Virginia Falls, the Most Beautiful Waterfall in the World

Visiting Virginia Falls (Náįlįcho) is one of the many highlights of a river journey down the Nahanni River in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The landscape that surrounds Virginia Falls on the Nahanni River is timeless and dramatic. Among all the waterfalls of the world, it is a contender for the most beautiful.

Located in the center of Nahanni National Park, the very first UNESCO world heritage site, Virginia Falls is surrounded by an astonishing 30,000 km2 of protected and rarely explored Canadian wilderness.

Over the last 200,000 years the Arctic has seen repeated glaciation. Each period has left its mark on the landscape we see today. Since the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age, the melting ice allowed the South Nahanni Watershed to host a thriving ecosystem. As the Nahanni River has carved its way through the valley its focused energy has left us with Virginia Falls and fourth Canyon, the first in the Canyon Kingdom. It is a scene of chaotic beauty, a reflection of everything around it.

The portage trail that connects the waterdome and the falls pools offers viewpoints which give spectators a new view of the falls at each turn.

View from the Virginia Falls portage trail.

Sunblood Mountain towers over the falls making for cinematic views from below. From Sunblood Mountaintop, hikers soak in a grandeur view of the ribbon of the Nahanni River from as far upstream as Rabbitkettle, and downstream beyond Direction Mountain.

A major waterfall, think Victoria Falls on the Zambezi, can bring significant international attention, and with it high traffic levels. Due to its remote location our guests have the opportunity to have their Virginia Falls experience almost to themselves. With less than 1,000 visitors each year, you’ll be sharing your experience with only those you will be travelling with.

The Dené people who first knew of Virginia Falls appropriately named it “Nailicho”. In English this translates to “big water falling”. The 96 metre (315 feet) drop generates a thunderous symphony of natural wonder, a phenomenon that allows any who experience to reflect on their place in the universe. Its roar can be heard for kilometers, a song which echos into the vastness of the wilderness that surrounds it.

Nailicho in the Dene language, Virginia Falls stands as the center piece of Nahanni National Park Reserve. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the worlds most celebrated wilderness areas. 

The geology of the Nahanni has shaped Virginia Falls and in turn the Falls have helped shape the surrounding wilderness, providing the impetuous for the Nahanni’s conservation. It is a mark on the landscape that has written it’s stories on the landscape that surrounds it. It is the most beautiful waterfall in the world.

Sluice Box Rapids on the brink of Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Photo: Noel Hendrickson)

Interested in learning more?

Whether you journey to experience abundant wildlife, verdant wildflowers or glacial vistas, our journeys are sure to exceed your expectations.

Featured Trips

Stay in touch

Sign up to our mailing list.