Welcome to Alberta Trail Riding: Top ATV Destinations to Visit in Summer 2023! As the season unfolds and the warm weather beckons, it's time to rev up your engines and explore the stunning landscapes of Alberta. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the sprawling prairies, this Canadian province offers a diverse range of ATV trails and destinations that cater to riders of all skill levels. In this guide, we've handpicked five exceptional locations, each showcasing the unique beauty and exhilarating terrain that Alberta has to offer. So, gather your friends, dust off your ATVs, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Happy trails!
The Ghost Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ) west of Cochrane is a stunning ATV destination featuring an extensive network of designated trails amidst awe-inspiring landscapes. The area boasts a diverse ecosystem and ample opportunities to encounter wildlife, making it a thrilling location for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its natural beauty, the Ghost PLUZ has a rich history and a strong sense of community. To ensure a memorable and secure experience, be mindful of safety precautions and respect the land, other trail users, and wildlife. With its unique combination of thrilling trails and captivating scenery, the Ghost PLUZ is a must-visit spot for ATV adventurers.
Discover the thrilling Dutch Creek Provincial Recreation Area, located north of Coleman, where ATV enthusiasts can explore an extensive network of trails that stretch up to Elkford. The 18 km (11 miles) Dutch Creek Road boasts numerous offshoot trails, while the North Fork Trail presents a series of challenging routes that ascend into the mountains and the North Fork Pass. For an unparalleled experience, the Sugarloaf Fire Lookout Trail climbs 990 meters (3,250 ft) over 8 km (5 miles) to reach Canada's highest active viewpoint. With its breathtaking scenery and exceptional ATV riding opportunities, Dutch Creek is a must-visit destination.
Southern Alberta's Castle Park is a prime example the perfect haven for quad trail lovers. Spanning from Waterton Lakes National Park to just south of Crowsnest Pass, the vast backcountry area encompasses Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Park. Numerous quad trails are scattered throughout the parks, providing an extraordinary off-road experience from June to October. In the Carbondale area alone, you can find over 130 km (80 miles) of trails. Other notable locations within the parks include Beaver Mines Lake, the 32 km (20 mile) Goat Creek Loop, and the 29 km (18 mile) South Drywood Creek Trail. A variety of campsites, ranging from primitive wilderness sites to fully developed campgrounds, can be found throughout the area, catering to different preferences and needs.
ATV enthusiasts in Grande Prairie have a wealth of riding options at their fingertips, with the Wapiti River Valley Dunes just a short drive away. This area offers a diverse mix of sand, mud, and wilderness trails, along with sand pits and muskeg mud pits for riders of all skill levels. Nearby, the Big Mountain OHV Area boasts over 115 km (70 miles) of trails for further exploration.
Located 200 km south of Grande Prairie, Grande Cache is a small community surrounded by a vast network of exploration roads and cutlines, thanks to its rich coal mining history. The popular Caw Ridge recreation area, accessible via old mining roads, provides stunning alpine ridgeline views and opportunities for riders of all abilities.
Southwest of Grande Prairie, Kakwa Falls and Horn Ridge are two breathtaking destinations best visited during late summer and fall. The area offers numerous old roads and trails to explore, with motorized vehicles only allowed on designated routes. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including mountain goats and grizzly bears.
West of Chetwynd, B.C., the Pine Pass to Powder King area is an off-roader's paradise, with a labyrinth of old roads and trails resulting from logging, mining, railways, and gas and power lines. Riders can traverse the changing elevations, rough roads, and beautiful scenery as they connect the roads from Pine Pass to Powder King Ski Resort.
Hinton offers excellent ATV riding opportunities, with stunning scenery and challenging terrain along Highway 40 south. The Gregg Cabin Recreation Area, maintained by FRMA, serves as a great staging point for exploring the area between Hinton and Cadomin. Alternatively, riders can head north from Hinton, following Willow Road and Polecat Road to the Petite Lake campground, which offers access to numerous routes and stocked rainbow trout fishing.
Just a short drive west of Hinton, off Highway 16 in the Wildhorse Lake Provincial Recreation Area, the Brule Sand Dunes provide an exhilarating experience for ATVers and dirt bikers, with dunes up to three storeys high. Wildhorse Lake Campground offers camping, a boat launch, fire pits, canoeing, and kayaking facilities for longer stays.
The Gregg Cabin Recreation Area and Pine Management Trail also cater to ATV riders, with access to the historic Gregg Cabin and fishing in the nearby Gregg River. The Pine Management Interpretive Trail is suitable for off-highway vehicles.
If visiting the area during the summer, consider attending the Wild Mountain Music Festival, taking place in July at Entrance Ranch. The family-friendly event features headliners like Sam Roberts Band and David Wilcox, as well as vendors, beer gardens, and on-site camping with stunning views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Alberta is truly an off-roader's paradise, offering a diverse range of ATV trails that cater to riders of all skill levels. From the picturesque landscapes of Castle Park to the exhilarating Brule Sand Dunes near Hinton, there is no shortage of adventure and breathtaking scenery to be found. Whether you're seeking a leisurely ride through serene forests or an adrenaline-pumping challenge on mountainous terrain, Alberta's ATV trails promise unforgettable experiences. So, pack your gear, fuel up your ATV (or finance an ATV with our dealer partner), and get ready to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Alberta's backcountry.