Categories > Recreation

10 Unique Places, Events and Attractions in the Athabasca Region

The Athabasca Region has a lot of what you might expect… forests, lakes, trails, community events and small-town charm. We also have some unique places, activities and events you won’t find elsewhere! From a BBQ at the Athabasca Airport to a triathlon that includes the Athabasca River, The Athabasca Region has something for a day trip, a weekend getaway or a week of exploration.

Athabasca Airport Fly-In BBQ

Every July, Athabasca County hosts the Fly-In BBQ at the Athabasca Airport! It’s an annual family event that locals and visitors love!

The airport is about x KM northeast of Athabasca, about 2 hours north of Edmonton and 3 hours south of Fort McMurray. Pilots can fly their planes to the BBQ, and join from around the province. Vintage car enthusiasts put on a Classic Car show as well.

You can grab a burger and drink, check out the planes and vintage cars

Workout at the Athabasca Riverfront

Athabasca’s “Hollywood” Style  Welcome Sign

Athabasca Historical Walking Tour

Antique and Collectables Collection at Island Lake

Trail Running & Athabasca River Access at River Meadows RV Park

Disc/Fling/Soccer Golf at Rockylane Recreation

Amber Valley Museum

Xcaliber Paint Ball

Kapawianik Triathlon

Tourism Spotlight: River Meadows RV Park

If you are looking for a place to camp with access to hiking, boating, canoeing, and golf and is just minutes away from the amenities of Athabasca, look no further than River Meadows RV Park. River Meadows is a family-run business that developed the site on their property because they knew it was a special place and wanted to share it with others.

River Meadows is 2 hours north of Edmonton and St. Albert and 3 hours south of Ft. McMurray.


All photos by River Meadows RV Park


The Campground

River Meadows RV Park is nestled in the Boreal forest on the banks of the Athabasca River, just a few minutes north of Athabasca. It offers guests generously sized spots for either short-term or seasonal stays. Some sites back into the bush and others have river views. All have fire pits and picnic tables.

While the sites are unserviced, seasonal campers can set up water and sewer tanks. The Athabasca sani dump is just a few minutes away.

A Google reviewer said:

“We spent last summer hanging out here and can’t wait until spring arrives so we can get right back to our favorite spot. This is a place where you can do it all! Quadding, boating, hiking, fishing, foraging, and yet you have everything 10 mins away.”

 

 

Athabasca River Access

River Meadows offers a great location to enjoy the Athabasca River, in many ways! You can launch your river boat, canoe or kayak for a trip down the river. Or if you are into fishing, there are spots you can fish off of the bank.

They have a day-use area if you’d like to have a picnic and a swim in the channel by the nearby island.

 

Hiking/Biking Trails

River Meadows also has many trails, set in the forest and along the river. You can hike, run or ride your bike just steps away from your campsite.

The trail system is available for day use. Please let them know you’ll be on the trails at rivermeadowsrvpark@gmail.com or call  (780) 689-1565 or (780) 689-1398.

The Kapâwinihk Triathalon

The Kapâwinihk Wilderness Triathalon is a new and exciting annual event hosted at River Meadows. It is a unique event, in that instead of bike/swim/run, triathletes bike/paddle/trail run. 

The race begins in the Town of Athabasca where the cyclists start at the Riverfront Park. They make their way through the Muskeg Creek trails and back down to the river. There, they launch from Riverfront Park into the Athabasca River and paddle a few kilometres downstream. When they get to River Meadows, they run the trails through the forest!

The event ends with a barbeque and frosty beer in the green space at River Meadows. It’s a great day for athletes of all levels. Learn more here: www.parallel54.org.

 

Annual Athabasca Riverboat Association Rally

River Meadows also participates in the annual Jet Boat Rally, running from Athabasca, downriver to the Riverside Recreation Area (Learn more: www.facebook.com/jetboattheathabasca). River Meadows offers a stop where boaters can grab some BBQ lunch and pick up a card for the poker run.

Book Your Spot

Check out River Meadows’ website for more information and online booking: rivermeadowsrvpark.weebly.com

Share photos of your River Meadows experience with the hashtag #VisitTheAthabascaRegion. #LiveLifeOutside

Tourism Spotlight: Rocky Lane Fairways and Recreation

Rocky Lane Fairways and Recreation is one of the Athabasca Regon’s unique tourism destinations. It’s a Par 3 golf course just south of Athabasca, about 1 and a half hours north of Edmonton.  They offer a unique experience by having 4 different types of golf available, which can be played simultaneously by your group. How great is that?



The Course

The course is set in the Boreal Forest, with rolling hills and natural water features. It’s beautifully landscaped and offers some great views.

Rocky Lane is located just off Hwy 2 for easy access. It’s about 10 minutes to the town of Athabasca where you can find hotels, Airbnb’s, restaurants and other services.

 

 

5 Ways to Golf

At Rocky Lane, golf can be fun for everyone! Whether you are an experienced golfer, an up-and-coming disc golf player or have never golfed, there is a way to experience the beautiful course and have fun.

You can play 9 or 18 holes on the par 3 course for traditional golf. There are clubs to rent if you don’t have your own.

Disc golf is a sport that is rising in popularity. Disc golf involves throwing a disc (think Frisbee) down the course to land in a basket. Rocky Lane has one of the highest-rated Disc Golf courses in Alberta.

They have hosted several tournaments in the past few years. Watch for two tournaments they have coming up, The Hidden Gem and Wally’s 100th. Get more information about these tournaments here: The Hidden Gem June 15 -16, 2024   |  Wally’s 100th

Fling golf is similar to traditional golf, using the same ball, but instead of hitting the ball, you fling it, similar to lacrosse.

For those players who are new to the game, there is foot golf or soccer golf. For this version, you kick a soccer ball along the course into a “hole” under the disc golf baskets. This could be a great way for younger kids to golf with their parents!

Finally, you don’t have to be a fair-weather golfer at Rocky Lane! They have two indoor golf simulators available year-round. Keep your swing in shape all winter long!

You can rent the gear you need for disc, fling and soccer golf, so don’t worry about having your own.

A Google reviewer said:

“Great course. I’ve tried the disc golf and the fling golf. Both are a lot of fun. It is a great way to have a good time with friends and family. The course is in a great shape, the owner is very friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.”

 

RV Park

Rocky Lane has a 10-site RV park available to make a play-and-stay getaway! Each unserviced site has a fire pit and picnic table. Firewood is available to purchase. The RV site can be booked by individuals or groups, for events.

Events

Rocky Lane can accommodate you if you are looking for a beautiful outdoor venue for your next family or corporate event. They have tables and chairs for 2oo people as well as tents, BBQ’s, sound system and more. There is ample parking for all of your guests.

Book Your Round

To book your next round of par 3, disc, fling, or soccer golf or your upcoming event, call 780-327-9671. Visit rockylanefairways.wixsite.com/recreation for more information.

Share photos of your Rocky Lane experience with the hashtag #VisitTheAthabascaRegion. #LiveLifeOutside

4 Routes for Bird and 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. All of the routes have ample camping spots, so you can take your time to tour all of the sites. So bring your binoculars or telephoto lens to glimpse some of the iconic species in the Athabasca Region! #LiveLifeOutside

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 may be a challenge.
  • Many roads are gravel, so be prepared for the driving conditions.
  • 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.

Birds of the Athabasca Region Guide  | Mammals of the Athabasca Region Guide

 

South of Athabasca

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

Leave from Edmonton or St. Albert and drive north on Hwy 2 to Rochester. Turn into Rochester and follow Range Road 240A north out of the village. The viewpoint is about 7 km north. There is a sign to mark the entrance.

From there make your way north-west to Narrow Lake Campground. Travel north to Perryvale and get back onto Hwy 2. Travel north to Hwy 663 and turn west. Follow to TWP 650 (its a bit of a jig and a jag, so consult your maps). Follow west then forth to the campground. There are tables and fire-pits in the day-use area and this would make a good spot to view, as it is adjacent to some riparian areas where birds and wildlife might hang out.

Depending on how long you want to spend, from here you could visit Cross Lake Provincial Park or head north to Baptiste Lake. Cross Lake has a viewing platform that is a bit of a hike in, but is an undisturbed area so viewing might be good!

To get to the Baptiste Lake Campground, take TWP 652 east to Hwy 812 and head north. This will take you to Baptiste Lake. Turn west to Baptiste Lake and follow Baptiste Dr. to the campground. When you arrive at the Baptiste Lake Campground, follow the road north a bit and you will see some picnic tables along the bank. This area is a little more secluded and away from the busy beach area.

When you are finished at Baptiste, head east on Hwy 2 to Athabasca for a delicious meal at one of our great restaurants or stay overnight. From Athabasca, it’s just 1.5 hours back to Edmonton.

 

Tawatinaw River Viewpoint

 

Narrow Lake

 

Baptiste Lake Day Use Area

 

North of Athabasca

North of Athabasca there are some opportunities to do some viewing right on the Athabasca River and then at Calling Lake Provincial Park.

Travel north from Athabasca on Highway 813. The first place to access the river on this route is River Meadows RV Park. They are a private RV park but have a day-use area right on the river bank. Their site is also adjacent to a meander that might be a great spot to view all sorts of wildlife. If you want to stop in for the day, please contact them here. Or better yet, if you are combining your wildlife viewing with camping, stay the night!

From there you can return to Highway 813 and follow it to Riverside Recreation Park. Turn east on Twp Rd 684. Turn right on Range Road 214 and continue until you reach the campground. There is access to the river, a day-use area and camping.

From there return to Highway 813 and follow it north to Calling Lake Provincial Park Campground. There are a few secluded spots along the lake bank where some birds and other wildlife might be hanging out.

 

 

Northwest of Athabasca

This route is a longer day trip from Edmonton or Athabasca. There are plenty of camping or lodging opportunities if you want to stay overnight.

From Athabasca, follow Highway 2 West then north. Turn east on TWP road 673 and follow to RR235. Head north to TWP road 680. Turn east and follow to the campground. Island Lake has a viewing platform that is a short hike from the campground.

From there, make your way back to RR 235 and turn north. Travel a few kilometres until you get to TWP road 682 and turn east. Travel east to RR 234 and travel north to the Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area Campground. Chain Lakes has an open beach for birdwatching and provides self-registration campsites.

From Chain Lakes PRA, head back down to TWP 682 and travel west until you get to Hwy 2. Turn north and travel 15 km to the Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation area. The campsite is just off the highway. There is a day-use area where you can set up.

Island Lake Campground

 

Boyle – East Athabasca County

The Boyle area offers multiple birdwatching opportunities and wildlife spotting. Much of this area is connected to a large section of undisturbed Boreal forest. There are also a varied selection of camping opportunities.

Travel north from Edmonton to Waskatenau. Just before Waskatenau, turn north onto Hwy 831 at the traffic circle. Follow Hwy 831 to Long Lake Provincial Park. Turn east on TWP 631A and follow to the campground. Two sections of the campground offer birdwatching opportunities. There is a day-use and beach area in the north section and a smaller dock and beach section in the south section.

The trailhead leading to the White Earth Valley Natural Area is at the far south end of the south section. Along the trail, there are multiple spots to set up for your bird and wildlife viewing experience.

From Long Lake/White Earth, head back to Hwy 831 and travel north towards Boyle. After stopping for refreshments at Boyle, travel north on Hwy 63 to TWP 654 and follow the signs to Hope Lake Campground.

Hope Lake offers a beach and dock area for observation and an extensive trail system that follows the lake. There are many riparian areas where you will find birds and wildlife.

From Hope Lake, head back to Hwy 63 and travel north a short distance to TWP 662. Follow the signage to North Buck Lake Narrows Campground. This campground had a birdwatching platform that overlooks a narrowing with a lot of wildlife-friendly vegetation.

If you plan on making more of an overnight or multi-day trip, you could continue north on Hwy 63, turn west on Hwy 55 and head to Poacher’s Landing. Turn west on Hwy 55 and follow a short distance to RR 194 A, which leads to the Alberta Pacific pulp mill. Foll north to TWP 690 and turn east. Follow a short distance to the Poacher’s Landing entrance. When you get to the park sign, take the left road to the campsite. Poacher’s Landing has a day-use area and 6 first-come first-serve campsites. From the boat launch area, you’ll see several islands in the river that are home to many birds.

If you travel from Fort McMurray, follow this route in the opposite order!

Long Lake Provincial Park/White Earth Valley Natural Area

Hope Lake Campground

 

Poacher’s Landing

 

Share Your Photos

Whichever route you choose, we hope you get some great photos! Share on social media with the hashtag #VisitTheAthabascaRegion! If you have any questions, contact us here.

Get Ready For Camping in the Athabasca Region

Spring is here, so it’s time to start planning your camping trips for 2024! If you’re looking to experience a Boreal getaway, take a look at the Athabasca Region!

The Athabasca Region is rich in camping opportunities for all tastes and skill sets. From fully serviced provincial campgrounds to RV parks to backcountry wilderness, you will find a special place to camp! There are more campgrounds than there are weekends in the summer!

Most camping opportunities now have online booking, so click the provided links to secure your spot. Most Athabasca Region campgrounds are open until the end of September, so take advantage of the amazing fall colours and generally mild weather.

When camping in the Athabasca Region, be sure to note weather conditions and fire bans and always have bear smart food storage. If you are using a watercraft, please clean it before and after use to prevent the spread of invasive species. If you use an ATV remember to keep your wheels out of water and stay on designated trails.

 

A view of Long Lake from Long Lake Provincial Park

Long Lake Provincial Park

 

Provincial Campgrounds

Provincial campgrounds in the Athabasca region vary in size and amenities. All have lake access, except Poacher’s Landing, which provides access to the Athabasca River. While most have water available, please bring potable drinking water. Some sites sell firewood.

The Region’s provincial parks are from 1.75 to 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 2.5 to 3 hours from Ft. McMurray.

 

Calling Lake Provincial Park

  • 35 minutes to Athabasca
  • Excellent opportunities for watercraft and fishing
  • Firewood for sale

Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area

  • First Come, First Serve (No advanced booking)
  • Unserviced sites with tables and firepits
  • Great for watercraft, fishing and hanging out on the sandy beach

Cross Lake Provincial Park

  • 40 minutes to Athabasca
  • Great hiking and wildlife observation
  • Showers and flush toilets
  • Sani dump for registered campers

Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Fishing, watercraft and bird watching
  • Easy access from Hwy 2

Long Lake Provincial Park

  • 15 minutes to Boyle
  • Many amenities including a concession, firewood for sale, flush toilets and showers
  • Great for watercraft and has a trail system that connects with the White Earth Valley Natural Area

North Buck Lake Provincial Park

  • 20 minutes to Boyle
  • Amenities include a beach, bike trails, a playground and firewood for sale
  • Excellent opportunities for watersports, fishing and birdwatching

Poacher’s Landing Provincial Recreation Area

  • 40 minutes to Athabasca and 40 minutes to Boyle
  • Boat launch into the Athabasca River and connected to the LaBiche River Wildland
  • Trails for hiking, ATVs and horses, unserviced lots and first come/first serve

 

View of the lake from Jackfish Lake Campground A small tent set up under some trees

Jackfish Lake Campground

 

Athabasca County Campgrounds

Athabasca County manages 9 campgrounds throughout the region. Set in the Boreal forest, all are on lakes and have access to the water. Some are as small as 3 campsites with basic amenities, while Forfar Recreation Park has 72 sites and more amenities. All County sites can be reserved online. Firewood is available at some sites, and others close by. Get supplies in Boyle or Athabasca, and take in one of the many events happening throughout the spring, summer and fall camping seasons.

There are seasonal sites available at Hope Lake and Forfar Recreational Area.  Fill out an application before Jan 31st of the upcoming camping year and pay a non-refundable $50 fee to apply.  You can find more information and the application at the County website: athabascacounty.com/seasonal-camping

Athabasca County campgrounds are around 2 to 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 3 to 3.5 hours from Ft. McMurray.

 

Baptiste Lake

  • 15 minutes to Athabasca
  • Tent sites only
  • Day-use area, playground, pier and boat launch

Forfar Recreation Park

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Group camping and ATV storage
  • Beach, swimming area, hiking trails and boat launch

Ghost Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Boat launch for small boats only
  • Great fishing with a fish cleaning station

Hope Lake

  • 25 minutes to Boyle
  • Park office, firewood, ATV compound and cookhouse
  • Excellent for hiking, fishing and swimming

Island Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Good fishing with a fish cleaning station
  • Birdwatching station and watersports

Jackfish Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • good fishing and fish cleaning station
  • Day-use area with beaches and swimming

Long Lake

  • 25 minutes to Athabasca
  • Only 3 sites, with a boat launch for small boats
  • Fishing, watersports and hiking trails

Narrow Lake

  • 30 minutes to Athabasca
  • Great fishing, with a boat launch for small boats
  • Day-use area and pier

North Buck Lake Narrows

  • 25 minutes to Boyle
  • Boat launch for small boats only
  • Great bird and wildlife watching on the birdwatching platform

 

River Meadows RV Park

 

Private Campgrounds and RV Parks

Mostly catering to seasonal RV campers, the Athabasca Region has several private campgrounds. Some are adjacent to other recreational offerings including golf, disc golf (fling and footgolf, too), hiking, water access, and more.  Some of these private operators offer online booking on their websites. Be sure to check the links for more information and rates.

Athabasca Acres RV Resort

  • 15 minutes east of Athabasca and 20 minutes to Boyle
  • Adjacent to a forested area with trails
  • Across the highway from the Amber Valley Cultural Centre

Athabasca Lions Campground

Blueberry Hill RV Park

  • 10 minutes to Athabasca
  • Seasonal RV park with some nightly camping
  • Adjacent to Athabasca Golf & Country Club

Boyle RV Park

  • Located right in the Village of Boyle
  • Close to the ball diamonds and historical walking trails

Chump Lake Campground

  • Close to Boyle, on Chump Lake
  • Beach and day-use area

Corrigal Lake (Round Lake) Campground

  • Close to Wandering River
  • Limited amenities
  • Access to lake for small watercraft

Highway 63 RV Park

  • Close to Wandering River
  • Full-service RV park

Katherine’s Kamping Korner

  • 15 minutes to Grassland
  • Sites have power, water and sewer and WiFi is free

view of trees and water feature at Rocky Lanes Fairways and Recreation Golf fairway at Riverbank Golf and RV Park

Left – Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation | Right – Riverbank Golf & RV Park

 

Long Island RV Resort

  • 45 minutes to Athabasca
  • Serviced seasonal campground

Riverbank Golf & RV Park

  • 5 minutes to Wandering River
  • Mostly seasonal sites, but do have overflow sites
  • 9 Hole scenic golf course

River Meadows RV Park

Rocky Lane Fairways & Recreation

  • 10 minutes to Athabasca
  • Unserviced sites with firepits and picnic tables; firewood available
  • The golf course includes traditional golf, disc golf, fling golf and soccer golf

Shoreline Shore Resort

South Baptiste Cabins, RV & Camping

  • 15 minutes to Athabasca
  • Fully serviced campsites and shower/laundry facilities
  • Close to quadding trails and Baptiste Lake water access

 

Back Country Camping/Wilderness Areas

If you’re looking for your next great adventure, check out the backcountry camping in the Athabasca Regions wilderness areas! Experience the boreal forest up close and personal in some untouched forest areas.

These areas have limited amenities and are set in boreal forest areas including wetlands, small lakes and wildlife. Some areas may have limited cell coverage. Use caution during hunting and fire seasons. Many trails are ATV-friendly, but please stay on the provided trails to preserve our amazing forested areas.

 

George’s Point Walk-in/Boat-in Tenting

  • Located at Cross Lake Provincial Park
  • Hike the trail (7 km, check for conditions) or use your watercraft to cross the lake
  • Has some amenities like picnic tables, fire pits and toilets.

Hubert Lake Wildland

  • Random backcountry camping
  • ATV trails

La Biche River Wildland

  • Access from Poacher’s Landing
  • Undisturbed Boreal forest setting; random backcountry camping
  • Good for horseback riding, ATV

Otter-Orloff Lakes Wildland

  • Random backcountry camping
  • The access road can have seasonally poor conditions

Peace River Wilderness Trail

  • Part of the Trans Canada Trail
  • The staging area is 25 minutes north of Athabasca
  • Has some informal campsites with toilet facilities

 

 


Blueberry Hill RV Park

 

More Info

Sani-Dumps

Blueberry Hill, Forfar, Long Lake Provincial Park and Cross Lake Provincial Park have sani-dumps. Most private and provincial sites are for guest use only. Contact your host for details.

Public access:

Fishing Licences

Cheap Seat Sports

Canadian Tire Athabasca

Fire Bans

Please check here for current fire ban alerts.

Purchase Firewood

You can purchase firewood in multiple places in the County or Athabasca. Click here for listings. Many local gas stations and hardware stores sell bundled firewood.

 

 

Enjoy Your Trip

Whether you choose to RV or hike into the wilderness, you’ll experience the Boreal forest, lakes, rivers, wildlife and people of the region at their finest! You’ll want to return for your next camping getaway, and bring your friends too!

To make sure you enjoy your trip to the maximum, be sure to bring appropriate gear and supplies, make a plan and plan to have fun. If you have any questions about camping in the Athabasca Region, email ted@athabascacounty.com

Share your Athabasca Region camping experience on social media using the hashtags #LiveLifeOutside and #VisitTheAthabascaRegion.

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 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/

 

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