itinerary: Three days in wood buffalo national park

itinerary: Three days in wood buffalo national park

You could spend a lifetime exploring Wood Buffalo National Park. It's the size of Switzerland, after all, and comprises a wild diversity of landscapes: salt plains, buffalo prairies, boreal forests, beaver marshes, karst badlands, and the world's largest freshwater delta. But if your time is limited, here's how to make the most of it: 

DAY ONE
Drive into the park on Highway 5, checking out roadside bison and, the cavernous Angus Sinkhole, the mysterious Nyarling River (which disappears underground), and sudsy Little Buffalo River Falls.
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Detour down Parsons Lake Road 13 kilometres to the Salt Plains Overlook, where you’ll find interpretive signs and viewing telescopes. Hike down the hill to explore the saline springs and look for animals, including resident Whooping Cranes. Guided walking tours (get barefoot on the salt flats!) are available with Parks staff on Tuesdays.
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Arrive in Fort Smith. Spend a while touring the Wood Buffalo Park Visitor Reception Centre at 149 MacDougal Road, featuring a 20-minute DVD presentation, exhibits, park maps and info, souvenirs, and the Great Northern Discovery Dome – the park’s planetarium. 
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Bunk down at a local campground, B&B, cabin or hotel. 
DAY TWO
After breakfast in town, drive south into the park on the Pine Lake Road. Watch for more bison, plus wolves, bears, foxes, and perhaps even a lynx.
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Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Salt River Day Use Area.
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Take a hike! Short hikes starting from the day-use area include the Karstland Interpretive Trail or the Salt River Meadows Loop. Longer hikes include the North Loop and South Loop Trails. Or, you can drive south another three kilometres south to the trail accessing lunar Grosbeak Lake, to which Parks staff lead guided hikes on Thursdays.
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Camp at Pine Lake, where you can swim in the aquamarine waters and bask on the sandy beaches of karst sinkhole lakes, and …
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… paddle with Parks Canada staff during Saturday interpretive programs, and …
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… skygaze and Aurora-watch in the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve (from late August to April).
DAY THREE
Campsite breakfast at placid Pine Lake!
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Continue driving south to Peace Point, a seasonally used Cree hunting-and-fishing encampment overlooking the sweeping Peace River.  
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Then backtrack back to Fort Smith, perhaps for a flightseeing trip over the park with Northwestern Air Lease. Or, spend even longer hiking and camping in the Pine Lake area. 

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For more than 40 years, Canoe Arctic Inc. has operated guided canoe trips on the most remote wild rivers left on our planet. With chartered amphibian aircraft based in Fort Smith, we fly our clientele in to the Thelon... Read more

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch is a Nunavut resort, located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A world-class beluga whale observation site, Arctic Watch offers access to hiking, kayaking, Arctic safaris with beluga whales, muskox,... Read more

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch is a Nunavut resort, located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A world-class beluga whale observation site, Arctic Watch offers access to hiking, kayaking, Arctic safaris with beluga whales, muskox,... Read more

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Watch is a Nunavut resort, located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A world-class beluga whale observation site, Arctic Watch offers access to hiking, kayaking, Arctic safaris with beluga whales, muskox,... Read more

Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge

Arctic Haven Lodge is a Nunavut 5-star resort, located on Ennadai Lake, 700 km east of Yellowknife. Arctic Haven is positioned on the tree line in the Canadian Arctic Barrens. Access is from Yellowknife. This area is... Read more

Arctic Adventure Tours & Arctic Chalet

Real Arctic Adventure Tours out of Inuvik - way up north above the Arctic Circle! We offer a variety of summer and winter tours. In summer we feature Cultural Tuk Tours, a spectacular flying tour and... Read more

Arctic Adventure Tours & Arctic Chalet

Real Arctic Adventure Tours out of Inuvik - way up north above the Arctic Circle! We offer a variety of summer and winter tours. In summer we feature Cultural Tuk Tours, a spectacular flying tour and... Read more

Air Tindi

Air Tindi is an airline company based in Yellowknife offering scheduled flights to a number of NWT communities. We are able to assist our customers whether it be a city tour to getting paddlers to their dream... Read more

Ram Head Outfitters Ltd.

Commercial air charter service providing air support for hikers on Canol Road, sightseeing in the beautiful Mackenzie Mountains, and fly-in fishing services to fishing lodge.  Read more

South Nahanni Outfitters Ltd.

Outfitting service in the Nahanni region, offering unique wilderness experiences in the mountains. Read more

South Nahanni Outfitters Ltd.

Outfitting service in the Nahanni region, offering unique wilderness experiences in the mountains. Read more

Strong Interpretation

There are many stories written here on this northern landscape, in the movement in the animals, in the growth of a jack pine, and in the people who live here. Strong Interpretation is here to interpret those stories... Read more

Tundra North Tours Ltd.

Thinking about visiting Canada's North? Let us organize your trip so you can focus on enjoying your #AuthenticArcticExperience! Local tour operator offering tours in the Mackenzie Delta area, including boat and flight... Read more

Watta Lake Lodge

Comfortable lodge a 20 minute by floatplane ride from Yellowknife. Guided fishing for Lake Trout (to 34 lb), Arctic Grayling (to 3 lb), Northern Pike (30 lb) and Whitefish. Hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, photo ops... Read more

Yellow Dog Lodge, Inc.

* 7 LAKES TO CHOOSE FROM * Yellow Dog Lodge is a comfortable lodge with 3 private cabins for our guests. The lodge is a short (15 minute) floatplane ride from Yellowknife.  Located on Duncan and Graham... Read more

Yellow Dog Lodge, Inc.

* 7 LAKES TO CHOOSE FROM * Yellow Dog Lodge is a comfortable lodge with 3 private cabins for our guests. The lodge is a short (15 minute) floatplane ride from Yellowknife.  Located on Duncan and Graham... Read more

Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures

For a Great Northern Experience! Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures offers a variety of day trips ranging from 2 to 10 hours in all seasons and for all ages. We can tailor outdoor day programs or packages to suit your... Read more

Borealis Bike Tours Unlimited

Borealis Bike Tours Unlimited provides year round, high quality custom guided Fat Bike tours to cyclists of all abilities who are seeking a new and extraordinary outdoor adventure in the Northwest Territories that they... Read more

Jackpine Paddle

Paddling brings us back to our basic rhythms. Our goal is to improve your kayaking and canoeing skills in an atmosphere of fun and friendship, and share our pristine land and water with you. You can count on our... Read more

Nahanni Wild

At Nahanni Wild we outfit and guide canoe and raft trips on Canada's renowned South Nahanni River and a select offering of the finest mountain and tundra river trips across the North. Each of our adventures has been... Read more

Nahanni National Park Reserve

Journey with the spirits of the Dehcho. Paddle through Canada’s deepest river canyons.  Fly Nahʔą Dehé with a legendary northern pilot. Breathe the mist of Náįlįcho. Find your Nahanni.   Read more

Nahanni Mountain Lodge

Remote private wilderness paradise on Little Doctor Lake, 100 km west of Fort Simpson. Accommodates 20 in cabins. Fishing, swimming, canoeing. Satellite phone.  June 1 to September 30. Three months advanced booking... Read more

Lynx Tundra Lodge

An Arctic Barrenlands trophy fishing adventure for the serious sportsman. Located on Lynx Lake (420 km east of Yellowknife) Lynx Tundra Lodge is your destination for trophy class Lake Trout, Arctic Grayling, Pickerel,... Read more

Lynx Tundra Lodge

An Arctic Barrenlands trophy fishing adventure for the serious sportsman. Located on Lynx Lake (420 km east of Yellowknife) Lynx Tundra Lodge is your destination for trophy class Lake Trout, Arctic Grayling, Pickerel,... Read more

Canoe North

Canoe North, located in Hay River, Northwest Territories offers kayak and canoe rentals and sales. We can set you up for a self guided trip on a number of northern rivers and the Great Slave... Read more

Black Feather - The Wilderness Adventure Company

Guided wilderness canoeing, sea-kayaking and hiking adventures. Nahanni, Natla-Keele, Mountain, Coppermine, Hood Rivers. Photography, wilderness camping. Fully qualified guides, outfitted with top quality expedition... Read more

Black Feather - The Wilderness Adventure Company

Guided wilderness canoeing, sea-kayaking and hiking adventures. Nahanni, Natla-Keele, Mountain, Coppermine, Hood Rivers. Photography, wilderness camping. Fully qualified guides, outfitted with top quality expedition... Read more

Bathurst Inlet Lodge Ltd.

Escape to an Arctic Oasis at one of Travel and Leisure's "World's 25 Top Ecolodges" and a recipient of Nunavut Tourism's Award of Excellence - Bathurst Inlet Lodge. Remote wilderness lodge with spectacular tundra... Read more

Bathurst Inlet Lodge Ltd.

Escape to an Arctic Oasis at one of Travel and Leisure's "World's 25 Top Ecolodges" and a recipient of Nunavut Tourism's Award of Excellence - Bathurst Inlet Lodge. Remote wilderness lodge with spectacular tundra... Read more

Aurora Village

Aurora Village is a unique Aurora-viewing facility situated 25 minutes from downtown Yellowknife. Simply the most popular Aurora-viewing experience in the world! Read more

Simpson Air

Simpson Air (and its predecessor) is the oldest continuously-operated flying service in the Mackenzie Valley, established in the early 1960s. Air charters and flightseeing tours are our specialty. Read more

Yellowknife Tours

Come experience world-class Aurora Borealis viewing in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. We are the only guides in the Northwest Territories to offer services in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. With over 20... Read more

Arctic Tours Canada

Arctic Tours company is a Yellowknife based tour operating company that offer Aurora Hunting tours, Yellowknife sightseeing tours, wildlife viewing (buffalo) tours, Cameron Falls hiking tours, and tour packages in... Read more

Ahmic Air Ltd.

Floatplane charter service using classic DHC-2 Beaver aircraft based in Yellowknife's historic Old Town. Sightseeing flights over Yellowknife and surrounding areas, day trips, and transportation to remote camps,... Read more

Arctic Safaris

Fishing and Barrenlands wildlife photography, including migrating caribou, at the Obstruction Rapids in the central Barrenlands north of Yellowknife. Read more

Sambaa K'e Fishing and Tourism Lodge

For 35 years, Sambaa K’e has offered world-class fishing on Trout Lake just north of the Northwest Territories-British Columbia border. Sport anglers and nature-lovers alike will marvel at the breath-taking scenery and... Read more

Parks Canada / National Parks & Historic Sites

Four National Parks are located in the Northwest Territories: Aulavik, Nahanni National Park Reverve, Tuktut Nogait and Wood Buffalo National Park. Read more

North Nahanni Naturalist Lodge

Full service lodge located on Cli Lake 72 miles (115 km) west of Fort Simpson in the Nahanni Mountain Range. Fishing, hiking, birding, wildlife viewing, cultural activities, Aurora viewing and conferences. Access... Read more

North Nahanni Naturalist Lodge

Full service lodge located on Cli Lake 72 miles (115 km) west of Fort Simpson in the Nahanni Mountain Range. Fishing, hiking, birding, wildlife viewing, cultural activities, Aurora viewing and conferences. Access... Read more

Nahanni Shuttle Partnership

Nahanni Shuttle provides charter van shuttles from the Nahanni to Fort Simpson. Read more

Dechenla Wilderness Resort

Remote naturalist'€™s lodge snuggled in the Mackenzie Mountains, in the largest mountain wilderness in North America. Located along the Canol Heritage Trail (Mile 212). Read more

Dechenla Wilderness Resort

Remote naturalist'€™s lodge snuggled in the Mackenzie Mountains, in the largest mountain wilderness in North America. Located along the Canol Heritage Trail (Mile 212). Read more

Bathurst Arctic Services

Paddle our Arctic rivers! Canoe outfitting in the Central Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Burnside, Mara, Hood, Thelon, Back, Coppermine Rivers and more. One call does it all; we arrange air transport, rent canoes,... Read more

Bathurst Arctic Services

Paddle our Arctic rivers! Canoe outfitting in the Central Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Burnside, Mara, Hood, Thelon, Back, Coppermine Rivers and more. One call does it all; we arrange air transport, rent canoes,... Read more

Banks Island Tundra Tours

Sightseeing, camping trips, snowmobiling and ATV and boat trips. Banks Island Tundra Tours is mostly for people who like camping. Read more

Arctic Red River Outfitters Ltd.

Arctic Red River Outfitters is a family run business in the Northern Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories of Canada. We specialize in high quality mountain hunting for big game in a true wilderness setting.... Read more

Adventure Canada

Family owned and operated tour company specializing in Arctic expedition cruising. Read more

Arctic Ocean Tuk Tours/ Rendezvous Lake Lodge

We run a small all-inclusive lodge that can handle ten people at a time. From this lodge we organize hunting parties, wildlife tours and photography parties. Hiking, ATV, and custom designed tours are available. Explore... Read more

Sahtu Helicopters

Helicopter charter service supporting utility, exploration and eco-tourism including logistical support for rafting expeditions and hiking the Canol Heritage Trail. Read more

Taiga Tour Company

We offer a wide range of tour packages for the adventure enthusiast and invite you to join us for a personalized experience in and around Wood Buffalo National Park. Tour packages range from 3-10 days. Read more

Taiga Tour Company

We offer a wide range of tour packages for the adventure enthusiast and invite you to join us for a personalized experience in and around Wood Buffalo National Park. Tour packages range from 3-10 days. Read more

Northwest Territories Parks

To truly experience the Northwest Territories, take your camping gear for a highway driving adventure! Long ribbons of road without traffic jams or urban clutter take you through vast landscapes with unrivaled vistas -... Read more

Northwest Territories Parks

To truly experience the Northwest Territories, take your camping gear for a highway driving adventure! Long ribbons of road without traffic jams or urban clutter take you through vast landscapes with unrivaled vistas -... Read more

Northwest Territories Parks

To truly experience the Northwest Territories, take your camping gear for a highway driving adventure! Long ribbons of road without traffic jams or urban clutter take you through vast landscapes with unrivaled vistas -... Read more

Northwest Territories Parks

To truly experience the Northwest Territories, take your camping gear for a highway driving adventure! Long ribbons of road without traffic jams or urban clutter take you through vast landscapes with unrivaled vistas -... Read more

Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail is used by millions to experience our country's legendary wilderness. Now 73% complete, the Trail is over 16,800 kilometres long connecting the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts. Comprised of... Read more

Wood Buffalo National Park

Explore the wild splendor of the northern boreal plains, where whooping cranes call and bison roam free. Visitor reception centres in Fort Smith and Fort Chipewyan. Open year round. Read more

Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve

Find extreme outdoor adventure and near absolute seclusion at the headwaters of the South Nahanni River. Naats’ihch’oh protects an undisturbed expanse of river valleys and peaks in the Mackenzie Mountains, home to... Read more

Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve

Find extreme outdoor adventure and near absolute seclusion at the headwaters of the South Nahanni River. Naats’ihch’oh protects an undisturbed expanse of river valleys and peaks in the Mackenzie Mountains, home to... Read more

Old Town Paddle & Co.

Old Town Paddle & Co. are the most northern Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) outfitter in Canada. Read more

Shehtah Adventures

Call us about our exciting year-round packages and experience the best of the Dehcho region and Denendeh. Read more

Liidlii Kue First Nation

Liidlii Kue First Nation provides day and evening activities, in all seasons. Aurora viewing, cross country skiing, snowmobile tours, canoeing, community tours, hiking/packpacking, kayaking, motorized boat tours, and... Read more

Liidlii Kue First Nation

Liidlii Kue First Nation provides day and evening activities, in all seasons. Aurora viewing, cross country skiing, snowmobile tours, canoeing, community tours, hiking/packpacking, kayaking, motorized boat tours, and... Read more