Fort Chipewyan Winter Road crosses breathtaking landscapes in Alberta

Fort Chipewyan Winter Road is the name of an ice road running through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all Alberta, in Canada.

Fort Chipewyan Winter Road

Is there a road to Fort Chipewyan?

The road, also known as Alberta's Winter Road, is 159km (98 miles) long. It runs south-north from Fort McMurray to Fort Chipewyan in Alberta's northeastern corner, meandering through heavily forested areas. High clearance 4x4 vehicles are recommended.

Is the Fort Chipewyan winter road open?

Tucked away on the western part of the country, the road is open from the middle of December to the end of March. Fort Chipewyan can be reached only by air, barge and boat the rest of the year. The road has been open for fewer than 100 days since the 2016-17 season. The 2020-21 season was the shortest, opening for 59 days. A permanent road connecting Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray should be considered as winters get warmer.

Is the Fort Chipewyan winter road challenging?

Travelling on winter roads presents additional hazards and challenges. The road wends its way over frozen rivers and marshes and passes through the northern communities. The road varies in its width. Please remember to plan ahead, drive to conditions and follow all posted signage. Sometimes it's wide enough for two vehicles and in other areas it's only slightly larger than a single lane road. Ensure your vehicle is equipped for winter travel with good snow tires and four-wheel drive capability. Be prepared for the unexpected while traveling on the winter road by stocking your vehicle with basic emergency gear, including extra gasoline and oil, a spare tire and jack, a breakdown tool kit, warm clothes and boots, candles and other emergency supplies. Prepare for emergencies ahead of time. There are no regular services like road patrol, gas stations or reliable cell phone coverage. Always inform someone of your travel plans before leaving. Speeding on the winter road is extremely dangerous, especially through the delta section of the route. Fast moving vehicles can build a wave under the ice that can easily damage the road and break ice suddenly when the wave strikes the shoreline, a sandbar or collides with a wave from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.