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Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada

Hiking - Frontcountry Trails

Salt River Trail System

Salt River Trail System Map
© Parks Canada / Anna Rowe

This group of trails includes the Karstland Loop, the South Loop, Salt River Meadows and the North Loop.


Karstland Loop: 750 m (Easy)

Hikers
Exploring the Karstland Loop
© Parks Canada / J-1-a

This short interpretive trail starts at the Salt River Day-use Area and winds through active karst terrain.

Highlights :

  • outstanding examples of karst topography
  • active sinkholes
  • red-sided garter snake hibernaculum
  • interpretive signs

South Loop: 9 km (Easy to Moderate)

This trail starts at the Salt River (east side of Pine Lake Road) and meanders along a saline creek to Grosbeak Lake. A quick 20-minute shortcut to Grosbeak Lake can be made by starting at the far end of the trail (2.4 km past the Salt River Day-use Area, on the east side of Pine Lake Road).

Highlights:

  • salt meadows
  • unique salt flats at Grosbeak Lake, with glacial erratics and rocks eroded into strange shapes by salt and frost

Salt River Meadows: 1.3 km (Easy)

This trail meanders gently through wildflower-sprinkled meadows along a saline stream. It follows a section of the South Loop trail, starting at the Salt River on the east side of Pine Lake Road.

North Loop: 7.5 km (Moderate)

A gentle climbing trail to the top of an escarpment. Start at the Salt River Day-use Area, or at the trailhead 2.4 km past the Salt River Day-use Area, on the west side of Pine Lake Road.

Highlights :

  • sinkholes
  • scenic view of Salt Pan Lake
  • Keg River geological formation
  • outcrops of fossil bearing rocks

Salt Plains Access: 500 m (Moderate)

Hiker at the Salt Plains
Exploring the Salt Plains
© Parks Canada / P.McCloskey / J-2-a

This switchback trail from the Salt Plains Viewpoint leads down a steep escarpment to the Salt Plains. There are no marked trails on the plains. Please tread lightly as you explore this unique but fragile salt-encrusted environment.

Highlights :

  • scenic viewpoint and interpretive signs
  • saline springs
  • salt mounds
  • salt tolerant vegetation
  • variety of animal tracks

Lakeside Trail: 6.4 km (Easy)

Starting at the Pine Lake Recreation Area, the Lakeside Trail follows the lakeshore through aspen and spruce forest to the Kettle Point Group Camp. It also connects to the trailhead for Lane Lake.

Highlights :

  • Pine Lake, created by a series of five adjacent sinkholes spring-fed from underground water sources
  • access to sand beach for swimming

Lane Lake Trail: 13 km (Moderate)

This trail winds deep into the heart of the boreal forest, following a chain of small sinkhole lakes. It ends at Lane Lake, a beautiful large, clear sinkhole lake.

Highlights:

  • mature aspen forest
  • variety of waterfowl and shorebirds, including loons, along the lakes
  • opportunities to observe beavers in action