You'll find tons of places that make visiting Yellowhead County a once in a lifetime experience!
The Cadomin Caves have been temporarily closed for the 2011 season to lessen the risk of the White-Nose Syndrome spreading to bats in Alberta. For more information, please visit www.albertaparks.ca/knowB4UGo.aspx
The Cadomin Cave offers excitement…mystery…and a bit of danger if you do not remain aware of your surroundings. The trailhead is located about four km from Cadomin. The hike to the cave entrance takes about two hours. The hike is on rough terrain and can be steep, slippery and muddy with an elevation climb of about 300 metres. Proper clothing, footwear and caving equipment are required and it is recommended that people explore the cave as a group with a guide. Open from May 1st to August 31st. This phenomenal cave was created by time and ground water, and is one of the oldest in the province. Be warned that during the month of August visitors are not allowed to enter the cave between 7pm and 7am, as this is when the bats are the most active. It is one of three known bat hibernacula in Alberta. The caves offer everything from hiking (it's quite a climb to the cave entrance-so be prepared!) to rapelling. Maps are available at Jacoby's Store in Cadomin. Tours are available through Inroads Mountain Sports Ltd. 780-817-1512.
Hoodoos – Wild Sculpture Trail
Located 63 km north west of Edson, the Wild Sculpture Trail hosts a multitude of hoodoos formed from several thick layers of rock that, over a period of time were eroded into their current shape with wind and water. The name "Hoodoo" is analogous to the word "Voodoo", meaning strange, sinister and magical - which was how the people of the past viewed these awesome sculptures. Unique to Alberta, the hoodoos are a magical hiking phenomenon. This site also offers unique flora and wildlife, such as an old-growth white spruce forest. Take 51st Street north from Edson that will take you out to the North Road, also known as Highway 748. Follow Highway 748 North to the Emerson Creek Road. Turn left at the Emerson Creek Road. Next turn will be left into the Equestrian Staging Area. The Hoodoos are a 15 minute hike in from the parking lot. These are mostly gravel roads (only 16 km of pavement). You can also access the Hoodoos by other oilfield roads such as the Medicine Lodge Road or the Sundance Road, which are sometimes very rough.
Coal Branch Railway
One of the first railways established in western Canada, the Coal Branch Railway is a great piece of history. Completed in 1910, this railway was a link from Bickerdike (seven miles west of Edson) to the coal mining towns of the Rockies (Entrance and Brule on the north leg and Robb, Coalspur, Mercoal, and Cadomin on the south leg). The railway was used to transport the coal that was extracted from the many mines lining the railway. As the production of the mines declined though, the railway was used less and less, until it finally shut down in the 1950's when the last of the coal mines were closed. Visiting these sites will give you an appreciation of, and insight to, the past. The refurbished railway station is now at the Galloway Museum in Edson.
It's now a ghost town, but Mountain Park used to be a thriving village of over 1000 people. As the first mine on the western side of the Coal Branch Railway, Mountain Park was the highest elevation point in Canada-over 6200 feet! Due to the coal depression after the Second World War though, the surface mining operations declined. Soon no more remained of the town but faint traces of buildings and a cemetery that previous town residents maintain. The cemetery is still kept up today, and represents a wonderful piece of our heritage.
The Cardinal Divide Area features not only the Cardinal Divide itself, but the Cardinal River Headwaters, Harlequin Creek and Tripoli Ridge. The Cardinal Divide is an elevation of land that separates the Arctic Drainage (McLeod – Athabasca Rivers) from drainage to Hudson’s Bay (Cardinal – North Saskatchewan Rivers. The Cardinal Divide is a day use area with hiking trails and is not maintained during the winter months. The Divide is about 20 km from Cadomin along the Grave Flats Road. At Mountain Park the haul road veers right while the Grave Flats Road crosses the McLeod River twice, then begins its ascent to the Cardinal Divide. Those who hike the trail will find the crest of the eastern ridge about two km away. Hikers can follow the exposed ridge to its summit about 3km further along. With much unique wildlife and wildflowers surrounding it, this place makes for a truly pleasurable alpine view.
Go take a ride on a historic ferry! The first settlers of Alberta used this ferry in order to be able to cross the railhead that was being built at that time. The Rosevear Ferry has been in operation for over seventy years and is one of only seven ferries remaining in Alberta today. In 1995 there were 15,557 vehicles and 14,165 people recorded which crossed the ferry. In 1997 the Bleriot Ferry was transferred to the Rosevear site, as the ferry which had been there was starting to decay. The ferry is still in operation today-and it's free! To access the ferry go north off Highway 16 on Range Road 154, also known as the Rosevear Road. Or you can take Secondary Highway 748 north east of Edson and then south on Range Road 154. Well signed location.
South west of Brule lies the Ogre Canyon. The canyon and the sinkholes within it were carved out by streams and underground water. In the 1900's the Ogre Canyon trail was used as a packhorse trail, transporting explorers and their goods through the mountains. The mountain consists of many switchbacks, which rise up to a height of over 900 meters! Once at the top, hikers descend down until the trail ends at Bedson Ridge. The climb is quite a hairy one, and only experienced climbers with proper climbing gear should attempt this hike. As well, the gravel road to the canyon is treacherous so four-wheel drive is advised. The Ogre Canyon parking area is about seven km from the townsite. The best way to access the Canyon is to drive to the end of main street in Brule, park your car and walk down the old railway grade. Please remember to shut all the horse gates after you go through. Guided tours are available through Black Cat Ranch.
Brule Sand Dunes
These three story sand dunes are fun place to hike, bike or quad. In the 1900's the Grand Trunk Pacific railway ran across these desert-like dunes helping to connect the Rockies to Edmonton. Although drifting sand over the tracks caused this section of the railway to be shut down, remains of some of the tracks are still visible today. So take a drive out to the dunes and spend a whole day relaxing and taking in the breath-taking scenery. The sand dunes are best accessed through the Wildhorse Lake and Kinky Lake Campgrounds north off of Highway 16 West.