Colville Lake

Colville Lake

K’áhbamítúé – “Ptarmigan net place”

Population: 158

Fifty kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, this traditional log-cabin settlement nestles between rolling black spruce forest and the gleaming waters of its namesake lake. It dates from 1962, when the region’s Hareskin Dene began to settle around the new Our Lady of the Snows mission. Today visitors can check out the mission and the small museum/gallery, and fish for trout, grayling and pike. Access is by air and, in winter, by ice-road.

Location: 67°02′ N, 126°06′ W
Elevation: 259 metres
Population: 149
Traditional name: K’áhbamítúé – “Ptarmigan net place”
Setting: On the shores of Colville Lake, surrounded by sparse black-spruce forest, 50 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle
Languages: North Slavey, English
Ethnicities: Dene (K’ahsho Got’ine, formerly often called Hareskin)
Getting here: By air from Norman Wells or, in winter, by ice road from Fort Good Hope
Founded in: 1962, when the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic mission was constructed, drawing K’ahsho Got’ine hunters and trappers back to the area from Fort Good Hope
Claim to fame: Founded by, and the longtime home of, Bern Will Brown, an Oblate priest, painter, pilot and author who lived here until his death, at age 93, in 2014
Don’t miss: The tiny local log-cabin museum, showcasing the region’s art and history
Best daytrip: Fishing for grayling, trout and pike at the Colville Lake Lodge
Best expedition: Driving here via the 648-kilometre winter road from Wrigley


Our Stories

Intriguing tales from Canada's Northwest Territories

Whatever your spiritual persuasion, you'll worship these unique landmarks.

9 intriguing historical sites in the heart of the Northwest Territories.

Can't sleep? Racing pulse? Breathless? You’ve likely come down with Aurora Borealis. 

The most quaint museum in the Northwest Territories, this hand-built log structure in tiny Colville Lake features paintings by famed local priest, pilot, and town-founder Bern Will Brown, as well as the North’s first snowmobile.