ATV Trails Near Edmonton: Exploring Trails Around Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail
Feb. 12, 2019
The Iron Horse Trail can be used all year by hikers, bike riders, ATV drivers, snowmobile enthusiasts, and equestrians. The 300 km trail extends to its eastern terminus at Cold Lake by the Saskatchewan border and west to Waskatenau. ATV riders can enjoy other ATV trails near Edmonton, close to AIHT, including Lakeland Provincial Park, Cold Lake, the Spruce Hills regions and other neighbouring parks on public or Crown lands.
Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area and Park
The Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area that includes the park covers 580 square kilometres, making it the largest reserve in Alberta. Elevations vary between 580 to 780 metres above sea level.
These ATV trails near Edmonton wander through a land of rolling terrain, high hummocky hills, and deep lakes. White spruce, Aspen, tamarack, balsam poplar, willow and jack pine are found throughout the area. Bird species number in the hundreds and small forest animals are everywhere. Deer and bear are found in this region. The land and all wildlife are protected by the provincial recreation system.
The recreation area includes six lakes and five backcountry campgrounds. The adjacent park has an additional 16 backcountry campsites, many near ATV trails. Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) must stay on the marked trails for motorized ATVs and snowmobiles. Many of these trails have been upgraded with boardwalks over otherwise impassable areas. Riders are recommended to carry saws to remove occasional fallen trees on the trails.
ATV Trails Near Edmonton: Cold Lake
This is the eastern terminus of the Iron Horse Trail system. Cold lake is the deepest lake in the province. It is well-known for fishing, kayaking and canoeing during the summer season. ATV trails lead around the lake and into the forest. Trails are also found at Crane Lake, May Lake, Muriel Lake Campground, and Wolf Lake that has cutline trails.
Cold Lake is considered a paradise for ATV riders. The area is also part of the protected Lakeland Recreation Area with miles of trails that include special bridges over muskegs for ATVs.
Cold Lake and neighbouring Bonnyville on the AIHT offer accommodations along with dining and shopping. ATV or OHV riders can drive to this area hauling their vehicles and off-load them at trailhead staging areas. Many of the staging areas include campgrounds.
Spruce Hills Trails
The Spruce Hills network of 35 km of trails is maintained by the volunteers of the Lakeland Breakers Outdoor Society. The tails and warming huts are maintained throughout the year for snowmobile riders as well for ATV enthusiasts. This is another system of ATV trails near Edmonton. The trails are on public lands along the North Saskatchewan River with several cabins and stops along the route. The trail system includes loops leading to and from the main trail along the river.
Dempsters Cabin and Beauvallon Crossing Cabins are located along the river. These cabins can be used by people paddling canoes on the river as well as by ATV riders. Four Corners Cabin is also on the river while Uncle Joe’s and Pete’s cabins are further inland.
Beauvallon Crossing is a staging area along with Cougar Patch. Parking is available for recreational vehicles.
The River Ridge Riders maintain the snowmobile trails in the winter season that extends to Derwent. They also work with other neighbouring clubs to maintain the St. Paul and Lac Sante snowmobile trails.
ATV Trails Safety
The maximum speed on the trails is 50 km all year. ATV/OHV drivers must be respectful of others on the trails. Drivers must wear protective headgear, follow all rules and stay on the marked trails. Dirt bikes are also allowed on the trails.
Drivers are always restricted to the trails since the ATVs can damage the environment. All-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes are not allowed in streams, rivers or lakes. While the wheels may be able to cross a stream bed, they may leave harmful ruts that lead to erosion problems. All rivers and streams must be crossed on bridges. Drivers must use only the elevated trails and bridges built to keep ATVs above the muskegs to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail is open to everyone but regular cars and trucks are not allowed on the trail. The same rules apply to the ATV trails near Edmonton that are off of the AIHT. The many trails offer opportunities to enjoy the beauty of eastern Alberta by foot, horseback, bike or ATV.