This is a small portion of the complete trail that stretches almost 250KM from Smoky Lake, AB to Cold Lake, AB. The portion that I am describing is the earliest section, running between Heinsburg and Elk Point, AB. Although it is well used by ATV's, snowmobiles, and horses, hiking this portion seems to be relatively rare, but worth it. Sections of the trail date back to the fur trade and the opening of the Canadian West.
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!(Editor's Note: Great GPS data now attached).
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. Refer to the individual sections for detailed GPS logs.
See also the Iron Horse Trail overview with a bit of GPS data, Google Earth views, and a weather forcast. (pops up).
There are staging areas in Heinsburg, Lindbergh and Elk Point. The later two sites have bathroom facilities and fresh drinking water. Heinsburg has bathrooms, and water near to the staging area. This portion of the trail is readily accessible by vehicle via major and secondary highways. About a 2.5 hour drive from Edmonton.
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Posted By: Park2
- Wed Sep 05 04:41:27 UTC 2007
UpsideRun your own cattle drive. Riverside scenery. Water tower in Heinsburg. DownsideGetting Cow poop on the MTBs CommentOne of the most scenic sections of the IHT, going East bond is a nice little DH grade all the way. I'd do it again, if I wanted a 2 day bike trip, I'd start in St. Paul.
Posted By: astone89
- Wed Dec 13 17:29:14 UTC 2006
UpsideIts a good training trail for distance Downsidelong...there isn't alot of sights if your form the surrounding area... CommentThere's the Windsor Salt factory on the trail if you run out of water, and pumps break they're very generous to give out water!