Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada (Naha Dehe) protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region in the southwest Northwest Territories and offers the adventurous visitor a remarkable, northern wilderness experience.
The park reserve was established in 1972, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and the South Nahanni River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1987.
A key attraction of the park reserve is the South Nahanni River. Four great canyons line this spectacular whitewater river and at Virginia Falls (Nailicho) the river plunges in a thunderous plume. Nahanni's sulphur hotsprings, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests of pine, spruce and aspen are home to many species of birds, fish and mammals. Naha Dehe is part of the traditional territory of Dehcho First Nations who cooperatively manage the area with Parks Canada Agency.
The Nahanni National Park Reserve Administration office in Fort Simpson is the best place for information about visiting the park reserve. Office Hours:
A Duty Officer is on call 24 hours daily between June 15 and September 15. The Duty Officer carries a radio phone and monitors the park radio. Phone: (867) 695-3732.
The Village of Fort Simpson Visitor Information Centre as well as Blackstone Territorial Park feature displays about the natural and cultural heritage of the Nahanni area.
Campgrounds and Cabins
Nahanni is remote wilderness. Basic facilities are located at key sites in the park reserve. The majority of campsites for river travellers have no facilities.
The main visitor season for Nahanni National Park Reserve is mid-June to mid-September with the peak in July and August. Reservations are required for river trips in the park reserve and should be made well in advance due to popular demand. Registration through the Nahanni National Park Reserve Adminstration office in Fort Simpson is required prior to entering the park. For all overnight visits, at any time of the year, de-registration is mandatory at the end of each trip.
Nahanni staff are located at Virginia Falls and Rabbitkettle Lake during the summer operating season. Although exact dates vary from year to year staff are generally present at these locations between July 1 and August 31.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The South Nahanni and Flat rivers offer world-famous whitewater paddling. Because of the difficulty of these big, northern rivers, contact the Nahanni National Park Reserve Adminstration office to be sure that you have the skills, experience and equipment necessary for a safe journey. Parks Canada licensed outfitters offer guided trips for less experienced visitors.
Parks and Camping
Park staff guide day visitors, mostly along boardwalk, to view and learn about the Virginia Falls area and for river paddlers to Rabbitkettle Tufa Mounds. Almost all other hiking in Nahanni is on un-maintained routes. Contact the park reserve for more information.
Campfire programs and cultural demonstrations at Virginia Falls interpret local Aboriginal heritage to river paddlers.