The hamlet of Fort McKay is located 58 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the west bank of the Athabasca River and is situated amongst many oil sands operational sites. Fort McKay can be accessed from Highway 63 or an airstrip located in Mildred Lake, three kilometres south.
Fort McKay was established in 1820 by the Hudson Bay Company as a trading post but was not known as Fort McKay until it was named after Dr. Williams Morrison McKay in 1917. While the oil sands industry is the primary employer in Fort McKay, forestry, hunting and trapping remain to be a part of the local economy.
According to the 2015 municipal census, there are 51 people living in Fort McKay, but the census did not account for transient oil sands workers or residents living on the nearby First Nation community. Many local residents are active members of the Fort McKay First Nation which is part of the Athabasca Tribal Council.