One of the most diverse, historic, offbeat neighborhoods in Canada, Old Town is the beating heart of Yellowknife. Here, where the Precambrian Shield blends into the Great Slave Lake. Gold seekers approximately 80 years ago pioneered what was to become the North's greatest settlement. Today the area is an intriguing mash-up of log cabins, mansions, houseboats, float planes, art galleries, famous restaurants, monuments and more. Guides to Old Town's historic sites are available from the Northern Frontier Visitor Center.  

Yellowknife's Old Town 83 7ee56683-7165-4144-9871-91331555d98b

This seven-kilometre loop around Frame Lake is the recreation trail for activity in the heart of the capital. While the eastern half is paved and passes by residential neighbourhoods, the western half consists of boardwalks over muskeg and wayfinding over rolling, forested-shrouded Shield-rock. Located along the trail are interpretive signs, picnic areas, beaches and viewing lookouts. The trail also provides access to the Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre, the Northern Frontier Visitor Centre, city hall, Somba K'e Park and the territorial legislative assembly.

Frame Lake Trail 108 5cae16dc-cf83-4a8c-aaeb-a2366e5276b0

Perched on a pillar near the entrance to town, the yellow and blue Bristol Freighter airplane greets visitors to Yellowknife, reminding them of the region's vital aviation history. Bush planes such as this one fed the development of the town, bringing people and supplies before Yellowknife was connected to the outside world by road. The Bristol Freighter itself was the first wheeled plane to touch down at the North Pole before being retired in 1968. Around the freighter you'll find trails, picnic tables and interpretive signage. 

Bristol Freighter 91 7309c2af-b0b3-47d5-9f7e-8c78072c2c2c

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.

The Papal Site 56 dab6ab7a-e43e-4f6b-acf6-483a258b0535

Located on the Yellowknife River, the park is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or fishing. There are washrooms here, a picnic area and playground, trails and a boat launch. For the more adventurous, boat up the river and into the string of lakes it connects to; or head into Back Bay and Yellowknife Bay on Great Slave Lake.

Yellowknife River Territorial Park Day Use Area 62 d6734854-adff-4b45-8d67-780b5e152901

The Dempster Highway serves as a boundary for this 8,800-hectare park, which includes two campgrounds (Vadzaih Van Tshik Campground and Gwich’in Territorial Campground), two day-use areas (Ehjuu NJik and Nihtak) and Tithegeh Chii Vitaii Lookout. The park is home to a number of natural wonders of the Mackenzie Delta region: limestone cliffs, rare Arctic plant communities, migratory bird staging areas, and Campbell Lake, an excellent example of a reversing delta.

Gwich'in Territorial Park 80 e467f2c6-93fa-4ea4-a886-e4653dcabd62

Just outside Inuvik, this park features an observation tower with excellent views of the surrounding scenery and prime bird-watching. Watch for falcons, eagles and ducks, our summer residents. There is an abundance of cranberries, blueberries and cloudberries that give the park its name. The campground offers six powered and 32 non-powered sites, washrooms and showers, drinking water, a kitchen shelter and picnic area, trails, interpretive displays and helpful staff. 

Ja'k Territorial Park 73 c6c776ea-5426-4f78-b9b7-c584f266a72f