Parks & Nature

Fort Chipewyan

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Lake Athabasca, and isolated by the sheer magnitude of the nature surrounding it, the community of Fort Chipewyan can only be accessed by plane or boat in the summer or by winter road in the winter.

On the traditional territory of the Cree, Dene, and Métis people, a North West Company trading post was established at the southwestern corner of Lake Athabasca in 1788. The community of Fort Chipewyan has existed here ever since, and is the oldest European settlement in Alberta. It is approximately 250kms north of Fort McMurray.

Only a 40-minute flight north of Fort McMurray, your Fort Chipewyan getaway is the ideal spot to leave your worries behind and experience the remote beauty, history and culture.

Population: approximately 1,000
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Fort Chipewyan scenery

Accessible only by plane or boat in the summer or by travelling the winter road in the winter, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest European settlement in Alberta and your launch point for an epic adventure into Wood Buffalo National Park.

Steeped in history, this region is a living testament to the people who live here—many of whom are members of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Métis. Life here celebrates their time-honoured traditions, a natural and authentic way of life, and their love for the land and water.

A must-see when visiting the community is the Fort Chipewyan Bicentennial Museum. Here you'll learn about the important role that Fort Chipewyan and the Indigenous peoples of this area played in the fur trade and Canadian history. The museum is located near the Fort Chipewyan National Historic Site cairn atop Monument Hill overlooking Lake Athabasca.

Fort Chipewyan is also a launch point for your adventure into Wood Buffalo National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the world’s largest free-roaming herd of buffalo and over 200 species of migratory birds, including the most famous and rarest—the whooping crane.

The Fort Chipewyan Winter Road connects the community to Fort McMurray, some 250 kilometres to the south. On the way, you'll have plenty of time to admire moose, fox, and other the northern wildlife. The trip is a bucket list journey everyone in the region should experience. While the winter road is groomed and maintained by the RMWB and community members, a 4WD vehicle is your best choice for travel.

For more about the winter road, visit our Epic Experiences page.