Categories > Recreation

Golf & Stay in the Athabasca Region

Are you looking to combine a getaway with a great round of golf (or two)? Look no further than the Athabasca Region!

We have some amazing choices that pair scenic and sometimes challenging courses set in the Boreal, with camping, vacation rentals or in-town accommodations. Check it out!

Main photo courtesy of Athabasca Golf & Country Club

 

Athabasca Golf & Country Club

The Athabasca Golf & Country Club is located just north of the Town of Athabasca. It is nestled in the Boreal forest along the banks of the Athabasca River. It is considered one of the premiere courses in Northern Alberta and challenges the most experienced players.

scene of trees and golf fairway with green in the distance

Athabasca Golf and Country Club was originally a nine hole layout designed in 1963. The course was expanded to a full eighteen holes in 1995 by Sid Puddicombe. Now with a recent $1.8 million renovation (also by Puddicombe) it boasts the 4th most difficult challenges in all of Canada. This beautiful course has much to offer even the most experienced golfer. During your round you may encounter a variety of wildlife including fox, moose, deer or even the occasional bear. Come test your skill and enjoy the natural beauty of Northern Alberta. – AGCC website.

The AGCC is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year! To celebrate they are hosting a 60th Anniversary Championship Tournament on September 10, 2023. If you haven’t experienced the area in the fall, this would be a fantastic way to soak in the usually warm and dry weather and the fall colours.

They also host multiple themed tournaments and special events, including the upcoming Road to Hope fundraiser on September 7, 2023.

The clubhouse is home to their Pro Shop and the Fox Den Restaurant. The pro shop offers all the clothing and equipment you will need for a successful round. Please note that the club does have a dress code of preferred golf attire and footwear.

The Fox Den serves up a mean burger (veggie choice available, too), fish and chips, salads and delicious craft beers. They boast a gorgeous patio to enjoy your meal and the view after your round.

If you are looking for camping accommodations, the Blueberry Hill RV park is just across from the clubhouse. They also manage the Lions Campground, which serves as their overflow. About 10 minutes away is the scenic River Meadows RV Park, situated right on the river.  If you want to rough it a bit, check out the Riverside Recreation Area about 10 minutes away.

If you are looking for a hotel/motel or AirBnB, Athabasca has many choices. Check out our “Stay” section for details.

The AGCC has partnered with the Tawatinaw Valley Retreat Bed & Breakfast for a Stay and Play Package! The Tawatinaw Valley Retreat is about 40 minutes from Athabasca and is set in the gorgeous Tawatinaw River valley. After you are finished golfing, take in the view of the lake at the end of the dock or go on a stroll. It’s a peaceful place away from everything! Check out their website for details on the package.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://athabascagolf.ca/
Phone:  780-675-4599
Email: info@athagolf.com
Photo courtesy of Athabasca Golf & Country Cub

 

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation offers fantastic, family-friendly recreation for all skill levels. And if you aren’t a golfer, they have something for you, too!

golf course scene with a pond in foreground

Located about 10 minutes south of the Town of Athabasca, just off Hwy 2, Rocky Lane has a 9-hole par 3 course, disc golf, soccer golf, fling golf and a golf simulator. It is a gorgeous course with water features and lots of lush landscaping. The really cool thing is that the course has been designed so that your crew can golf, throw discs or fling balls together, all at the same time!

Rocky Lane has a 10-stall campground as well, so you can camp & play without having to leave the site. Each stall has a picnic table and fire pit. You can purchase firewood for your evening s’mores, too.

If you’re looking for a space for an event like a wedding or family gathering, Rocky Lane can accommodate you. They have tables and chairs, a sound system, event tents and more.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://rockylanefairways.wixsite.com/recreation
Phone: 780-327-9671
Email: rockylanefairways@gmail.com
Photo courtesy of Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

 

Skeleton Lake Golf & Country Club

view of golf fairway with some sparse trees at the end

Skeleton Lake Golf and Country Club is located in the Summer Village of Bondiss, about 8 km east of the Village of Boyle, with access off Hwy 663. This is a scenic 9-hole course that is as fun as it is challenging.

Their clubhouse has a licensed restaurant and lounge and their pro shop features great golf merchandise along with cart and club rentals.

If you are wanting to stay overnight, Shoreline Camping and Fishing Resort is located just on the other side of the bay. There is a gorgeous lakefront  AirBnB cabin in Bondis as well.

 

Contact Information

Website: https://www.skeletonlakegolfandcountryclub.com/
Phone:  780-689-2455
Email:  slgolf@mcsnet.ca
Photo courtesy of  Skeleton Lake Golf and Country Club

 

 

Northern Ridge Golf & RV Resort

fall scene on golf course with trees on both sides of fairway

Also not too far from Boyle, about 12 km south, is Northern Ridge Golf & RV Resort.

This is another scenic 9-hole course set in the Boreal forest. They have a licensed clubhouse with a deck that overlooks Hole 5.

They have over 30 fully serviced campsites and a few that have power only.

Located close to a paintball course and Long Lake Provincial Park, which offers camping and lake access, this site makes for a getaway with lots to do!

 

Contact Information

Website: https://www.northernridgegolf.ca/index.html
Phone: 780-576-3939
Email:  information@northernridgegolf.ca
Photo courtesy of Northern Ridge Golf and RV Resort

 

Riverbank Golf & RV Park

Last but not least, at the far northern end of the region, you’ll find Riverbank Golf & RV Park

scene of a golf course hole overlooking a pond

This hidden gem is nestled along the Wandering River about 1 hour north of Athabasca and 2 hours south of Fort McMurray. This 9-hole course is a Par 36 regulation course that will challenge you while you soak up the Boreal forest setting.

They host a number of tournaments over the season, with the next public one set for August 26th

Riverbank has a licensed restaurant with a full-service menu that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner selections.

They also have a 50-unit RV park:

Riverbank RV Park has 50 fully serviced RV sites that are 50 feet wide by 60 to 100 feet long. Unlike many RV Parks in the area, which are built in the middle of an open field, our sites either back onto the river or have beautiful views over the river and golf course. Come and have a look for yourself to compare to the other parks! Power, fresh water and no hassle sewer make the difference in a scenic river valley setting. – Riverbank website.

Contact Information

Website: https://www.riverbankgolfandrv.com/home.html
Phone: 780-771-2582
Email:  riverbankgolfandrv@gmail.com
Photo courtesy of Riverbank Golf and RV Park

 

Whether you are looking for a day trip round or a week of golf and sun, the Athabasca Region has multiple choices for a great golf & stay getaway. Be sure to try them all!

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 four and a half 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/

 

If you have questions about wilderness experiences in the Athabasca region or anything else Athabasca Region Tourism related, please contact us.


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