You’ll find tons of places that make visiting Yellowhead County a once in a lifetime experience!
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 Highway 748 (also known as the North Road). 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 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.
The Cardinal Divide Area, located in the Whitehorse Wildland Park, 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.)
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 3 km further along. With much unique wildlife and wildflowers surrounding it, this place makes for a truly pleasurable alpine view.
The Cardinal Divide can only be accessed through the Mountain Park route coming from Cadomin. ,the haul road veers right while the Grave Flats Road crosses the McLeod River twice, then begins its ascent to the Cardinal Divide.
The Cardinal Divide can not be accessed through the south route via the Grave Flats Road route. A section of the Grave Flats Road, west of Highway Highway 734, along the Cardinal River, is washed out and is not passable.
Rosevear Ferry Site
Rosevear was famous for its ferry that crossed the McLeod River as one of the last few ferry’s still operating in Alberta. The ferry has been replaced with a new always accessible bridge.
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 had been in operation for over seventy years and was one of only seven ferries remaining in Alberta until its retirement in 2015. 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.
Ogre Canyon is located south of Brule in Rock Lake – Solomon Creek Wildland Park. 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. There are numerous sink holes in the area and hikers should be cautious as they can be fatal.
As well, the gravel road to the canyon is treacherous, so four-wheel drive is advised if you are driving up to the canyon. The best way to access the Canyon is to park your car at the Community Hall and walk or bike up the old railway grade. Please remember to shut all the horse gates after you go through. Guided tours are available through Black Cat Ranch and canyoning adventures are available through operators located in Jasper.
Brule Sand Dunes
These three story sand dunes are a 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.
Cadomin Cave – CLOSED
The Cadomin Caves have closed to the public by the province. Please visit www.albertaparks.ca for more information.