Mile 1 Hill, near Heyden, north of Sault Ste Marie on the #17

Why travel between Wawa and Sault Ste Marie?

This was one of the most challenging sections of the Trans-Canada to build (see the “history” articles) through the Algoma Wilderness. The northern portion of this route has stunning high bridges, and the southern portion winds its way up and down hills overlooking Lake Superior’s eastern shoreline. Take an iconic “selfie” with the Wawa goose, and beside the Trans-Canada’s midpoint plaque at Batchwana Bay.

Here is the itinerary for the 224 km along #17 between Wawa and Sault Ste Marie:

Wawa Goose, statue near TCH
The original Trans-Canada Route was highway 11 (designated “The King’s Highway”), which connecting North Bay and Nipigon through northern forests. That highway was started in 1923 and completed as a key war-time project to provide toad access to key mining towns of northern Ontario. When Highway 17 was completed between Marathon and Montreal River in September 1960, it became the new (and much shorter) Trans-Canada Highway.

The Rocks along Lake Superior were created about 2 billion years ago, and are part of the Precambrian Shield (“the Canadian Shield”). The rock was scoured by the last Ice Age, leaving thousands of lakes and ponds.

Highway North of Superior around WawaWhile the highway was gradually extended east from Thunder Bay, the stretch from Schreiber to Wawa was built over the 1930s, hindered by the harsh rugged terrain of Lake Superior’s north shore. Similar difficulties were encountered highway 17 was extended northwards from Sault Ste Marie to Montreal River on Agawa Bay. All that remained was a gap of 165 miles between the Agawa River, appropriately called “The Big Gap”. This area was so rugged it was by-passed by the Algoma Central Railway (which connected Sault Ste Marie to northern mining towns), and was a popular dropping-off spot for the famed “Group of Seven” painters on the early 1900s. [Group of Seven: National Gallery | McMichael Collection]

The “Big Gap” area was rugged, inaccessible, and covered with virgin timber. Building the highway required clearing a 50 metre (150 ft) right of way before the road construction could begin. The Big Gap had several deep gorges and large rivers that necessitated building 25 bridges, including a 173 metre (685 ft) Big Pic River bridge rising 40 metres (130 ft) just east of Marathon. The five mile stretch north of the Agawa River, required 1 million cubic metres of rock to be moved before road construction could begin.
Highway 171 Mile Hill, near Heyden

The Montreal River is only 104 km long, but because it falls swiftly through granite steep-walled canyons was easily dammed and now has 4 hydro-electric generating plants along its short length, two of which are easily accessible from the Trans-Canada.
Chippewa Falls,near Batchwana Bay, the midpoint of the Trans-Canada
Beside Hibbard Bay, at Mamainse is an ancient First Nations copper mine, that may have been worked as far back as 6000 BC. Etienne Brule, the first European explorer to reach Lake Superior sent new of the copper mine to the King of France back in 1623, but mining did not commence in 1772. Another copper mine was discovered in 1889, but petered out in only 5 years.

Batchwana Bay, about 65 km north of Sault Ste Marie, marks the halfway point of the Trans-Canada with as many miles to the east as to the west. A Hudson’s Bay fur trading post was opened up here in 1824, but was closed down in 1894. Nearby Chippewa Falls has a very scenic waterfalls/rapids right beside the Tran-Canada Highway.

Agawa Train unloading passengersFrom this point southwards, travelers enter the St Mary’s River lowlands which connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Because Lake Superior’s water level was originally much higher, beach deposits are found even on higher hilltops making for very good agricultural land, though today that land is used for residential and recreational purposes.

Soo Locks Tour Boat

Sault Ste Marie was long an important gathering place for Ojibwa Indians, and the Jesuits built a mission here and called it Sault de Ste Marie (or St Mary’s Rapids, in French). Later, the fur traders of the Northwest Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company built trading forts here.. The strategic location, at the junction of three Great Lakes, made it a key defensive position for both British and Americans during the War of 1812. Both sides built fortifications and canals, though today, only the American locks are used by modern St Lawrence Seaway shipping.

Elevation Chart: Wawa to Sault Ste Marie

Elevation Chart: Wawa to Sault Ste Marie

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.
Note:

Itinerary Details

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
Map
Add
Info
-8Western boundary of Garden River Indian Reserve 14 (Sault Ste Marie) 184.4

 

Garden River First Nation, member of the North Shore Tribal Council..


Mamaweswen, North Shore Tribal Council web site..

-7Trunk Rd & Fournier Rd, access S to Queen St, and S to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 14 along St Mary River (Sault Ste Marie) 186.2

 

-2Trunk Rd & Black Rd, WB traffic can head N to bypass Sault Ste Marie, west to downtown, and International Bridge (Sault Ste Marie) 191.1

 

-2Trunk Rd & Market St, Wellington Square Mall on S side (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

-2Trunk Rd & Boundary Rd, south to SSM Golf & Country club, N to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D (Sault Ste Marie) 189.3

 

Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D, member of the Batchewana First Nation..


Sault Ste. Marie Country Club, 2 km S of highway..

-1Wellington St & Pine St, S to Bellevue Park (Sault Ste Marie) 189.6

 

-1Wellington St & Trunk Rd at Elizabeth St, Park on S side, Churchill Plaza on E site (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

-1Trunk Rd & Lake St (Sault Ste Marie) 192.9

 

0Great Northern Rd & Wellington St. west to downtown Sault Ste Marie, International Bridge, east to Highway 17,North to Wawa (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

Sault Ste Marie..


Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, 6 km SW of intersection..


Downtown Sault Ste Marie Ontario) shopping, 1 km W of intersection..


Downtown Sault Ste Marie (ON) has 9 hotels… see listings..


International Bridge to Sault Ste Marie, MI (3 km to W of intersection)..


Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada, 3 km W of intersection..


Algonquin Hotel (Soo), 3 blocks S of intersection..


Eastgate Hotel, 3 blocks S of intersection..


St Christopher’s Inn, 3 blocks S of intersection..


Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 0.6 km SW of intersection, via Bay St..


Sault Ste Marie Museum, 07 km W of intersection, via East St…


Sault Area Hospital, 0.5 km S of intersection on Queen St..

2McNabb St, Cambrian Mall on E side (Sault Ste Marie) 215.5

 

Cambrian Mall, on E side of highway..


Knight Home B&B, about 1 km to SE of intersection, via Bruce St..


Canadian Tire Store in Cambrian Mall..


Canadian Motel on Sw side of intersection..


Bel Air Motel, 0.4 km to SE of intersection..


Knights Inn 0.4 km to SE of intersection..

32nd Line E (hwy 550), EB travelers can head E for Sault Ste Marie bypass, W to Fort Creek Conservation Area (8 km), S to Kmart Plaza (Sault Ste Marie) 242.3

 

Fort Creek Conservation Area, hiking, picnic area, winter sports. 2 km W of highway..


Algomas Water Tower Inn, on Se corner of intersection..


Comfort Inn, on SW corner of intersection..


Best Western – Great Northern Resort and Conference Centre..


Sault College, 1 km to E of highway..


Sault Ste Marie Airport (YAM) about 18 km W of intersection. Served by Air Canada, Bearskin Airlines, Sunwing..


2nd Line East is the Highway 17 bypass around downtown Sault Ste Marie..

3Northern Ave, shopping (Sault Ste Marie) 239

 

Super 8 – Sault Ste Marie, to SE of intersection..


Catalina Motel, to SE of intersection..


Skyline Motel, to SE of intersection..

4Terrance Ave (E) (Sault Ste Marie) 242.6

 

Villa Inn, to NE of intersection..


Adams Inn, to SW of intersection..

53rd Line E (Sault Ste Marie) 232.6

 

64th Line E, NE to Maplewood Golf Course (Sault Ste Marie) 242.9

 

Maplewood Golf Course on W side of highway..


Root River Golf Course on E side of highway..

85th Line E, W to KOA campground, E to Hiawatha Park & Conservation Area, Hwy 17 S of this point is also Great Northern Road (Sault Ste Marie) 274

 

KOA Camping Resort..


Hiawatha Park & Conservation Area..

8Access to RV park, E of hwy, and Root River Golf Club (Sault Ste Marie) 264.6

 

9Large gravel pit to W of hwy (Sault Ste Marie) 287.7

 

11Glenview Vacation Cottages & RV Park & Campground309.1

 

Glenview Vacation Cottages & RV Park & Campground..

116th Line Rd (Sault Ste Marie) 307.8

 

15Trout Lake Rd, E, with RV dealer E of hwy317.9

 

16Junction 556, NE to Searchmont ski resort, services at junction330.1

 

Searchmont, and ski resort..

19Truck Weigh Station, W side of hwy346.9

 

26Pine Shores Rd, W access to town of Goulais River (2 km)197.8

 

Goulais River, 2 km E of highway..


Goulais Bay Reserve , Member of the Batchewana First Nation…

27Bridge over Goulais River (Goulais River) 194.8

 

28Services, fuel (Goulais River) 193.9

 

29Junction Hwy 552 E & W225.6

 

38Road W along Batchwana Bay183.2

 

43Harmony Beach Rd N along coast189

 

44Irwin Island Rd, W185.9

 

44Harmony Beach Rd S along coast191.1

 

49Whiskey Bay Rd, W189.6

 

55Mile 38 Rd E235.3

 

55Chippewa River crossing, Chippewa Falls to E of hwy, viewpoint on S side of river198.1

 

Chippewa Falls photos..

63River crossing, rest area to N & S of hwy182.9

 

63Sand Point Rd183.8

 

67Hwy 563 junction, W to Batchwana PP, plaque marking midpoint of the TCH186.2

 

Batchwana Provincial Park, with sandy beach. Day use, water sports…


plaque marking midpoint of the TCH..


Batchewana First Nation..

78Rd to Pancake Bay PP192.3

 

Pancake Bay Provincial Park. camping, watersports, hiking..

81Weston Rd, W201.2

 

96.4Southern Boundary of Lake Superior Provincial Park358.1

 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, camping, day-use, hiking, water sports, winter sports..


Niijkiwenhwag – Friends of Lake Superior Park blog..

103Alona Bay roadside turnout, W side of hwy256.3

 

110Road E & W, services on W side246

 

115Road E, hwy services E &W278.9

 

116Montreal River Nature Reserve232.3

 

Montreal River Nature Reserve, significant for its lichen barrens..

118Trail End Rd, W access to camping (Montreal River) 195.7

 

Twilight Resort campground..

119Crossing Montreal River, electrical generating facility to E (Montreal River) 242.3

 

124Rd E to Gartshore Generating Station, Montreal Falls, camping340.2

 

Gartshore Generating Station..

140crossing Agawa River187.5

 

144Agawa Rock Information Centre, camping, W side of hwy263.3

 

Agawa Rock Indian Pictographs Trail..


Agawa Rock Visitor Centre..

149Turnoff, E side of hwy225.2

 

Agawa Bay Campground, Lake Superior Provincial Park..

153Crossing Sand River, picnic area E of hwy, N of river182.9

 

159Katherine Cove, rest area and toilets W of hwy, hiking trails182.9

 

160EB view of Lake Superior’s Agawa Bay & islands. Bald Head (1050 ft) to W, E to mouth of Coldwater River188.7

 

161Services E side of hwy260

 

168Trapper’s Trail. E of hwy284.1

 

173Gargantua Rd297.5

 

174Roadside Turnout, Cross-country ski area, east side of highway301.8

 

177Baldhead River with rapids to W of highway358.7

 

182Road to E of hwy369.1

 

184Mijnemungshing Rd E380.1

 

186park road W382.5

 

192park roads E & W, Park office, Services354.2

 

199Rabbit Blanket Lake, camping, cross country skiing, canoeing, S side of hwy351.4

 

Rabbit Blanket Lake..


Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground..

200Highway Roadside Turnout, picnic area, scenic view of Old Women Bay179.5

 

206Highway Roadside Turnout on E side of hwy291.4

 

210north boundary of Lake Superior Provincial Park281.3

 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, camping, day-use, hiking, water sports, winter sports..


Niijkiwenhwag – Friends of Lake Superior Park blog..

218Crossing Michipicoten River185.3

 

219Historical Plaque, W side of highway, Michipicoten River Village Rd, W to Michipicoten Provincial Park (Michipicoten River ) 207.3

 

Parkway Motel, just N of Michipicoten River Village Rd. (in W side of Hwy)..

222Scenic Magpie Hills Falls Rd, access to Michipicoten Provincial Park, Gros Cap Indian Reserve281.9

 

Michipicoten Post Provincial Park., ruins of old trading posts, hiking, no facilities…


Michipicoten First Nation..


Gros Cap Indian Reserve m part of Michipicoten Fist Nation..

223Pinewood Dr. S access (Wawa) 278.6

 

224Junction Hwy 101, Wawa Info Centre, N to Wawa airport, town of Wawa, all services (Wawa) 282.5

 

Visitor Information Centre, with the famous statue of the Wawa Canada Goose. public washrooms…


Municipality of Wawa, 3 km to the N of the highway..


Highway 101, as Mission Rd in to Wawa, continues E to Chapleau..


Chapleau, pop. 2300, 130 km E of highway..


Algoma Motel..


Beaver Motel..


Best Northern Resort & Restaurant..


Bristol Motel..


Camp Michi Wawa..


High Falls Motel and Cabins..


Lakeview Hotel..


Lakewood Motel..


Mystic Isle Motel..


Northern Lights Motel & Breakfast..


Miss Ellie’s Bed & Breakfast..


Wawa Motor Inn
..


Michipicoten’s 9 Hole Golf Course..


Wawa photos..


Lady Dunn Health Centre, 3.7 km N of highway, via Hwy 101 & Broadway Ave..

224Pinewood Dr. N access (Wawa) 282.5

 

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
Map
Add
Info

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 

Map
Add
Info
 

0Junction Hwy 101, Wawa Info Centre, N to Wawa airport, town of Wawa, all services (Wawa) 282.5

 

Visitor Information Centre, with the famous statue of the Wawa Canada Goose. public washrooms…


Municipality of Wawa, 3 km to the N of the highway..


Highway 101, as Mission Rd in to Wawa, continues E to Chapleau..


Chapleau, pop. 2300, 130 km E of highway..


Algoma Motel..


Beaver Motel..


Best Northern Resort & Restaurant..


Bristol Motel..


Camp Michi Wawa..


High Falls Motel and Cabins..


Lakeview Hotel..


Lakewood Motel..


Mystic Isle Motel..


Northern Lights Motel & Breakfast..


Miss Ellie’s Bed & Breakfast..


Wawa Motor Inn
..


Michipicoten’s 9 Hole Golf Course..


Wawa photos..


Lady Dunn Health Centre, 3.7 km N of highway, via Hwy 101 & Broadway Ave..

0Pinewood Dr. N access (Wawa) 282.5

 

1Pinewood Dr. S access (Wawa) 278.6

 

2Scenic Magpie Hills Falls Rd, access to Michipicoten Provincial Park, Gros Cap Indian Reserve281.9

 

Michipicoten Post Provincial Park., ruins of old trading posts, hiking, no facilities…


Michipicoten First Nation..


Gros Cap Indian Reserve m part of Michipicoten Fist Nation..

5Historical Plaque, W side of highway, Michipicoten River Village Rd, W to Michipicoten Provincial Park (Michipicoten River ) 207.3

 

Parkway Motel, just N of Michipicoten River Village Rd. (in W side of Hwy)..

6Crossing Michipicoten River185.3

 

14north boundary of Lake Superior Provincial Park281.3

 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, camping, day-use, hiking, water sports, winter sports..


Niijkiwenhwag – Friends of Lake Superior Park blog..

18Highway Roadside Turnout on E side of hwy291.4

 

24Highway Roadside Turnout, picnic area, scenic view of Old Women Bay179.5

 

25Rabbit Blanket Lake, camping, cross country skiing, canoeing, S side of hwy351.4

 

Rabbit Blanket Lake..


Rabbit Blanket Lake Campground..

32park roads E & W, Park office, Services354.2

 

38park road W382.5

 

40Mijnemungshing Rd E380.1

 

42Road to E of hwy369.1

 

47Baldhead River with rapids to W of highway358.7

 

50Roadside Turnout, Cross-country ski area, east side of highway301.8

 

51Gargantua Rd297.5

 

56Trapper’s Trail. E of hwy284.1

 

63Services E side of hwy260

 

64EB view of Lake Superior’s Agawa Bay & islands. Bald Head (1050 ft) to W, E to mouth of Coldwater River188.7

 

65Katherine Cove, rest area and toilets W of hwy, hiking trails182.9

 

71Crossing Sand River, picnic area E of hwy, N of river182.9

 

75Turnoff, E side of hwy225.2

 

Agawa Bay Campground, Lake Superior Provincial Park..

80Agawa Rock Information Centre, camping, W side of hwy263.3

 

Agawa Rock Indian Pictographs Trail..


Agawa Rock Visitor Centre..

84crossing Agawa River187.5

 

100Rd E to Gartshore Generating Station, Montreal Falls, camping340.2

 

Gartshore Generating Station..

105Crossing Montreal River, electrical generating facility to E (Montreal River) 242.3

 

106Trail End Rd, W access to camping (Montreal River) 195.7

 

Twilight Resort campground..

108Montreal River Nature Reserve232.3

 

Montreal River Nature Reserve, significant for its lichen barrens..

109Road E, hwy services E &W278.9

 

114Road E & W, services on W side246

 

121Alona Bay roadside turnout, W side of hwy256.3

 

127.6Southern Boundary of Lake Superior Provincial Park358.1

 

Lake Superior Provincial Park, camping, day-use, hiking, water sports, winter sports..


Niijkiwenhwag – Friends of Lake Superior Park blog..

143Weston Rd, W201.2

 

146Rd to Pancake Bay PP192.3

 

Pancake Bay Provincial Park. camping, watersports, hiking..

157Hwy 563 junction, W to Batchwana PP, plaque marking midpoint of the TCH186.2

 

Batchwana Provincial Park, with sandy beach. Day use, water sports…


plaque marking midpoint of the TCH..


Batchewana First Nation..

161River crossing, rest area to N & S of hwy182.9

 

161Sand Point Rd183.8

 

169Mile 38 Rd E235.3

 

169Chippewa River crossing, Chippewa Falls to E of hwy, viewpoint on S side of river198.1

 

Chippewa Falls photos..

175Whiskey Bay Rd, W189.6

 

180Irwin Island Rd, W185.9

 

180Harmony Beach Rd S along coast191.1

 

181Harmony Beach Rd N along coast189

 

186Road W along Batchwana Bay183.2

 

195Junction Hwy 552 E & W225.6

 

196Services, fuel (Goulais River) 193.9

 

197Bridge over Goulais River (Goulais River) 194.8

 

198Pine Shores Rd, W access to town of Goulais River (2 km)197.8

 

Goulais River, 2 km E of highway..


Goulais Bay Reserve , Member of the Batchewana First Nation…

205Truck Weigh Station, W side of hwy346.9

 

208Junction 556, NE to Searchmont ski resort, services at junction330.1

 

Searchmont, and ski resort..

209Trout Lake Rd, E, with RV dealer E of hwy317.9

 

213Glenview Vacation Cottages & RV Park & Campground309.1

 

Glenview Vacation Cottages & RV Park & Campground..

2136th Line Rd (Sault Ste Marie) 307.8

 

215Large gravel pit to W of hwy (Sault Ste Marie) 287.7

 

2165th Line E, W to KOA campground, E to Hiawatha Park & Conservation Area, Hwy 17 S of this point is also Great Northern Road (Sault Ste Marie) 274

 

KOA Camping Resort..


Hiawatha Park & Conservation Area..

216Access to RV park, E of hwy, and Root River Golf Club (Sault Ste Marie) 264.6

 

2184th Line E, NE to Maplewood Golf Course (Sault Ste Marie) 242.9

 

Maplewood Golf Course on W side of highway..


Root River Golf Course on E side of highway..

2193rd Line E (Sault Ste Marie) 232.6

 

220Terrance Ave (E) (Sault Ste Marie) 242.6

 

Villa Inn, to NE of intersection..


Adams Inn, to SW of intersection..

2212nd Line E (hwy 550), EB travelers can head E for Sault Ste Marie bypass, W to Fort Creek Conservation Area (8 km), S to Kmart Plaza (Sault Ste Marie) 242.3

 

Fort Creek Conservation Area, hiking, picnic area, winter sports. 2 km W of highway..


Algoma Water Tower Inn, on Se corner of intersection..


Comfort Inn, on SW corner of intersection..


Best Western – Great Northern Resort and Conference Centre..


Sault College, 1 km to E of highway..


Sault Ste Marie Airport (YAM) about 18 km W of intersection. Served by Air Canada, Bearskin Airlines, Sunwing..


2nd Line East is the Highway 17 bypass around downtown Sault Ste Marie..

221Northern Ave, shopping (Sault Ste Marie) 239

 

Super 8 – Sault Ste Marie, to SE of intersection..


Catalina Motel, to SE of intersection..


Skyline Motel, to SE of intersection..

222McNabb St, Cambrian Mall on E side (Sault Ste Marie) 215.5

 

Cambrian Mall, on E side of highway..


Knight Home B&B, about 1 km to SE of intersection, via Bruce St..


Canadian Tire Store in Cambrian Mall..


Canadian Motel on Sw side of intersection..


Bel Air Motel, 0.4 km to SE of intersection..


Knights Inn 0.4 km to SE of intersection..

224Great Northern Rd & Wellington St. west to downtown Sault Ste Marie, International Bridge, east to Highway 17,North to Wawa (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

Sault Ste Marie..


Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, 6 km SW of intersection..


Downtown Sault Ste Marie Ontario) shopping, 1 km W of intersection..


Downtown Sault Ste Marie (ON) has 9 hotels… see listings..


International Bridge to Sault Ste Marie, MI (3 km to W of intersection)..


Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada, 3 km W of intersection..


Algonquin Hotel (Soo), 3 blocks S of intersection..


Eastgate Hotel, 3 blocks S of intersection..


St Christopher’s Inn, 3 blocks S of intersection..


Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, 0.6 km SW of intersection, via Bay St..


Sault Ste Marie Museum, 07 km W of intersection, via East St…


Sault Area Hospital, 0.5 km S of intersection on Queen St..

225Wellington St & Pine St, S to Bellevue Park (Sault Ste Marie) 189.6

 

225Wellington St & Trunk Rd at Elizabeth St, Park on S side, Churchill Plaza on E site (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

225Trunk Rd & Lake St (Sault Ste Marie) 192.9

 

226Trunk Rd & Black Rd, WB traffic can head N to bypass Sault Ste Marie, west to downtown, and International Bridge (Sault Ste Marie) 191.1

 

226Trunk Rd & Market St, Wellington Square Mall on S side (Sault Ste Marie) 190.2

 

226Trunk Rd & Boundary Rd, south to SSM Golf & Country club, N to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D (Sault Ste Marie) 189.3

 

Rankin Location Indian Reserve 15D, member of the Batchewana First Nation..


Sault Ste. Marie Country Club, 2 km S of highway..

231Trunk Rd & Fournier Rd, access S to Queen St, and S to access Rankin Location Indian Reserve 14 along St Mary River (Sault Ste Marie) 186.2

 

232Western boundary of Garden River Indian Reserve 14 (Sault Ste Marie) 184.4

 

Garden River First Nation, member of the North Shore Tribal Council..


Mamaweswen, North Shore Tribal Council web site..

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 

Map
Add
Info