ATVing in Westlock is a treat for riders of all ages and abilities with a diverse landscape and wildlife aplenty. Kevin Vangrootheest, dealer principle at CC Cycle in Westlock, is passionate about the sport and the area in general.
“There is definitely something for everyone,” said Vangrootheest. “There is lots of sand for the dirt bikers and lots of clay and muskeg mud holes for the ATVs and side-by-sides. There are also lots of trails that are wide enough for even the bigger side-by-sides. It is a great family riding area.The Northern Alberta Single Track Enthusiasts (N.A.S.T.E.) host a hare scramble race out in this area almost every year as well.”
The trail system in Westlock is well established, according to Vangrootheest, except there are no maps of the area. It is a large area with a main power line running through the middle with numerous trails shooting off from it.
The main staging area is out past Vega. You just follow the signs to the Klondike ferry. Then cross the river on the ferry and drive about one kilometre up the road and on your right side you will see the main staging spot.
Kevin Vangrootheest and his riding buddies at Deep Creek (Timue Creek) straight in on the power line. — Photo courtesy Kevin Vangrootheest
“There is a protected area that is part of Alberta Parks on the left side of the road that has lots of hiking and horseback riding trails,” he said. “There are good maps for those trails. There are a number of places to camp close to the main staging area but none of it is maintained. There are also a few more staging areas farther up the main road and all of them have great trails to start out on.”
The diverse scenery in Westlock is a treat for the eyes with creeks, ravines, wetlands, peat bogs, a few small lakes, lots of sand and the Athabasca River. There are also plenty of opportunities to see moose, deer and black bear. Vangrootheest says there are also cougars and wolves in the area, but you aren’t likely to see them.
Vangrootheest has a few favourite rides. Head down to the Athabasca River at the mouth of what the locals call Deep Creek. This is a popular spot to go. Although it can be hard to find, he definitely recommends going on an adventure to get there.
“Another favourite is just going straight north on the power line till you run into Deep Creek (a.k.a. Timeu Creek),” he said. “It’s a great place to stop and relax for a bit before exploring more of the area.”
NOTE: There are no trail maps so Vangrootheest strongly recommends riding with someone who knows the area or to take a GPS. There are many forks on the trails and it is very easy to get disoriented in this area if you aren’t familiar with it.