Please note that several NWT communities are still under evacuation alerts or orders due to the wildfire situation: see more information about the affected communities.
Offer Date: Summer 2024
150 km of pure whitewater fun, the Broken Skull River is known in Mountain Dene as Pı̨́ı̨́p'enéh łéetǫ́ǫ́ Deé, pronounced Pip-en-ay Lee-toh Day. It is in one of Canada’s newest national parks, Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve. The river is a little-known tributary of the fabled South Nahanni River (Nahʔą Dehé). Starting high in the Mackenzie Mountains, the river boasts excellent class I and II whitewater, pristine hot springs, great hiking and truly untravelled wilderness…
We will meet in Norman Wells and fly into Divide Lake (Ǫtaa Tu Fehto), where we will take a day hike to and through the surrounding mountains. Following ‘Cold Feet Creek’ to the Broken Skull (Pı̨́ı̨́p'enéh łéetǫ́ǫ́ Deé), the paddling fun begins. The river will take us past Swallow Falls (Pı́ı́lǫhda Nááréélı̨) and downstream to the Broken Skull Hot Springs (Pı̨́ı̨́p'enéh łéetǫ́ǫ́ Gaǫfáá), a short hike from the river. Continuing downstream with consistent, runnable rapids, we then meet the South Nahanni (Nahʔą Dehé). Our last two days paddle will take us to Nahanni National Park’s Rabbitkettle Lake (Gahnįhthah Mie), where we will meet our charter flight to Fort. Simpson, NWT.
The Broken Skull trip is suitable for paddlers with previous canoe camping and whitewater experience but advanced whitewater skills are not required. More experienced paddlers will appreciate the river for its remoteness, scenic beauty and the fact that it is so very rarely paddled. Those wishing for an extended paddling experience should consider our Broken Skull-Nahanni Combo trip, or our Broken Skull and Cirque of the Unclimbables hike combo trip.