For unique cultural experiences and outdoor adventures, head to Métis Crossing and Lac La Biche County.
“It’s like a daycare here!” Weida Johns exclaims as little bison calves approach the vehicle. We’re on a tour of the wildlife park at Métis Crossing, and the young bison are curious – and cute. They gaze up at us from a few feet away, almost posing for the camera; while others nurse, not worried about us at all. We learn about the bison and their significance to the Métis, look for elk in the forest, and visit the Percheron horses. The Wildlife Tour is one of several Signature Experiences you can participate in at Métis Crossing, Alberta’s first Métis Cultural Interpretive Centre.
Partnership disclosure: This story was written in partnership with Go East of Edmonton and Lac La Biche County, but all words and opinions are my own.
Built on the site of five river lots (some original and relocated buildings show what life was like in the late 1800s), Métis Crossing is home to a boutique lodge, Cultural Gathering Centre / restaurant / gift shop, wildlife park, and campground. Many of the ingredients for the restaurant are grown onsite, and a solar farm will eventually power all operations. The peaceful, riverside location makes it perfect for retreats, weddings, or a quiet weekend away.
Heading north, stop in Smoky Lake for gas (best prices around!) and coffee, or get lunch at Smoky Lake Inn, then visit the pumpkin park and Visitor Centre. The visitor centre has a little CN museum and information about a historic driving route that includes Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site.
Lac La Biche, one hour north of Smoky Lake, is a paddler’s paradise with 100 lakes in 100 miles, Alberta’s only park of islands (Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park), Alberta’s only backcountry canoe circuit, and one of Alberta’s oldest missions. Plan to stay a few days so you can enjoy the many lakes of the region and learn some local history at Lac La Biche Museum and Lac La Biche Mission. Traveling with kids? Stop at McArthur Park to play at the playground, spray park, and beach, or rent e-scooters from Off Road Rentals!
For more details, see our story, Experience culture, history, and adventures at Métis Crossing and Lac La Biche, on Go East of Edmonton.
Where to Stay
The Lodge at Métis Crossing is a new (opened February 2022) 40-room boutique lodge on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, 10 minutes from Smoky Lake. Sign up for an interpretive program and enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning. Métis Crossing also has trapper’s tents and a campground, and will have geodesic domes in 2023.
Ramada by Wyndham Lac La Biche is your home away from home with an indoor pool, hot tub, fitness centre, business centre, and hot breakfast.
For More Information
Read our detailed trip report, Experience culture, history, and adventures at Métis Crossing and Lac La Biche, on Go East of Edmonton and start planning your next road trip now!
If you go… play the Go East of Edmonton Roadtrip Adventure Game (There are over $6,000 in prizes to be won!) and download the Roadtrip Savings Passport to save on shopping and dining, and unlock more prizes.
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