Given the vast size of Wood Buffalo National Park, there are plenty of options to find your way here. Whether you travel the highway in your motorhome, decide to canoe the river network into the park, or relax with a good book on your flight, the journey can be just as exciting as the destination.

Wood Buffalo National Park has no gates or entry fees, but we ask all our visitors to check-in at the visitor centre in Fort Smith or Fort Chipewyan for the most up-to-date, safety information and to pick up your camping permits, if necessary.


by road

Wood Buffalo National Park can be reached all year-round by paved highway. Coming from the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, head north on Mackenzie Highway/Highway 1 for about 83 km. Turn right onto Highway 2 N, follow signs for Fort Smith. Continue for 25 km, then turn right onto Highway 5/Wood Buffalo Parkway (signs for Fort Smith) and continue for 264 km. Stop in at the visitor centre with any questions and to check out the exhibits for heading in to the park.

Heading in from Yellowknife? Drive on Highway 3 South for 338 km before connecting to Mackenzie Highway/Highway 1 and following the route to Highway 5 indicated above.

A winter road connecting Fort Smith with Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray in Alberta is open for approximately three months during the winter. Special precautions are needed for safe travel on the winter road. Please read our winter road FAQs to learn more about what you need to know before travelling. Contact the Visitor Reception Centre in Fort Smith or Fort Chipewyan for updated winter road conditions within the park.

Road Distances to Fort Smith (km)
Hay River
AB/NWT Border
High Level
Fort Chipewyan
winter road
Fort McMurray
winter road
Fort Smith 748 270 381 572 1310 228 508
Road Distances to Fort Smith (km)
Fort Smith
Yellowknife 748
Hay River 270
AB/NWT Border 381
High Level 572
Edmonton 1310
Fort Chipewyan winter road 228
Fort McMurray winter road 508


by air

Edmonton is the main hub for air travel to the north. Flights are available to both Fort Smith and Fort Chipewyan from Edmonton, as well as between Fort Smith and Fort Chipewyan. Direct flights to Fort Smith are also available from Yellowknife. Contact Northwestern Air Lease for details.


by water

Experienced wilderness travellers can access the park by boat or canoe between Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan and Fort Fitzgerald. Motorboat access is allowed along: Athabasca River, Rivière des Rochers, Quatre Fourches River, Peace River and Slave River. Only non-motorized watercraft is permitted on all other waterways.