Hay River

Hay River

Xátł’odehchee – “Hay river”

Population: 3,689

An easy day’s drive from Edmonton, this is the NWT’s “hub” – terminus of Canada’s northernmost railway, launch-point for Arctic-bound barges, and a key commercial-fishing port. It’s also the territory’s second-largest town, with restaurants, shops and lodging options that range from rustic to posh. Best of all, it's situated on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, graced with the NWT’s best beach and all manner of possibilities for boating and fishing.

Location: 60°51’N, 115°44’W
Elevation: 166 metres
Population: 3,648
Founded In: 1892, when Chief Chiatlo brought a group to settle here
July Mean High: 21.1
January Mean Low: minus-27.6
Claim to Fame: The Northwest Territories' cargo hub
Historic Highlight: Becomes first Northwest Territories town reached by highway, 1949
Historic Lowlight: Severe flood prompts construction of ‘New Town,’ 1963
Quirky Fact: Terminus of Canada’s northernmost railway
Best Daytrip: Driving to Alexandra and Louise waterfalls
Notable Locals: Geoff Sanderson (former NHLer), Joe McBryan (aviator), Brendan Green (biathlete), Kole Crook (fiddler)

 

Tell me more about Hay River
Tell me about the K'atl'odeeche First Nation

NWT Tourism offers these links as a courtesy. We are not responsible for the content of third party pages.

 

Our Stories

Intriguing tales from Canada's Northwest Territories

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

Waterfalls that shake the earth. Wild whitewater. And a lake that's like the sea. ...

Great galleries & heritage centres, where frontier culture comes to life....

Located on Vale Island in Hay River, (follow the signs; it’s about 10 kilometres past the information centre), this park offers fantastic swimming on the sandy shores of Great Slave Lake, unique views of barges and fishing vessels plying the waters, and great...

Located on Vale Island in Hay River, (follow the signs; it’s about 10 kilometres past the information centre), this park offers fantastic swimming on the sandy shores of Great Slave Lake, unique views of barges and fishing vessels plying the waters, and great...

Located in Hay River’s Old Town, this museum occupies the community’s former Hudson’s Bay store, built in 1948. In it, you’ll find displays showcasing the various eras of the town’s history, as well as exhibits on Métis and K’atl’odeeche Dene culture. 

Located in a distinctive log-and-stone building on the main road of the Katlodeeche Reserve across from the town of Hay River, Yamozha Kue (a.k.a. the Dene Cultural Institute) lets you trade in your shoes for beaded moccasins and take a tour of Dene art and...

Located on Vale Island in Hay River, (follow the signs; it’s about 10 kilometres past the information centre), this park offers fantastic swimming on the sandy shores of Great Slave Lake, unique views of barges and fishing vessels plying the waters, and great...

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. 

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.

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.

This manicured nine-hole course follows the curvaceous contours of Hay River’s namesake river. Grassy and aspen-shrouded, it’s a duffer’s delight. There’s also a driving range and a beautiful log clubhouse with a deck overlooking the water – a great place to spend...

Located alongside the Hay River as you head onto Vale Island, Fisherman's Wharf is the place to come for local arts and crafts, market-garden produce, fresh-caught Great Slave Lake fish – or simply to sit in the sunshine and people-watch. It operates on Saturdays...

The Hay River Mission is a National Historic Site on the Hay River (K'atlodeeche) Dene Reserve. Established in the late 19th century, the site consists of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, remains of a rectory, and associated...