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Home Story What to do in Fort Simpson

What To Do in Fort Simpson

The welcoming and vibrant community of Fort Simpson is where you’ll find nature, culture, adventure and relaxation all in one place. Home to about 1,200 residents, Fort Simpson is the hub of the Dehcho. Located at the confluence of the Mackenzie and Liard Rivers, this friendly and diverse community is an epicentre of Northern history, rich with Dene and Métis culture, and serves as the gateway to the stunning Nahanni National Park Reserve.

Whether you stop by for a couple of days or a whole week, you’ll find no shortage of things to do on your visit to Fort Simpson.

Tour Historic Sites on the Riverfront

Fort Simpson features many historic landmarks embedded in the town. The Visitor Centre, located near the entrance of the town, offers great resources including exhibits, maps, brochures, and videos with insights on the history of the area and must-see landmarks. The friendly staff can answer any of your questions and give recommendations on what to see, where to visit, and the best lunch and dinner spots

From here, set off on a tour of the Mackenzie riverfront. The river has always been an important mode of travel for the community, and many historic and preserved sites and buildings can be found along the river’s edge. See the famed Edhaa National Historic Site and the cabin of legendary gold seeker, Albert Faille. You’ll also find structures that showcase the Métis and fur-trade history of the town, including McPherson House, Lafferty House, and the Hudson Bay Company shed.

Flightseeing over Nahanni

Embark on a floatplane for what is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life  — a flightseeing tour of Nahanni National Park Reserve. Soar up the great gorges of the Nahanni River’s First, Second, and Third canyons. Set down on the river and walk the portage trail for heart-stopping views of furious Sluicebox Rapids, 300-foot-high Virginia Falls, and imperious Mason’s Rock.

Reboard and take off for Lotus Flower Tower and other peaks in the Cirque of the Unclimbables. These dramatic 9,000-foot spires embrace the Fairy Meadow – an idyllic alpine garden. Then fly over Rabbitkettle Lake, home to Canada’s largest Tufa Mound, and the Nahanni Plateau, featuring the Ram River Canyons. Stop at pristine Little Doctor Lake for a relaxing visit to Nahanni Mountain Lodge before returning to Fort Simpson.

Nahanni National Park Reserve is one of Canada’s stand-out National Parks, and seeing all the beauty the park has to offer can be the highlight of an entire trip itself. Fort Simpson is no doubt the best place to venture into the park, but there is still so much to see back in town.

Festivals Any Time of Year

As the Region’s main hub,people gather in Fort Simpson often for community celebrations and cultural events. Every March, Fort Simpson hosts its annual Beavertail Jamboree. The winter carnival includes traditional games, snowmobile races, and other celebratory events. The Open Sky Festival, held every year on or around Canada Day weekend, is a beloved arts festival of music, theatre, crafts, and public workshops and demonstrations.

Choose from Two Spectacular Rivers.

Fort Simpson’s traditional Dene name is Łíídlı Kųę – “the place where rivers come together.” Those rivers are the Liard and the Mackenzie, and both provide a variety of activities and adventures to enjoy during your visit.

Try your hand at fishing on the banks of the Mackenzie, or rent a car to head up the Mackenzie highway and cross the Mackenzie River on the MV Johnny Berens ferry. At Camsell Bend, you’re already back into the mountains with the Mackenzie Range on the west side of the river and the Franklin Range on the east side.

Fort Simpson is also a great place for intrepid canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts to get their feet wet in the Mackenzie and Liard Rivers. Whether you’re embarking on a multi-day canoe trip or just getting a view of the community from the water, both rivers offer spectacular experiences.

Get your Fort Simpson adventure started by exploring the packages offered by operators here, and then set out on an experience you’ll never forget.

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