Join us for a 7-Day Rafting or Canoeing Journey on the Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest Territories

Quick Details

A Nahanni River experience is on every paddler's “bucket list.” Limited time? You can still enjoy the iconic features of this world-renowned river.

Trip Length
7 day(s)

Craft
Canoe, Raft, Kayak

Skill Level
Beginner

Rendezvous Point
South Nahanni Airways, Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

Pricing
$6,640 (CAD) + $200 CAD park fee

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A Nahanni River rafting or canoeing experience is truly the “trip of a lifetime.” For those with limited vacation time, this adventure allows you to experience the best of the Nahanni’s “Grand Canyons,” Virginia Falls and many of the iconic features for which the Nahanni River is renowned.

Trip Highlights

  • Experience the majesty of the Nahanni: Virginia Falls, the canyons, The Gate, Deadmen Valley, Hot Springs and so much more
  • Nahanni National Park was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the largest parks in the world
  • Perfect river adventure for guests with limited time
  • 7 river days

Trip Details

We follow a 7-day route, travelling over 240 kilometres (150 miles) from Virginia Falls to Nahanni Butte. Over this course, the Nahanni River drops 396 metres (1300 feet), or almost 9 feet per mile.

Raft / Canoe / Kayak Combo – Something for Everyone!

We make it possible for any skill level and interest to enjoy the Nahanni. From beginners who would like to raft to white water canoeist. See our prerequisites and contact us for more details. Upon booking, we’ll need to know which craft you prefer (raft or two-person canoe) on your application form. Numbers will indicate how thoroughly we’ll be able to match preferences for craft. Please call us with any questions: 1-800-297-6927. Please note that there is a $250 flight surcharge per person for the two-person classic canoes. (We bring one inflatable canoe per group at no extra charge.)

Are You a Kayaker?

New this year! Maybe you’re a sea kayaker who would like to kayak the Nahanni. Try our new inflatable kayak! $125 to rent our solo kayak.

Added Value!

We are the only company to include these great enhancements to the quality of your trip: To maximize your enjoyment and time in the canyons and minimize exposure to bugs, we create more time to enjoy the highlights of the canyons by employing a local power boat to meet us in the Splits and speed us past the slow (and buggy) final portion to the village of Nahanni Butte, saving an entire day. In addition, we fly you from the village back to Fort Simpson, for an aerial view of the Liard valley, further enhancing your time and focus on the best highlights. Two examples of the distance we go to give you the best Nahanni experience possible!

Trip Options

We offer a 5 or 6 day option as well as our 7-day traditional itinerary for this trip. With additional floatplane and helicopter support, we can shorten the above trips (at an extra cost) for those with a tight schedule.

  • 6 Day Option – Add $1,260 / per person (minimum 2) for additional float plane
  • 5 Day Option – Add $2,670 / per person (minimum 2) for additional float plane and helicopter

Skill Prerequisites

  • Rafting: None, beginners welcome
  • Canoe: Class II whitewater experience

Learn more about canoe trip skill prerequisites >

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Trip Dates

July 4, 2019 - July 11, 2019 Book Now
July 14, 2019 - July 21, 2019 Book Now
July 29, 2019 - August 5, 2019 Book Now
August 1, 2019 - August 8, 2019 Book Now
August 8, 2019 - August 15, 2019 Book Now
August 25, 2019 - September 1, 2019 Book Now
June 14, 2020 - June 21, 2020 Book Now
June 28, 2020 - July 5, 2020 Book Now
July 12, 2020 - July 19, 2020 Book Now
July 26, 2020 - August 2, 2020 Book Now
August 7, 2020 - August 14, 2020 Book Now
August 23, 2019 - August 30, 2020 Book Now

Additional dates may be available, please inquire.

Itinerary

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.

Testimonials

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

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