It’s better in the Barrenlands

It’s better in the Barrenlands

East of Great Slave is a regal, lonesome realm – the treeless zone of the Barrens, legendary for paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing. Here, rivers flow clear, herds of caribou stretch to the far horizon, and wolves survey their empire from atop ancient outcrops, impervious to human visitors.  

Rivers that run God knows where

The Barrenlands give birth to icy rivers that jostle through the rock-ribbed landscape, bound for the far Arctic. You’ve heard rumours of these waterways: the Thelon, Coppermine, Burnside, Dubawnt and Back. Reached by floatplane from Yellowknife, paddling them involves weeks of adventure – and provides a lifetime of stories.  

Creatures with a foot in both worlds

Here, the forest dwindles to sticks and the Subarctic and Arctic collide. The beasts of the Barrens are a strange mash-up of the polar and the boreal: Muskoxen and moose, caribou and grizzlies, beavers and wolverines, ptarmigans and geese. For wildlife-watchers, this place is a strange paradise, intriguing to behold.  

A place that’s like a postcard

Think autumn colours are pretty in New England? Then you’ve gotta see the Barrenlands in August and September. Imagine a landscape of infinite crimson, as a million delicate flowers explode into colour and berries erupt on every bush. Photographers make pilgrimages here every year, to capture this radiant spectacle. You can join them, on tours or independent adventures.

People on the edge

Thriving at the cusp of the Barrenlands, placid Wekweètì is one of the North’s most scenic communities. The tiny Tłįchǫ settlement huddles among sandy eskers and tiny pines not far from the treeline – our closest community to the caribou country northeast of Great Slave Lake. 

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