Go East of Edmonton for 300 Km of Adventure & Inspiration
Jun. 01, 2019
Just a little over an hour when you go east of Edmonton is the trailhead of one of the largest completed sections of the Trans-Canada Trail. Once a part of Canada’s rich history, this trail is named for the railroad that once cut through these lands, and the “Iron Horse” which brought people and goods across the land for decades.
Long before trains chugged along these plains and lake-filled lands, the indigenous people used the trails for hundreds, if not thousands of years. After the days of the locomotive came to an end, the communities of the area joined forces to preserve these railroad grades as a network of trails we can still enjoy today.
Regional municipalities worked together to preserve the trail for public use, rather than just letting them grow over and become forgotten. The trails can bring you up close and personal with nature as well, with 300 km to enjoy and appreciate, there is a good chance you will find something you love on Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail.
For Gentle explorers
The beauty of a railroad grade converted into a network of hiking trails is that it provides you with a nice, straight, and even grade to walk for most of its length. The trails are gravel, for the most part, and unlike more extreme and difficult hikes, you can enjoy the scenery without the more technical aspects. If a bike ride, horseback ride, or ATV trek or more to your liking, you can find it here.
Depending on the season, there are a number of different experiences you will encounter. The communities that helped establish Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail each have something to offer along with their community pride. From jamborees, music festivals, and heritage days of Ashmont to the trestles of Waskateneau the giant mushroom of Vilna, every stop along the way will fill your spirit with sights and new discovery. Eateries and restaurants in any number of hamlets and small towns along the way will fill your stomach as well.
For the No-hassle traveler
Local artisans, indigenous craftsmen, and festivals bring together the creativity and artistry of the communities as well. If you want to check out each section of the trail, you can do so by visiting town by town. Each area is as varied as the landscape and carries with it the pride of its inhabitants. Take the backroads by car, bike, or horseback and see Alberta as you have never seen it before. Here are some points when you go east of Edmonton on AIHT, to name but a few, that might spark your interest!
- Ashmont: A prairie community that is alive with festivals, fishing, and weekly live country music festivals. This tiny town makes up for in local pride what the years have taken away since its peak in the 1960s. A hidden gem you have to see to appreciate.
- Bellis: Known for its local trestle, Bellis also features blueberry picking when they are in season. Rich in cultural diversity and a long agricultural history that might surprise you, Bellis is a beautiful stop along the way.
- Smoky Lake: Festivals such as the Great White North Pumpkin Festival and the Smoky Lake Stampede are where the community flourishes and really knows how to have fun. Restaurants, hotels, and other amenities can be found here.
- St. Paul: Rich with indigenous history and monuments celebrating cultural diversity in the area (the UFO Landing Pad for one), St. Paul is “A People Kind of Place“.
- Cold Lake: The northeast end of Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail, Cold Lake sits on the shores of one of Alberta’s largest lakes as well as Canada’s largest inland marina. This is also the town where the Iron Horse Trail and the Trans Canadian Snowmobile Trail meet and it is also on this leg that you will find the famous Beaver River Trestle.
Go East of Edmonton on AIHT this Summer
Whether it is hiking or mountain biking, Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail is a great section of the Trans-Canada Trail to check off from your adventurer’s bucket list. Horseback riding, ATVs, as well as fishing, a a selection of year round outdoors adventure sports is there for the choosing. In winter, you can enjoy dog-sledding, Nordic skiing, and kayaking on any number of lakes and rivers that you will encounter on your travels are there for the exploring. Alberta is ripe with forests, plains, and lush countryside that will continue to call and inspire you for years to come.
Contact us to learn more about how you can go East of Edmonton on the Alberta Iron Horse Trail and get your next adventure started!