Ride the rails of the Agawa Canyon Train Tour through Northern Ontario’s pristine wilderness.
The Agawa Canyon train tour
It is one of Canada’s most scenic train trips. Starting in Saute Ste Marie, the route takes you 114 miles/183 kilometres to the Canadian Shield.
Along the way view forests, lakes, rivers, valleys, canyons and waterfalls. The Agawa Canyon train route is noted for its incredible burst of fall colours in the last few weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.
This breathtaking scenery inspired the famed Canadian Group of Seven artists, to develop their own unique Canadian style of painting not found anywhere else in the world. See a photo gallery of the spectacular scenery of the area.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the train season will not start until September 2020.
Agawa Canyon Train Route
The train descends 500 feet/152 metres over 10-miles/16-kilometres opening into Agawa Canyon. The canyon was formed and shaped by rock faults more than 1.2 billion years ago, and then by the glacier ice retreat about 10,000 years ago.
Agawa Canyon Park is found on the floor of the canyon. The train stops here for 1 1/2 hours. This time time allows you to wander along the trails to see the three waterfalls, climb more than 300 steps up to the viewpoint or just relax and enjoy a quiet picnic.
The onboard train commentary explains the history and notable scenic areas along the Agawa Canyon train route.
Agawa Canyon Trails
- The River Trail on the east side of the tracks heads to Bridal Veil Falls. This trail will take 30 minutes round trip or you can return along the Talus route to North and South Black Beaver Falls for an added 10 minutes to the walk.
Video: Stunning Bridal Veil Falls the Canyon Park
- The Talus Trail on the west side of the park leads to the viewing areas for North and South Black Beaver Falls. This will take 30 minutes round trip. Or continue further along the route to Bridal Veil Falls, which will make it a 40 minutes round trip. Some travellers will take the River Trail on the return trip.
- The Lookout Trail climbs more than 300 steps, 250 feet/76 meres to the viewing platform. This route can take 40 minutes for a return trip from the topmost lookout point.
Video: North Black Beaver Falls
Video: South Black Beaver Falls
The Group of Seven
- Various members of Canada’s Group of Seven painted here from 1918 to 1923.
- Some of the Group of Seven members that painted in this area included Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, J.E.H. MacDonald and Arthur Lismer.
- A few members of the Group of Seven rented a rail boxcar, outfitted to provide living quarters.
- The boxcar was unhooked in various areas along the Agawa Canyon train route, allowed the artists to remain close to their painting locations. This practice enabled them to concentrate on creating sketches for their soon-to-be world famous artwork.
- Group of Seven artists painted in the areas of Batchewana, Hebert and Agawa Station.
Unleash your inner artist on the Agawa Canyon Train Tour
On the return trip train back to Sault Ste. Marie, local watercolour artist Eileen Halfpenny provided a painting kit, encouragement and a postcard representing the artwork of one member of the Group of Seven. We were inspired to create from the natural beauty of our surroundings. The art we produced may not have been gallery-worthy, but we sure shared a lot of laughs through the whole process.
This painting experience is not part of the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. Artist Eileen Halfpenny offers this service to groups for an additional charge.
- The granite bedrock in the Agawa Canyon train route is some of the oldest rock found in the world. The rock dates from almost 2.5 billion years ago.
- The glacier ice shield once covered this area about 10,000 years ago. During this time, the ice was up to one mile deep.
- The first rails of the Algoma Central Railway were laid in 1900, with plans to eventually run the railroad as far as Hudson’s Bay.
- In 1952, the Algoma Central Railway became the first Canadian railroad to switch from steam to diesel.
- Agawa Canyon Park opened in 1952.
- The dedicated Agawa Canyon train route started in 1972.
Plan Your Trip
- Use plenty of high quality bug spray or use a bug jacket during early summer. There are lots of biting mosquitoes and black flies.
- Wear comfortable, sturdy walking or hiking shoes.
- Pay attention to train activity when walking along the track and always keep and eye on the children in your group.
- Be mindful of the time. The train must leave on schedule. The stop can be cut short, depending on the movement of other trains using the same track.
- The Agawa Canyon Tour Train departs from the Sault Ste. Marie station at 8 am and returns at 6 pm. during the tour season.
- Ticket prices are: Adults, $100.88; Seniors, $91.15; Youth under 18, $54.87. Each ticket includes a $10 voucher that can be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages onboard.
- Buy train tickets online. Reserve early to avoid disappointment during the peak season, if you want to experience the fall colours in the last few weeks in September and the first two weeks of October.
- The tour is available in six languages; English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.
Use Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario as a base to explore the area. This adventure will take a full day with eight hours of train travel. More information about “The Soo” (as locals call it) can be found here.
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Stunning photography. Keep sharing more interesting blog posts. I hope too see you very soon on my blog.