Day 1 MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN & CANYON FLIGHT
This is the first date listed for the trip.
Your journey north from your home will be a refreshing departure. You will fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world with stunning views on cloudless days, pass through quieter and friendlier airports and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold.
Your trip leader will meet you to transfer you to the float plane base (if you arrive prior, please make your way to your accommodation).
There will be a chance for last minute questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. You will also have time to transfer your gear into our river bags. You can leave unrequired items at our base/warehouse.
After loading our gear into the aircraft we begin one of the major highlights of the adventure – the upriver flight. Flying over the majestic Nahanni Range and Ram Plateau, a visually stunning panorama unfolds in front of our eyes. You want to be sure to have your camera on your lap. 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 (Náįlįcho), your guides will provide further briefing with the techniques for living comfortably along the river. A short hike and last look at the stunning scenery before bed will remind you that you are in one of the most scenic places on the planet!
Day 2 VIRGINIA FALLS (NÁĮLĮCHO)
We will 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 is impossible to spend too much time at Virginia Falls! We will assemble the boats and, after a late shore lunch and briefing, we will embark in the late afternoon, on an exhilarating run through Painted Canyon, also known as Fourth Canyon. Camp is finally made for the evening below Wrigley Creek.
Day 3 CANYONS AND CHASMS
We drift past the confluence of the Flat River (Tu Naka Dé) and enter Third Canyon, the walls of which loom 1,200 metres above the river. We camp halfway through this canyon near The Gate (Tthetaehtłu ́ah). Those who wish may hike to the top of the canyon for a panoramic vista.
Day 4 DEADMEN VALLEY (DAHAEHTTH・Į)
Paddling through the Big Bend and Second Canyon and past Headless Creek we will find ourselves camped in the vicinity of Deadmen Valley (Dahaehtth’į). The view includes the Tlogotsho Plateau (Tł’ogotsho) and Prairie Creek (Tło Dehé) Canyon. It was here, on the shores of Headless Creek, that the bodies of the Mcleod brothers were found in 1905 and the legend of the Headless Valley was born. Downriver at Sheaf Creek, R. M. Patterson and his partner, Gordon Mathews, wintered over in 1928. Patterson later wrote Dangerous River, one of the most eloquent accounts of the early days on the river. Around the campfire, we will read from his book.
Day 5 CANYON KINGDOM
We start the day by challenging the big waves of George’s Riffle and enter First Canyon (Ala Tthe Zhíhgojʔa), the deepest of all the canyons. Camp will be made at Lafferty’s Riffle. You may choose to join a hike into Lafferty’s Canyon.
Day 6 KRAUS’ HOTSPRINGS (TUŁETSĘĘ)
After the waves of Lafferty’s Riffle, we take a quick dip in Kraus’ Hotsprings (Tułetsęę) before bidding farewell to the canyons and entering the braided channels of The Splits (Ndutah). 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 7 THE GREAT DENE WALL, VILLAGE OF NAHANNI BUTTE (TTHENÁÁGÓ) & LIARD RIVER FLIGHT
Stopping in the village we will 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 will need to book accommodation for this final night in Fort Simpson. The group can meet for dinner at a restaurant in town for a final farewell meal and good-bye to your guides.
Day 8 HOMEWARD BOUND
This is the last date listed for your trip.
After a relaxing morning and time to look around the village of Fort Simpson (Lįįdłįį Ku ́e), you will board your homeward plane with a load of fond memories and a relaxed and renewed spirit.
Please note: The above 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 departure regulation system of the Park which works to ensure that all river travelers have the same wilderness experience.
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 will have supper and find ourselves camped in Ft. Simpson or on the shores of the Nahanni. If we are required to overnight in Fort Simpson you are welcome to camp or take a hotel room. Please note that hotel costs and meals while in Fort Simpson are not included in the trip fee. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are included from the pre-trip meeting until the final river meal. Any other meals off the river are your responsibility.
The Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest Territories
Experience the magic and mystery of a true Canadian wilderness river icon.
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Thanks for making our Nahanni dreams come true. The “canyon rigging” of the canoes was perfect for the Nahanni’s canyon rapids. This option made it possible for our family to safely enjoy the whitewater, even with our different levels of skill and experience — including our 15-year-old son who had only recently taken his first whitewater course. – Chris H
The Nahanni experience was everything we had hoped for. I was impressed with how attentive the guides were to my need for a gluten-free diet — even going so far as to make a second birthday cake on the night we celebrated one participant’s birthday! The guides were very skilled, incredibly hard-working and good-natured, and that all helped to make this the trip of a lifetime for our family. – Andrea P
Everything was first class, an incredible Nahanni experience. Don’t leave it too late to do this trip. – Brian H
I have yearned to make the Nahanni raft trip for 20 years, since I first heard of it. Finally it has happened for me, and exceeded all my expectations for service, beauty and wonder. – Rich & Patricia S
Top notch professional outfitters & guides. Hard to imagine how the Nahanni could have been better. – John H
I thought this would be a once in a lifetime trip. It was so memorable now I’m thinking I should plan on another. – Bob K