Big River. Big Mountains. Big Hearts.
In the Dehcho region, where the Northwest Territories borders British Columbia and the Yukon, you’ll find some of the grandest displays of the North’s natural beauty. Here, mountains rise to unclimbable heights, waterfalls roar between colossal canyons, and the big river runs past communities where traditional living remains vibrant and thriving. Welcome to Dehcho.
Dehcho means “big river” – the Dene name for the Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie begins its 1,600-kilometre journey up to the Arctic Ocean and winds along through some of the Northwest Territories’ most remarkable landscapes along the way. Flanking the current: The foothills and spires of the Mackenzie Mountains is home to the Nahanni National Park Reserve, on the must-see list of many hiking, paddling, and sightseeing enthusiasts.
Along the Mackenzie – and the many other wild rivers that sprawl through this region – you’ll find the thriving communities that have used the river for transportation since time immemorial. Among the pristine landscapes, traditional living endures. Jean Marie River, Fort Simpson, and Wrigley mark your path north along the Mackenzie, while Fort Liard and Nahanni Butte are easy to access for road trippers from the Yukon and BC – and they provide great access to the legendary Nahanni National park Reserve. Fishing is feisty and the species are varied across the NWT’s lakes and rivers, and the community of Sambaa K’e offers marvelous Trout, Pike, Walleye and Arctic Grayling to anglers who visit their idyllic home.
The Dehcho region presents the balance of the seemingly untouched natural beauty of the North, and remarkable ease of access. For Alaska Highway road trippers, it’s a convenient, rustic side trip, free from long lines of RVs. Come from Yellowknife or the southern borders by air and road and dive deep into a world that feels apart from everything else, where moose, bison, and black bears ramble just off the roadsides. Here you will find friendly faces and a low-key pace that will pacify your soul.