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10 Things to Do at Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins

1. Hike on The Great Trail

Have you explored part of the world’s longest recreational trail before? If you didn’t know it was in Canada, that is probably because it was only fully connected in 2017 after a 25 year effort. Known previously as The TransCanada Trail, it now connects us to three oceans and encompasses 24,000km of trails, ranging from mountain multi-use trails like those found here to urban paths and waterways. We’ve already had our first through-hikers visit from France. On their way to the Arctic Ocean, they had crossed NewFoundland in mid-winter and turned up at Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins in Cape Breton in February. We were inspired by them to say the least, and a little envious of the wilderness adventure ahead of them, as they set out into the highlands woods heading towards Lake Ainslie. A beautiful look off over Whycocomagh bay can be seen by hiking 2.5km from our facility south on The Great Trail. We offer guided hikes too, if you would like some company!

2. Snowmobile in the Cape Breton Highlands

The Cape Breton Highlands offer over 1100km of snowmobile trails, and at Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins, the trails are at your doorstep! Perhaps the most loved way to explore the backcountry of Cape Breton is on a sled. You’re likely to experience good powder and drifts up here. Glide over the Keppoch Mountain range to Margaree for lunch and on up the highlands to Cape Clear for that amazing view. You will have a great day cruising around Whycocomagh, Lewis & Campbells Mountain and Lake Ainslie too and be back to the lodge for pints and to warm up by the wood stove in the evening. You can check out the extensive trail system in our area on this map: http://www.mappery.com/map-of/Cape-Breton-Highlands-Snowmobile-Trail-Map.

3. Go on Tour on the Back Roads

A favourite leisure activity among some local island residents, when a free fair day comes along, is to go on tour on the back roads. At Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins you can explore the mountain plateau backcountry in our back yard, by cruising the myriad of back roads (keep in mind these are mostly forestry roads up here). You will want to make sure that you have a map or GPS of the area, so you don’t get turned around. Pack a lunch, your camera, binoculars, fishing pole, and see where the day takes you…you are bound to find some beautiful views and quite likely to see evidence of wildlife.

4. Forage in the Forest

Add some wild foods to your mountain menu during your stay at Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins! The forest surrounding us is rich with edible plants and mushrooms for those with the knowledge and skills to forage for them. Our location is riddled with wild raspberry, blackberry and blueberries in late summer. In the spring look for fiddleheads, cattail shoots, wild asparagus and garlic. In the late summer and fall, mushrooms are the prize to find in the forest. Even in winter, there are little edibles that you can brew into a tea. Remember to only harvest sustainably, which means never harvesting more that a third of the plant population you find, and if its not abundant in the area, best to leave it be.

5. Go Bush Whacking in A Protected Wilderness Area

For those guests with advanced navigation skills in backcountry territory, you may be up for discovering the forest off the beaten path. If that’s you, then you are in for a treat up here on the Keppoch Plateau, where two protected wilderness areas converge. Bring your flora and fauna guide books, your camera and your backwoods day pack for some wild back country exploration!

6. Ride the mountain on 4 wheels

Its a 4×4 wheelers paradise up here – ride all day then come back to your peaceful mountainside cabin for a great night camping out in our super comfy cabins! With 4 awesome Nova Scotia craft beer on tap brewed by the province’s “Beer Yoda” Greg Nash, you can round out the adventure by sharing stories and laughs in our licensed lodge, complete with it own Lodge guitar! Players and vocalist welcome for sing-alongs =)

7. Bang some Iron

We are lucky to have a forge in our community. There used to be 3 down on Main Street when Whycocomagh was a hoping harbour town in the 1800’s. Grant has brought back the village forge with his traditional blacksmith shop FireHouse Ironworks Ltd at 109 Main St, in the old firehall. People of all ages have been in to learn about the craft and try it for themselves over the 10 years he has had the forge open. The 2 and 4 day workshops are an excellent experience to really see if blacksmithing is a hobby you would enjoy. Its a great opportunity to test your artistic and physical abilities and to learn to make metal move and take shape into something you’ve imagined into life! After the heat of the forge, the coolness on the mountain will have you thinking everything is right in the world. Plus, there will be pints. Cold, tasty, hoppy as…well you will just have to try all four for yourself!

8. Drink Wine and Watch the Eagles Soaring

To be honest, you can spend several days not straying very far from your cabin porch at all! Bring (several) bottles of big juicy red wine and a fitting sized goblet, perhaps a book and and a blanket and sit in the sun and watch the sky for eagles, ravens, red-tailed hawks, bluejays, the odd snipe. Of course you could substitute tea for the red wine! Add in intermittent naps, strolls around the grounds, and some good food, and you will be well on your way to embracing the mountain chill we strive to maintain here! PS you can always wander over to the lodge bar if you want to share your observations over cocktail hour…

9. Stargazing

For many people, finding a nice wide open dark landscape from which to enjoy the night sky has become a trip out of town. We’ve got you covered up here. Stoke up a nice fire at the cabin side, cook up some dinner, let it die down to embers and snuggle up in your sleeping bag to watch the stars come out. Its amazing during meteor showers like the Perseids or Geminids. Fingers crossed for clear skies! Feel free to bring a telescope!

10. Unplug

Let’s face it, sometimes life just gets too insane. Too busy, too loud, to annoying. Your being dinged, pinged, and sucked into the digital world all day long. Demands keep coming your way from all directions, and all of a sudden, you aren’t feeling to well. This is about the time we clue into the fact that we’re wearing ourselves down too much – and before it makes you sick, its better to take some time for and to yourself. It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but we think the world is a better place when people take care of their own needs. Often that is best done in a quiet place away from your day to day stressors. Up on the mountain we welcome everyone and invite you to take time out for yourself. Your cabin is your private space – but if you feel like sitting around the lodge, you’ll likely find other people to relax with – so that quiet wilderness wont freak you out too much (you learn to love that pretty quickly though).

This article is part of a series entitled . Peruse other stories in our blog:
Writer's Notebook & Pen

About the Author

Hello there! My name is Jess. I am a co-founder of Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins. This mountain has captured my heart. I am so excited to be part of this project. Being in nature is where I feel at home, and I hope you will make yourself at home here too. I am here to help you with bookings, events & guest service. In my spare time, I am looking forward to recording parts our journey in the Iron Mountain Blog - but as much as possible, I hope to be outside, living life on the mountain! I also operate a local website design business called Beach Pea Design. Writing is one of my favourite pass times, and I am looking forward to being able to share a story or two with you all ~

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