In the northwest corner of Saskatchewan, along the south shore of Lake Athabasca is an area unique to North America. The Athabasca Sand Dunes boasts the largest area of sand dunes in North America and the biggest sand dunes in North America. You'll think you've somehow ended up in northern Africa.

Because this area is so unique and so fragile, the Saskatchewan Government preserved it as a Wilderness Park. On this wilderness trip you'll get to hike and canoe through an area that is pretty amazing! You'll get to stand on top of the biggest sand dunes on the continent. You'll see plants that only grow here. You'll understand why the Athabasca Sand Dunes Wilderness Area is being protected.

Trip at a Glance

Hiking Trip
Length: 8 days
Skill Level: Intermediate
Dates: July 11 to 18, 2022
Trip Fees: $4995 CAD
Trip Rendezvous: Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan

Trip Description

The Athabasca Sand Dunes is an area unique to North America. Because its sand, most assume it is a desert. This is not the case. The area is quite wet. There are rivers flowing out from under the sand into the south shore of Lake Athabasca. When it rains the water percolates through the sand into ancient river beds and flows out to the lake. Because this is a wet area of sand there are species of plants that grow no where else on earth. The challenge is to identify all these indigenous plants.

On this trip you will hike to many of the best scenic spots in the region. You’ll get to be on top of the largest sand dunes in North America. You’ll see an ancient forest being uncovered and current forest being covered up. You’ll see trees where the root system is above the ground level. You’ll watch the sun set over the sand causing the sand to appear red.

We will set up a base camp on the south shore of Lake Athabasca. Then, after a few days, move the base camp to the William River—a hike of about 7 km. And then back to Lake Athabasca as we await our float plane rendezvous.

Trip Itinerary

Day 0 Sunday, July 10, 2022 - Travel to Stony Rapids , SK
  - Flights from Saskatoon to Stony Rapids
  - Pre trip meeting, gear check, dinner, overnight at Stony Rapids (own expense)
Day 1 Monday, July 11
  - Breakfast, charter flight to Tompson Bay on Lake Athabasca
 - Set up camp, a short evening hike
Day 2 to Day 7—hike and explore the various ’best spots’ typical of the sand dune area.
Day 8 Monday, July 18th, 2022
 - Charter Flights from Tompson Bay back to Stony Rapids
 - Optional Group Dinner and overnight in Stony Rapids (own expense) or mid-afternoon departure from Stony Rapids to Saskatoon
 - Overnight in Saskatoon (own expense) or flights home

What is Included in the Trip Price

•Guides - 5:1 ratio
•Trail Meals
 • Excellent meals from Day 1 supper to Day 8 breakfast
 • Snacks
• Camping Equipment:
 • Tents - free standing custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
 • ‘Kitchen’ - tarp, fire box, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc
•Safety Equipment:
 • First aid and repair kits, communications equipment (satellite phone)
 • Rescue gear
•Local Transportation:
 • Return charter flight to and from Tompson Bay on Lake Athabasca from Stony Rapids Saskatchewan
 • Transportation of guides, group gear, etc to and from trip

What is not Included in the Trip Price

• Saskatchewan tax: 11% of the trip fee
• Personal clothing and gear - a recommended clothing & equipment list will be provided
• Travel between your home and the trip rendezvous - Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan
• Accommodation in Stony Rapids, SK (approx $150 per person based on double occupancy)
• Any meals in Stony Rapids before or after the trip
• Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control - i.e. wind, waves, unsafe paddling conditions, forest fire, pandemic, etc
• Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip - please contact us at CRCO for more information
• Gratuities - we recommend $10-$15 per day per guide

Even though the Lake Athabasca region is cooler than most of northern Saskatchewan we are getting there in the height of summer. The area gets much of its annual precipitation in July so a good rain suit is recommended. Expect temperatures to range from 10 C to 30C, but averaging from 20- 25 C. Water temperatures in early July tend to be around 18 C. Bring along some warm clothing for cool evenings.

YES, we highly recommend you to purchase 1) Emergency Medical/Evacuation Insurance, 2) Trip Interruption Insurance and 3) Trip Cancellation Insurance. Many credit card companies offer limited interruption/cancellation insurance, so please consult with yours before you book your trip to ensure you are adequately covered. Please also note that some types of insurance are only valid if they are purchased within a short time of making a non-refundable payment towards a trip. More information about these can be obtained through your preferred insurance provider. Prior to confirming your trip’s departure, we will ask you to sign a waiver stating you have either purchased adequate insurance or that you will be personally responsible and financially liable for any costs incurred as the result of any delays/cancellations/evacuations to you on your trip.