Snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D Not for Beginners or The Unprepared…
Related: Algoma Wilderness Ride
Riders will be able to snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D between Searchmont and Wawa this winter. It’s an epic ride and key to completing the Algoma Country “All The Way There” Tour. By connecting south and north Algoma, it’s also critical to the economic well-being of many snowbelt communities.
But with Halfway Haven closed on TOP Trail D between Searchmont and Wawa for the coming winter, many riders are wondering about the riding availability of that trail and what’s happening with fuel for their sleds. Here’s what you need to know about how to snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D this winter…
Grooming To Snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D
YES, there will be riding available on TOP D this season between Searchmont and Wawa. With thanks for their hard work and commitment, the Algoma Sno-Plan Association (ASPA – OFSC District 13) has confirmed that TOP D will be groomed from both ends as part of their regular operations.
So, when TOP D shows Green on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG), it is available to ride. But my advice is that only experienced and well-prepared groups of snowmobilers with proper emergency/survival gear should attempt to snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D, in groups of at last 4 riders.
No Fuel To Snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D
As to sled fuel, NO FUEL for snowmobiles will be available anywhere on TOP D for the 275-km trail ride between the last TOP D gas stations at Goulais River (south) and Wawa (north). There is no gas station in Searchmont. This lack of fuel availability on this section of TOP D means that each snowmobiler is personally responsible for:
- Knowing how far your sled can go on one tank of gas.
- If riding 275 km on one tank is questionable, either don’t go or carry a gas caddy big enough to get you there comfortably (allow a margin of error for getting caught in a storm or having to tow a broken sled).*
- Never leaving either Goulais River or Wawa to ride on TOP D without filling up your sled’s tank and spare gas caddy (and ensuring that everyone else in your group also tops up).
- Not going immediately after or during a snowstorm that could cause your sled to use more gas than usual.
- Conserving fuel on the trail by going easy on the throttle and not wandering off trail to play in the powder.
- Not going if TOP D is showing either Yellow or Red in the ITG.
TOP Trail D Warning & Options
You can reduce your riding distance without fuel on TOP D to 235 km by trailering your sleds to Searchmont with their gas tanks and fuel caddies full. Park your rig and stay overnight at either Driftwood Valley Chalets or Searchmont Mountain Side Accommodations and snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D to Wawa from there.
But riders should approach the TOP D ride this season as a remote wilderness adventure with no services available after departing Searchmont or Wawa and plan accordingly. To assist snowmobilers, ASPA is installing signs warning about no fuel on TOP D at appropriate locations, including “last fuel for XXX kms” signs at Goulais River and Wawa.
ASAP is also overseeing the upgrade of warm up shelters along TOP D so snowmobilers have sufficient rest stops to eat their snacks and to use for emergency refuge. The three shelters are located from south to north on TOP D, they are at:
- Intersection of TOP D201F – about 50 km north of Searchmont (with outhouse).
- Just north of intersection of TOP C101D – about 55 km from previous shelter (no outhouse).
- Between Halfway Haven and Wawa – about 80 km from previous shelter & 70 km south of Wawa (with outhouse).
My Last Word
All of the above is a satisfactory alternative to totally closing TOP Trail D. But the elephant in the room is what, if any, is the long term future of Halfway Haven? And how will that outcome affect those who want to snowmobile Algoma TOP Trail D in coming years? At least ASPS’s solutions for this season provide options and also buy some more time to figure out what’s happening from 2024 on…
The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.