Hiking & Backpacking

Tramping trails less travelled

Day Hikes: Trails in and around our larger communities are often marked and signed. They lead to favorite picnic spots, often by a lake, with a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. For information on trails in and around our communities ask at a visitor center or at a community or band office. It's always a good idea to let someone know your plans and when you'll be back. There’s excellent walking in and around Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith and Yellowknife.

Backpacking: We can guarantee a challenge, backpacking in the Northwest Territories. Spectacular hiking is available above the treeline in the Mackenzie Mountains, on the Canol Heritage Trail, the Ram Plateau or elsewhere in one of our national parks. Logistical support is highly recommended – often the only access is by fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter. For suggestions, contact one of our mountain outfitters or one of the national parks. Plan on an outing lasting five to ten days, and plan well in advance – help is usually a very long way away.

Climbing: For experienced climbers, the Cirque of the Unclimbables is one of North America’s top ten.  Remote and demanding, the Lotus Flower Tower in the Cirque, in Nahanni National Park Reserve, and the Vampire Tower, are unique and spectacular climbing faces. There are no services. You’ll be dropped off by aircraft or helicopter at the start of your climb and you'll need to ensure a pick up back to your starting point.

Our Stories

Intriguing tales from Canada's Northwest Territories

Aulavik National Park

Aulavik National Park Aulavik is our northernmost park, reaching across the pristine, wide-open lowlands of Banks Island. It’s famous for two things: the Thomsen River and muskoxen. The Thomsen, calm and crystal-clear, slides through this Arctic paradise carrying paddlers on guided...

Nahanni National Park Reserve

Nahanni National Park Reserve Nahanni, the best-known Northern park, showcases the South Nahanni River, possibly Canada’s most epic waterway. Framed by four towering canyons, the river spills through the alpine habitat of broad-shouldered bears, nimble Dall’s sheep and...

CAMERON RIVER CROSSING TERRITORIAL PARK DAY USE AREA

This Ingraham Trail day-use area features washrooms, a picnic area, a lookout, trails and fishing.   

YELLOWKNIFE RIVER TERRITORIAL PARK DAY USE AREA

Located on the Yellowknife River, the park is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or fishing. There are washrooms here, a picnic area and playground, trails and a boat launch. For the more adventurous, boat up the river and into the string of lakes it connects to; or head into Back Bay and...

Ja'k Territorial Park

Just outside Inuvik, this park features an observation tower with excellent views of the surrounding scenery and prime bird-watching. Watch for falcons, eagles and ducks, our summer residents. There is an abundance of cranberries, blueberries and cloudberries that give the park its name. The...

MacKinnon Territorial Park

On the banks of the Mackenzie River in Norman Wells, MacKinnon Territorial Park offers a great view of the Mackenzie Mountains and is a perfect stop for river-trippers. There are eight non-powered campsites, washrooms, firewood, a picnic area and a playground. 

Saoyú-ʔehdacho National Historic Site

Two peninsulas on Great Bear, covering 5,565 square kilometers, were designated as a national historic site in 2009. At that time, Parks Canada and the community of Délįne signed a first-of-its-kind deal where the sites – called Saoyú (saw-you-eh), or Grizzly Bear...

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Nááts’ihch’oh, meaning “the mountain that’s sharp like a porcupine,” is named for a spine-like peak long sacred to the region’s First Nations. Nááts’ihch’oh is the Northwest Territories’ newest...

Thaidene Nëné National Park

Meaning “Land of the Ancestors,” Thaidene Nëné is a park-in-waiting, slated for federal and territorial protection in the next few years. The park will guard the glorious East Arm of Great Slave Lake – 27,000 square kilometres of spectacular and pristine waterways, ...

Gwich'in Territorial Campground

Enjoy the spectacular shoreline of Campbell Lake, try your luck fishing, hike in search of unique rocks and fossils, or hit the beach for a swim above the Arctic Circle. There are just a few of the options available at Gwich'in Territorial Campground, about 30 kilometres south of Inuvik on the...

Blackstone Territorial Park

Between Fort Liard and Fort Simpson on the Liard Trail, Blackstone Territorial Park boasts stunning mountain views and a prime location on the Liard River, downstream from its confluence with the South Nahanni. This is an excellent starting or ending point for canoeists, boaters...

Reid Lake Territorial Park

Reid Lake is also an excellent base for fishing, swimming, canoeing, hiking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, power boating, and for extended canoe trips into the surrounding lake systems. From here, canoeists can access the Lower Cameron River, canoe routes to Jennejohn...

Prelude Lake Territorial Park

The largest developed park on the Ingraham Trail, Prelude Lake Territorial Park offers a variety of facilities. There are trails,a sandy beach for swimming, a dock and boat launch, and boat rentals. The island-filled lake, about 16 kilometers long, forms part of the Cameron River system and...

Fred Henne Territorial Park

Swim at Long Lake’s sandy beach. Camp, picnic, canoe or enjoy the amenities and attractions of nearby Yellowknife. Hike the four-kilometre Prospector’s Trail, highlighting the gold-bearing geology of the area. Or follow the Jackfish and Frame Lake trail system, leading you through...

Little Buffalo River Falls Territorial Park

This picturesque spot features six non-powered campsites. The area was devastated by a forest fire in 1981; nearly 40 years later it is now an ideal spot to observe how nature replenishes the land. Relax by the small waterfall, launch your canoe in the gorge below, and enjoy the...

Fort Providence Territorial Park

Enjoy great fishing, bison and bird watching, and take advantage of the services available in nearby historic Fort Providence, featuring visitor services, tours, fishing, groceries, a motel and restaurant. The campground is on the north bank of the Mackenzie River, only two kilometres off...

Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park

This popular park and campground are located at the junction of Highway 1 and the Trout River (Sambaa Deh in the Slavey language). The river was a traditional transportation route before and during the fur trade. The falls forced travellers to portage around this dangerous stretch of...

Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park

This park is what we call a "destination park," and with good reason. The sights to be seen are spectacular, the camping facilities excellent, the peace and tranquility are another world. The park has three main areas, located between the Mackenzie Highway and the Hay River, and linked...

Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park

Make the trip to see the falls, even if you do not plan to camp overnight. From the Mackenzie Highway, an access road leads 6.8 kilometres south to the park. From the parking lot, a short trail leads to Lady Evelyn Falls. The falls form a giant curtain of water as the Kakisa River spills...

Cameron Falls

For a pretty little hike through classic Northern shield-country, drive 45 kilometres east of Yellowknife to the Cameron Falls Trail. The path twists through evergreen forests, across boardwalks and over undulating outcrops until, 20 minutes later, you arrive atop a lookout...

Sambaa Deh Trails

A must-see attraction on the drive from Fort Providence to Fort Simpson, the Sambaa Deh Gorge gapes where the Trout River slices through thick spruce woodlands not far from the community of Jean Marie River. Most visitors photograph the roadside falls, where the river surges...

Twin Falls Gorge Trail

Following the rim of the gorgeous Hay River canyon, the easy Twin Falls Gorge trail begins at the community of Enterprise and leads south for eight kilometres through luxuriant boreal forest. Along the way you'll enjoy interpretive signage, great views of the yawning limestone chasm...

Frame Lake Trail

Forming a seven-kilometre loop around the shores of Frame Lake in the heart of Yellowknife, the city's favourite walking trail has a little of everything. The eastern half of the loop is a paved, sedate urban path, leading you past architectural marvels such as the territorial legislative...

Canol Trail

There's hiking, and then there's the Canol. Possibly North America's most rigorous backpacking trail, this 355-kilometre trek follows the route of a defunct military road that once transected the Mackenzie Mountains. Tackling it is an exercise in self-sufficiency and endurance:...

Ibyuk Pingo

Erupting from the pancake-flat tundra just outside the community of Tuktoyaktuk, this bulbous, ice-filled mound is the second-largest "pingo" on Earth. Called Ibyuk, it's 1,000 feet wide at its base and rises to the height of a 15-storey building, making its summit a scenic and...

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

A mandatory stop on the drive North of Sixty, this booming, 10-storey spillover on the Hay River is the centerpiece of Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park, not far from Enterprise. Shockingly, in 2003, an American daredevil kayaked the falls – and lived.

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...

Tuktut Nogait National Park

Tuktut Nogait National Park Tuktut Nogait, meaning “young caribou,” is one of Canada’s least visited parks, protecting the calving grounds of the 68,000-strong Bluenose caribou herd near the shores of the Northwest Passage. Most visitors experience the park while...

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve

Nááts’ihch’oh, named for a sacred mountain in its midst, is our newest park. Tucked against the Yukon border, it guards the headwaters of both the Nahanni and the Natla/Keele river systems. Paddlers can traverse the South Nahanni’s “rock garden,” featuring 50km of continuous rapids, or try the less...

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 Ingraham Trail

The Ingraham Trail The Ingraham Trail stretches 70 kilometers east of Yellowknife threading together over a dozen lakes. There are picnic spots, hiking trails, campgrounds and boat launches all along the highway. It is terrific fishing, hiking, boating and canoeing country. Cameron Falls...

Canol Project

Canol Project History The Norman Wells Historical Centre offers an exciting introduction to the Canol Project. This was a wartime effort by the Canadian and American governments to supply oil to Alaska from the oil fields at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories. 30,000 troops from the...

Cirque of the Unclimbables

Cirque of the Unclimbables A challenge for world class mountaineers, the Cirque is located in the Ragged Range, near Glacier Lake, Northwest Territories. The Cirque's most famous peak – a must for every serious climber - is the Lotus Flower Tower, featured in Fifty Classic Climbs in North...

Ram Plateau and Area

Ram Plateau and Area There's dramatic hiking available to those who fly out to the Ram Plateau in Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories. There are grassy plains, scenic canyons 1200 to 1800 m deep, hoodoo and karst formations and exposed fossils. The north end of...

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...

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...

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

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

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

South Nahanni Outfitters Ltd.

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

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

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

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

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

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