Just north of Sault Ste. Marie, in the wilds of northern Ontario, is Stokely Creek Lodge. A special place for avid Nordic skiers and Snowshoe hikers alike.
Established over 40 years ago, its goal has remained the same, to offer a great outdoor sports experience with added comforts too.
It may be farther to get to and cost more, but you get more of everything at Stokely. This is one of the top resorts in Ontario to cater solely to Nordic skiers and Snowshoe enthusiasts.
Classic cross-country skiers have about 80 km of track-set loops to pick from and nearly half of this is groomed for Skate skiers to zip along too.
Either skiing or snowshoeing from the lodge takes you along the beautiful flowing waters of Stokely Creek. As you wind your way up through the valley, you soon know this is going to be a joy to explore and a special day.
This area always has snow in the winter when the south has little. Grooming is a priority and the crew does an excellent job of it. Even when conditions are not ideal they try their best to get some of the runs refreshed.
There are many hills here and long ones, as the Algoma Highlands must be the hilliest area in all Ontario. Fun going down, (not so much up). Perhaps ask before you go as to what might be the best direction to take.
The extra effort up King Mountain to get to the hut is worth the spectacular vista with Lake Superior in the distance.
For those who wish to Snowshoe, there are 19 km of separate track to traverse from short easy loops by the creek, to very challenging treks over the King Mtn. summit and to numerous frozen waterfalls.
Some of the loops can send you far so it would be wise to have a plan, pack properly and take a paper map. Though well signed near the lodge, there is a need for more/better signage at junctures further back. (Doing extra mileage when you’re spent would not be good out there.)
Placed in various scenic remote corners of this backcountry resort are 6 warming cabins and nice ones at that. A prized T-shirt goes to those who can ski to all 6 in one day. A possibility for Sportif racers on fast snow.
While there, I met many veteran skiers who return every year. (Nordic folks are always a friendly lot.) Many come up from Michigan. That speaks volumes as to what the experience is during your stay or a day visit.
Nestled among the trees are cabins to extend your stay and meals to satisfy after your long day’s outings in the wilds of Ontario. No cars, snowmobiles, cottages — just natural beauty.
Make it out there once in your life to this Nordic skiing mecca and treat yourself to a land where there is more of everything, including pure winter fun and fresh air.