Updated: Mar 26
This is an excellent snowmobile trail ride for all ages and experience levels. It is a scenic trail ride that is mostly sheltered within beautiful and mature boreal forest. There are 2 excellent warm up shelters to stop at along the way to warm up inside.
As you leave Rowen Adventures, head directly east across the open field for ½ mile (there’s always lots of existing snowmobile tracks to follow). When you arrive at the gravel road, drive northward the short distance to #9 Hwy. At the highway, the groomed trail now begins. You have just accessed Hudson Bay’s pristine groomed trails from Rowen Adventures.
Ride the groomed trail northward on the west side of Hwy #9 towards Hudson Bay, until you reach the Coop fuel station located at Hwy #9 & Hwy #3. You can’t miss it!! This is the perfect one stop shopping opportunity:
Good quality fuel (this is the best place in town to buy premium fuel)
Decent selection of trail snacks & non-alcoholic drinks
Hudson Bay branded shirts and hats (I recommend the stylish “Looks like we’re playing Hudson Bay Rules tonight” tee-shirt)
Friendly staff who can be helpful in answering any questions you may have.
Ok. Its go time. Time to fire up your sled and fly out of town as fast as you can go…. No please don’t!! Please keep the speed and noise down low until you get well outside the town’s limits! We need to keep the local non-snowmobiling town residents happy. Once you are a mile or more from town, give your right thumb a good long squeeze and feel the rush of adrenaline take over!!!
From Coop, travel west along the north side of #3 Hwy – as you exit Hudson Bay and enter the first field, you will see a large trail map sign (one of many trail map signs along this journey). From this location, take the groomed trail going northwest across the open field (not the trail heading west).
The Hudson Bay Trail Riders snowmobile club continue to do an amazing job at placing trail map signs at all trail junctions throughout this entire ride. You can download a complete Hudson Bay trail map here:
I highly recommend downloading the Polaris Ride Command app to track your progress in real time as you travel along the snowmobile trails (here) This app is fantastic if you are new to the area.
As you travel south from junction #7 to junction #8 on the map below, you will pass the site of an abandoned log mill (Great West Lumber Company Ltd.) and accompanying town site. The best landmark is just before junction #8 (or HWY #3), there is an abandoned railway line that crosses the snowmobile trail. Look west (or to your right) down the railway line to catch a wee glimpse into the past.
It’s presently on my bucket list to come to the old mill location in summer, armed with a metal detector to scour the area for remnants.
Here is a map of the area in its glory days.
Continue the short ride to the Challenge Camp warm up shelter. This is one of my favorite shelters for many reasons:
It has nice big south facing windows, so it is bright and naturally warm on sunny days.
It has a great wood stove for cooking any food you bring along. Always stocked with lots of firewood.
Indoor solar lights for night
Lots of pictures on the walls that showcase a bit of the local history.
Local folk lore says the Shaw Bros. locomotive was never removed from the area and is still sunken, lodged in muskeg swamp surrounded by overgrown bush. Allegedly, the locomotive was sunk after the tracks gave way. Nothing is confirmed on what really happened to the locomotive or where it is today. All I know is some Muskeg swamps seem to have no bottom, and if the locomotive went off the tracks into a swamp, there wasn’t an option to bring in large, modern day, track hoes or cats to rescue the locomotive like you would do so today – It was another 20+ years before a proper road was constructed through the forest area.
Hopefully this locomotive will some day be found.
When you are ready to go, head south from the shelter. You will immediately cross the Red Deer River where you are now approximately 23 miles upriver from Rowen Adventures. Continue onward through some of the nicest boreal forest in the province. Take your time. Try to take it all in. You never know when you will be back here to experience this again. There is a good chance you will see some of the wildlife that call this forest home. Your next warm up shelter is at Neely Lake. This shelter is larger than the previous, and equally inviting with many south facing windows that overlook the “snowmobile friendly” meadows of the area.
The remainder of this snowmobile ride is very nice. Near the end you will exit the bush near Akosane (the location of another abandoned sawmill) and then travel back towards Hudson Bay through a few open fields. Its rejuvenating to exit the twisty trails of the bush and see the distant plume of steam from Weyerhaeuser’s oriented strand board (OSB) mill. I personally love how the tiny distant steam plume grows in size and magnitude. You realize you are getting close to human civilization again.
After you cross the Red Deer River, head west along the riverbank to finish your ride at Rowen Adventures.
I hope you enjoyed your adventure!