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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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