On Top of the World
You come to this part of Canada to get away from it all. The Northwest Territories
covers a huge area that encompasses mountains, boreal forest and arctic tundra, and few people live here. Visitors will find most of them in Yellowknife, the off-beat capital on the shores of Great Slave Lake. Here, you’ll discover world-class restaurants, amazing museums and fascinating festivals, as well as ample opportunity to explore the wild side of the Northwest Territories. It’s also where you’ll likely start your exploration of this enthralling part of the world.
What to do next? Here are five extraordinary adventures to enjoy on your next visit to Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Nature’s Light Show
Watch the dancing hues of the Northwest Territories’ natural wonder, the aurora borealis, during autumn and winter. Each season offers a unique experience, and your choice will depend on what you want to do during the daylight hours. From mid-August to early October is the autumn aurora, while the winter season lasts from late November to early April. At either of these times, if you stay for three nights, there’s a 99 per cent chance you’ll see the northern lights.
You can choose to stay in Yellowknife, the aurora capital of the world, and travel out of town as darkness falls – there are a number of key viewing points on Highway 3 and the Ingraham Trail. Another option is to book a break in a luxury wilderness lodge, some of which even have igloos or glamping facilities for sleeping out below the aurora. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll never forget the magic of the northern lights.
Driving The Dempster
Built in 1979, the 735-kilometre Dempster Highway
takes you across mighty rivers on ferries, past magnificent mountain ranges and all the way through the Arctic Circle to Inuvik. From Inuvik, drive the new all-weather road to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean. Most people start in the Yukon at Dawson City and take a few days to head north, taking in parks and communities along the way. In summer, the highway is open from mid-June to mid-October and again in winter, from mid-December to end of April, when the road turns to ice.
All On Ice
There are plenty of other activities to pack into winter days in the Northwest Territories. For those who want to drive the ice roads
, built each year so communities and mines can be resupplied throughout the coldest months, there are plenty of options, including a route north from Yellowknife to the Arctic coastline. You can also try ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing and kite-skiing.
Gone to the Dogs
One of the most popular winter activities in the Northwest Territories is dog sledding
. This was once one of the few ways people could travel a long distance when the snow set in. Now, you can either take a seat on a traditional toboggan and enjoy the ride, or learn to drive the experienced dog teams. You can even travel across frozen lakes and along trails by dogsled before settling in to a heated cabin to enjoy the dancing lights of the aurora.
Lakes, Rivers and Mountains
When the weather is a little warmer, there is a huge range of outdoor activities for those who like to get close to nature
. Hiking is one of the most popular activities, particularly above the tree line in the Mackenzie Mountains and on the Canol Heritage Trail. But for anyone more likely to enjoy a simple day out tramping, there are excellent trails around Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith and Yellowknife.
Whether you’re looking for white water or a gentle stream, kayaking and canoeing is popular. There are multiday adventures along the Coppermine or Nahanni Rivers, where you’ll see amazing falls and outstanding wildlife. Great Slave Lake is the perfect spot for those who like to catch their own lunch and, in winter, when it freezes over, it’s the setting for the month-long Snowking Festival, with its performances, music, film screenings and castle built completely from snow and ice.
Discover your own journey in Canada's Northwest Territories,
speak with a travel designer for a free quote or to create your custom itinerary enquire now,
call (AU) 1300 295 049 or (NZ) 0800 238 368 or see your travel agent.