The following is a tentative agenda and has been designed with much thought to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions.
We adhere to the new departure regulation system of the park, which ensures that all river travellers have the same wilderness experience.
Breakfast = B | Lunch = L | Dinner = D
Day 1 (D) MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN & CANYON FLIGHT
This is the first day listed for your trip.
Your journey north will be a refreshing departure from everyday life. You’ll fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world, pass through quieter airports, meet friendlier service personnel, and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold.
Your trip leader will meet you at the airport. (If you arrive prior, please make your way to your accommodation.) After loading our supplies and gear into the aircraft we begin one of the major highlights of the adventure – the upriver flight into Nahanni National Park. Flying over the majestic Nahanni Range and Ram Plateau, a stunning panorama unfolds in front of our eyes. Be sure to have your camera ready! Past participants have stepped off the plane, declaring that, “if the trip finished now, I would have my money’s worth!”
Following supper in camp at Virginia Falls, your guides will provide further briefing with the techniques for living comfortably along the river. A last look at the stunning scenery before bed will remind you that you are in one of the most scenic places on the planet!
Please note that under certain conditions (weather, forest fire, plane availability and upriver conditions), it may be necessary to make our upriver flight soon after arrival. On the other hand, we have occasionally found ourselves waiting for safe flying conditions. In any event, we’ll have supper and camp in Ft. Simpson or on the shores of the Nahanni.
If we’re required to overnight in Fort Simpson you’re welcome to camp or take a hotel room (at your own cost).
Day 2 (B/L/D) VIRGINIA FALLS
This is a day for exploring the area around Virginia Falls, nearly twice the height of Niagara. The vast expanse of the falls captivates photographers and hikers with a tireless display of powerful drama. Keen and fit hikers may undertake an all-day expedition to the top of Sunblood Mountain for an excellent view of the surrounding area. Others can enjoy exploring the expansive area overlooking the brink of the falls.
Day 3 (B/L/D) PAINTED CANYON
We’ll make the final portage around the falls. The trail is downhill and well defined. You need carry only what is comfortable for you. Everyone pitches in to carry what they can and we take as long as we need to complete the task. It’s impossible to spend too much time at Virginia Falls! We’ll assemble the boats and after a late shore lunch and briefing, embark in the late afternoon on an exhilarating run through Painted Canyon, also known as Fourth Canyon. The final challenge for the day will be Figure 8 Rapids (Hell’s Gate). Camp is finally made for the evening below Wrigley Creek.
Day 4 (B/L/D) THE GATE
We drift past the confluence of the Flat River and then enter Third Canyon, the walls of which loom 1200 metres (3937 feet) above our heads. This 20 kilometre canyon is created by the river slicing through the mixed strata of shale, sandstone and limestone of the Funeral Range. We camp halfway through this canyon near The Gate, a 100 metre-wide (328 feet) gorge where the walls tower 460 metres (1509 feet) above us.
Day 5 (B/L/D) BIG BEND
In the morning we do a short hike to the top of The Gate and are awarded a magnificent view of Third Canyon and Pulpit Rock. After lunch it’s back in the canoes and on through Third Canyon to camp at Big Bend.
Day 6 (B/L/D) DEADMEN VALLEY
On through Second Canyon and into Deadmen Valley, where we will stop for a spectacular two-hour walk up a dry creek bed for an overview of this immense region. After drifting by Headless Creek, we continue on to Sheaf Creek. Here R. M. Patterson and his partner Gordon Mathews wintered in 1928. We’ll camp for the night at Dead Man Valley.
Day 7 (B/L/D) PRAIRIE CREEK
This may be selected by the trip guide as a layover day. If so, you can spend a relaxing day around camp or exploring the massive alluvial fan of Prairie Creek. For birders, it’s the nesting grounds for Upland Sandpipers, common nighthawks, White-winged Crossbills, Chipping and Savanna sparrows. Fishermen will find both bull trout and Arctic grayling inhabiting the pools and eddies of the creek.
Day 8 (B/L/D) INTO THE CANYON KINGDOM
We start the day with a short hike up Dry Canyon, followed by the big waves of George’s Riffle. These rapids are at the western entrance to First Canyon. We’ll camp near its end at Lafferty Creek.
Day 9 (B/L/D) LAFFERTY CANYON
We spend the day hiking up Lafferty Creek Canyon to view some of the hundreds of caves in the area.
Day 10 (B/L/D) KRAUS HOT SPRINGS
After the waves of Lafferty’s Riffle, we take a quick dip in Kraus’ Hot Springs before bidding farewell to the canyons and entering the braided channels of The Splits. Here a broad valley is revealed and the surrounding mountains, ridge piled upon ridge, form a dramatic contrast to the enclosure of the canyons. Lush boreal forest bordered by steep ridges form a storybook setting.
Day 11 (B/L) NAHANNI BUTTE AND GREAT DENE WALL
Stopping in the village, we’ll have an opportunity to see this traditional community. Here we board a charter plane for our flight down the Liard valley back to Fort Simpson. You’ll need to book accommodation for this final night in Fort Simpson. The group can meet for dinner at the Sub-Arctic Cafe for a final farewell meal and good-bye to your guides (accommodation and meal not included).
Day 12 HOMEWARD BOUND
After a relaxing morning and time to look around the Village of Fort Simpson, you will board your homeward plane with a load of fond memories and a relaxed and renewed spirit!
This has been a trip that I will never forget. The entire outdoor experience was enhanced by the professionalism & personalities of the guides. They were fantastic. We’ll be back!
The beauty of the Nahanni caused me to reconsider the thesis that perfection is only in heaven.
The trip exceeded my expectations. Traveling alone was never a concern, because once I met the guides and my group, I never felt alone again. I can hardly wait to do it again.
The guides were such wonderful people. Vibrant, funny, bright, strong, co-operative, patient & supportive. They made the trip what it was.
This was an unforgettable experience not only due to the phenomenal river scenery, but also to our intrepid guides who were very well informed; excellent cooks and became special friends. Thanks Lara, Graeme & Scott. Keep in touch.
What could be better then seeing the Nahanni with the man who wrote the book?
Steven De Nure
Traveling the Nahanni was the highlight of our many travels. We all have an obligation and duty to protect and expand the park for future generations.
I had so much fun relaxing and enjoying the fantastic scenery and history of the park. Thank you for the best time I’ve ever had.
This was a worry/hassle free trip; A wonderful experience from start to finish.
An amazing trip down Canada’s jewel of a river, The Nahanni. Excellent guides and great guests made for great time.
I have been very lucky over the years in my choice of outfitters for adventure travel. But NRA is the star-of-the-art in environmentally responsible wilderness guiding. Many thanks for making this a perfect trip. We will definitely be doing business with you again.
The guides were amazing with their judgment, personalities and especially their fantastic cooking and work ethic. Anyone who goes on this trip will have a great time.
The trip of my life; Memories to treasure.
A life changing experience.
An awe-inspiring complete get away with challenge and relaxation.