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Athabasca Sand Dunes Eco River Canoeing Adventures

Canoeing William River, Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
Canoeing William River
© Robin Karpan


William River, Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
Braided section of William River
© Robin Karpan


Thomson Dunes, Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
Dunes in Thomson Bay, Athabasca Sand Dunes
© Robin Karpan


MacFarlane River, Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
Falls, MacFarlane River, Athabasca Sand Dunes
© Robin Karpan

Extending along the south shore of Lake Athabasca is the most northerly major dune field in the world. Giant dunes rise as much as 100 feet and stretch for a quarter mile. In places the constantly moving dunes slowly smother the forest, while in others shifting sand uncovers ghostly stands of exhumed forest. Here you'll find over 50 rare plant species, 8 of which are endemic, found nowhere else on earth. This unique and fragile landscape is now protected in Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Wilderness Park.

The William River provides a spectacular and challenging canoe journey through wild whitewater, and passing through Athabasca's largest dune field. Just before reaching Lake Athabasca, the William broadens into a wide braided stream which resembles a giant abstract painting with multi-hued shades of carmel, bronze and copper.

The MacFarlane River. which empties into Lake Athabasca at the eastern end of the sand dunes provides an equally exciting though different canoe journey. With long stretches of whitewater, the MacFarlane's highlight is a wild canyon with three dramatic waterfalls, just before it cuts through the sand dunes.

Eco Rivers Canoeing Options
Choose among canoe trips down the William River from Carswell Lake to Lake Athabasca, the MacFarlane River from Brudell Lake to Lake Athabasca, or Lake Athabasca's south shore between the William and MacFarlane Rivers. Whitewater experience required. For very little extra cost, you can extend the number of days for a more leisurely trip.

Another option is to canoe the Otherside River starting at Squirrel Lake and paddling to Richards Lake and ending at Otherside River Lodge.

Note: Whitewater canoeing experience is needed.

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Athabasca Eco Adventures
#13 - 52112 Range Road 222, Sherwood Park, AB T8C 1H6 Canada
Toll-free phone: 1-877-922-0957 Fax:780-922-0961