Thursday, August 1st: Espanola to Sudbury. (81 km)
During today’s Great Waterfront Trail Adventure you’ll set out from Espanola past an impressive view of the Domtar Dam, have the opportunity to meet some alpacas, and parallel the Spanish River in Nairn. As you near Sudbury you’ll follow a tributary of the Spanish, and the road will open up for a terrific ride towards Whitefish with some awesome scenery and spectacular rock cuts. You’ll pass the Vermillion River and ramble into Sudbury, grind some gravel on Gibson Road, travel past Kelly Lake before directly passing the locally famous Stack Brewery. You’ll finish your ride along the Junction Creek trail, through downtown Sudbury and finally to scenic Bell Park on Ramsey Lake, with its Blue Flag Beach. Later, you’ll have the chance to get out of the saddle for a visit to the “Big Nickel” at Dynamic Earth, and celebrate with your fellow riders at the celebratory dinner at Science North.
Meanwhile you’ll be able to ponder the inexplicable relationship between foliage and footwear…
Tip: There is one final 7km section of Highway 17 between Jacklin Road and Old Nairn Road, including a 200m bridge crossing the Spanish River. Make sure to check for a sufficient gap before proceeding across the bridge. Almost 5km after the bridge crossing, you’ll need to cross to the north side of the highway to continue on Old Nairn Road. Please use care when crossing the highway.
0km Breakfast – Espanola Regional Recreational Complex [Map 1] 175 Avery Dr, Espanola, ON
8km – Suggested Stop – Dare2Dream Alpaca Farm [Map 2] 210 Jacklin Rd, McKerrow, ON
Ever wanted to get up close to an alpaca? Or just see how they’re raised? Dare2Dream Alpaca farm raises alpacas, operates as a storefront for alpaca fiber products, and produces eggs and organic vegetables for local use. The farm offers tours, which are 1.5 hours long and can be booked in advance.
Tip: While riding along Jacklin Road, keep your eyes open for the shoe tree. Why is it here? What’s its purpose? What possesses people to throw perfectly good shoes into a perfectly good tree? We have no answers, so ponder away.
10km – Final Travel along Highway 17 and Spanish River Bridge [Map 3]
Per the tip above, the final stretch of Trail along Highway 17 includes a 200m bridge crossing the Spanish River. Please check for a sufficient gap and use care when proceeding. The route continues on Old Nairn Road on the north side of the highway roughly 5km after the bridge.
20km – Suggested Stop – Nairn Centre [Map 3]
Nairn Centre got its start in 1896 in the lumber industry on the Spanish River, which is just north of the town site. The connection to lumber is still alive and well today with the nearby Eacom facility. There is a small beach on the Spanish River to the west of Ferry Street for those who want to get out of the saddle for a quick dip. There is also a restaurant and convenience store located on Front Street at Highway 17 (exit the Trail at Smith Street and turn right on Front) if you’d like a quick bite or an early lunch.
Tip: If you’re looking for a place to stop on route, the community centre has a rest area and washrooms. Though the scenery along the route is lovely, there are no facilities until Whitefish, so you may want to make use of them now.
24km – Scenic Bridge / Goodbye Spanish River [Map 4]
A narrow wood-decked bridge spans a small tributary emptying into the Spanish River. This local fishing spot affords a lovely view of the water, wooden pilings, and your final view of the Spanish River on the GWTA.
Trivia: Once you reach this bridge, you are already roughly 2km into Greater Sudbury.
48km – Lunch Location – Whitefish [Maps 4 & 5] 4795 Greater Sudbury Regional Road 55, Whitefish, ON
Enjoy a catered lunch in Whitefish this afternoon, arranged in collaboration with the City of Greater Sudbury. Lunch is included.
Tip: Visit Centennial Park, a municipally run campground located at the bend in Graham Road, before leaving Whitefish. The pavilion area has a spectacular view of chutes on the Vermillion River, a tributary of the Spanish River.
RR 55 / Old Highway 17 [Maps 4-6]
Heading out of Whitefish, the route follows an off-road track that includes sand-and-gravel and soft sand surfaces, as well as a steep incline with loose rocks and is used primarily as an ATV and snowmobile track. Since 2016, Sudbury has expanded the shoulders of roughly 3 of the 10 km between Whitefish and Old Soo Road. To avoid the more challenging sections of this track, we recommend remaining on RR55 until Horizon Road. Temporary signage or markers will be in place to direct you back on Trail at Horizon.
Tip: If the conditions are dry, you’ve packed very lightly and have the gear, heart and experience to grind some gravel, the section of off-road section of Trail north of RR 55 between Simon Lake Road (east intersection with 55) and Old Soo Road offers a series of “moguls” worn through ATV use. Use care, watch for wheel ruts and use at your own risk.
54km – Recommended Stop – Simon Lake Park [Maps 6 & 7] West intersection of Simon Lake Road and RR 55
This park offers restrooms, a scenic view of Simon Lake and a small beach for a quick swim.
Tip: Exiting RR 55 on St. Louis St, just north of Naughton and turning left on Denis will bring you to the Waldon XC Ski and Hike trails.
Trivia: Walden was an acronym combining the names of Waters, Lively and Denison, communities that along with Drury, Graham, the unincorporated areas of Louise, Lorne and Dieppe and parts of Hyman, Trill, Fairbank, Creighton, Snider and Eden were amalgamated to make Walden the largest town by land area in all of Canada, before itself being amalgamated into Greater Sudbury in 2000.
60km – Mikkola [Maps6 & 7] Intersection of Old Soo Road and RR 24
At the eastern end of Old Soo Road, you’ll enter Mikkola, the first urban area in your foray into Sudbury. Immediately on your left will be a commercial area where you can grab snacks, etc. The trail will become rural again.
Tips: The intersection of 24 and 55 is very busy, and there are train tracks immediately before the intersection, so use care. When crossing to the south side of 55, the Trail will be immediately on your left. The easiest way to reach it is to use the crosswalk to cross to the east side of RR 24. The trail does become rural again after departing Mikkola, so making a bio break here or at the Kinsmen Park facility (washrooms marked on your map) is recommended.
69km – Highway 17, Southview Road Crossing [Map 8]
This final crossing of Highway 17 is busy and crosses 4 lanes of traffic. Wait for a gap before proceeding and use care.
The Ministry of Transportation has gone to incredible and historic efforts to make this continuous connection between Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury possible.
73km – Recommended Stop – Stack Brewing [Map 8] 1350 Kelly Lake Road, Sudbury, ON
Sudbury’s resident craft brewery is right along the route. Feel free to stop in and make an order. One of our shuttles will transport it for you.
78km – Suggested Stop – Downtown Sudbury [Map 8] Elgin Street Area, Sudbury
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail follows Elgin Street on the outskirts of downtown Sudbury. Here you’ll find the Laughing Buddha, possibly the best patio in Sudbury. Other restaurants can be found on nearby Romanet, Minto and Shaughnessy. But don’t spoil your appetite too much, don’t forget about the celebratory dinner this evening!
80km – Recommended Stop – Bell Park [Map 8], Paris Street, Sudbury ON
Bell Park is a gem of a city park with exceptional views on Ramsey Lake, once the world’s largest lake contained within the limits of a single city. From the water you’ll be able to see Science North, our dinner location for this evening, crouched on the rocks to the south. The park contains washrooms and changing facilities, a concession, and a blue flag beach.
Tip: Keep in mind that the waterfront route is pedestrian-only, so make sure to dismount when you visit the lake. The cycling route follows a multi-use trail a little further inland.
81km – The Finish Line – Science North [Map 8] 100 Ramsey Lake Rd, Sudbury, ON
This is it. Welcome to the end of a great tour, and the first GWTA in the North. Enjoy the park, take in the view of Ramsey Lake, have a rest and pat yourself on the back. You’ve earned it.
82km – Overnight Location – Travelodge Hotel [Map 8] 1401 Paris St, Sudbury, ON, P3E 3B6
The Travelodge is located a short jaunt further south on Paris Street.
Finish Line Celebrations
Free shuttles to visit the Big Nickel at Dynamic Earth, 122 Big Nickel Mine Dr, Sudbury, ON
Visit the iconic Big Nickel, a 30 foot replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel and designated the world’s largest coin located at Dynamic Earth. Shuttles will be leaving from the Travelodge Hotel.
Celebration Dinner at Science North, Sudbury, 100 Ramsey Lake Rd, Sudbury, ON
Enjoy a 3 course celebratory meal with your fellow participants in this beautiful location.