Get in the Game
Summer in Wood Buffalo is the best time of year to get out and get active, and we don’t waste a single minute of it! The sun rises early and sets late, and those long, warm summer days are perfect for activities and adventure, no matter what you’re in the mood for. Whether you’d like to spend the day paddling the pristine waters of Wood Buffalo’s many rivers, taking on the rugged ATV trails that crisscross the region or playing a leisurely round of golf at the Fort McMurray Golf Club, Wood Buffalo is the place to be for fun in the sun!
Feel the Power of the River
Rivers have always been the lifeblood of Wood Buffalo. Long before the oilsands ruled the region, the fur trade was Wood Buffalo’s major industry, and the sparkling waterways were vital to transportation. Canoes laden with furs plied the waters alongside river barges and paddlewheelers as intrepid adventurers headed north on the region’s first “highways.”
Today, Wood Buffalo’s rivers and streams provide endless opportunities for adventure. Feel the wind in your hair as you take a ride on a jet boat on the mighty Athabasca or the Clearwater, Wood Buffalo’s designated heritage river. Visit the famous “Cascades,” a series of frothy rapids which have challenged and fascinated generations of river travelers.
Listen to the music of birdsong and babbling waters as you paddle your kayak or canoe down one of the region’s waterways, breathe in the crisp air, scented with the perfume of pine needles and damp earth, and appreciate the many splendours of the region, just as the first explorers did so many years ago.
A Paradise of Parks
Wood Buffalo is home to more than 400 hectares of pristine parkland for you to explore! Winding through the towering trees and sparkling waterways of the beautiful boreal forest are 130 kilometres of pathways and trails for hiking, jogging or biking.
The Birchwood Trail system is one of Fort McMurray’s most beloved landmarks. More than 120 kilometres of carefully-maintained trails beckon to nature lovers all summer long, inviting bikers, rollerbladers, dog-walkers and hikers to explore the natural beauty of the forest right in your own backyard.
And the trail system is also home to Canada’s largest outdoor gym featuring 53 pieces of exercise equipment at 14 stations along the trail. Get fit on an outdoor air walker, elliptical or leg press while you marvel at the green stillness of the boreal forest.
Want to explore a little further? Visit the hiking trails of Crane Lake located just north of Fort McMurray. Once part of Suncor Energy’s busy mine site, this area has been carefully reclaimed and is now a beautiful boreal forest once again. The interpretive trails of Crane Lake are home to more than 130 species of birds including the majestic Sandhillcrane which gives the area its name. Bring your binoculars, your walking shoes and a picnic lunch for a perfect afternoon in the forest.
Catch the Big One!
Wood Buffalo’s many secluded lakes make for a fisherman’s paradise, whether you’re looking for a weeklong fly-in experience or simply a day on the water away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Experience a birds-eye view of the region as you take off for your fishing adventure in a floatplane and travel to Christina Lake Lodge, Gypsy Lake Lodge or another of Wood Buffalo’s many fly-in fishing camps. The quiet northern lakes offer some of the best fishing in Canada. If you’re looking for a day of fishing a little closer to home, consider one of the lakes within driving distance from Fort McMurray, such as Engstrom Lake on Highway 881.
If you’re looking to bag some big game, the forested wilderness of Wood Buffalo is home to many species of deer, elk, moose, grouse, ducks and others. Visit one of the region’s many hunting camps or engage the services of an experienced hunting guide who can show you the best places in Wood Buffalo to find your trophy buck.
Play a Round or Two
If golf is your game, come play in some of Canada’s most breathtaking natural scenery. Wood Buffalo is home to three beautiful golf courses within a few minutes’ drive of Fort McMurray.
The Miskanaw at MacDonald Island offers 18 holes in the heart of Fort McMurray’s downtown. The course features stunning views of the Clearwater and Athabasca rivers and the course’s signature hole, Number 16, is famed for its panoramic view of the “driveway to the oilsands” where the two rivers meet.
The Fort McMurray Golf Club nestled in the midst of the beautiful boreal forest, offers golfers frequent encounters with natural wildlife including deer, foxes, martens, and even the occasional glimpse of a shy black bear, on 18 meticulously-groomed holes.
Quarry Ridge is perched at the edge of a valley along Highway 63, and feature 18 holes as well as an executive par-3.
Come experience world-class golf in the heart of the oilsands!
Get in the Game!
Calling all sports fans! Wood Buffalo offers a wide range of sports experiences, from a leisurely run in the trails to game of racquetball at MacDonald Island. If you love to cheer on the home team, take in an Oil Barons game or watch the Huskies, Keyano College’s local team, take to the court.
Hockey fans love the ice surfaces at MacDonald Island Park If you’re in the mood of a quick pick-up game of shinny, Canada’s largest recreation centre features four ice surfaces including an NHL-sized hockey arena. Rather throw some rocks? The centre also boasts eight sheets of curling ice. Two multipurpose fieldhouses offer the perfect place for a game of soccer, basketball or racquetball.
Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre is home to a large variety of local amateur sports teams as well as Keyano College’s Huskies. If you’re looking for some family sports fun, check out the YMCA at Westwood High School which features a climbing wall, a pool, outdoor fields and ball diamonds.
Like your sports rough and tumble? Come watch the Fort McMurray Knights the local rugby team, mix it up at the Westwood Rugby Field. Rugby games, which feature both mens and womensteams, are more than just sports events – they’re community gatherings, complete with a barbeque and a beer garden!
The opportunities for amateur sport in Wood Buffalo abound, whether your game is soccer, lacrosse, hockey, skating, curling, basketball or volleyball. Visit one of Fort McMurray’s two recreation centres at MacDonald Island Park or the Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre, or check out the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s website and find out how you can get in the game!