A reclaimed Rail Trail and 'Linear Park' administered by a consortium of area municipalities and veteran trail builders. Interesting path takes you through a number of towns so you don't even have to pack a tent if you don't want to.
Nor do you have to do it all. The handy proximity to towns means you can do whatever section(s) you want.
The entire trail is described in more detail in 5 other trailpeak entries, "Search Trails" and type in Iron Horse to find the 5 listings. Personally after doing the whole thing this summer, I found the section from St. Paul to Heinsburg to be the most scenic. If you want a little more distance, I'd start in Ashmont and go through to Heinsburg. (Will have to hotel/camp somewhere unless you're Lance.) Riders of intermediate level should be able to average 60km a day if you want a workout, 30km would let you relax & take pictures, naps etc. Staying in St. Paul and/or Elk Point would work out well.
GPS log only has one point, the WYE just East of Ashmont just to center the Google Map. Refer to the individual sections for more detailed logs.
Nice looking trail in surprisingly scenic countryside. Sure it's flat(ish) but really, really pretty countryside. You will be pleasantly surprised if you don't just HAVE to have singletrack and steep grinds to ride up & down.
Getting good at riding over humped texas gates like the one shown will add a bit of technicality to the ride and insure you don't have to get off your bike ~53 times along the trail (like someone who shall remain nameless did).
An in-depth website covers most aspects of the trail, please see http://ironhorsetrail.ca/ for more info. The website doesn't do a good job (as of last time I checked) on telling you where to stay. Basic accomodations (hey, you're on an adventure trip, these motels add to the adventure) can be found in Smokey Lake, and at the Garner Lake Corner: The Spedden Inn. Nicer motels & hotels are available in Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St. Paul, Elk Point. NO hotels are available in Ashmont, Fort Kent. You'll have to set your days' destinations to fit these. Alternately, you may be able to tent at many of the staging areas and towns and possibly just in the middle of nowhere along the right-of-way (not sure what the local night life & wild life are like, use your own best judement on this).
You can pick it up just about anywhere along it's length, Waskatenau in the West, Cold Lake in the NE, Heinsburg/Elk Point in the SE, St.Paul, Vilna, etc.
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Posted By: cassk
- Fri Apr 27 18:27:15 UTC 2012
UpsideThere were some nice views of old Orthadox churches, farm houses and bog lands. DownsideThe west side of the trail is used mostly by horseback riders and atvs. It is mostly soft gravel and makes for a hard and very slow ride. If you do want to bike this trail start on the Cold Lake side and don't bike it to the end. CommentMy husband saw an article in the paper advertising this trail for biking. We started on west side of the trail, heading east. We did this bike ride on the July long weekend and it was very hot and dry, make sure you bring a lot of water.
Posted By: jlmt
- Tue Jul 04 02:08:05 UTC 2006
UpsideThe trail is fairly flat between Heinsburg and Elk Point given that it was formerly a rail route. Wildflowers abound, with some nice views of the N. Saskatchewan river. DownsideThese concern HIKERS only! 1. A very hard surface for hiking that is hard on knees and definitely requires good hiking boots. 2. Scarcity of fresh water sources. CommentI've just hiked the Heinsburg to Elk Point section with my brother-in-law (approx. 35 km). Weather was average for June/July (25-28 degrees Celsius). Wildflowers were very abundant with many varieties in full bloom including tiger lilies and wild roses. Although we enjoyed the hike, we found that we pushed ourselves too hard and consequently ended up with some bad blisters. My suggestion for others considering hiking this route - 4 days broken up as follows: 1st day - Heinsburg to Lindberg (18 KM). 2nd day - Lindberg to Elk Point (14 KM). 3rd day - Elk Point to Lindberg (14 KM) and 4th day (Lindberg to Heinsburg). There was 1 stream crossing near Lindberg (waist height depth however it can reportedly be avoided). With the suggested timing of 4 days, fresh water is not an issue however if you wish to take a shorter period of time, I would advise carrying least 2 litres of water as some sections are very exposed without a lot of shade. All of the alternative water sources showed evidence of active beaver or post-residence beaver leading to sceptism about their usefulness as "Safe" water sources, even with a water-filtration device. I would love to do this hike again, in 4 days, with a GPS to further clarify and document the route. Cheers and good hiking everyone!