Choosing a Trip & Booking
You will be accompanied by your knowledgeable guides who share their love for the area, and with them you unfold the mysteries and experience the beauty of the north. You will wake up each morning in your well equipped camp, not knowing specifically what will happen but knowing it will be memorable and will inspire stories to tell your friends for years to come. You may be one who prefers to be challenged physically or you may be looking for a peaceful natural retreat experience - we can help you find a trip option to meet your desires. You can be certain that our goal is to begin working together with you now to plan a holiday that will meet and exceed your expectations in as many ways as possible and be one of those "trips of a life time" that we all dream of. Our years of experience tell us that you will return home refreshed, revitalized and already planning your next adventure.
Toll free: 1 (800) 297 - 6927
Europe or local call: (867) 668 - 3180
Fax (867) 668 - 3180
Remember, there is absolutely no risk in reserving your space since -- with a few exceptions -- the trip deposit is refundable up until 90 days before departure less the $100 administration fee. Then leave the rest to us. Before you go, we provide you with extensive pre-departure information, including suggested reading lists and advice on clothing and equipment. And just because you're joining a "tour" doesn't mean you can't have some independence. If you like to explore on your own, plan to arrive a day or two early or extend your trip after the tour. We can make some great suggestions for trip extensions.
We accept reservations on a first come, first served basis. We encourage you to reserve your space as we cannot overfill our trips.
Upon receipt of your reservation form and deposit we’ll send you a detailed pre-trip package that will help you prepare for your adventure.
Payment & Cancelation
A deposit of 30% of the trip fee is required to hold your reservation. The balance of the trip fee is due 90 days prior to departure, after which time, no refund will be available. Refunds can be issued up to 90 days prior to the trip date but a $100 administration fee will be deducted.
Our prices are quoted in Canadian funds and a 5% general sales tax will apply. On our website, for your convenience, we’ve listed US prices that fluctuate according to the daily exchange rate. If you choose to pay with credit card please understand that we have to process the payment in Canadian funds, but your credit card company will automatically convert it to your currency. We accept cheques in Canadian and US funds (US cheques will be converted using the daily exchange rate when we receive the cheque – not the day you write the check). Bank transfers and e-transfers are also possible – please contact us for further information.
Charter Trips / Permit Buy-out
(Applies if you’re booking a trip exclusively for your private group.)
When fully booking a trip for your own group or booking the total number of spaces available, the spaces are non-refundable after Jan 1st. The payment balance for group trips is due March 1st.
You Should Know
- Should we be forced to change itineraries or locations due to circumstances beyond our control (e.g. forest fires or river levels), the new plan will be left to our discretion.
- Though it’s never happened before, we reserve the right to cancel a trip up to 14 days prior to starting date. If we must cancel, a full refund will be made. If this occurs, we’ll endeavor to meet your needs with another trip at the earliest possible date.
- We require a minimum of 6 participants for most of our trips. Please check with us prior to booking your flights to ensure we have adequate numbers. We will not refund flight costs.
- No matter where you travel in the world, it’s possible that conditions beyond anyone’s control may alter your itinerary. If we incur expenses for unexpected logistical arrangements not covered in the printed itinerary, the cost will be evenly divided among the participants. We rarely encounter such a situation, but the policy is an industry norm of which we wish to inform you.
- We will not take an unnecessary risk by travelling any river if the water volume is identified as too high according to our judgment. In such situations, we sit tight until the volume drops or we can arrange an egress flight. The cost of such arrangements would be shared evenly amongst the participants.
- If you require an evacuation for any reason, the expense incurred through the evacuation will be borne by you. For this reason we recommend that you purchase medical evacuation insurance.
- We reserve the right to levy a surcharge for spikes in supplier cost. We set our prices 18 months out and lock in what resources we can. While we do our best to project cost increases, our business is heavily dependent on aviation and ground transportation, and as such, may be vulnerable to unforeseen spikes in cost. As a small business we have limited ability to absorb these rare events. If a surcharge becomes necessary, you will be notified at the earliest possible time.
We strongly recommend trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance. The package we use includes coverage for evacuation, and for Canadians, has additional medical coverage. Call our office for more details concerning what the trip cancellation insurance covers. The cost is approximately 7% of the trip fee and is non-refundable. Please check to ensure your medical insurance will cover you away from home and includes evacuation coverage outside of your home region.
Preparations for our expeditions begin with a great deal of planning, months (in some cases, years) in advance. For this reason we must maintain the policy that no refunds are available within the 90 day period before each trip and we highly recommend trip cancellation insurance. The policy covers such things as injury, illness or death. The policy is refundable until 90 days prior to trip departure. Medical evacuation insurance is encouraged because if you require an evacuation the expenses incurred will be billed to you. Due to the remote wilderness locations of our expeditions, an evacuation could easily cost over $20,000!
Both trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance may be purchased separately. Insurance is only available to purchase up to 90 days prior to your trip date. The price will vary according to your age, where you reside, and details of your trip. If you have any questions about the insurance, or if you would simply like a price quote, please contact travel agent at Uniglobe Specialty Travel.
Karin, Uniglobe Specialty Travel
Toll-free within Canada: 1-866-932-2565
Direct for US/International: 1-867-668-3300
The north is not a mass market destination - thank goodness! It is not the cheapest region to visit, but the experiences found here are like nothing else in the world. We know you will be pleased with the experience and value you receive. Our prized rivers are remote and require charter aircraft to fly in, out or both. This is our single biggest expense. Operating in such remote regions with a short season, brings expenses not encountered elsewhere - but the results are priceless.
We continue to survey our guests every year to determine what they value on these trips and we plan the program and price accordingly. We do this in the spirit of Sustainable Tourism and Code of Ethics. Most operators who are truly ecologically sound will do this and as a result, most are priced quite close. You can be certain that, for northern river expeditions: day for day, kilometer for kilometer, guide for guide - you get what you pay for. There are a small number of notable exceptions as there are in most businesses and they are well to steer clear of - they are likely cutting corners. For such a special trip, you do not want to find yourself on an "econo tour".
What sets us apart as the best? What are the most important factors? Most companies will have good gear, good food and a reasonable itinerary on paper. How can you pick the best one for you?
Our guests seek the richest experiences and want to bring home the best stories. We design our itineraries to maximize your time in the best places that will maximize this. Experience has taught us that the most important factors are the guides and the ratio of staff to participants (1-4 max.). Even the best guides can only be in one place at one time and this is not an area in which to compromise. You are making an important investment in this special trip, you deserve the best from your guides and they can only provide this if they are not "spread too thin".
We have the greatest retention of staff in the north, with some having served for 30 years and an average of over 10 years. Also important, is the support that the guests and staff receive before, during and after the season, both "up front" and "behind the scenes". This directly effects the quality of your experience and most importantly, safety. We shine in this area.
In addition, we commit to the goal of having the most "consistently" knowledgeable staff in the areas of local interpretation such as flora, fauna, geology, geomorphology, human history, and unique details pertinent to the area. On our trips we bring the most extensive library of reference material. One individual guide cannot have all of this information memorized, so the realistic role of a guide is to work with you to uncover the beautiful details of the region.
We are confident that in the area where we operate, we are leaders in "consistently" maintaining these standards. As you can see, it begins with the depth and breadth of information you see here, and continues with our communications, information and attention to detail, even long after you have returned home.
We welcome any questions you may have on this topic. This is a very special trip for you. You will likely not travel this river a second time, so you want to "do it right". We understand this and that is why we set the standards as high as we do. We will provide you with the richest experiences possible. If you are like most of our guests, you will be back to travel another river - after all - it is the "magnetic north"!
Planning, Travel & Documents
You provide your personal gear and we provide the rest: top-quality tents, river gear, safety gear, kitchen and camping equipment and bush plane transportation.
We have planned our schedules around the daily commercial flights to our meeting points. All are serviced by airlines such as First Air, Air North, Canadian North and Air Canada.
You are welcome to make flight reservations through your own agents or if you wish you may contact our agent:
Karin at Uniglobe Specialty Travel
Toll-free within Canada: 1-866-932-2565
Direct for US/International: 1-867-668-3300
Agents in major centers are sometimes unfamiliar with Northern airlines and may require assistance. Be assured that the flights are available and if you run into any difficulty obtaining information, please contact us.
On any trip, you need to arrive at the meeting point on the date listed as the first day in the “Dates and Rates” list and you may travel home on the last date listed for your trip.
In our welcome aboard letter, we will specify on which date you need to arrive at the meeting location and which day you may plan to fly home. Please feel free to confirm this with us before booking your ticket.
Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local Consulate speed up authorization for replacement. It is also a good idea to leave a copy with a trusted contact at home.
Also check your passport for blank pages. We recommend that you apply to have extra pages added if you do not have at least two blank visa pages in your passport.
Please carry your passport on you; do not pack it in your checked-in luggage. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure but at various times during the trip, even while checking into hotels. If you are carrying a customs form, please keep it in a safe place at all times, perhaps in your pouch along with your other valuables (we do not recommend carrying it in the passport because we often must submit the passport at hotels, where reception clerks can easily lose the form).
- Class I
Easy flat water and mild waves. Some maneuvering may be required to navigate around log jams or sweepers.
- Class II
Standing waves up to 3'.
- Class III
Moderate waves and narrower channels due to obstructions such as rocks or gravel bars. Quick and accurate river reading is required with instinctive maneuvers orchestrated with a paddling partner.
- Class IV
Expert whitewater canoeist (4 is considered to be the top extreme of canoe capability). Difficult, with narrow channels obstructed by rocks, steep and narrow drops.
- Class V
Possibility of overturning a raft. We always use caution and judicious safety measures and portage around anything that looks doubtful.
Our river guides are the best in the north and you can feel confident in their hands.
- 2-Person Canoes
The traditional 16’ and 17’ canoe. Previous canoe experience is an asset. Physical fitness and comfort on and in moving water are important. Refer to the specific trip itinerary for additional skills that may be required for your trip.
The safe and stable expedition raft is ideal for those who desire their hands free to photograph or travel in a more relaxed fashion. The guide maneuvers the raft with oars and paddling by participants is completely optional.
- New this Year! Inflatable Kayaks - please inquire for more details
On raft trips a tandem canoe may be arranged for the Nahanni raft trips if you have Class III Whitewater experience.
Note: There is a $250.00/person flight surcharge for the tandem canoe or try our new inflatable kayaks; $125 to rent our solo kayak and $250 tandem on the 8 & 12 day Nahanni trips.
- Our raft expeditions are designed for people of any skill level including novices. Some raft trips offer canoeing as an option. In this case, the canoeing prerequisites apply and must be met.
- Tandem canoe trips are much more skill specific and careful thought must be applied to assessing your canoe skill level (see below). On some rivers we have an alternative approach that can modify these requirements with the use of our “canyon rig” strategy. Above the rapids, we can catamaran the canoes together in pairs, which means you can enjoy greater stability while going for the biggest waves. In the flatter sections we disassemble the rigs.
Following are the considerations for each canoe trip:
Yukon River canoe
You have canoed previously and know the rudimentary strokes: bow, reverse, "j", draw, pry and sweep. You are comfortable paddling in the bow and working with another partner or you have river reading skills and can control the canoe from the stern while working with another partner.
Stikine, Wind canoe
You have mastered the skills above. You have taken an introductory river canoeing course and have experience paddling on Grade II rivers. In addition you have river reading skills and can work effectively with a partner to side slip and back ferry to move the canoe laterally in Grade II water with precision. You can comfortably apply these skills to navigating tight bends and avoiding log jams. You have swum through a rapid with a capsized canoe.
Nahanni 2 week, Nahanni 3 week hiking, or canoeing on a 8 or 12 day Nahanni trip, Coppermine canoe
You possess the skills above and have completed a whitewater canoe course. You have swum through a rapid with a capsized canoe. You are able to read Grade III water and quickly formulate strategies while working with a partner to navigate. Unless you opt for the canyon rig strategy for the main rapids you match the following description:
At least once a year for the two previous seasons or more, you paddle Grade II/III whitewater with friends or a canoe club. You are committed to at least one "warm up" trip or course prior to the planned trip this season. We can modify these requirements by the use of "canyon rigs" for the rapids but this must be discussed with us before booking.
Moose Ponds, Mountain River Canoe, Snake River
You possess the abilities and judgment level above and have a more extensive "whitewater" background. For the last 3 years or more you have paddled Grade III whitewater at least 3 times per year and enjoy practicing technical moves. You are committed to at least one "warm up" trip or course prior to the planned trip this season.
Canyon Rig Description
On some rivers we have an alternative approach that can modify these requirement with the use of our “canyon rig” strategy. Above the rapids, we can catamaran the canoes together in pairs, which means you can enjoy greater stability while going for the biggest waves. In the flatter sections we disassemble the rigs and canoe conventionally.
What if I am a whitewater kayaker and have not canoed previously?
If this is the case, please contact us directly and we can discuss your background in relation to the trip you are considering. Are You a Whitewater Paddler? Have you swum through a long rapid with a flipped canoe?
If not, you have yet to earn your stripes as a whitewater canoeist. Take a whitewater course and practice whitewater recovery skills before your trip.
Canoes and "swimming"
Only on a rare occasion will a participant fall out of a raft. On the other hand, tipping a canoe and "going for a swim" is considered an integral part of "canoe sport". One or more canoes flipped at any time is a normal event and is not considered an "emergency" or "incident". The group simply recovers the swimmers and boats. When all is secure, the group continues down the river. It's part of the fun.
In class II and greater rapids, a neoprene wet suit or fabric dry suit is mandatory. On the other rivers many will opt for the neoprene wet suit although some paddlers (with strong internal "furnaces") will opt for rain gear worn over polypropylene and fleece on the whitewater days. Feel free to consult with us for more information specific to the river you have selected. Due to the use of spray covers, helmets are mandatory on the Moose Ponds, and recommended on the Mountain River canoe, Snake and Burnside canoe trips.
On The Trip
We take great pleasure in delivering the best selection possible and appropriate in these remote and beautiful settings. Over twenty years of practice has allowed us to fine tune our menu to ensure we achieve our measurement of success: we call it the "wow" factor. Our menu includes salads with meals and plenty of fresh fruit.
One of the highlights of travelling to an exotic location is the opportunity to sample local foods. If this interests you, we have some exciting local dishes to try. We serve these selections as appetizers, so that the choice is yours and they are separate from the main meal. On each trip you can sample, Arctic char, Taku River salmon, caribou and other local foods.
We are able to adapt to special diet requirements. The earlier we know about any dietary considerations, the better we can prepare for them.
Do you get up in the middle of the night? No problem. Many of our seasoned travelers have opted to bring a container that they can use as a “chamber pot” in the comfort of their tent. A wide mouthed container and lid, such as a yogurt container works well.
You are welcome to participate with in-camp chores and routine, but this is your option, (Remember this is your holiday and we are working). Pick the role that will be most enjoyable for you. If at any time you are puzzled about expectations, please ask one of your guides. They are very approachable and would rather clarify your questions than have you wondering. Coffee is usually brewed by 7am.
Early risers may keep themselves busy by seeking out panoramic photographs or pursuing other personal interests. Getting up, preparing and eating breakfast, making plans for the day, striking camp and loading the boats is a process that usually takes about three hours. If the camp is a “two nighter”, we have a relaxed start, things are tidied up and we enjoy the highlights of that particular spot.
Evenings are usually unstructured. A campfire, fishing, enjoying the midnight sun (June and July) or countless other activities may occupy the time. Except for short forays within the vicinity of camp, travelling alone out of site of camp is discouraged for safety reasons. As professional outfitters, we must be consistent with this policy.
Weather Wildlife & Bugs
Check out more About Fishing.
Weather conditions in northern mountainous environments range widely between extremes. The only fact you can bet on with mountain weather is that it can change instantly. This means that although we may enjoy fine weather we must also be prepared for changes. On any given day you may experience sunny, hot, dry weather that is interrupted by periods of rain or on rare occasions - even snow. In general, the weather is moderate with average temperatures of 16°C (62°F) in July, and 14°C (56°F) in August. When packing, please be prepared for heat waves and cold spells. For tundra river trips, please refer to the specific notes in the itinerary regarding weather. Remember, as mere mortals your guides have no control over the weather. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how many well-educated people will look for someone to blame for poor weather. The best we can do as guides and outfitters is to suggest proper clothing, and we have done this in the equipment list. Please call for any clarification you may require.