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North America > Canada > Prairies > Alberta > Eastern Alberta > Athabasca


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Athabasca is a town of almost 3,000 people (2016) in Athabasca County, Alberta.

Athabasca skyline

The Town of Athabasca is nestled in the picturesque Athabasca River valley.

It is the health, education, shopping, and service centre for the region.


Athabasca University

The town is home to Athabasca University, a major centre for distance education and the town's largest employer.


Unlike many other towns in Alberta, Athabasca predates the railway. It was the terminus of the Edmonton to Athabasca Landing trail. Athabasca lies on a southern protrusion of the Athabasca River. During the fur trade era, when rivers were the principal means of transportation, the Athabasca–Edmonton trail connected two different drainage basins. The Athabasca River flows north and is part of the Mackenzie River watershed, which leads to the Arctic Ocean. Edmonton lies across a height-of-land on the North Saskatchewan River in the Nelson River drainage basin, which empties into Hudson Bay. Edmonton was in Rupert's Land but not Athabasca. The trail allowed goods to be portaged back and forth between river systems. Once agricultural settlement occurred, the trail served a similar purpose. Eventually, road and rail links would trace the same path.

The Athabasca Heritage Society has put up signs through the downtown as well as along the riverfront that explain and depict the history. It has also published a historical walking tour that is available from the town office, library and visitor information centre.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

It is 145 km (90 mi) north of Edmonton at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 55, on the banks of the Athabasca River.

Get around[edit]

Walk or drive.





  • 49th Street Grill, 4901 - 49th Street, +1 780-675-5418. 11AM-10PM. Chicken or pork souvlaki; pizza.
  • Anne's Fine Dining (Green Spot), 4820 - 51 Street, +1 780-675-3040. Tu-Su 9AM-8PM. Canadian, Italian, Greek and Irish cuisine.
  • Athabasca Burger Bar, 4719 - 50 Street. M-F 6AM-7PM, Su 8AM-7PM. Fast food



  • Athabasca Hillside Motel, 4804 - 46 A Avenue, +1 780-675-5111, toll-free: +1-888-675-8900. 20-room motel built on the side of a hill with a panoramic view of the river valley. Some rooms have kitchenettes. From $70.
  • Athabasca Lodge Motel, 4004 - Hwy #2 South, +1 780-675-2266, toll-free: +1-888-500-2266. Continental breakfast with seasonal fruit included. 32 rooms, air-conditioning, fridge, microwave, LED TV, fitness room, laundry room, kitchenettes, cable TV. $100-140.


Go next[edit]

Routes through Athabasca
Peace RiverSlave Lake  W Alberta Highway 2.svg S  MorinvilleEdmonton

This city travel guide to Athabasca is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.