If your next snowmobiling trip has you headed for northeast Alberta, plan to spend some time in St. Paul. The St. Paul Trailblazers Snowmobile Club members look after the local terrain, and they are gearing up for the season, with club meetings starting up in October. They host the Western Canadian Championship Snowmobile Drag Races and an annual rally in February, which includes a day out on the trails, supper and the chance to win cash prizes.
There is an annual fee of $80 for using the trails, and that comes with memberships to both the St. Paul Trailblazers club and the Alberta Snowmobile Association. You can purchase one at any snowmobile dealer in St. Paul or obtain one from a club member.
All of the local snowmobiling trails are accessed directly from one staging area in the town of St. Paul (approximately two blocks north of the Co-op at the east end of town).
There are three warm-up cabins in the vicinity. One is located at the staging area, another is south of St. Paul at 3 Mile Lake, and a third is maintained by the Lac Sante Group along the North Saskatchewan River.
Relish the Iron Horse Trail
The most famous route you can access in the area is undoubtedly the Iron Horse Trail. It stretches for more than 300 kilometres, with communities, staging areas and even geocaches along the way. Trailside service is common here, so you may be able to stock up on fuel mid-ride, but you should go out prepared with extra supplies regardless.
From the St. Paul staging area, you can take the Iron Horse Trail east to Elk Point and Heinsburg. Heading northwest will take you on a longer route that branches off at Abilene Junction. Go northeast from there and you will reach Mallaig, Bonnyville and Cold Lake. Northwest of Abilene Junction is a trail leading to the communities of Ashmont, Vilna and Smoky Lake.
Head south on the Bellevue Ferry Trail
The Bellevue Ferry Trail meanders south from St. Paul for 50 kilometres. When it reaches the Bellevue Ferry Crossing at the North Saskatchewan River, it joins up with the Two Hills Snowmobile Trail.
The Bellevue Ferry Trail and the Two Hills Snowmobile Trail are both fitting for beginners, but they still hold plenty of appeal for more experienced sledders. This area typically sees an impressive snowfall.