Fort Mackay

Fort Mackay: A Hidden Gem in Alberta

Fort Mackay is a small community located in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta, Canada. It is situated approximately 60 kilometers north of Fort McMurray and is accessible via Highway 63. Despite its small size, Fort Mackay offers a unique experience for travelers seeking to explore the natural beauty of Alberta.

Attractions and Natural Wonders

Fort Mackay is surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top attractions and natural wonders in the community:

  • Gregoire Lake Provincial Park: This park is located approximately 30 kilometers south of Fort Mackay and offers a variety of recreational activities, including camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. The park is also home to a beautiful sandy beach that is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

  • Fort McKay First Nation Cultural Centre: This cultural center showcases the history and culture of the Fort McKay First Nation. Visitors can learn about the traditional way of life of the First Nation people, view artifacts, and participate in cultural activities.

  • Athabasca River: The Athabasca River runs through Fort Mackay and offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and kayaking. The river is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, moose, and beavers.

  • Birchwood Trails: The Birchwood Trails are a network of hiking and biking trails that wind through the forests surrounding Fort Mackay. The trails offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and are a great way to explore the area.

Festivals and Events

Fort Mackay hosts several festivals and events throughout the year that showcase the community's culture and heritage. Here are some of the top festivals and events in Fort Mackay:

  • Fort McKay Treaty Days: This annual event celebrates the signing of Treaty 8 between the First Nations people and the Canadian government. The event features traditional dancing, drumming, and other cultural activities.

  • Fort McKay Winter Festival: This festival takes place in February and features a variety of winter activities, including ice fishing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.

History of Fort Mackay

Fort Mackay was established in 1778 by the North West Company as a fur trading post. The community was named after Captain John Mackay, who was a partner in the North West Company. In 1821, the North West Company merged with the Hudson's Bay Company, and Fort Mackay became a Hudson's Bay Company post.

In 1870, the Canadian government purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company, and Fort Mackay became part of the Northwest Territories. In 1905, Alberta became a province, and Fort Mackay became part of the new province.

Fort Mackay was incorporated as a hamlet in 1980 and became part of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in 1995.


Fort Mackay may be a small community, but it offers a unique experience for travelers seeking to explore the natural beauty of Alberta. From the stunning Gregoire Lake Provincial Park to the Birchwood Trails, there is no shortage of natural wonders to explore in Fort Mackay. The community's rich history and cultural heritage are also on display at the Fort McKay First Nation Cultural Centre and during the annual Fort McKay Treaty Days.


  • Alberta Parks. (n.d.). Gregoire Lake Provincial Park.
  • Fort McKay First Nation. (n.d.). Cultural Centre.
  • Fort McKay Treaty Days. (n.d.). About.
  • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. (n.d.). Fort McKay.
  • Travel Alberta. (n.d.). Fort McKay.
  • Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation. (n.d.). Fort McKay Winter Festival.