In northeast corner of Alberta, straddling the border of the Northwest Territories, you’ll find a vast protected wilderness of sprawling grasslands, crystal salt plains, boreal forests, deep blue sinkholes, and the largest freshwater delta in North America.
Welcome to Wood Buffalo National Park – immense in size, rugged in terrain and wild in every way. The World Heritage Site is Canada’s biggest national park and one of the world’s largest. In summer, your best access point is Fort Smith, which you can fly to directly from Edmonton. If you’re looking for the ultimate backcountry wilderness experience, Wood Buffalo is the place to be. So lace those boots, grab your pack and get ready to discover the top six activities in Alberta’s great north.
Camp in a Boreal Forest
Wood Buffalo is one of the few places in the world where front country camping feels more like backcountry. Pine Lake, a massive fresh water sinkhole, is just 37 miles south of Fort Smith. It’s the only road-accessible campground in the park and offers a fire pit, tent pad and picnic table at every site. Set-up camp and wander down to the sandy beachfront where you can swim, paddle and even powerboat.
Walk Barefoot in the Salt Plains
Drive just over 15 miles west of Fort Smith and you’ll discover a unique landscape caked with layers of brilliant white salt — the result of a prehistoric sea that left underground deposits some 390 million years ago. Watch for wildlife through the high-powered telescope at the viewpoint. Hike down the steep 1,640 foot switchback trail and walk barefoot in the soft crystal powder, while searching for footprints of bears, bison, wolves, foxes, and moose.