Categories > Itineraries

4 Routes for Wildlife Viewing in the Athabasca Region

The Athabasca Region is nestled in the southern part of the mixed-wood boreal forest, providing excellent habitat for birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and more! This creates great opportunities for wildlife spotting, photography and viewing. Each season there is a varied cast of characters for you to see. Spring is a great time for returning migratory birds.

The Athabasca Region has viewing platforms and other infrastructure to help make your wildlife watching easier. So bring your binoculars or telephoto lens to glimpse some of the iconic species in the Athabasca Region.

Here are some routes to help you plan a wildlife-viewing adventure!

Tips for Successful Wildlife Viewing

  • The wildlife you might see depends on the seasons. Some birds may live here all year and others migrate here.
  • Some of these sites are more remote and may not be accessible by all people. Many viewing platforms have ramps, but getting to them can be a challenge.
  • Don’t feed or harass wildlife and stay a safe distance away.
  • Keep your pet leashed. Dogs can scare wildlife.
  • Dress for the weather. Layers are best in our climate!
  • Be respectful of the habitat and leave no trace.
  • Have fun!

Here are some guides produced by Crooked Creek Conservancy and partners. They have some basic maps, lists of species and details on when and where to best view them.

Bird Guide  | Mammal Guide

South of Athabasca

A great wildlife watching day-trip or overnight from Edmonton.

Tawatinaw River Viewpoint

 

Narrow Lake

 

Baptiste Lake Day Use Area

 

North of Athabasca

Athabasca River

Calling Lake Provincial Park

 

Northwest of Athabasca

Island Lake Campground

 

Chain Lakes Campground

Lawrence Lake Campground

 

Boyle Lakeland

White Earth Valley Natural Area

Long Lake Provincial Park

 

Boyle Fishing Pond

Hope Lake Campground

North Buck Lake Narrows

More Resources

12 Winter Getaways in the Athabasca Region

This winter, get out of town for a day, a weekend or a week to the Athabasca Region! The air is crisp, the forest is quiet, and there is a getaway for you to discover.

Whether looking for unique thrift items, relaxing with your family around a cozy fireplace or sledding the Athabasca River at a remote cabin resort, there is a trip that fits your interests, timeline and budget.

Be sure to visit our Events calendar to see what is happening in the Region during your stay!

Winter activities are dependent on weather and snow conditions. If you need information about local conditions email: ted@athabascacounty.com or contact your host.

Winter 2024 dates for the Athabasca Farmers’ Market are: Feb 17, Mar 2,  16 & 30


Saturday Day Trips

 

1. Boyle History Walk, Lunch & Downtown!

When: Any Saturday!
For a Saturday day trip, visit the Village of Boyle! About 1 hour 45 minutes from Edmonton and 2.5 hours from Fort McMurray, Boyle makes a great day trip to get out of the city. It offers small-town charm, a walking trail and access to cottage country and wilderness in Athabasca County East.

  • When you arrive, do the Boyle Historical Walking Trails through town
  • Grab a delicious lunch at one of Boyle’s great restaurants!
  • Stroll through Downtown and check out the unique shops and small-town charm
  • Be home for the hockey game!

 

 

2. Athabasca Farmers’ Market & Muskeg Creek Hike/Snowshoe/Ski

When: Saturdays in February and March
An active day trip that gives you a chance to stock up on some of the great artisan goodies and crafts at the Farmers’ Market, then experience the Muskeg Creek trail system!

 

 

3. Downtown Athabasca Thrifts & Finds Crawl

When: Any Saturday!

Downtown Athabasca hosts an eclectic selection of second-hand and thrift shops, fashionable boutiques and unique finds! We have planned out a route for you right here: Athabasca Thrift and Finds Crawl

 

 

4. Athabasca History Walk

When: Any Saturday!

If you love history and walking, you’ll love the Athabasca Historical Walking Tour. It winds its way through Downtown Athabasca, with interpretive signage telling the story of the settlement of Athabasca through its historical buildings.

  • Fuel up at Paddymelon with a hot drink and snack
  • Head down to the Train Station for the first stop on the tour
  • Follow the tour book. Download Here
  • Finish off with a delicious meal at a Downtown restaurant: Family Dining   Fast Food

 

 


Overnight Getaways

 

5. Friday Night, Date Night

When: Any Friday/Saturday!

Have a relaxing “date night’ getaway with your love!

Stay in Athabasca: Hotel/Motels Short-Term Rentals

  • Saturday morning, grab a coffee and a wrap at Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery.
  • Check out downtown shops
  • Stroll Rotary Trail at the Riverfront Park
  • Visit the Farmers Market at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex on your way back home (various weekends in Feb/March)

 

 

6. Best of Athabasca

When: Weekends in February and March

On this active weekend itinerary, you’ll experience some of the best that the Town of Athabasca has to offer.

  • Arrive Saturday early afternoon, go to Farmer’s Market and pick up some home-style treats and artisan goodies
  • Rent snowshoes from the Multiplex and hike the Muskeg Creek Trails
  • After supper Downtown, stroll Rotary Trail/Riverfront Park,
  • Drinks at Neighbour’s Pub to end the evening!

Stay in Athabasca: Hotel/Motels Short-Term Rentals

 

 

7. Lake Getaway – West

When: Anytime, based on availability.

If you’re looking for something closer to nature, the west Athabasca County Lake Country has a few lakeside cabins to rent. Relax with family or friends in scenic Boreal lake settings.

  • Arrive Saturday, hit the Athabasca Farmers’ Market (www.facebook.com/athabascafarmersmarket) and stores to stock up on the way through town
  • Check into your cabin rental
  • Snowmobile the vast River Runner’s trail system
  • Icefish on the lake
  • Contact your host for their recommendations on winter recreational activities

 

 

8. Lake Getaway – East

When: Anytime, based on availability.

The East side of Athabasca County has a few cabins to rent, too. Surround yourself with a picturesque Boreal setting.

  • Arrive Saturday, stop in Boyle to stock up on the way through town
  • Check into your cabin rental
  • Take advantage of the Chump Lake trails for snowshoeing and snowmobiling
  • Contact your host for their recommendations for winter recreational activities

 

 


Wilderness Experiences

 

9. River Runners Snowmobile Trails

When: Anytime, based on snow conditions!

If you love sledding, the Athabasca region has some great trails, especially routed for snowmobilers. Take a look at their maps and info here. Call ahead to check conditions and pay your trail fee.

You can stay in Athabasca or rent a West County cabin on Airbnb.

 

10. Grand Rapids Snowmobile Adventures

When: Various Weekends 

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures hosts weekend expeditions at their remote cabin resort located on the banks of the Athabasca River. They provide cozy cabins, meals and more.

Learn more here

 

11. Reel Angling Ice Fishing

When: Anytime based on ice conditions!

Let an experienced local guide show you the best spots to ice fish! Ice fishing packages for the day, weekend or week are available. Take a look at their website for more info or contact them at:

780-916-9768

 

12. Winter Wilderness Camping

When: Anytime!

The Athabasca Region offers some excellent winter back-country camping:

La Biche River Wildland Provincial Park

Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park

Peace River Wilderness Trail

Winter camping tips:

  • Dress in layers
  • Be prepared for all kinds of weather
  • You may need to bring firewood
  • You may need to bring potable water
  • Showers and flush toilets will most likely be closed
  • Animal-proof food storage is essential
  • Make sure someone knows your location and timeline

Follow Athabasca Region Tourism on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post pics of your winter adventures. Tag us at @visitathabasca #VisitTheAthabascaRegion #LiveLifeOutside

7 Winter Walks You Can Do In the Athabasca Region

Ready for an active getaway?

For some, the chilly weather makes them curl up under a blanket and stay cozy until spring. If you’re the opposite, and the brisk air makes you want to get outside and move, then the Athabasca region has some great outdoor walks that can be done in the winter!

If it snows a lot, most of these walks are well-maintained sidewalks, so no trudging. On the nature trails, grab some snowshoes or cross-country skis and move across the land and snow that way.

If you use AllTrails, check out the Athabasca region maps and contribute your own walk/run/ski to add to the route listings. We have added some AllTrail links to the article.

Whatever walk you choose (or walks, because how can you choose just one?), you’ll see how easy it is to enjoy the outdoors and experience an active getaway for the day, weekend or week in the Athabasca Region! #LiveLifeOutside


1. Boyle Historical Walk

On the outskirts of the Village of Boyle, you’ll find the Boyle Historical Walking Trails. The trail system was established by the Boyle Community Betterment Committee to commemorate the centennial of the village.

Starting at the Boyle Campground, follow the trail to the west. You can then turn south and then back down to town.

 

Food and Accommodations in Boyle

After your hike, hit up one of Boyle’s homestyle eating establishments like Boyle Pizza House, Pepper Tree Café, or Hooters Truck Stop Restaurant.

Boyle is 3 hours from Fort McMurray and 1 hour 40 minutes from Edmonton. If you want to stay overnight, check out the accommodations: Airbnb, and Boyle Hotels.

 

2. Athabasca Rotary Trail

The Athabasca Rotary Trail is a paved walking trail that takes you from one end of Athabasca right to the Muskeg Creek Trail system. If you started on the east end of Athabasca, you could follow the trail down the hill, under the HWY 55 bridge, west along the riverfront until you get to Hwy 55 again. You could continue to the west and meet up with the Muskeg Trail System.

There are informational signs, telling the story of the Athabasca River and Athabasca Landing. There is a great view of the Old Bridge in the distance.

The Riverfront walk is about 2.5 km long, relatively flat and fully paved. The Riverfront Park has firepits to warm up with, with firewood for sale at the Husky Market across the highway.

  • The Rotary trail is cleared by the Town after a snowfall.

Rotary Riverfront on AllTrails

 

 

 

 

3. Athabasca History Walk

a display of antique and historical items at the Athabasca Archives

The Town of Athabasca played an important role in the history of Northern Alberta. Athabasca Landing was a transportation hub connecting Edmonton and northern settlements. The river was the highway the town the gathering area.

Many of the historical buildings and sites remain in the town and the Athabasca Historical Society created a historical walk to tell their stories.

The walk wanders through Downtown Athabasca, down to the Riverfront and back. End your walk with a visit to the extensive collection at the Athabasca Archives.

Read the Blog

Download the PDF

  • The sidewalks on this walk are generally cleared after a snowfall.

 

 

 

4. Athabasca Thrift & Finds Crawl

Love thrifting, unique finds and a good walk? Then the Athabasca Thrift and Finds crawl is for you!

This walk visits the excellent thrift stores Athabasca hosts, with high quality and unique second-hand finds. You’ll also visit some unique boutiques that curate eclectic and thoughtful collections.

There are plenty of stops for snacks, meals or coffee, so take your time and refresh yourself during your exciting haul!!!

Read the Blog for route and descriptions.

  • The sidewalks on this walk are generally cleared after a snowfall.

 

5. Muskeg Creek Trails

One of the best attractions in the Town of Athabasca is the Muskeg Creek Park trail system! The park is located on the west side of Athabasca, adjacent to the University of Athabasca campus. It is a beautiful slice of the Boreal Forest, within the Town of Athabasca.

There are multiple loops of varying distances and elevations.

“The Muskeg Creek Valley is a steep-sided, heavily wooded ravine located west of the downtown area and adjacent to Athabasca University.  Covering an area of 17.5 square kilometres with an elevation change of 50 meters, it is easy to get away from the sights and sounds of the nearby urban area.”

  • In the winter, the trail system is groomed for in-line and skate cross-country skiing. You can rent snowshoes from the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, as well.

Learn more and download a map here

Muskeg Creek on AllTrails

University Loop on AllTrails

 

6. Athabasca Landing/Trans Canada Trail

The Athabasca Landing/Trans Canada Trail is a historical travel route that followed the Tawatinaw River Valley from Edmonton in the 1800’s.

The trailhead is situated right in the Town of Athabasca, with easy access from Hwy 55 and plenty of parking. This is an in & out trail that can be followed all the way to the Village of Colinton. You can also park at the trailhead in Colinton. The point-to-point distance is approx 13 km.

  • This trail is not groomed in the winter. Some sections may become packed, but snowshoes or skis are recommended. Bridge repair is ongoing and may be unpassable.

Athabasca Landing Trail on AllTrails

Follow the trail to Colinton

 

7. Centennial Park – North Shore of Athabasca River

When you look across the Athabasca River from Riverfront Park, you will see a big welcome sign on the north shore. The sign, and an amazing view of the Town of Athabasca, can be found at Athabasca Centennial Park. The also serves as a starting point for a walk along the river and into the forest.

Walk west of the park along the River Ave trail. You can turn and walk north for about another 1 km. The total distance is about 3 km.

  • This is an in-and-out trail that is not groomed in the winter.

 

Bonus Walk!

Would you like to experience the terrain that the triathletes participating in the Kapâwinihk Wilderness Triathlon run/walk? It’s a winding trail through gorgeous Boreal forest that has some great views of the Athabasca River. The trail system is part of the River Meadows RV Park but is open to the public. The owners ask that you call or text 780-689-1565 to let them know you are on the property.

Before you enter the RV park, you will see a parking area across from a construction site. The entrance to the trails is just down from there. If you plan on hiking the whole loop, please be aware that two sections cross water, so use caution. 

 

Food and Accommodations in Athabasca

Athabasca has some fantastic restaurants that will serve up a delicious meal to fuel up your walk or warm you up when you are done. If you want to spend a weekend or more, you could choose from chain hotels, Mom & Pop motels and short-term rentals.

Check out our Food listings:

Check out our Accommodations:

 

Share Your Walks

Share your photos from your Athabasca Region outdoor adventures by using the #VisitTheAthabascaRegion hashtag.

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Thrift & Finds Crawl in Downtown Athabasca!

If you love thrifting and finding unique gifts and homeware, yummy coffee and treats, and delicious brunches and lunches, Athabasca has an afternoon of fun for you!

Downtown Athabasca is perfectly set up for an awesome “Thrift & Finds Crawl”. If you don’t know what a “thrift crawl” is, think pub crawl but with second-hand shopping! And here in Athabasca, you can visit some unique retailers along the way, too.

For this order of stops, you could park at the Riverfront, but there are other parking options where you could start your crawl. There’s parking on 51st Street and you could loop around from there.

Wear walking shoes, this crawl is about 3 km long. The Town of Athabasca is built on the Athabasca River Valley, so there are some hills. There are a lot of places for refreshments along the way if you need a break.

If you are looking for more thrift & finds opportunities, there are a few to drive to. You’ll never know what you’ll find, so it’s worth it.

Ready, Set, Crawl…

1. Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery – 4911 – 49 Street

Starting from the Athabasca Riverfront Park, walk south (away from the river) on 49th Street. About halfway up the block, you’ll come to the first stop.

Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso & Eatery is a great place to start your crawl. Fuel up on one of their espresso drinks and an in-house baked treat, or a breakfast wrap! They have a daily lunch special and other delicious meal items.

Paddymelon isn’t just on the list as a fuel stop, but as a place to find unique home decor, candles, scarves, Canadian-made jewelry, baby gifts, books, and more!

www.facebook.com/PaddymelonGifts

2. A Little Bit of Everything – 4913-49 Street

Just a couple of doors down from Paddymelon is A Little Bit of Everything

A Little Bit of Everything is exactly that: some used, some new, some food, some clothing, some arts & crafts! They are a local favourite, always bringing in new and exciting items and crafts.

Facebook Page

3. Ella & Birch Collective – 4916 A 50 St

From A Little bit of Everything, continue walking south (back past Paddymelon) to the corner, turn right and walk over to 50th St. Turn right and walk down the east side of the block until you come to Ella & Birch. You can’t miss it… they always have an amazing window display.

Ella & Birch Collective is a boutique with a collection of clothing, accessories, soap and spa products made and designed by women in Canada! Comfy well-made clothing, handmade soap (the store smells amazing),  lovely jewelry and more.

www.ellaandbirch.ca

4. Bubel’s  – 4922 50 St

After leaving Ella & Birch, continue down the block (north) about 3 buildings down. There you will find Bubel’s department store.

Bubel’s is a family-owned and operated department store that harkens to the past. It carries clothing and footwear for the whole family! They also carry a unique selection of swimwear, toys, games, models, movies, CDs and vinyl records.

Facebook Page

5. Glas Floral Studio – 5003 50 Ave

From Bubel’s, continue walking towards the river. When you get to the corner you’ll see a newer building kitty corner. That’s where you’ll find Glas Floral Studio.

“Glas offers unique home decor curated from designers throughout Canada and the United States. Our preference lies with local, woman-owned companies and items with a story, quality of material and eco-friendly practices.”

Glas always has interesting and inspiring finds of all kinds. Their flower art is one of a kind, too.

www.glasfloral.com

6. Rhi-Defined New & Used –  5506 50 Ave

From a Glas Floral, you could walk to the Train Station. On the west side of the station is a walkway that leads to the Rotary Trail which follows the river. Walk west (away from downtown) on the Rotary Trail until it swings up and meets the highway again. Cross the highway there and you’ll see Rhi-Defined New & Used.

Rhi-Defined is a classic thrift store with a mix of furniture, household goods and clothing. They also have new jewelry, collectables and more.

Facebook Page

7. Riddle & Gift Shop at Athabasca Native Friendship Centre – 4919 53 St

From Rhi-Defined, walk along the highway back towards Downtown until you get to 53 ST. Turn right and the second building up is the ANFC.

At the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre, you can get 2 shopping experiences in one! Upstairs is their Gift Shop which has a beautiful selection of Indigenous-made gifts, jewellery and arts. Downstairs you’ll find Riddle, their second-hand store. Tons of clothing, household goods and more are available.

If you do the crawl on a Friday, they will sometimes be serving delicious homemade soup and bannock. Also a local favourite!

Riddle Facebook
ANFC Facebook

8. Lolly Pop Thrift Shop

When you exit the Friendship Centre, head back down to the highway. Continue east (towards downtown) until 51st ST. Turn right and go up the block about 5 buildings. You’ll find Lolly Pop Thrift Shop there.

Lolly Pop Thrift Shop has a great selection of used housewares, clothing and more. They pride themselves on having a neat and tidy space for you to do your best thrifting! Another family-owned business that delivers great service.

Facebook Page

9. Flowers by Christina

And finally, to your last stop, Flowers by Christina. Head back down to the highway from Lolly Pop and walk back to the main street (50th ST). Turn right and head to halfway up the block to find Flowers by Christina.

Flowers by Christina has a beautiful assortment of gifts and flowers for any budget. Home decor, food items and more, plus their gorgeous flowers.

Facebook Page

 

Take A Break

If you’re getting tired from carrying your haul, no worries, there are plenty of places for snacks, drinks and meals along your route. From convenience stores, fast food, food trucks, Chinese food, family dining and pubs, Downtown Athabasca has it!

Get something to go and enjoy it at the Riverfront Park. There are picnic tables and seating with river views for your convenience.

Take a look at our website listings for more info on where to eat/drink: www.visitathabasca.ca

 

Other Thrift & Finds in the Region

Country Bliss Treasures & Gifts – 5114  3 St, Boyle

“Welcome to Country Bliss! We are very excited to share some wonderful decor! Whether you’re searching for a piece of character to fill that special area of your home or need a heartwarming gift for your loved ones…..we have it!!”

Facebook Page

Second Time Round & More – 5800 Elm Dr, Boyle

Second Time Round has an amazing selection of thrift items, from clothing, household goods, furniture and more.

Remember, small towns have some of the best thrift items around!

Facebook Page

 

What will you find?

If you are looking for a day trip out of the city, or want to spend some time before an event in Athabasca, be sure to take on the Downtown Thrift & Finds Crawl. You’ll be sure to find some items that won’t be found anywhere else!

For more information about retail stores in  the Athabasca Region, check out our website: www.visitathabasca.ca/things-to-do/shopping/stores-boutiques

 

Wilderness Experiences in the Athabasca Region

Photo: Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures

Getting Wild

The Athabasca region is uniquely situated on the Alberta Boreal forest’s lower edge and bisected by the Athabasca River. There are many areas that boast untouched forests, pristine lakes, abundant wildlife and other natural features that offer travellers a taste of the Alberta wilderness.

Just an hour and a half north of Edmonton and 4.5 hours from Calgary, the Athabasca region makes for an easy wilderness getaway for all skill levels. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities…

 

 

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures

One of the premiere wilderness experiences in the Athabasca region is heading down the Athabasca River by jet boat to the Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures lodge. Your hosts, Darcy and Shirley Zelman will show you the rarely visited natural and historic sites on this stretch of the Athabasca River.

You’ll meet up in the town of Athabasca and travel for approximately 5 hours downriver, stopping to check out multiple sites. The first stop is an area with real old-growth forests where some of the trees are hundreds of years old and so big you can’t wrap your arms around them.

Next, you’ll stop to check out an abandoned Hudson’s Bay trading post. There are a lot of relics left behind displaying the history of the Athabasca River being an important transportation route in early Canada.

Don’t be surprised if there are stops to view the Boreal species that inhabit the area like wolves, bears, moose, deer and raptors to name a few, as the river valley has abundant and varied wildlife.

Your hosts will set you up in a cozy cabin and provide delicious meals to keep you energized for your adventure. You’ll be kept busy with opportunities to fish on the river or paddle around in a canoe.

One of the best features of this trip is the Grand Rapids themselves. A unique geological occurrence created these rapids:

The rapids are a result of river erosion of the 110-million-year-old sandstone of the Grand Rapids Formation. This formation, which forms the large, nearly vertical outcrop on the east side of the valley, is divided into three major sandstone layers. The lowermost level creates the rapids because it is filled with large, two-to-three-metre wide concretions that often contain pieces of petrified logs. These concretions were formed in a similar fashion to those at Red Rock Coulee. As the river erodes away the sand matrix, these huge concretions come loose and dam the river bed. – A Traveller’s Guide to Geological Wonders in Alberta by Ron Mussieux and Marilyn Nelson

GRWA offers a variety of packages. Be sure to book early, as this exclusive adventure fills up quickly.

 

Check out the videos produced by “Let’s Go Outdoors” on their experience with Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures:

Episode 1: https://youtu.be/eSDvmqSC2go
Episode 2: https://youtu.be/K491X3ih0lo
Episode 3: https://youtu.be/KnT5X1DdZaI

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures Online:

www.athabasca-river.com
www.facebook.com/Athabasca.River

 

 

The La Biche River Wildland

Just to the northeast of the town of Athabasca lies the La Biche River Wildland. This pristine natural area is only accessible through Poachers Landing.

There are over 17,000 hectares of undisturbed Boreal forest:

La Biche River Wildland Park protects an undisturbed native boreal forest landscape that consists of wetlands and dense forests of poplar, aspen, spruce, birch and fir. The area provides habitat for black bears, lynxes, wolverines, woodland caribou, moose and beaver. – Alberta Parks

There are no formal campgrounds here, other than at Poachers Landing, but backcountry camping is allowed all year long. Other activities include OHV use (please stay on trails to protect this sensitive area), horseback riding, hiking, boating, snowshoeing and more. Special permits are required for fishing, hunting, guiding and other activities.

The Poacher’s Landing campground has 6 unserviced sites and is a first come, first served campsite. There is a boat launch into the Athabasca River, a cookhouse and restrooms. It opens on May 20 and closes on September 20.

https://albertaparks.ca/parks/north/la-biche-river-wpp/information-facilities/

 

 

The Peace River Wilderness Trail

map of the Peace River TrailPart of the Trans Canada Trail includes the Peace River Wilderness trail that runs from just north of Athabasca to northeast of Smith, AB. This route was first used by the Indigenous peoples of the area. With the advance of colonial traders, settlers and the gold rush, Euro-Canadian explorers used this trail as a route north.

Spectacular wilderness area with interesting native flora and fauna and views of the Athabasca River. Moose, elk, deer, wolves, black bears and most boreal mammals are abundant. Bald eagles and other raptors make their permanent home in this area. The trail itself was part of one of the principal routes attempted by gold seekers headed to the Klondike in 1898-99 and was a primary settlement path followed by pioneering farming families to the Peace River country until approximately 1920 when it was superseded by the railway. Remnant historical sites located along the trail include gravesites and the Tomato Creek stopping house (developed by the Goodwins in 1910), portrayed in the movie, “Silence of the North.” – http://www.albertatrailnet.com/

The trail follows the Athabasca River through some old-growth Boreal forest. Expect wildlife like bears, wolves, moose, deer, and other Boreal species. It is approximately 60 km from trailhead to trailhead. Permitted uses include hiking, cross-country skiing, bicycles, horses, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles.

The southern trailhead is approximately 30 km north of the Town of Athabasca. There is some parking at each trailhead, and there are three unserviced campsites along the route. Please pack out all garbage and stay on the marked trail. Be bear smart when storing food.

http://www.albertatrailnet.com/for-trail-users/trans-canada-trail/fact-sheets/peace-river-wilderness-trail/ 

 

 

White Earth Valley Natural Area

If back-country camping isn’t your speed, the White Earth Natural Area provides a Boreal wilderness experience with the comfort of a campground nearby in Long Lake Provincial Park. It is located about 110 km north of Edmonton on Highway 831, which is accessible from Highway 63 North. It’s about 20 km south of the village of Boyle, where you can stock up on supplies.

The White Earth Trail is 17 km long.  The path winds through a wide variety of rich habitats, where an abundance of diverse plants and wildlife thrive.  It’s accessible from adjacent Long Lake Provincial Park during operating season (May to October), with parking at the trailhead.  The trail can also be accessed year-round from Township Road 621 at the southern end of the Natural Area. – Alberta Parks

The White Earth Valley NA is adjacent to thousands of hectares of undisturbed Boreal forest which promotes great habitat for many Boreal species, including bears and wolves. Use caution around wildlife and be bear-smart with food storage.

https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/white-earth-valley-na/

 

 

Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park

The Hubert Lake Wildland Provincial Park is about an hour southwest of Athabasca and about 2 hours northwest of Edmonton. The Hubert Lake WPP offers kilometres of trails through a central mixed-wood boreal landscape. The Athabasca River is on the west border and the Pembina River is on the east.

Hubert Lake Wildland Park consists of a sand dune complex and numerous small lakes and wetlands. Jack pine is the dominant tree species on the dunes. Itervening depressions support black spruce and larch, with open fens in wetter areas. The park is an important nesting area for great blue herons and sandhill cranes. A small caribou herd wanders in and out of the park.

Backcountry camping is allowed, with two unofficial sites on the map. OHVs are permitted on designated trails only. Off-trail use is prohibited.

Learn more here:  https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/hubert-lake-wpp/

 

 

Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland Provincial Park

The Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland Provincial Park is about an hour north of Athabasca, 2.5 hours north of Edmonton and 3 hours southwest of Fort McMurray.

The “road” to Orloff Lake only goes a portion of the way. In dry weather, this road is good but dead ends near Rock Island Forestry Tower. When the road is wet, it can be very slick and muddy. The remaining trail into Orloff Lake is approximately 4 km, accessible by ATV or foot only. This trail can be in very poor condition when wet. In dry conditions, it is a fair trail at best (lots of mud holes and trail braiding). Only the last 400 meters of this trail is within the park. There has been no trail maintenance.

Wetlands and forests in this park support a variety of wildlife. Lakes contain walleye, pike, perch and lake whitefish and are important habitat for beaver, muskrat and waterfowl. Orloff Lake has a great blue heron colony. Younger forests in the park contain white spruce and aspen. Mature forests contain birch and balsam poplar. White spruce and balsam fir dominate old growth stands. Black spruce and larch occur in wet areas.

Random backcountry camping is allowed. Learn more about permitted activities here: https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/north/otter-orloff-lakes-wpp/

 

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