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! One of the most loved ways 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. Make us a part of a multi-day tour across the Cape Breton Highlands!

3. Go on Tour – Daytripping

With so much to see within a few hours of scenic rural driving – Inverness and Victoria Counties offer dozens of day trip adventures! Whether you’re into waterfalls, rocks, beaches, museums, music or culture – there are destinations to discover in all directions! Have you been to Marble Mountain? Seen the church in Glencoe? Been to a baseball game in Brook Village? Checked out the train trestle in McKinnon’s Harbour? Gone whale watching in Bay Saint Lawrence? If you are looking to experience Cape Breton, we’d be happy to recommend some of our favourite places and people! If you are into fishing or canoeing, there are dozens of places to paddle and cast a line!

4. Forage in Hardwood Acadian 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 than a third of the plant population you find, and if its not abundant in the area, best to leave it be.

5. Go Backpacking in two Wilderness Protected Wilderness Area

For those guests with advanced navigation skill travelling 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 Unfiltered Brewing, you can round out the adventure by sharing stories and laughs in our licensed lodge, complete with its own Lodge guitar! Players and vocalist welcome for sing-alongs =)

7. Go out on the Hunt

Come the fall, those longing to connect to their childhood memories hunting in the woods with their parents or grandparents, or those wanting to get some training in with their hunting dogs, or those wanting to pass on some life skills to the next generation – our base camp is the perfect spot for you! With plenty of crown land access available, the plateau is home to grouse, deer, moose, bear, and coyote. Whether you are out to bag a few, or just tracking for the thrill of seeing the wild creatures or capturing a close up photograph, we welcome licensed, responsible hunting enthusiasts to make the most of our backcountry location. Looking for a guide for your adventure? We can connect you!

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, and the odd snipe. Of course you could substitute tea for the red wine! Or pop into Eagle Island Lodge in Whycocomagh for your herbal remedies. Add in intermittent naps, mountain water showers, 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 Iron Mountain Lodge if you want to share your observations during 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 bed of coals in the campfire at your cabin side, cook up some dinner and as the sun goes down snuggle up fireside 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! Fireflies live here in summer too.

10. Unplug

Let’s face it, sometimes life just gets too insane. Too busy, too loud, too 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 – and before it makes you sick or crazy, 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 to enjoy the solitude on offer 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 before bed time (you learn to love it pretty quickly though).

Park ‘N’ Play Package

With fuel prices going up, why haul your trailer every weekend to Cape Breton? Park your trailer in our secured lot at nearly 1000m elevation, this is where the snow is! Short and long term parking is available.

Guests enjoy a campfire and a beer at Canadas off-grid-pub

Getaway to the Woods

Get outside and explore the hardwood forest of the Cape Breton Highlands. Enjoy on site hiking or explore the local ATV/Snowmobile trails, local historic sights, and music venues.

3 Night Unplugged Retreat

Quiet days for detaching from the digital life and reconnecting to the natural world!