It’s a full-time job to maintain the ever-expanding trail system around Athabasca, so in the winter of 2014/15, the club purchase a new Piston Bully to help them keep the trails smooth and safe for all.
Jim Olson photo
Right on the banks of Alberta’s longest river is the outdoor-oriented town of Athabasca. Snowmobilers will feel right at home when they see the extensive trail networks and accessible staging areas that make Athabasca one of Alberta's top sledding zones.
Athabasca, Alberta snowmobile trail map
You can also pick up hard copy trail maps for free at the following locations: Athabasca Outdoor Products, Kal Tire, Buy Low Foods, Cheap Seats Sporting Goods and the Athabasca County Office. Alternatively, you can download a detailed map from the Athabasca River Runners’ website.
Top snowmobile trails in Athabasca, Alberta
Snowmobilers can ride 300 kilometres of groomed trails west of Baptiste Lake, with terrain and scenery consisting of boreal forest, river valleys and rolling hills. Two staging areas allow for easy access to the trails, and along the way are cabins and warm-up areas equipped with picnic tables, fire pits and firewood.
Bilsky Loop area near Athabasca, Alberta
Known for being one of the most scenic parts of the Athabasca trail system, the Bilsky Loop is a 45-kilometre route that takes sledders through river valleys, boreal forest and over rolling hills. The trail begins just outside of town limits, and you can ride it as a loop or use it to connect into the main trail system for a longer excursion. This trail was aptly named after the local club's co-founder, Dave Bilsky.
Spotted Horse Lake area near Athabasca, Alberta
From the #10 Staging Area west of Baptiste Lake, riders can generate a circle loop to Spotted Horse Lake and return on the Trapper Trail. This is a good day trip and there are two warm-up areas to visit along the way.
Banana Lake Trail near Athabasca, Alberta
The Banana Lake trail is a little flatter than other routes on the Athabasca trail system, but it takes in a longer section of the Trans-Canadian Snowmobile Trail. You can cruise through dense forest areas on this lengthy ride, and there is a fire pit and picnic tables available when you reach Banana Lake. From there, riders can go back the same way or choose one of several possible circle loops on the way back.
Where to buy a snowmobile trail pass in Athabasca, Alberta
There is no membership fee to join the Athabasca River Runners Snowmobile Club. However, the club does sell Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) season trail passes. ASA day passes are also available. These can be purchased from Athabasca Outdoor Products or via the ASA website.
Snowmobile conditions in Athabasca, Alberta
The Athabasca River Runners have a public group page on Facebook and this is where members post updates about the trail and snow conditions, as well as information about upcoming events.
Local snowmobile club in Athabasca, Alberta
Athabasca River Runners
The Athabasca River Runners is an active club with more than 130 members. In addition to the club website, they also have a Facebook group where you can check on the most current event updates, trail conditions and other key information about sledding in Athabasca.
Local snowmobiling events in Athabasca, Alberta
Athabasca River Runners Annual Snowmobile Rally
This is a family-friendly event that attracts sledders from the Athabasca and Edmonton areas, as well as Calgary. It is usually held in mid February.
Top winter activities in Athabasca, Alberta
Athabasca, Alberta tourism info
Driving distances to Athabasca, Alberta
From Edmonton, Alberta - 1.5 hours
From Calgary, Alberta - 4.5 hours
From Vancouver, British Columbia - 13 hours
From Regina, Saskatchewan - 8.5 hours
Athabasca, Alberta snowmobile dealers
What local snowmobilers say about Athabasca, Alberta
"You just forget about all the other stresses in life, enjoy the scenery and feel free floating on top the snow. I love the camaraderie and just seeing other people out riding and having fun."
- Lynn Olson, local club member
The laws governing snowmobile use differ by province and can be confusing. Here, we make it easier to understand what local and out of province snowmobilers will need in terms of insurance, registration and licensing to ride B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Snowmobile-friendly businesses near Athabasca