expanded low impact uses including mountain biking, hiking, trail running, as well as more leisurely artistic pursuits such as nature photography, painting, and bird watching.
In 2010, a generous grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op allowed the AHC to develop a 10 km single track mountain bike trail loop. This is a challenging technical trail that features significant climbs, thrilling descents, and 13 water crossings and board walks. With this feature attraction, we also recognize that many of the existing ski-trails offer excellent double-track options for more leisurely mountain biking opportunities. See below for links to maps of the single track trail and recommended double track options.
With broader access and use of the trail system by a greater proportion of the public, more individuals can escape from an increasingly urbanized and hectic lifestyle to truly experience our natural environment. Many who visit this area will attempt to capture the scenic natural beauty and serenity of the Algoma Highlands, either in their minds eye, on canvas, or in a digital image. While that task is nigh on impossible, the essence and experience of the highlands is something that all who visit can savour as a memory, an experience to be tucked safely away deep in one’s soul, re-opened when the need is felt, and perhaps passed on as part of one’s own legacy to the next generation of Algoma Highlands explorers.
Algoma Highlands Mountain Bike Trail System
To dramatically increase public use of our conservation forest, we partnered up with the Sault Cycling Club (saultcyclingclub.ca) and Sault College to construct the mountain bike trail system.
This singletrack trail is a phenomenal addition to local x-country mountain biking. Please be aware that there’s some serious climbing involved in the single track loop so be prepared to push your bike on some sections. The double track recommendations offer a more leisurely bike ride.
To get started, park in the main parking lot at Stokely creek resort (WARNING: DO NOT drive your car past the gate, as you might get locked in!). Ride your bike past the gate on the main lodge road, heading towards the main lodge. Climb home run hill on your left, before the lodge. You’ll go up it and part way down before you need to turn in on the doubletrack to your right at ski signpost #10 / bike marker #2. The first section of singletrack is almost immediately on your left.
Trail conditions change all the time so be aware and ride responsibly!
For more info on the trail please contact Jennifer Cross at the Algoma Highlands Conservancy.
The AHC sincerely thanks Bob Sinclair for the time and expertise he dedicated to developing the trail maps.
Algoma Highlands Conservancy Camping Policy
Environmental education, research and silent sport recreation are core values that the AHC seeks to promote by allowing registered participants to camp on AHC land.
Participants will be expected to be good environmental stewards. The camping policy is relevant to small groups wishing to camp on land owned by the AHC. Permission to camp may be granted by contacting the AHC office at 705-649-5751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details please read the full camping policy.