Reindeer in herds that darken the horizon. Lonesome mountains clad in red and yellow. Canada's greatest river delta, where the Mackenzie explodes into a thousand tendrils. High Arctic islands, tramped by muskoxen and encircled by whales. And proud peoples – the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit – following lifeways both timeless and new. 

55 616f8631-d2ba-4f9a-af58-539721d2feea

Weird and wonderful, the pingos of the Arctic coast are among the North’s best-loved attractions. Engorged by ice, these lofty domes swell from the shores of the Beaufort Sea, towering over the tundra. The second-highest pingo on Earth, 49-metre-high Ibyuk, is just on the outskirts of Tuktoyaktuk. 

51 81e345fd-4564-4192-bc99-fc5037135349

Possibly the North’s most iconic, most photographed structure, the Our Lady of Victory church in downtown Inuvik is a bleach-white cylinder capped by a silvery dome, imitating the Inuvialuit snow-houses of old. The inside features paintings by local artist Mona Thrasher. 

45 414c2330-f604-4fa5-93c6-197943d3ae3f

Driving the Dempster is pretty any time of year, but at the end of August it becomes a roadtrip through a day-glo wonderland. The tundra of the Richardson Range ignites with scorching reds and luminous yellows – a sweeping autumn kaleidoscope, transfixing to behold. 

46 b5f89cc3-23cc-4cbe-9bb3-6a0e1fcb26fa

The king of the top of the world, the great white bear reigns supreme here, marching our Arctic coast and patrolling our far-north islands. Outfitters in communities like Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok can take you by boat or snowmobile to get a glimpse of these regal beasts. 

50 1505017b-fe90-49af-8faa-0a86ff52b88c

Where the North’s greatest river crowds toward the sea, it splinters into a skein of woods and waters – a labyrinthine estuary, supporting all manner of fish, fowl, whales, bears and caribou. This is also one of the North’s richest human landscapes, bustling with an ancient cultural tapestry. Tours are available from Inuvik and other Delta communities.  

62 a66551a7-7a0c-4907-8ca0-1e6831c62c95

One of Canada's most remote national parks, Tuktut Nogait lies on the flanks of the Northwest Passage, protecting the calving grounds of Barrenlands caribou, along with Arctic char, wolves and a high density of raptors. The park is famous for the Hornaday River and its signature cascade, 23-metre-high La Roncière Falls.   

58 ad05a2f3-ee24-4cb7-a8a8-ca41a3de7a8c
In the Western Arctic, here's what not to miss 15 19057bad-dcc4-4403-9595-dafcf41a4db2

Get our Free Explorers' Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Explorers' Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.