Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby
Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Terry Parker
Photo Credit: Bruce Kirkby
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Terry Parker
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham
Photo Credit: Tyler Garnham

Nahanni National Park Two Week Canoe Quest

Nahanni National Park Two Week Canoe Quest

  • Canoe Canada’s deepest river canyons, camp at Virginai Falls – nearly twice the height of Niagara, soak in the hotsprings and explore the very first UNESCO World Heritage Site and Nahanni National Park, one of the largest parks in the world
  • A must-do trip for avid canoeists who also enjoys hiking, wildlife, wildflowers geology and history
  • 13 river days

If you’re an avid whitewater canoeist, you already know the Nahanni River in Canada’s Northwest Territories is a mecca for serious canoe trippers. For many of those who love this adventure sport, a canoeing expedition on the Nahanni is a once in a lifetime “pilgrimage.” Covering the entire length of the original Nahanni National Park boundary from Rabbitkettle Lake to the confluence with the Liard River, this canoeing adventure is considered a classic for the adventurous paddler.

We travel on the Nahanni River from Rabbitkettle Hot Springs to Lindberg’s Landing over approximately 370 kilometres (230 miles) with an elevation drop of 550 metres (1800 feet).

Depending on water levels, it is customary on the Nahanni River to sometimes employ the use of Canyon Rigs (catamaraned canoes) for some rapids to ensure greater stability. This decision is made on site by the guides, based on a safety assessment of prevailing conditions.

Download Shareable 2019 Nahanni Two Week Canoe Quest

Download Canoe Trip Prerequisites.

Prerequisites:  This trip is appropriate for intermediate paddlers who are comfortable on Class II whitewater. You have a willingness to learn and a fitness level suited to paddling from 3 to 7 hours per day. If unsure of your ability, please call with any questions: 1-800-297-6927 or (867)-668-3180.
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The Nahanni River in Canada's Northwest Territories

Canyon Kingdom

Experience the magic and mystery of a true Canadian wilderness river icon.

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Quick Facts

Cost: $7350.00 CAD USD
5% GST + $200 CAD park fee
Duration: 13 Days
Trip Type: Canoe
Skill Level: Intermediate
Rendezvous Point: Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

Upcoming Trip Dates

  • Fri Jun 21 - Thu Jul 04, 2019   Book Now
  • Sat Jul 06 - Fri Jul 19, 2019   Book Now
  • Tue Jul 23 - Mon Aug 05, 2019   Book Now
  • Wed Aug 07 - Tue Aug 20, 2019   Book Now

The Following additional dates will be opened after the dates listed above are filled.

  • Mon Jul 08 - Sun Jul 21, 2019
  • Thu Jul 25 - Wed Aug 07, 2019
  • Thu Aug 08 - Wed Aug 21, 2019

To get more information or book a date call us at 1-800-297-6927



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). Once everyone has arrived there will be a chance for last minute questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. Those requiring our river bags will have time to transfer gear from their own bags. You can leave unrequired items at our base.

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!”


At Rabbitkettle Lake (Gahnįhthah Mįe) we will prepare ourselves and the canoes for the downriver trip. Conditions permitting, we will hike the 7 kilometres to the tufa mounds round trip.


We begin the downriver trip. This portion of the river above Virginia Falls (Náįlįcho) is a flat, meandering section that allows opportunity to brush up on techniques (see our ‘Canoe Pre-requisites’ sheet). The mountains and U-shaped valley created by the glaciers will dominate the scenery. Camping will be in the most choice spots between Rabbitkettle Lake (Gahnįhthah Mįe) and Virginia Falls (Náįlįcho).


Virginia Falls (nearly twice the height of Niagara) will be the destination. We will camp there for two nights. This is the other spot within the National Park where planes may land and we may see other campers here.


This is a day for exploring and photographing the area around Virginia Falls (Náįlįcho). 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.


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. Dinner conversation in camp will be full of recollections of paddling adventures in the canyon.


We enter Third Canyon, the walls of which rise 1,200 metre over the river. Keen eyes may spot woodland caribou, moose and Dall’s sheep. Stopping at The Gate (Tthetaehtłu ́ah) and Pulpit Rock for lunch, we will hike to the top of the canyon for a bird’s eye view of the narrow gorge below and the expanse of the canyon walls. Camp will be downstream of Pulpit Rock and The Gate (Tthetaehtłu ́ah).


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 Canyon (Tło Dehé). 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 hear the story.


Camp will be in Deadman Valley (Dahaehtth’į) or First Canyon (Ala Tthe Zhíhgojʔa).


The highlights will include First Canyon(Ala Tthe Zhíhgojʔa), Canada’s deepest river canyon at a depth of 1,300 metre, George’s and Lafferty’s Riffles and White Spray Springs (Tu Kádeegai). After stopping at Kraus’ Hot Springs (Tułetsęę) for a soak in the 37°C natural springs we leave the canyons and carry on to camp in the area known as The Splits (Ndutah). Here the river braids and twists into many channels.


While negotiating the huge meanders prior to the native village of Nahanni Butte we will experience the river valley opening up to meet the forested flat lands. Camp will be in or near the village (population 80). We will be hosted by a member of the community who will show us through the village, sharing the history and culture of the people who have made this remote part of the world their home for thousands of years.


A power boat ride down the voluminous Liard River (Nácháh Dehé) will take us to Lindberg’s Landing where we will be the guest of Sue Lindberg for showers, a BBQ and an overnight stay at her cabins.


This is the last date listed for your trip.

We will be picked up by vehicle and driven to Fort Simpson (Lįįdłįį Ku ́e) to meet our plane home.

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 (at your own cost). 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.

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