Hiawatha Highlands offers over 35 km of scenic and varied Nordic ski trail, (many double tracked), and all skate skiing too*. Snowshoeing can be done on 9 kms of loops as well.
A popular centre for active recreational or serious sport minded locals living in the Soo. (Sault Ste. Marie) Higher up just behind the city, where it starts to get hilly, you can find trails to suit all skill and energy levels.
Split into three areas, the Pinder Trails is relatively flat, wide classic or skate skiing with a separate path snowshoers take through a stand of maples and tall pines. Nice easy going for those learning, or skaters putting in a few laps of training. It might be boring to some. On a clear day, you can see Michigan from the lookout.
The Crystal Creek area is my favourite on the other side of the road by the Kinsmen Centre main lodge. It starts with the Kinsman Lighted 2 km loop. An easy going terrain with short hills that are also lit up at night till 10 pm.
Beyond this, the fun really kicks in as you head downhill onto the advanced rated Crystal Creek 5km loop. Along the way, you can opt to add the Hiawatha for a challenging workout or do more moderate terrain and turns on the lovely Inner Loop 2km and Olympic 2.5 km loop through the woods among the rock outcrops.
The highlight is skiing by the dammed pond. Snowshoers can view waterfalls nearby from their trail.
And if you still need more mileage, take the long backcountry 10km run to Mabel Lake. (If it’s open and *no skate skiing on this trek.)
The third area is the Red Pines to the south, best suited for the Advanced avid skier. If you are in need of some enjoyable challenges, then try the three loops here, especially the Fish Hatchery loop for a dose of tight turns, fast descents and long climbs.
As you ski through the valleys, note the very tall Red Pines, some 200+ years old. Eventually this 13 km of tracks lead you to the Fourth Line road where on the other side Wishart Park offers a wee bit more skiing if you must.
Hiawatha Highlands is a division of the Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club. Hence they take care of the trails and run the Kinsmen Centre “chalet” with full services to skiers and snowshoers.
Originally the trails were developed by Finnish immigrants, and the blue Soo Finnish clubhouse is where members take lessons and races are hosted. An active group with lots of events available, this includes weekly night snowshoeing with headlamps.
With the added fact that this corner of Ontario always has snow, the locals keep the trails in great shape. Grooming is done often and conditions are posted daily on their site. Always check the weather forecast as it can get too cold here sometimes to be outside.
A tad far for many, making plans for a winter ski holiday up here is sure to satisfy. There are plenty of motels and restaurants to take care of you in the Soo.