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The Best in Our Big Backyard - Fort McMurray's Tourism Hits Home

Our Big Backyard
BY Our Big Backyard
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In a time where global travel is limited, residents of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo are learning worldly exploration is just steps away from their front doors.

Being home to the best travel bucket list items for Northern Canada adventure, the Tourism team at FMWBEDT (Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism) has been showcasing the region to tourists for many years.

And while last year’s tourism challenges changed throughout the world, they took the opportunity to focus on its residents by reminding them of the many travel opportunities available through the ‘Our Big Backyard’ campaign.

The campaign launched through a video series and highlighted some of the best outdoor experiences found within the region’s parameters for residents to participate in, regardless of any restrictions. The results: they discovered the benefits of being a tourist in their own backyard.

Get inspired by the best unique outdoor experiences Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo has to offer this spring and summer.


The Best Inside Our City Limits


The Best for Hikers & Walkers

The Birchwood Trails are one of our favourites to boast about as it gives residents direct access to the wilderness only steps away from their urban setting. With more than 135 kilometres of maintained trails, it’s a prime location for running groups, dog walkers, bird watchers, berry pickers, bikers and cross-country skiers during the winter. There are multiple access points onto the trail from the city’s Timberlea and Thickwood Heights neighbourhoods, with ten marked trail distances inside the system.



The Best for Competitive & Recreational Sport

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is home to a variety of beautiful, lush green golf courses. Many of them wind through the Boreal forest. Others settle along the banks of the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers. Golf enthusiasts have options, and their backdrops are at the forefront of it all. Behind the scenes, the golf industry is continuously reinventing itself to maintain the greenest of the courses. As for the restaurants nearby, they provided some of the best entrees the region has to offer. The Fort McMurray Golf Club, Miskinaw Golf Club, Rotary Links Golf and Vista Ridge Golf Club individually bring a unique experience to its members and guests.


SNYE Point Park & Clearwater River

The Best for Waterfront Activities

Located in the heart of Fort McMurray’s downtown core, the Snye has been a landmark to the community and a hub for year-round recreation. The Snye is a great place to practice if you just purchased a new canoe or kayak because of its calming waters. Rentals are also available with the new Beyond Adventures and Sales tourism business ( With the Syne just footsteps away from the Snye Point Park, residents can enjoy picnics and play beach volleyball with the river in its backdrop or popping into the Surekha’s on the Snye.


The Best In Our Big Backyard


The Best for Fly-In Fishing

Experience a true northern adventure with a trip to one of the Wood Buffalo region’s best fishing lodges. While some lakes and rivers are road accessible, these hidden gems have fly-in only access to the most pristine fishing spots. Andrew Lake Lodges & Camps, Gypsy Lake Lodge, Cree Lake Lodge, Lloyd Lake Lodge and Pearson Lake Lodge are some of the best fly-in remote locations available in the backdoor of Canada’s northern wilderness. Want to catch a trophy northern pike? McMurray Aviation offers flights to 17 lakes lodges and aerial tours over the Athabasca Sand Dunes.



The Best for Outdoor Recreation

Vista Ridge All Seasons Park is one of the Wood Buffalo region’s most expanded and versatile facilities for outdoor recreation activities. You can go skiing down the hillside, challenge a friend’s mini-putting skills, climb up high on structures for a bird’s eye view and much, much more. Over three decades ago, the Park first opened for downhill skiing opportunities. Now, it offers outdoor recreation year-round. In the summer, guests can climb and balance through the Aerial Adventure Park, play golf on its new 12-hole course or hang out at the skatepark and playscape. During the winter, they have all access to skiing, snowboarding, tubing and outdoor skating. Learn more at



The Best for Stargazing Exploration & Backcountry Camping

The Northern Lights are visible from your backyard. However, if you want to get a view without the city lights, the Wood Buffalo National Park is known as one of the best places in Canada to see them. In fact, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Wood Buffalo National Park as the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve in 2013. Campers actively explore the park to gaze at this astronomical portrait, and photographers from across the globe bring their best equipment to capture some of their most-rewarding photography. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, pitch a tent, but if you enjoy the comfort of a cabin, Pine Lake Cabins has rentals available through Parks Canada website.


Looking to explore Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’s big backyard?

Step outside and check out more information online at to help you navigate all the exciting adventures.