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11-Day Nahanni River Scenic Rafting Adventure

Offer Date: July 15th to 25th 2023

The Nahanni River is truly the crown jewel of river trips in the NWT. Made famous to the outside world by RM Patterson's book "Dangerous River" published in 1957, the river's true history is one that is intertwined with the Mountain Dene People of the Dehcho Region of the NWT, who have lived here for thousands of years.

Náįlįcho, or Virginia Falls, is twice the height of Niagara falls and is the centerpiece of Nahanni National Park, one of the largest protected areas in Canada and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The park also protects the incredible southern Mackenzie Mountain Ranges and the many incredible canyons of the Nahanni River.

A raft is a wonderful way to explore this landscape, providing all the comforts possible on a wilderness trip at our fingertips and enabling you to relax and enjoy the incredible scenery and create new friends on the river. Our guides will regale you with tales of the north, the Dene history of the land and the incredible geology that shaped the Nahanni River. When the river and weather allows it, guests will be encouraged to take inflatable canoes out to enjoy paddling on their own, and feel the currents pull against their paddle.

Scenic rafting on the Nahanni is all about removing the stress from a wilderness expedition. Experienced, in-experienced, young, old (even children as young as 7!), rafting is the great leveler for people to experience the wonders of a northern river trip. Loaded with gear for 11 days, the rafts provide an extremely stable relaxed platform to experience the river and its rapids in all its splendor. You should still expect some thrills and splashes as the rafts descend through the class 3 rapids of 4th canyon and Georges Riffle, but you will also find peace as you are able to look around and enjoy the spectacular scenery that the canyons of the Nahanni are famous for. 

Your trip begins with a dramatic flight over Virginia Falls, touching down just upstream. You are allowed a full day to take in the majesty of the falls before your group departs into the famed canyons of the Nahanni. Once you are off onto the water, the real fun begins. Each raft can accommodate 4 paddlers as well as skilled and certified “Captain” at the oars, expertly navigating your craft downstream. As you briskly float onwards, conversations and laughter echo off of the canyon walls - the camaraderie built on a raft is like no other wilderness experience. As the days go by, a cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee becomes at home in your hands as much as a paddle or a camera. The scenery beckons you to look around, drink it in and relax in one of the largest protected wilderness areas in Canada. At night, the large rafts allow us to carry many more creature comforts than canoes such as tables and comfortable chairs. As the campfire crackles and the sun dips low against the horizon, you can feel yourself finally at peace with yourself and the world.

In camp we will spare no luxury, and our 5-star menu is to die for. We will spend the nights socializing around a campfire and enjoying the 24 hour daylight that makes evening stretch long and beautiful. Mornings are slow but steady, and every day is a learning experience of how everything gets packed and put away- but it's worth every moment in this incredible land.

By the end of the trip new friends and memories for life will have been made, and you will be ready for your next northern adventure!

Gear and Flight back to Fort Simpson from Nahanni Butte (the take out) Included.

Children must be over 7 years old and 80lbs to join a rafting adventure.


DAY 1-2 Arrive in Fort Simpson before noon, meet your guides, have lunch in Fort Simpson, select your gear prior to charter flight departure to Virginia Falls at 2pm. Stunning flight into the heart of the Mackenzie Mountains arriving at Virginia Falls, set up camp and overnight. Explore the stunning scenery around Virginia Falls on this scheduled layover day with an opportunity to hike to the summit of Sunblood Mountain and take in a spectacular view of Virginia Falls, Rabbit Kettle Valley and the South Nahanni Valley. Parks Canada Staff may offer an interpretive program discussing specific aspects of flora and fauna unique to Nahanni National Park.
DAY 3 We complete the 1.5km portage around Virginia Falls and load the rafts prior to entering Nahanni’s legendary canyons - the first which is known as Painted canyon. Inside its towering walls lay some of the biggest rapids on the Nahanni River, up to class 3 in difficulty, and we will rise to the challenge to meet them. We cover approximately 15kms on this first big day of whitewater.
DAY 4 We raft down through the Third Canyon with 1200m walls as it makes its way through the Funeral Range. We camp in the shadow of the Nahanni Gate.
DAY 5 We Start the day by hiking up the Gate, an incredible lookout high above the river. After descending, another glorious day on the river takes us through 3rd canyon to the mouth of 2nd Canyon.
DAY 6 After drifting through 2nd Canyon, we float through into the Headless Valley, a place shrouded in mystery, myth and legend about lost gold and headless men. After enjoying the spectacular views of the headless range, we camp at the mouth of Dry Creek.
DAY 7 In the morning we take the time to explore up Dry Canyon, before departing in the afternoon to shoot the rapids of Georges Riffle before entering 1st canyon, the deepest canyon in Canada. This exciting stretch of river is some of the most scenic on the whole river, with towering walls surrounding you everywhere you look. A short day of floating through this otherworldly landscape you arrive at your camp beside Lafferty Creek.
DAY 8 A layover day! If weather permits we will explore the side canyon of Lafferty creek, and its turquoise coloured pools and slot canyons.
DAY 9 After shooting Lafferty's Riffle and stopping for a short soak in Kraus's hot springs, you enter the splits- a section of river with a myriad of channels and braids. After a long day of navigating through this maze with the chance to see bison grazing along the river, you will arrive at last chance camp.
DAY 10 A Dene Guide meets us at our campsite and whisks you towards civilization and the town of Nahanni Butte. From Nahanni Butte, you will depart by plane back to Fort Simpson, where you will stay the night and celebrate your adventure!
DAY 11 Its time to say our goodbyes. Your plane departs for the south around 11 am.
Canyons Rafting Nahanni River between two cliffs with Canoe North Adventures. Rafting with three people on a Canoe North Adventures trip in the Nahanni river in the NWT. Red Nahanni River Rafts and a large mountain behind the rafters on a Canoe North Adventures trip in the NWT. Three rafts on the Nahanni River with Canoe North Adventures in the Nahanni National Park. Campsite at Nahanni National Park with Canoe North Adventures.
A collection of images for 11-Day Nahanni River Scenic Rafting Adventure
11-Day Nahanni River Scenic Rafting Adventure

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