See you in St. Paul

Pause on the Iron Horse Trail to enjoy the pleasant community of St. Paul

by Danielle Cameron

There are a number of warm-up shelters around St. Paul, so you can rest up before heading back out for more adventures.
There are cosy warm-up shelters around St. Paul, so you can rest before heading back out for more adventures. Photo courtesy the St. Paul Trailblazers

We know you've heard of it. It's been an addition to countless snowmobilers' bucket lists and continues to enchant new and experienced riders each season. 

I'm talking, of course, about the Iron Horse Trail. Extending for 330 kilometres, this is one of those iconic routes that sledders dream about and return to every chance they get. Geocaching is popular here, and there are more than 20 rest stops and staging areas along the way. Often, snowmobilers will make a multi-day excursion out of it, spending the night in some of the quaint towns they pass through and socializing with all the friendly people they meet there. If you have a sled, expect to be welcomed warmly.

One stop you must make

In the process of riding the Iron Horse Trail, you will come across the lovable community of St. Paul, Alberta. Once you see the trails around here, you will no doubt wish to stop and stay a while. The trails take you through boreal forest, rolling rangeland and wetland territory. Some enjoy riding the Bellevue Ferry Trail, which runs south from St. Paul for 50 kilometres before connecting to the Two Hills Snowmobile Trail at the North Saskatchewan River. 

Both the Bellevue Ferry Trail and the Two Hills Snowmobile Trail offer terrain that is ideal for family riding or for those who are just starting out in the sport. However, that doesn't mean experienced sledders won't get a kick out of riding here. The wilderness views, coupled with the joy-inducing snowfall that is common for this region, make it the kind of destination that can meet the needs of almost any snowmobiler.

Thank the club

The St. Paul Trail Blazers Snowmobile and ATV Club is a busy organization. In addition to promoting local sledding, hosting annual fundraisers and putting on other community events, the club also maintains ATV trails in the warmer months. The focus is not just on having fun but also on environmental stewardship. Club members have a goal of enjoying the trails without damaging the delicate natural surroundings that make the Iron Horse Trail so special. Protecting the land in this way is a challenge at times, but the Trail Blazers are not afraid of hard work—and it shows.

To be part of this amazing group and support all its positive work, the best thing to do is purchase a membership to the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) and start attending club meetings. You can keep track of meetings and other updates by visiting the Trail Blazers' Facebook page. Even if you don't live close enough to attend any gatherings, your ASA trail pass is still worth getting. For starters, it gives you legal permission to ride a plethora of Alberta trails. In addition, your funds go toward the maintenance and improvements of riding territory throughout the province, making the sport more fun, safe and environmentally responsible.

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