We lead premium class expedition style rafting and canoeing journeys in Canada and Alaska – from 5 to 21 days – on world renowned rivers such as the Nahanni, Tatshenshini, Alsek, Firth and 16 other scenic coastal, mountain and arctic rivers.
The north is a region of diverse land forms, wildlife, geology, peoples and scenery. The best way to explore, experience and hike through this vast land is via the rivers. Serving as fluid conduits, these waterways, beautiful in their own rite, cut through the heart of the features that collectively form the “magnetic” north.
We look forward to working with you to plan your “trip of a lifetime” and share with you a northern summer.
Imagine the “land of the midnight sun”, a country of diverse land forms, wild flowers and new delights to the eye, every day. Imagine rivers that flow through these lands in a sinuous manner, serving as a conveyor to move you from one delightful experience to the next. Imagine rewarding hikes, with a range of distances to choose, to pick the one that’s right for you.
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.
Watch our 3-minute video highlighting a rafting journey down the Tatshenshini River.
Every river we travel is stunningly beautiful, with world class features, great hiking and colourful histories. Some have special protection designation or unique geological features—most have all of these qualities and more. (No matter which river you choose, bragging rights are always included in the price of the trip.) Most of our destinations require floatplane or helicopter access. Visiting each of these rivers is truly a lifetime accomplishment to the most experienced travellers.
The South Nahanni River, lying within Nahanni National Park Reserve, is one of the world’s finest wild rivers. Its full 560 kilometre length is now protected. At Virginia Falls, the river cascades down an escarpment to form North America’s most spectacular undeveloped waterfall–twice the height of Niagara Falls. Immediately downriver from Virginia Falls lie eight kilometres of nearly continuous rapids and standing waves created as the Nahanni River flows through Fourth Canyon. Nahanni National Park is home to strikingly diverse landscapes. Four great canyons, up to 1,200 metres deep, line the Nahanni. At Rabbitkettle Hotsprings, warm water radiates outward to form an intricately terraced mound of tufa rock, more than 27 metres high.
The Nahanni River’s reputation as a land of mystery and romance is supported by names like Deadmen’s Valley, Headless Creek, Funeral Range, Burial Range, Hells Gate and Painted Canyon. Inhabited by moose, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly and black bears and a host of others, the Nahanni River is also rich in human history with legends and lore that are inseparable from its physical beauty. Each of our Nahanni canoeing and rafting expeditions include Virginia Falls, the canyons and the small and isolated First Nation community of Nahanni Butte. All of our Nahanni River canoeing and rafting trips depart from Fort Simpson and include opportunities for hiking. We predict you too will fall in love with this regal river with such a beautiful name.
The Nahanni River’s headwaters lie in the Selwyn Mountains. The river flows through the mountains and gorges of the MacKenzie Mountains and ends in the wide valley flats near its mouth. Geographers describe the river as an antecedent river, meaning “one whose direction of flow was established before the mountains rose”. Before the mountains in this area were created, the Nahanni wandered across a wide plain. When the rock uplifts occurred, the river maintained its course by cutting through the rock strata. This resulted in the formation of canyons believed to be 1.4 million years old. Unlike most of Canada, this area was not completely covered by ice during the last ice age. Because of this, parts of the Nahanni River Valley have not been affected by glaciation for at least 300,000 years.
The wilderness region surrounding the Nahanni contains rugged mountains and the deepest river canyon system in Canada. It also hosts one of the most remarkable karst limestone landscapes found anywhere.
The Nahanni River is located in a semi arid region. Be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Summer weather may be hot and dry although (on the rare occasion) it could snow, especially near the end of August. While inclement weather is a possibility at anytime, the weather is usually moderate. The average July temperature is 16°C and during August is 14°C, although temperatures of 30 degrees are not uncommon. Summer precipitation is mainly convective in nature, occurring mainly in the afternoons or evenings in the form of showers or thunderstorms. We provide you with appropriate recommendations for what to pack and wear in our Nahanni trip information.
The flora of the Nahanni River area may be more diverse than that of any other region of comparable size in the NWT. Although white and black spruce predominate, there is a fascinating variety of other vegetation in the region. This is primarily due to the existence of highly specialized habitats like hot springs, mist zones near waterfalls, unglaciated terrain and areas of discontinuous permafrost.
Wildlife in the Nahanni region are diverse and abundant. Moose, woodland caribou, wood buffalo, Dall sheep, mountain goat, grizzly and black bears frequent the South Nahanni River Valley, as do porcupine, beaver and a number of smaller rodents. Because the river is often silty, fishing is not as plentiful however Dolly Varden, lake trout and grayling can be caught in the clearer waters of the many tributaries that join the river. One hundred and seventy species of birds have been recorded in the park including trumpeter swans, bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine and gyrfalcons.