The Trans Canada Trail is used by millions to experience our country's legendary wilderness. Now 73% complete, the Trail is over 16,800 kilometres long connecting the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts. Comprised of locally-managed segments, the Trail is within 30 minutes of more than 80% of Canadians and runs through or near 1,000 communities. In the Northwest Territories, much of the trail follows rivers or lake shores with water routes totaling over 2,200 km. Overland routes comprise 600 km.

Yellowknife's most popular lookout rises above Old Town, providing a stupendous view over Great Slave Lake, Back Bay and the northern reaches of the city. The monument is high up on "The Rock," and is accessed via a winding staircase to the top. It is dedicated to the bush pilots and engineers whose lives were lost as they flew the wilderness skies of the Northwest Territories. The monument also serves a practical purpose: When the light atop the tower is flashing, residents and visitors are warned that floatplanes or skiplanes are active on nearby Yellowknife Bay.

On the flats at the southwestern end of Fort Simpson Island, for centuries Dene gathered at this site during their seasonal rounds to allocate land use, arrange marriages, resolve disputes, hold puberty rites, undertake ceremonies of healing and thanksgiving, and trade goods and knowledge. The site remains important to the local Liidlii Kue Dene, who renew their ongoing connection to the place with seasonal celebrations at the Drum Circle.

The Deh Cho Bridge near Fort Providence is the only bridge to straddle Canada’s biggest river, the Mackenzie. It's twice as long as any other bridge in Northern Canada. It was also the costliest piece of infrastructure in territorial history, with a price tag of $202 million. RIsing more than 100 feet above the water, it provides excellent views both up- and downstream. 

On the floodplain where the Liard River flows into the great Mackenzie, Pope John Paul II held mass for the Indigenous people of Canada nearly three decades ago. Thousands gathered as the world turned its eyes toward the Northwest Territories. Today the scenic site hosts community events, including the annual Open Sky Festival.

Enjoy a break from driving at this roadside park, offering washrooms, a kitchen shelter and a boat launch. Stop and rest on the picturesque shores of Great Slave Lake to take photos or simply to relax with a picnic. Be sure to look around you – the scenery abruptly changes here from rolling, well-treed Mackenzie lowlands to the granite of the Canadian shield. This is a prime waterfowl nesting area.

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.