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Home What to DoRoad Trips Wood Buffalo Waterfall Route

If your ideal road trip involves chasing waterfalls then the Wood Buffalo Waterfall Route is the drive for you.

This route features numerous waterfalls, ranging from small and charming to large and spectacular, as well as numerous rivers and lakes. The powerful roar of a waterfall embodies everything timeless and enduring about the North’s spectacular landscapes. It’s also a chance to visit the salt plains and spot Bison grazing in Wood Buffalo National Park.

When crossing the 60th parallel from the Alberta/Northwest Territories border, commemorate the beginning of your journey and make sure to ask for your “North of 60” certificate. Few people travel this far North, and your journey has just begun. Of Interest along the route are communities such as Enterprise, a small Hamlet; Hay River, known as the ‘Hub of the North’; Fort Resolution for a taste of northern history and insight into the Dene way of life; and Fort Smith for golfing and white water rafting or kayaking on the Slave River Rapids.

These communities are bustling in their own ways, with countless opportunities to visit galleries, eat local food, and explore the surrounding landscapes, and attractions

While in the southern region of the territory, your journey has to include a visit to Wood Buffalo National Park in Fort Smith. Canada’s largest national park and one of the largest in the world. So large in fact, that the park covers more land than 105 countries across the world – this means Wood Buffalo National Park offers endless hiking possibilities and room to enjoy its beauty and serenity. A perfect example of what is so alluring about the NWT.

Distance

380 km

Time

4hr 24min

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Planning

Your road trip isn’t complete without a well-packed car filled with all the essentials. Don’t leave the house without bringing these along.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Roadside emergency kit
  • Spare Tires
  • Jerry can filled with gas
  • Food & Water
  • A paper map

Before hitting the road, make sure your car is reliable, well-maintained and has a full tank of gas. There are no services on the drive between Hay River and Fort Resolution or Fort Smith.

For this route, you’ll also want to plan for the many Highway Junctions. At Enterprise, detour and take highway 2 to begin the Great Slave Route towards Hay River and Fort Resolution. At the junction of Highway 5 & 6, continue south on Highway 5 to start the Wood Buffalo Route, which ends in Fort Smith.

This interesting drive takes you to two communities located along the Southern shores of Great Slave Lake – Hay River and Fort Resolution. If you need to stop and rest, there are two campgrounds located along the route: Hay River Territorial Park and Little Buffalo River Crossing Territorial park. Hay River Territorial Park has a campground with 43 powered sites, modern amenities and a wheelchair accessible campsite.

As always, drive according to the road conditions, bring an emergency roadside kit,and watch for wildlife, especially Bison on and beside the highway.

Between communities in the North, there are long stretches where cell reception is not reliable. Make sure your service provider has coverage in the North, and phone ahead to the communities you are travelling to so people can know when to expect your arrival.

Getting there is half the fun!Plan out your route with these printable resources.