Paddling

Floating the foremost waters

From mild to wild, the Northwest Territories has every kind of freshwater adventure you can imagine. Challenge the scenic South Nahanni, the Mountain or the Natla-Keele rivers. Experience the rugged Barrenlands along the Coppermine or the Thelon, where wildlife crowds the riverbanks. If your aim is whitewater take up the kayaking challenge on the Slave River near Fort Smith. The fun begins with the tough Class IV Cassette Rapids, home of a summer celebration called Paddlefest.  

Our Stories

Intriguing tales from Canada's Northwest Territories

Up here, it's just a bit different

17 essential experiences in Canada's Northwest Territories.

Hooking a Great Slave trout is even easier than you thought. The secret? Just stand up....

Pack extra adjectives. This is a land of extremes. 

Here's how to make the most of 72 hours in Canada's biggest, wildest park. 

This 10 day canoe adventure begins with two nights of camping and a full day of exploration at Virginia Falls. Experience rarely explored viewpoints or take in the spectacular view from the summit of Sunblood Mountain. Your friendly and engaging guides ensure one on...

Thrilling, friendly whitewater for novice, intermediate or advanced paddlers. The Keele’s turquoise waters flow through the towering Mackenzie Mountains, offering spectacular mountain vistas, superb fly-fishing, and wildlife viewing. In 2012, Canoe North was...

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...

Located on Madeline Lake, this park is a perfect place to enjoy a meal at one of its several picnic sites equipped with tables and firepits. Use the boat launch and dock area to access the lake for powerboating and watersports. Madeline Lake is usually calm due to...

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 (...

The North's most colourful neighbourhood bobs on the waves of Great Slave Lake, just offshore of Old Town. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore this floating community – or bunk down at the houseboat bed-and-breakfast. 

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...

Located on Vale Island in Hay River, (follow the signs; it’s about 10 kilometres past the information centre), this park offers fantastic swimming on the sandy shores of Great Slave Lake, unique views of barges and fishing vessels plying the waters, and great...

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...

Perched on the banks of the Mackenzie, this placid, timber-shrouded campground is an ideal basecamp for fishing the big river and exploring the town of Fort Providence, three kilometres downstream. You’ll find powered campsites, potable water, showers, picnic tables,...

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...

So perfect it seems planned, this road-accessible cascade is just outside the little village of Kakisa. It occurs where the Kakisa River jumps off an ancient coral reef, forming a crescent-shaped, 17-metre-high curtain of spray.

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...

For most of its length the broad Slave River plods over the boreal plains, sliding listlessly toward Great Slave Lake. But at the point where it hits the Northwest Territories border, it is suddenly stirred by the Canadian Shield and detonates into a maelstrom....

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...

The Mackenzie River The Mackenzie River is the second longest river in North America, and its tributaries drain a fifth of Canada. The river rises in Great Slave Lake near Fort Providence and flows 1738 kilometres to the Mackenzie Delta and Arctic Ocean. ...

Rivers to the Arctic Historically, the Dene travelled up the Yellowknife River from Great Slave Lake and crossed the height of land near Snare Lake to the Coppermine River on the way to the Barrenlands. Sir John Franklin was saved from starvation by the Dene near...

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...

East Arm Great Slave Lake's East Arm is a world class scenic and geological wonder. Spectacular cliffs drop 180 metres into the tenth largest lake in the world. The scenery is primeval, the result of glaciation in North America and of a clearly visible fault in the...

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...

Powder Point Day Use Area is located within Hidden Lake Territorial Park on the Ingraham Trail, a little more than 45 kilometres east of Yellowknife on the eastern arm of Prelude Lake. Powder Point offers access to both the the Lower Cameron River Canoe Route and...

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...

The closest thing to whitewater on the mighty Mackenzie River, this fast-flowing section occurs a few kilometres upstream from Fort Good Hope where the river is choked between 40-metre-high limestone cliffs.

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