The secret paradise

The secret paradise:
15 reasons why the Nahanni will change your life
Lean in close. We have a secret to share.
 
It's about our country's most celebrated wilderness.
Our most iconic river.
Our greatest falls.
 
It's about journeying through a place
so packed with wonders that it seems almost gaudy in its excess.
 
It's about being changed by that journey.
 
So if you promise not to tell, we'll let you in on our secret.
Here's 15 reasons why the Nahanni is the world's perfect park:
Secret 1
The Nahanni River

On every paddler's life-list, there's the Nahanni River. Why? Canyons and hotsprings. Wildlife and history. Rapids and mountains. Culture and waterfalls. Whether you paddle for a month from the Northwest Territories border or do a quick trip from the base of Virginia Falls, it's the greatest wild river journey you'll ever take.

secret 2
Fairy Meadows

This flat, lush paradise nestles in the heart of the cathedral of peaks called the Cirque of the Unclimbables. Here in this green oasis, big-wall alpinists prepare for their dizzying ascents – or, if you prefer to stay grounded, you can spend days wandering the trails, basking among the alpine wildflowers, gawking at the hawks and marmots, and feeling delightfully tiny in the shadow of the gobsmacking summits. 

Secret 3
Virginia Falls

Known by the Dene as Náilicho, this may be the world’s greatest wilderness waterfall. Imagine Niagara – then double it. Here, 3 billion cubic feet of water per day leap off a 30-storey-high cliff, presenting a four-acre face of plunging current that’s sliced down the middle by the great spire of Mason's Rock. The falls is louder than a freight train, makes the earth tremble, and produces a jet of mist that will blow your hat off from half a kilometre away. Everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.

Secret 4
Rabbitkettle Tufa Mound

Like a bizarre lunar stalagmite, the largest tufa mound in Canada rises near the shores of the Rabbitkettle River in Nahanni National Park. Thirty metres tall and 10,000 years old, the mound is formed by thermal springs that burble from the volcanic ground, leaching calcium carbonate that hardens into a crust called tufa. Take off your shoes and follow park officials on a barefoot hike to the delicate summit.  

Secret 5
Sunblood Peak

Nahanni is synonymous with paddling, but to really get to know the lay of the land you've got to head uphill. The trek to the summit of 1,450-metre-high Sunblood Peak, rising above legendary Virignia Falls, is the park's most famous excursion. It's a 16-kilometre round-trip climb, certain to stretch your legs for half-a-day or longer. The trail begins directly across the river from the Virginia Falls campground, leads northeast through a mature spruce forest and then continues up an open screen ridge toward the summit. 

Secret 6
Kraus Hot Springs

After the 30-kilometre paddle through Nahanni’s stupendous, cliff-pinched First Canyon, you arrive here, at Kraus Hot Springs. Named after pioneers Gus and Mary Kraus, who lived here for nearly 30 years (lucky!), this sulfuric hot springs is an idyllic spa in the wilderness. It smells like rotten eggs but it feels like heaven. Bask as long as you'd like. You earned it.

secret 7
Ram Plateau

Trekking the Ram Plateau can make a person feel mighty small. That's not a bad thing: It's just a reminder that here, nature is larger than life. The plateau is an enormous table of dolomite, ringed by the Mackenzie Mountains and slashed by plunging canyons. On this dramatic mesa, life abounds: Dall sheep, bears, mountain caribou, birds of prey, and a gazillion alpine wildflowers. You could trek for weeks up here, feeling on top of the world.

secret 8
Little Doctor Lake

Accessible only by floatplane, Little Doctor is renowned for its pristine waters, golden beaches, feisty fish (pickerel, grayling and trout, plus pike that approach 40 pounds) and mountain scenery, including the legendary Gap, formed by twin massifs guarding the lake’s port and starboard. Here you’ll find Nahanni Mountain Lodge – the most idyllic getaway you can imagine.

secret 9
The Paddle Cabin

On the riverside in Deadmen Valley is this must-see landmark. Over the decades, thousands of paddlers have paused here to leave homemade, signed paddles marking their pilgrimage to the Nahanni. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s autograph is here, plus scores of poems, jokes and other travellers’ tales. Reading them will leave you feeling kinship with the canoeists who’ve passed here before. Be sure to leave a memento of your own.

secret 10
Sluice Box Rapids

This is where the Nahanni River whips itself into a fury before its calamitous plunge over Virginia Falls. Walk down to the rapids from the portage rail and you’ll feel humbled – even scared – as you see nature explode into madness. The whitecaps spout higher than houses, the roar is bone-shaking, and watching the current be sucked toward the brink will induce a sort of vertigo. Whatever you do, do not fall in. 

secret 11
Scimitar Canyon

Nahanni National Park is slashed by all sorts of gaping gorges, but the most dramatic is this dangerous, dark, sheer-sided, unexplored incision – legendary Scimitar Canyon. It’s 20 kilometres long, very narrow and mysteriously deep. It was formed eons ago when the Ram River slit open the Ram Plateau, carving the most fearsome chasm you’ll ever peer into. 

secret 12
The Nameless Peak

Trivia question: What’s the name of the Northwest Territories' tallest mountain? If you said “I don’t know,” then you’re correct. The territory’s highest peak – a 2,773-metre summit in the Nahanni’s Ragged Range, just east of the territorial border – doesn’t have an official name. Informally, the icy rampart is sometimes called Mt. Nirvana, or Summit 2773, or Summit 9027 (its height in feet), or simply Unnamed Peak.

secret 13
Cirque of the Unclimbables

Try not to strain your neck. Here you’ll find a landscape from a dream: peaks like daggers that impale the sky and thumb their nose at the law of gravity. It’s an alpinist's Shangri-La, with classic climbs like Mount Proboscis, Middle Huey Spire, and, most famously, Lotus Flower Tower – a sheer, severe 2,200-foot wall revered as "one of the most aesthetically beautiful rock faces in the world." 

secret 14
Nahanni Butte

Population just 113, Nahanni Butte (a.k.a. Tthenáágó, or “strong rock”) is a deeply traditional Kaska Dene outpost on the flank of Nahanni National Park. Located where the Nahanni River disgorges into the Liard, the community sits in the shadow of its namesake peak and welcomes paddlers as they exit the park. You can also get here by water taxi from the Liard Highway or by ice road in the wintertime.

secret 15
Glacier Lake

Nestled in Nahanni’s remote northern reaches, this an aquamarine jewel in the midst of a mountain fastness. It’s one of the few places in the region where floatplanes can touch down, so it serves as the gateway for trekkers accessing the Ragged Range and the otherworldly Cirque of the Unclimbables. You can wet a line here, stroll the shore, or just kick back ogle the splendour. Welcome to Arctic Eden.

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TETLIT GWINJIK TERRITORIAL PARK DAY USE AREA

You'll find interpretive displays at this fine lookout along the Dempster Highway.   

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Ja'k Territorial Park

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MacKinnon Territorial Park

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Saoyú-ʔehdacho National Historic Site

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Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary

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Blackstone Territorial Park

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Reid Lake Territorial Park

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Little Buffalo River Falls Territorial Park

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Fort Providence Territorial Park

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Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park

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Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park

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Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park

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Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park

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Cameron Falls

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Salt Plains

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Canol Trail

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Louise Falls

A four-kilometre dayhike downriver from Alexandra Falls or upriver from Enterprise, this tiered, 15-metre-high cataract in the Hay River Canyon can be viewed from one of the finest (and most popular) campgrounds in the Northwest Territories. 

Alexandra Falls

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Cameron Falls

About 45 minutes by road east of Yellowknife, a short, scenic trail leads over the undulating outcrops to 17-metre Cameron Falls. Here, the Cameron River takes a tumble en route to Great Slave Lake. A bridge straddles the river, allowing picknickers to access the placid bank on the far...

Sambaa Deh Falls

Roaring directly beneath the Mackenzie Highway not far from the community of Jean Marie River, flashy, splashy Sambaa Deh Falls gets deserved attention from motorists. And here's a bonus: Take a stroll upstream and you’ll come to Coral Falls, a sweeter, shyer falls that...

Lady Evelyn Falls

So perfect it seems planned, this road-accessible cascade is just outside the little village of Kakisa. It occurs where the Kakisa River jumps off an ancient coral reef, forming a crescent-shaped, 17-metre-high curtain of spray.

Whatı̀ Waterfall

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Hay River Beach

On blazing hot days, Hay River’s driftwoody beach draws travellers from the nearby campground – some of whom are bold enough to dunk themselves in Great Slave’s cool water.

Pine Lake Beach

The finest beach and campground in Wood Buffalo National Park, Pine Lake features soothing sand and shallow, warm, aquamarine waters, ideal for swimming or paddling when you're tired of gawking at the park's amazing wildlife. 

Long Lake Beach

Weekends in late summer, Yellowknife’s beach is peachy, with changing rooms, a campground, a kitchen area, volleyball and more water-skiers than you can shake a beer at.

Road’s End Golf Club

Built in 2009, Inuvik's Road’s End Golf Club boasts a grassy, 250-yard driving range and a three-hole course. Keep an eye out for ravens as you swing – the course once had to close when the sneaky birds made off with all the golf balls. 

Ptarmigan Ridge Golf Course

Located next Norman Wells' Heritage Hotel near the banks of the Mackenzie River, the grassy, evergreen-lined Ptarmigan Ridge course offers the only golfing in the Sahtu region, with four holes – soon to be expanded to six.

Seven Spruce Golf Course

Within easy walking distance of downtown Fort Simpson, the Seven Spruce Golf Course in features rolling, grassy fairways and a laid-back vibe. Rent clubs and tackle the sun-soaked nine-hole course or put up your feet in the clubhouse for a relaxing afternoon.

Ulukhaktok Golf Course

With artificial greens atop the tundra, Ulukhaktok is the coolest place you’ll play golf. The town’s nine-hole course if the world’s northernmost, and the annual Billy Joss Open draws visiting celebrity golfers. Word to the wise: Let the muskoxen play through. 

Yellowknife Golf Club

Eighteen holes. Sand fairways. Grassy putting greens. Jackpines, bedrock and ravens. It’s safe to say you’ll never play golf anywhere like the Yellowknife Golf Club – especially if you come for the Midnight Sun Golf Tournament, which tees off on the summer solstice every year.

Hay River Golf Club

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Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve

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Slave River Rapids

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Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park

One of the most popular parks in the Northwest Territories, Twin Falls boasts a wealth of attractions. The park, 75 kilometres north of the Alberta border, stretches along the rim of Twin Falls Gorge, encompassing 32-metre-high Alexnadra Falls, where the Hay River plunges into a deep...

Hay River Gorge

Just a few dozen metres from the heart of Enterprise, the earth falls away and a gaping chasm yawns. This is the Twin Falls Gorge, a Grand Canyon in miniature. Here, sheer limestone walls glitter like shimmering sand, while the rim is lined with a dark wall of evergreens. Hundreds of feet below,...

Explore the Natural Wonders of Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park Reserve/ Naha Dehe is an outstanding example of northern adventure rivers, vast canyons, sheer granite spires and vast alpine plateaus. Dall’s sheep, mountain goats, woodland caribou, wolves, black bears, grizzlies and trumpeter swans all find refuge in Nahanni. The...

The Mackenzie River

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Rivers to the Arctic

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The Ingraham Trail

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East Arm

East Arm Great Slave Lake's East Arm is a world class scenic and geological wonder. Spectacular cliffs drop 180 metres into the tenth largest lake in the world. The scenery is primeval, the result of glaciation in North America and of a clearly visible fault in the earth's crust. This is...

Canol Project

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Cirque of the Unclimbables

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Ram Plateau and Area

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NORTH ARM TERRITORIAL PARK DAY USE AREA

Enjoy a break from driving at this roadside park, offering washrooms, a kitchen shelter and a boat launch. Stop and rest on the picturesque shores of Great Slave Lake to take photos or simply to relax with a picnic. Be sure to look around you – the scenery abruptly changes here from...

POWDER POINT TERRITORIAL PARK DAY USE AREA

Powder Point Day Use Area is located within Hidden Lake Territorial Park on the Ingraham Trail, a little more than 45 kilometres east of Yellowknife on the eastern arm of Prelude Lake. Powder Point offers access to both the the Lower Cameron River Canoe Route and the Powder Point Canoe Route....

KAKISA RIVER TERRITORIAL PARK

Take a break to enjoy a picnic or spend the afternoon fishing (in season) along the fast-moving Kakisa River. Watch for trophy Grayling. Great Slave Lake is home to the current world record Arctic Grayling, and one of the Grayling's favourite spawning tributaries is the Kakisa River. Hike...

PONTOON LAKE TERRITORIAL PARK

On the Ingraham Trail, this park features washrooms, a picnic area, trails and a boat launch.    

Gwich'in Territorial Park

The Dempster Highway serves as a boundary for this 8,800-hectare park, which includes two campgrounds (Vadzaih Van Tshik Campground and Gwich’in Territorial Campground), two day-use areas (Ehjuu NJik and Nihtak) and Tithegeh Chii Vitaii Lookout. The park is home to a...

Frame Lake Trail

This seven-kilometre loop around Frame Lake is the recreation trail for activity in the heart of the capital. While the eastern half is paved and passes by residential neighbourhoods, the western half consists of boardwalks over muskeg and wayfinding over rolling, forested-shrouded...

The Ramparts

The closest thing to whitewater on the mighty Mackenzie River, this fast-flowing section occurs a few kilometres upstream from Fort Good Hope where the river is choked between 40-metre-high limestone cliffs.

HAY LAKES CAMPGROUND

This municipal campground is located about four kilometres along the access road to Fort Liard. It's next to a small lake, and offers a kitchen shelter and several campsites.

Bear Rock

Towering 400 metres above Tulita, sacred Bear Rock is said to be where Yamoria, the great law-giver of Dene lore, confronted a gang of giant beavers that had been drowning hunters. Yamoria killed three of the beavers and draped their vast pelts on Bear Rock – forming three dark circles that...

NARWAL Northern Adventures

Northern and Remote Wilderness Adventures Ltd. (NARWAL) is a small, friendly, majority Aboriginal owned and operated family business. Our reputation as a competent, safety conscious outdoor adventure school is well... Read more

NARWAL Northern Adventures

Northern and Remote Wilderness Adventures Ltd. (NARWAL) is a small, friendly, majority Aboriginal owned and operated family business. Our reputation as a competent, safety conscious outdoor adventure school is well... Read more

Nahanni River Adventures

For over 30 years we have delivered guided natural history/wilderness adventures by canoe and raft. Our qualified and friendly guides are authorities on the Nahanni, Cirque of the Unclimbables and we maintain a low ... Read more

Nahanni River Adventures

For over 30 years we have delivered guided natural history/wilderness adventures by canoe and raft. Our qualified and friendly guides are authorities on the Nahanni, Cirque of the Unclimbables and we maintain a low ... Read more

Kasba Lake Lodge

Kasba Lake Lodge is famous for providing guests access to incredible triple trophy fishing. Huge Lake Trout, ferocious Northern Pike and feisty Arctic Grayling. Fly into our private airstrip from Winnipeg, MB. Every day... Read more

Canoe Arctic Inc.

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 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

South Nahanni Outfitters Ltd.

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

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

Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada (Naha Dehe) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region in the southwest Northwest Territories and offers the adventurous... 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

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

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

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

North-Wright Airways Ltd.

North-Wright Airways is the Sahtu Region's premier air service. We are located 145 km (90 miles) south of the Arctic Circle in the heart of the Sahtu Region, at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories and we have bases in... Read more

Canoe North Adventures

Since 1987, offering guided canoe trips and hiking expeditions, logistical support and rentals for self-guided clients accessed through Norman Wells in the Sahtu Region of the Northwest Territories including the... Read more

Canoe North Adventures

Since 1987, offering guided canoe trips and hiking expeditions, logistical support and rentals for self-guided clients accessed through Norman Wells in the Sahtu Region of the Northwest Territories including the... 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. Fly-in horseback adventures on the Canol... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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