Thrilling, friendly whitewater for novice, intermediate or advanced paddlers.
The Keele’s turquoise waters flow through the towering Mackenzie Mountains, offering spectacular mountain vistas, superb fly-fishing, and wildlife viewing. In 2012, Canoe North was honoured to have the Canadian Tourism Commission designate our Keele River Expedition a coveted Canadian Signature Experience!
The headwaters of the Keele River originate high up in the Mackenzie Mountains near the Yukon border. Its confluence with the Mackenzie River is located between Fort Simpson and Norman Wells. The turquoise waters of the Keele wind through spectacular mountain scenery and easily accessible alpine slopes, offering panoramic views for avid hikers. The miles of swifts and rapids are suitable for a wide range of paddling skills. As skills improve, paddlers can choose to ride the roller coaster waves on the outside bends for added thrills and excitement. The river braids and narrows into chutes as it glides down a steep slope toward the Mackenzie River. The river grows larger as more tributaries enter and there may be sightings of caribou, moose, eagles and most surely Dall sheep, with great fishing for both arctic grayling and bull trout.
This region, rich in beauty and wildlife, offers the opportunity to step into an ancient wilderness sculpted by geological time and steeped in Aboriginal history. For 12,000 years, this river served as a travel route for Mountain Dene hunters who knew the river to be bountiful and who hiked on traditional trails high into the headwaters at the continental divide. They trapped beaver and hunted moose, using the hides to build skin boats in which they returned down the Keele to their encampments along the shores of the Mackenzie River.