Manitoulin Island | GTAMotorcycle.com

Manitoulin Island

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
Plotting a 5 night trip with some friends covering some of the super scenic roads between here and Wawa, then over to Chapleau and down highway 129.

Starting day 1 with the ferry over to Manitoulin. I was there just a few weeks ago on the return trip from Pickle Lake and since we were on an unfortunately tight schedule (the ferry is running limited service this year due to Covid) we didn't have a whole lot of time to explore the Island. This time, we have plenty....however, I'm finding mixed reviews online about what roads are good and what roads should be skipped. The one we took down to the Ferry (540, 551 and 542) instead of taking 6 directly was boring as hell and I don't want to make that mistake again....

Looking for opinions and any sights worth seeing. At this point our day 2 is only 300km to our next motel so we have the entire day to poke along and see things.

Thanks.
 

boyoboy

Well-known member
the deer trail drive from iron bridge to elliot lake (or vice versa) is a beautiful ride - almost mountainous at times with opportunity for free lakeside camping. at the iron bridge end you will parallel the little white river for a while with bailey bridge crossings. stop there and drop a line in any of the rivers eddy pools and you can easily catch pan sized brook trout (use worms). the roads have some gravel and tar type pavement, but mostly good pavement, easy to ride with a street bike at a cautious pace (expect varying speeds from 50kmh to a higher 90+kmh) as you approach elliot lake.

you're bringing a fishing rod right lol?

EDIT Deer Trail Drive - Algoma Country

some pics elliot lake deer trail route at DuckDuckGo

Im pretty biased about this area. Started work as a production miner when a teenager until my early 30's when I returned to school for a post secondary education. I probably fished every lake in the photo's. This was my stomping grounds lol. Was dirt biking heaven. I still miss it. A lot.
 
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shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
I’ve always found Manitoulin a somewhat boring place to ride, but very nice to stop and do things. Lots of trails for hiking like the cup and saucer trail, a visit out to the alvars in Misery Bay, check out Bridal Veil Falls, sleeping in bed and breakfasts, many good restaurants, lighthouses to check out etc.

Too bad all the roads are straight.
 

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
No fishing on this trip, purely out there for the ride and the scenery, most of that later in the trip.

Bridal Veil Falls is currently listed as "closed" in Google Maps. Another victim of Covid I'm guessing. Although I don't see anything else on any of the related websites also showing it being closed.
 

i-WERKS

Well-known member
Although short, I found Silver Lake Road to be very scenic. If you're OK with non-paved roads, Little Lake Huron Rd near Misery Bay is very interesting. I didn't make it thru the entire road but the surface changes from gravel to the Alvars as you get further south.
 

bastak

Well-known member
Cup & Saucer Trail for a bit of hiking: nothing too difficult - if I remember correctly, 1.5 - 3 hours depending on how far you want to hike - nice views.

Providence Bay for a sandy beach: there's coffee at the Providence Peace Cafe, fish & chips at Lake Huron Fish & Chips or ice cream at Huron Island Time.

Gore Bay for some waterside serenity (pic below): Buoy's Eatery for lunch, Split Rail Brewing Co. for a little taste of the good stuff.

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bastak

Well-known member
Also, I don't know if it was just my luck or time of the year, but when I was up there a few years ago, I encountered more deer on the road than anywhere else I can recall in Ontario. Just something to keep in mind.
 

Wingboy

Well-known member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Red Lodge is really good and reasonable.
 

Lightcycle

Motorcycle Nomad
Site Supporter
I’ve always found Manitoulin a somewhat boring place to ride, but very nice to stop and do things. Lots of trails for hiking like the cup and saucer trail, a visit out to the alvars in Misery Bay, check out Bridal Veil Falls, sleeping in bed and breakfasts, many good restaurants, lighthouses to check out etc.

Too bad all the roads are straight.
Agree with this. Manitoulin Island is a hiking/camping weekend, not really a motorcycle trip.

If I was on a real riding weekend and wanted to do a northern run, from Sudbury, I'd drop in from Espanola and take 6 down to White Fish Falls which gives you about 25 kms of nice twisties. That's about as far into Manitoulin Island, I'd ride.

Then turn around do the twisties again, heading back north to the TransCanada towards Sault Ste Marie. Before you hit the city, turn north on 129 to 101 and then onto Wawa. Then head west and do the fabulous north shore of Lake Superior. One of my favorite routes up there.

You don't have to go into Thunder Bay unless you're looking for a motel. I'd turn around somewhere at Nipigon and head back down towards Wawa. However, instead of backtracking on 101/129, follow the TC through Lake Superior Provincial Park and you'll be on the right side of the road to peer down into the waters of Lake Superior, all the way to Sudbury.

To get back to the big sh!tty, there are two different route patterns down the Hwy 400/Hwy 11 ladder, which I detailed in this post:


Whichever route you don't do the on the way up, take that route on the way back down.

That would make a nice long weekend ride.
 
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PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
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This is the tentative route. The biggest reason we are doing Manitoulin island on the way up is for something different - coming and going via Sudbury on this trip would be repetitive. Also gives us a few down hours on the Ferry to relax and enjoy the breeze and shoot the ****.

Day 2 we're only going as far as St. Josephs island. Been there several times, beautiful wooded forest roads, a neat little road and bridge to/from the island, and a nice little motel we stayed at before. A short day means we'll have time to take in some sights on Manitoulin itself as well.

Day 3 we head up the shore of Lake Superior (one of my favourite stretches of road in the province) while having lots of time to stop and smell the roses that day as well - tons of scenic outlooks etc along there. We cut east at Wawa (after the obligatory photo with the goose) and then spend the night in Chapleau.

Day 4 we will get a decent early start out of Chapleau and take in Highway 129 back down to the Transcanada. Looking forward to this road the most as it's actually a road I haven't yet ridden and I hear it's awesome. We end the day just west of Sudbury.

Day 5 we come back down from Sudbury. If everyone is feeling fresh and the weather is good I'm going to suggest we go to North Bay and down 11 instead - far more scenic.
 
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ifiddles

Well-known member
Very similar to what I had planned, although I included Timmins before heading back to Sudbury ...my concern is staying in hotels with all that's going on...hubby and I are NOT campers...
 

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
Site Supporter
We are moteling it as well. I'd camp, but my wife (and pretty much 7 of the 8 others on this trip) are not campers either.

Knowing what I know living with an RN wife who has spend the last 5 months of her life dealing with Covid day in and day out, the biggest risks are being in a confined space (no or poor air exchange) for moderate periods of time with someone who is positive, or being in close proximity (inside or out) for extended periods of time.

The contact method of transfer that was such a concern early on has proven to be significantly harder and less of a risk than was previously thought.

Accordingly, motels don't present a massive risk. If you're really concerned, when you arrive open all the windows and doors and let the air exchange for 5 minutes - the overwhelming majority of any risk is gone at that point as the air is exchanged.

Will I go licking the toilet seats and remote controls and hanging out in the office with strangers regardless? Nope. But aside from that, one need to not be super paranoid. Wash your hands and don't go anywhere inside where strangers aren't wearing a mask.....good to go.
 

timtune

Well-known member
We always check the Roadside America & Atlas Obscura websites before heading out on a trip. Both have sections on Canada. RA is good for oddball sites while AO often has interesting abandoned places.
 

MacDoc

Well-known member
Site Supporter
PP - that looks a nice loop and better weather than the 30+ last round


Don't think I dare take another just now - too busy :(
 

Jayell

Well-known member
Site Supporter
If anyone traveling the area prefers gravel, try West Branch Road. A "private road with public access", so says my paper Ontario map. In other words, a logging road. 178km of hard packed gravel running north/south between Webbwood (at the Trans Canada 17) to Ramsey, then about another twenty or thirty kilometers to Sultan, or a similar distance east to HWY. 144. Beware, though, there are no services of any kind, no fuel, no cell service. It's very remote. If you run into trouble, you're on your own.

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I rode it today. Fantastic! I'm hardly an expert rider, and found the gravel coarse and loose. Well maintained. Very dry today, plenty of dust. A little tricky in spots, but okay if you watch your speed. Those who like to hang the back end out will love it. I don't think I've heard of this road being mentioned around these parts before; is it a secret?

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There's also 556 from TC 17 at Heyden (north of Sault Ste Marie) to 129, about halfway between Thessalon and Chapleau. About 105km, two thirds of which I believe is gravel (from Searchmont to 129), though we didn't get a chance to ride it.

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There was some construction and lots of gravel on the 546 side of the Deer Trail yesterday. If in Elliot Lake, stop at the fire tower lookout for panoramic views.

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timtune

Well-known member
I see the Sultan Rd sign. Try to enjoy that one on the weekends. Coming back through on a weekday I had a logging truck sneak up behind me and want to pass. (couldn't blame them, I was on a Goldwing)
 
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triniboy27

Well-known member
Bump!
Just booked off some time to do the Algoma Loop (third time) and Manatoulin Island on Thanksgiving weekend. Adding in the Elliot Lake / Mississagi leg in as well so excited to hear about the Deer Trail to check out.

taking my brand new Scrambler 1200 on its first extended trip so looking forward to the odd gravel road.
 

Iceman

Well-known member
Bump!
Just booked off some time to do the Algoma Loop (third time) and Manatoulin Island on Thanksgiving weekend. Adding in the Elliot Lake / Mississagi leg in as well so excited to hear about the Deer Trail to check out.

taking my brand new Scrambler 1200 on its first extended trip so looking forward to the odd gravel road.
I did the deer trail the second last week of August. Nearly two thirds of it was under serious construction, like 10 inches deep of fresh soft gravel. When we finally got out of it we were only 19 km from Elliot Lake and not impressed.
It was Ok on my t7 even with luggage, but my buddy was on a yamaha bolt and was seriously unimpressed.
It could be nearing completion now but I'd double check.

Sent from my SM-A530W using Tapatalk
 

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