The Deer Trail is one of those “road less travelled” things to do. We like it because it’s close to the wilderness and communities along Lake Huron. Enjoy the outdoors and comforts of home, too. It makes a nice weekend getaway.
Start in Elliot Lake at the Fire Tower Lookout. A replica fire ranger’s lookout station, it offers a 360-degree view of the area including Manitoulin Island on the North Channel of Lake Huron. Reach the Fire Tower Lookout by road, or The Fire Tower Lookout Trail if you’re an avid hiker.
Another trail we like is the Helenbar Lookout Trail with its breathtaking views. This is a great trail to do in the fall when the autumn colours are in peak.
A nice lunch stop is Dunlop Lake Lodge’s lakeside dining room and patio. They offer take-out, so you can take lunch on the trail to enjoy the peaceful views.
This is a wilderness drive so be sure to watch for wildlife like deer, black bear, birds and small animals. The loop around Elliot Lake leads to Iron Bridge, a historic town in the area. There are many beaches in the area, one being Beharriell Park. Take the Dean Lake Bridge to the Mississagi Delta Provincial Nature Reserve. There’s a soft sandy beach, picnic tables and washroom facilities in the summer months.
Enjoy a delicious dinner from the Red Top Motor Inn, a unique landmark on Hwy 17 since 1961. Locally sourced ingredients make up the menu. Stay overnight.
Is it Saturday? The Farmers’ Market at the Cordukes/Weber 12-sided Barn in Sowerby is a great way to start the day. If you missed the market, the barn is still a beautiful stop.
Breakfast options can be found in Blind River, which makes a good base for outdoor adventures. The Boom Camp Interpretive Park has 3 trail loops each with a unique focus on local geology, ecology, heritage and history. Great for a nature walk, or by bike.
Looking for a taste of Algoma? Fresh locally caught fish is always on the menu at Clarence’s Fish Market in Algoma Mills. Pair it with Ontario produce and cheeses from Wilson’s Market Garden. Lake Lauzon Beach, or Bootletters Bay are great places to relax and enjoy a picnic. On your way to the Serpent River First Nation Trading Post to browse local crafts and the art gallery, stop at Kennebec Falls, a pretty roadside waterfall.
A final stop is the Shoreline Discovery Trail at the Spanish municipal marina. You’ll get a 360-degree view of the Spanish River Delta, Sagamok Sagamok Anishnawbek, Whalesback Channel and the town. Fuel up at Lucky’s Snack Bar renowned for its poutine served with Quebec cheese curds.
There are many adventures to have on the Deer Trail Drive. The area is home to many lodges, cottage resorts, campgrounds and motels for paddling adventures on inland lakes and Lake Huron, cycling on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, fishing, culture and heritage.