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Last Modified: December 6, 2023
Indigenous Tourism Experiences to Try This Winter
Photo by Roam Creative. Courtesy of Painted Warriors.

By Ali Abel

As the air turns crisp and snow blankets the landscape, consider partaking in Indigenous experiences in Alberta that allow you to connect with the land and experience winter in new and unique ways.

Go Cross-country Skiing at Métis Crossing 

For people wishing to travel a bit further afield, Métis Crossing near Smoky Lake (a four-hour drive from Calgary and a 90-minute drive northeast of Edmonton) offers a variety of signature experiences, including cross-country skiing for all experience levels. As Alberta’s first major Métis cultural interpretive destination, visitors can expect a strong sense of history and tradition in the experiences offered at Métis Crossing. The interconnected and groomed trails cover over 688 acres of land near the North Saskatchewan River. And once you’re done exploring, you can relax with a warm beverage and lunch for your après ski in the Cultural Gathering Centre. If skiing isn’t for you, make sure to check out the other activities offered, including ones for the annual Métis Week.

Read about Métis Crossing in Info Edmonton

Take a Guided Snowshoe Tour with Painted Warriors

Located about 70 minutes northwest of Calgary and two hours and 45 minutes southwest of Edmonton, Painted Warriors co-owners Tracey Klettl and Tim Mearns incorporate their Ojibway, Cree, and Mohawk heritage into every experience they offer. The Guiding Lights of Our Ancestors snowshoe experience, one of three snowshoe experiences offered by Painted Warriors, invites visitors to enjoy an energizing, fire-cooked meal followed by an incredible three-hour snowshoe walk through the forest, using the stars to navigate through time and place. Tours are available from December to March.

Read about Painted Warriors in Avenue

Take a Road Trip Through Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan

Northern Alberta offers unique experiences and landscapes unavailable anywhere else in Canada and Travel Alberta has put together a road trip itinerary for a four-day, 10.5 hour, 668 KM, self-guided tour that includes some of those incredible landscapes with suggested activities. Heading north on Highway 63 out of Fort McMurray, you’ll be awestruck by the sprawling boreal forest and Athabasca River. Learn about the fur trade and the role Indigenous communities played in Canada’s early history with a stop at the Bicentennial Museum in Fort Chipewyan. Then get your blood pumping with a tour from Atim Ostogwan Dog Sledding, led by local guide Robert Grandjambe, or try your luck at ice fishing on Lake Athabasca. 

View the full itinerary on Travel Alberta

Shop at an Indigenous Holiday Market

The Indigenous Artist Market (I.A.M) Collective is a year-round market of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists located at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On December 16 (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and 17 (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) you can stop by the Collective’s “Last Minute Shop till You Drop Event” to buy one-of-a-kind gifts from more than 50 Indigenous vendors. Admission and parking are free and the event includes live entertainment and prize draws.

Read more in Info Edmonton.

Attend the Virtual Wapakwanis Plant Walk and Talk

Warrior Women, the award-winning, Jasper-based, women and Indigenous-owned collective, by mother-daughter duo Matricia and Mackenzie Brown, has been covered extensively for activities and experiences such as the Warrior Women fireside chats, drumming and singing and more in publications inside and outside of Alberta. But, for those who dislike winter yet still want to learn something new, try the virtual Wapakwanis Plant Walk and Talk, hosted by Bauer. In this free, virtual experience, you’ll learn how plants and trees sustain us, and watch Bauer collect and process plant material to create an evergreen pine salve.

Register for the experience on


Ali Abel is an award-winning storyteller based in Calgary. When she’s not enjoying a good book or magazine with her cat Bruce and a cup of coffee, you can find her outside running, hiking, paddleboarding or snowboarding. Connect with Ali on LinkedIn or on Instagram: @eh1design.