The Athabasca Ranch is a PLUZ located just outside of Hinton, AB – About 3 hours west of Edmonton on the Yellowhead highway. Of the Northern PLUZ, Athabasca Ranch has the most diverse range of allowable activities. Athabasca Ranch is the 3rd northernmost PLUZ in Alberta and the most northern one along the Rocky Mountains.
Brule Lake is a PLUZ also located near Hinton, AB. It borders Jasper National Park to the south and Wildland Provincial Park to the west. Although it is probably one of the lesser known PLUZ, Brule Lake certainly holds its weight when compared to others. Brule Lake is a popular spot for off-road enthusiasts because of its unusual sand dunes.
Coal Branch is a larger-size PLUZ found alongside the Jasper National Park border in the northern portion of the Alberta Rocky Mountain range. The PLUZ exists in an area with a bunch of former coal mining towns and there are a number of ghost towns nearby. This PLUZ is perfect for hikers, off-roaders, and campers due to its versatile terrain.
Holmes Crossing is one of the smaller PLUZ and it is located near Barrhead, Alberta. It exists on top of some pretty neat sand dunes and is recommended for anybody looking to camp and explore the land on foot or horseback. Holmes Crossing has a ban in place for any motorized vehicles though so you will want to look towards the Rocky Mountains instead if you want to use your OHV (Although snowmobiling is fine in the winter).
The Whitecourt Sandhills are very similar to Holmes Crossing both in terms of size, and allowed activities. It is located in very close proximity to Whitecourt, AB which is useful for stocking up and replenishing resources. It also has an OHV ban though so you will want to explore this area on foot, horse, or mountain bike.
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Central Alberta (Bighorn Backcountry)
Blackstone/Wapiabi is a non-motorized recreation focused PLUZ found in the easternmost slopes of the Rocky Mountains near Nordegg. This PLUZ is great for equestrians, cross country skiers, mountain biking, and hiking. You probably won’t hear any engines in this PLUZ which makes it a great place to escape for a few days.
Dormer/Sheep PLUZ is one of the smaller public land areas in Alberta – yet one of the most versatile. It is one of the PLUZ with the widest range of acceptable activities and it is close to both Ghost PLUZ and Panther Corners PLUZ. OHV and Firearm usage shouldn’t be any issue in this PLUZ provided that you are following the provincial regulations.
Job/Cline Public Land Use Zone is one of Alberta’s more remote PLUZ. It overlooks Jasper National Park, Abraham Lake, and Blackstone/Wapiabi PLUZ. The PLUZ is entirely higher elevation so there is a different flora/fauna than other nearby PLUZ. If you are looking for a more backcountry adventure, then this one may be for you!
Kiska/Willson is a large PLUZ that extends down much of the length of the eastern Rocky Mountain slopes in Central Alberta. On the north, it borders Abraham Lake and on the south, it borders Ghost PLUZ, Panther Corners PLUZ, and wraps around both Job/Cline PLUZ and Upper Clearwater/Ram PLUZ. Kiska/Willson is one of the most popular PLUZ in Alberta due to its large area, and easy access.
Panther Corners is a small PLUZ located in central Alberta. It has two major access points: the Ya Ha Tinda ranch road and the Panther River Road. The two roads converge at a bridge and there are some services available here. There is a multitude of logging and oil roads in this PLUZ that lead to some fairly beautiful camping spots. If you are an OHV enthusiast however I would recommend going to Ghost in the south or Kiska/Willson to the north because there is an OHV ban in this PLUZ.
The Upper Clearwater Ram PLUZ is located in the subalpine and alpine regions of the mountain ranges south of Abraham Lake. It wraps around the Siffleur Wilderness Area and borders Banff National Park. The southern portions of Upper Clearwater/Ram PLUZ wrap around the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch.
Cataract Creek Snow Vehicle is one of the four PLUZ that make up Kananaskis Country. It is found on the southernmost tip of Kananaskis and is designed with winter recreation in mind. The PLUZ contains many snowmobile trails that any snowmobiler will love! This PLUZ is quiet in the summertime because there aren’t any official hiking trails, and there is an OHV ban in the summer.
Ghost PLUZ is a go-to for Calgarians due to its close proximity, large size, and wide range of allowed activities. Ghost has beautiful terrain across three natural region. Several rivers and creeks run through this PLUZ and there is really good access to most of the region (Before I bought my truck, I brought a Chevrolet Cavalier deep into the PLUZ). For OHV/Snowmobile users, there is also really good trails through Ghost PLUZ.
Kananaskis PLUZ is one of the larger PLUZ in Alberta and it close to Calgary. Kananaskis itself is the largest of the 4 PLUZ making up Kananaskis Country. There isn’t any motorized activities permitted in this PLUZ, however the other 3 are all motor-focused crown land. Kananaskis is extremely accessible without the need to go super off-road. There are hundreds of trailheads and many parks within Kananaskis PLUZ including Canmore Nordic Center, Nakiska and Fortress ski areas.
Livingstone is the most southern PLUZ in Alberta and it is popular for southern Albertans who want to off-road or camp on crown land. It has relatively few restrictions and it is easily accessible from the Crowsnest Pass. The PLUZ is also quite large which means that there is plenty of space for anybody looking to have some crown land fun!
Mclean Creek is one of the go-to crown land destinations for Calgarians looking to have some fun off-road. This is one of 4 designated PLUZ making up Kananaskis Country and is the only PLUZ in K-country where you take your OHV. It is also near Elbow Falls which is an excellent place to head for an afternoon.
Porcupine Hills is a newer PLUZ located in southern Alberta. It was created along with Livingstone PLUZ in 2018 to provide recreational access to crown lands. Porcupine Hills is different from other Rocky Mountain range PLUZ because it doesn’t actually contain any mountains. It is entirely Alberta foothills so it is fairly accessible to a wide range of users. It is right near Highway 22 so access is super easy as well.
Sibbald Snow Vehicle is one of the four PLUZ making up Kananaskis Country and it is one of two designated snowmobile PLUZ in K-Country. It is located off of the TransCanada Highway between the Cochrane turnoff and Canmore making it super accessible for Calgarians. In the summertime, there is some decent crown land camping in this PLUZ as well and unlike Cataract Creek PLUZ, there are some designated hiking trails.