Skip to main content

COVID Message

The NWT is open to leisure travel. See information on COVID-19 travel guidelines

the Salt Plains in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories the Salt Plains in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories the Salt Plains in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories A herd of bison on the Salt Plains of Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories a view point at the Salt Plains in the NWT
A collection of images for The Salt Plains

The Salt Plains

A shimmering crystalline desert awaits you near Fort Smith. Extending over 200 square kilometres of otherworldly landscape are the distinctive Salt Plains of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Salt from ancient seas bubbles up to the surface here in springs, leaving behind mounds up to two metres high in some places. On a hot day, the surface moisture will evaporate, creating a shiny white crust of salt crystals as far as the eye can see.

Deposited many millions of years ago, the salt was once harvested by Indigenous peoples to preserve meat and fish. Today, it draws wildlife like bison, who enjoy the enormous salt lick. The area also has a range of unique salt-tolerant plant life.

The plains are just one of the reasons Wood Buffalo was declared a World Heritage Site. Drive down from Fort Smith to see for yourself. Join park staff for a free interpretive guided tour.

Get our Free Spectacular Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Spectacular Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.