DAY 1 – MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN & CANYON FLIGHT
This is the first date listed for your 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 supplies and 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, 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)
This is a day for exploring and photographing the area around Virginia Falls (Náįlįcho), 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 – PAINTED CANYON
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 4 – THE GATE & PULPIT ROCK
We drift past the confluence of the Flat River and then enter Third Canyon, the walls of which loom 1,200 metres above our heads. This 20 kilometres canyon is created by the river slicing through the mixed strata of shales, sandstones and limestone’s of the Funeral Range. We camp halfway through this canyon near The Gate (Tthetaehtłu ́ah), a 100 metre wide gorge where the walls tower 460 metre above us.
DAY 5 – BIG BEND
In the morning we do a short hike to the top of The Gate (Tthetaehtłu ́ah) and are awarded a magnificent view of Third Canyon and Pulpit Rock. After lunch it’s back in the rafts and on through Third Canyon to camp at Big Bend.
DAY 6 – DEADMEN VALLEY (DAHAEHTTH’Į)
On through Second Canyon and into Deadmen Valley (Dahaehtth’į), 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 will camp for the night at Deadmen Valley (Dahaehtth’į).
DAY 7 – PRAIRIE CREEK (TŁO DEHÉ)
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 (Tło Dehé). For birders it is the nesting grounds for upland sandpipers, common nighthawks, whitewinged crossbills, chipping and savanna sparrows. Fishermen will find both bull trout and Arctic grayling inhabiting the pools and eddies of the creek.
DAY 8 – 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 (Ala Tthe Zhíhgojʔa). We will camp near its end at Lafferty Creek.
DAY 9 – LAFFERTY CANYON
We spend the day hiking up Lafferty Creek canyon to view some of the hundreds of caves in the area.
DAY 10 – 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. 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 – GREAT DENE WALL & NAHANNI BUTTE (TTHENÁÁGÓ)
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 (Lįįdłįį Ku ́e). You will need to book accommodation for this final night in Fort Simpson (Lįįdłįį Ku ́e). The group can meet for dinner at a restaurant in town for a final farewell meal and good-bye to your guides (accommodation and meal not included).
DAY 12 – 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.