What quaint Kakisa lacks in size, it makes up for in being welcoming, rooted in tradition, rustic and peaceful for locals and visitors. As the Northwest Territories’ tiniest town, the community comprises fewer than 40 people living on an idyllic lakefront wilderness, and their hearts are as big as the outdoors around them.
Known in the local South Slavey dialect as K’ágee, meaning “between the willows,” this deeply traditional outpost is set among blazing fireweed and towering timber evergreens on the shores of vast Kakisa Lake, just beside the source of the Kakisa River. The people here make their living from these waters and the surrounding woods, fishing for Pickerel, trapping, and hunting.
Just downstream is stately Lady Evelyn Falls, where the Kakisa River drops off a limestone ledge, creating a frothing pool where Grayling leap and fisherfolk cast their lines. Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park is near here, with hiking trails, picnic facilities and a picturesque campground – a great place from which to explore the community and surrounding area. You can also paddle the lower Kakisa downstream to the Mackenzie, taking out at Fort Providence.
For a place so far from the hubbub of the modern world, getting here is actually easy. Kakisa is at the end of a 13-kilometre detour from Highway 1, approximately two hours from the Alberta border, an hour-and-a-half from Hay River or four hours from the Northwest Territories’ capital, Yellowknife. (The community relocated here from Tathlina Lake in 1962 to be closer to the highway.)