Hiking & Backpacking

Tramping trails less travelled

Day Hikes: Trails in and around our larger communities are often marked and signed. They lead to favorite picnic spots, often by a lake, with a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. For information on trails in and around our communities ask at a visitor center or at a community or band office. It's always a good idea to let someone know your plans and when you'll be back. There’s excellent walking in and around Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith and Yellowknife.

Backpacking: We can guarantee a challenge, backpacking in the Northwest Territories. Spectacular hiking is available above the treeline in the Mackenzie Mountains, on the Canol Heritage Trail, the Ram Plateau or elsewhere in one of our national parks. Logistical support is highly recommended – often the only access is by fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter. For suggestions, contact one of our mountain outfitters or one of the national parks. Plan on an outing lasting five to ten days, and plan well in advance – help is usually a very long way away.

Climbing: For experienced climbers, the Cirque of the Unclimbables is one of North America’s top ten.  Remote and demanding, the Lotus Flower Tower in the Cirque, in Nahanni National Park Reserve, and the Vampire Tower, are unique and spectacular climbing faces. There are no services. You’ll be dropped off by aircraft or helicopter at the start of your climb and you'll need to ensure a pick up back to your starting point.

Our Stories

Intriguing tales from Canada's Northwest Territories

Pull off you shoes and socks and stride across the Salt Plains, nature's very own foot-spa...

Already famed among fishermen, the lake is becoming a hotspot for culture and history.

Oh, ya know, no big deal – just kayaking off a 107-foot-high waterfall.

Need a digital detox? Unplug from the commonplace and discover a deeper connection. 

The North abounds with national parks. Which is right for you? 

Rent  warm clothing so you can enjoy your time outdoors - view the aurora and participate in winter activities in comfort. Our winter clothing rentals provide you with the best defense against the cold. We have you covered from head to toe!  We...

Aulavik National Park Aulavik is our northernmost park, reaching across the pristine, wide-open lowlands of Banks Island. It’s famous for two things: the Thomsen River and muskoxen. The Thomsen, calm and crystal-clear, slides through this...

Nahanni National Park Reserve Nahanni, the best-known Northern park, showcases the South Nahanni River, possibly Canada’s most epic waterway. Framed by four towering canyons, the river spills through the alpine habitat of broad-shouldered...

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...

On the banks of the Mackenzie River in Norman Wells, MacKinnon Territorial Park offers a great view of the Mackenzie Mountains and is a perfect stop for river-trippers. There are eight non-powered campsites, washrooms, firewood, a picnic area and a playground...

Two peninsulas on Great Bear, covering 5,565 square kilometers, were designated as a national historic site in 2009. At that time, Parks Canada and the community of Délįne signed a first-of-its-kind deal where the sites – called Saoyú (...

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Nááts’ihch’oh, meaning “the mountain that’s sharp like a porcupine,” is named for a spine-like peak long sacred to the region’s First Nations. Nááts’ihch’oh is the Northwest Territories’ newest national park,...

Meaning “Land of the Ancestors,” Thaidene Nëné is a park-in-waiting, slated for federal and territorial protection in the next few years. The park will guard the glorious East Arm of Great Slave Lake – 27,000 square kilometres of spectacular...

Enjoy the spectacular shoreline of Campbell Lake, try your luck fishing, hike in search of unique rocks and fossils, or hit the beach for a swim above the Arctic Circle. There are just a few of the options available at Gwich'in Territorial Campground, about 30...

Between Fort Liard and Fort Simpson on the Liard Trail, Blackstone Territorial Park boasts stunning mountain views and a prime location on the Liard River, downstream from its confluence with the South Nahanni. This is an excellent starting or...

Reid Lake is also an excellent base for fishing, swimming, canoeing, hiking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, power boating, and for extended canoe trips into the surrounding lake systems. From here, canoeists can access the Lower Cameron River...

The largest developed park on the Ingraham Trail, Prelude Lake Territorial Park offers a variety of facilities. There are trails,a sandy beach for swimming, a dock and boat launch, and boat rentals. The island-filled lake, about 16 kilometers long, forms part of...

Swim at Long Lake’s sandy beach. Camp, picnic, canoe or enjoy the amenities and attractions of nearby Yellowknife. Hike the four-kilometre Prospector’s Trail, highlighting the gold-bearing geology of the area. Or follow the Jackfish and Frame Lake trail...

This picturesque spot features six non-powered campsites. The area was devastated by a forest fire in 1981; nearly 40 years later it is now an ideal spot to observe how nature replenishes the land. Relax by the small waterfall, launch your canoe in the gorge...

Enjoy great fishing, bison and bird watching, and take advantage of the services available in nearby historic Fort Providence, featuring visitor services, tours, fishing, groceries, a motel and restaurant. The campground is on the north bank of the Mackenzie River...

This popular park and campground are located at the junction of Highway 1 and the Trout River (Sambaa Deh in the Slavey language). The river was a traditional transportation route before and during the fur trade. The falls forced travellers to portage around...

This park is what we call a "destination park," and with good reason. The sights to be seen are spectacular, the camping facilities excellent, the peace and tranquility are another world. The park has three main areas, located between the Mackenzie Highway...

Make the trip to see the falls, even if you do not plan to camp overnight. From the Mackenzie Highway, an access road leads 6.8 kilometres south to the park. From the parking lot, a short trail leads to Lady Evelyn Falls. The falls form a giant curtain of...

For a pretty little hike through classic Northern shield-country, drive 45 kilometres east of Yellowknife to the Cameron Falls Trail. The path twists through evergreen forests, across boardwalks and over undulating outcrops until, 20 minutes later, you...

A must-see attraction on highway 1 from Fort Providence to Fort Simpson, the Sambaa Deh Gorge gapes where the Trout River slices through thick spruce woodlands not far from the community of Jean Marie River. Most visitors photograph the...

Following the rim of the gorgeous Hay River canyon, the easy Twin Falls Gorge trail begins at the community of Enterprise and leads south for eight kilometres through luxuriant boreal forest. Along the way you'll enjoy interpretive signage, great views...

Forming a seven-kilometre loop around the shores of Frame Lake in the heart of Yellowknife, the city's favourite walking trail has a little of everything. The eastern half of the loop is a paved, sedate urban path, leading you past architectural marvels such as...

There's hiking, and then there's the Canol. Possibly North America's most rigorous backpacking trail, this 355-kilometre trek follows the route of a defunct military road that once transected the Mackenzie Mountains. Tackling it is an exercise in...

Erupting from the pancake-flat tundra just outside the community of Tuktoyaktuk, this bulbous, ice-filled mound is the second-largest "pingo" on Earth. Called Ibyuk, it's 1,000 feet wide at its base and rises to the height of a 15-storey building, making its...

A four-kilometre dayhike downriver from Alexandra Falls or upriver from Enterprise, this tiered, 15-metre-high cataract in the Hay River Canyon can be viewed from one of the finest (and most popular) campgrounds in the Northwest Territories. 

A mandatory stop on the drive North of Sixty, this booming, 10-storey spillover on the Hay River is the centerpiece of Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park, not far from Enterprise. Shockingly, in 2003, an American daredevil kayaked the falls – and lived.

About 45 minutes by road east of Yellowknife, a short, scenic trail leads over the undulating outcrops to 17-metre Cameron Falls. Here, the Cameron River takes a tumble en route to Great Slave Lake. A bridge straddles the river, allowing picknickers to access...

Roaring directly beneath the Mackenzie Highway not far from the community of Jean Marie River, flashy, splashy Sambaa Deh Falls gets deserved attention from motorists. And here's a bonus: Take a stroll upstream and you’ll come to Coral Falls, a...

Tuktut Nogait National Park Tuktut Nogait, meaning “young caribou,” is one of Canada’s least visited parks, protecting the calving grounds of the 68,000-strong Bluenose caribou herd near the shores of the Northwest Passage. Most visitors...

Nááts’ihch’oh, named for a sacred mountain in its midst, is our newest park. Tucked against the Yukon border, it guards the headwaters of both the Nahanni and the Natla/Keele river systems. Paddlers can traverse the South Nahanni’s “rock garden,” featuring 50km of...

One of the most popular parks in the Northwest Territories, Twin Falls boasts a wealth of attractions. The park, 75 kilometres north of the Alberta border, stretches along the rim of Twin Falls Gorge, encompassing 32-metre-high Alexnadra Falls, where the Hay River...

Just a few dozen metres from the heart of Enterprise, the earth falls away and a gaping chasm yawns. This is the Twin Falls Gorge, a Grand Canyon in miniature. Here, sheer limestone walls glitter like shimmering sand, while the rim is lined with a dark wall of...

The Ingraham Trail The Ingraham Trail stretches 70 kilometers east of Yellowknife threading together over a dozen lakes. There are picnic spots, hiking trails, campgrounds and boat launches all along the highway. It is terrific fishing, hiking, boating and...

Canol Project History The Norman Wells Historical Centre offers an exciting introduction to the Canol Project. This was a wartime effort by the Canadian and American governments to supply oil to Alaska from the oil fields at Norman Wells, Northwest Territories...

Cirque of the Unclimbables A challenge for world class mountaineers, the Cirque is located in the Ragged Range, near Glacier Lake, Northwest Territories. The Cirque's most famous peak – a must for every serious climber - is the Lotus Flower Tower, featured in Fifty...

Ram Plateau and Area There's dramatic hiking available to those who fly out to the Ram Plateau in Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories. There are grassy plains, scenic canyons 1200 to 1800 m deep, hoodoo and karst formations and...

Take a break to enjoy a picnic or spend the afternoon fishing (in season) along the fast-moving Kakisa River. Watch for trophy Grayling. Great Slave Lake is home to the current world record Arctic Grayling, and one of the Grayling's favourite spawning tributaries...

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...

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...

Towering 400 metres above Tulita, sacred Bear Rock is said to be where Yamoria, the great law-giver of Dene lore, confronted a gang of giant beavers that had been drowning hunters. Yamoria killed three of the beavers and draped their vast pelts on Bear Rock – forming...

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