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Arctic rafting expedition to view wildlife on the Burnside River in Nunavut, Canada

Float across the Arctic Circle on this expedition raft trip on the Burnside River in northern Canada. The Burnside River is a classic tundra river flowing into the Arctic Ocean.  Isolated and rugged, the Burnside River offers challenging whitewater, dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife.   See caribou, muskox, grizzly and wolves as well as hawks, eagles and gyrfalcons.  Hike through rolling tundra, cross the Arctic Circle and experience an isolated wilderness gem.  A true arctic experience!

The landscape around Burnside River is panoramic, punctuated by narrow canyons, waterfalls and sandy beaches.  Be among the few to visit this incredible tundra river.  This company provides the best ratio of guide to guests in the north (the single most important factor influencing the quality of your trip) and sets the highest standards for guides knowledge and natural interpretation.

The Burnside River is frequently referred to as the "wildlife river" because you're practically guaranteed top wildlife viewing and a classic Arctic adventure. Our Burnside River rafting trips in Nunavut, Canada are timed to coincide with the historic Bathurst Caribou migration. Photograph caribou, muskox, grizzly and wolves, as well as Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles and Gyrfalcons. Hike through rolling tundra and cross the Arctic Circle. Be among the few to visit the Burnside, an incredible tundra river and remote wilderness gem.

You will travel over 12 river days from the outlet of Kathawachaga Lake to the portage at Burnside Canyon near Bathurst Inlet, a journey of approximately 205 kilometres (130 miles) with an elevation drop of 385 metres (1275 feet).


$11575.00 CAD
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Expedition Raft Trips

June to July


Your guides are licensed and very experienced and knowledgeable of the area.  Your licensed guide/interpreters are among the best in the north. Because guides are the most significant variable in selecting a holiday, we maintain a 1:4 guide to guest ratio to ensure that you receive maximum benefit of their knowledge assistance and good nature. They strive for the most consistent level of knowledge of flora, fauna, geology, geomorphology and cultural human history.


No past paddling experience is required on this trip. Beginners are welcome.


Requirements: Sleeping bag and pad, sunglasses, sunscreen, day pack, insect repellent, water bottle, pocketknife, matches, whistle.


Trips originate and end in Yellowknife, NWT.  Yellowknife is accessible by air from Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton.


Be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions.  The mean daily temperature in the summer is 15 degrees Celsius, but may range from 0 to 20 degrees Celsius.


Rafts and equipment, tents, group camping equipment.


Clothing that will keep you warm and dry.  Clothing made out of polypropylene, polyester, wool and silk are best for dryness.  Rain gear, warm jacket, long pants, sweater, hat, gloves. Full packing list provided upon booking.


Camera (waterproof), binoculars, flashlight, bug jacket, fishing gear.


Accommodations in tent campsites while on the river.  Hotel accommodations in Yellowknife before and after the trip are required and not included in the price.



All meals while on the river are included.  Creative variety and nutritious with ample snacks available during the day. With advance notice we cater to special dietary needs.  Meals while staying at the hotel are not included.

Jun 19, 2019 - Jul 02, 2019
$11575.00 / per person - CAD

Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A 30% deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.
Your deposit is refundable less a $100 administration fee until 90 days prior to your trip departure date - then your final payment will be due, and all deposits become non-refundable. Trip Cancellation & Medical Evacuation Insurance is available, and highly recommended. Insurance is refundable until the 90 day non-refundable period.

Jun 19, 2019 - Jul 02, 2019

Day 1

You should plan to arrive in Yellowknife the day before for the pre-trip orientation meeting which will be held in the Explorer Hotel at 8 p.m. Arrange your own accommodations and meals.

8 a.m – Meeting in the hotel lobby after breakfast. Weather permitting, we’ll fly immediately into the river. After setting up camp and lunch, there will be plenty of time for our first hike in the surrounding hills to look at the wildflowers and wildlife of the area.


Day 2

We’ll inflate and load the rafts and start down river. Shortly after leaving Kathawachaga Lake we stop on the small island of Nadlock, the site of an old Inuit campsite. One of the few sites of its kind in the Nunavut, it’s believed the Inuit used caribou antlers and hide to cover the stone tent rings that are still standing. The island also has an uncommon collection of nesting birds – Ring-billed Gulls, Arctic Terns, Redpoles, Yellow-billed Loons, Red-necked Phalaropes, Canada Geese, plus many others. Camp will be made near Bellanca Rapids. This rapid was named after an aircraft that crashed near here in the 1940s ­– a Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker.

Day 3

We’ll spend a day hiking and exploring the hills around the rapids. It’s common to see muskoxen, caribou, and wolves – there’s an active wolf den in this area.

Day 4

Days 4-5: The current picks up as we wind our way downstream through the spectacular tundra landscape. The birders of the group can look forward to seeing both Peregrine and Gyrfalcons nesting along with Golden Eagles and countless ducks and waterfowl. We also keep a constant lookout for caribou, wolf, grizzly and of course the muskoxen. The landscape always lends itself to hiking, whether it is on our once-a-day stop for a short walk away from the river or from each campsite. This allows you plenty of time to study the numerous wildflowers, find and photograph a Redpole’s nest hidden in the grass, or just enjoy the view.

Day 6

We take the day off to hike and explore the tundra. We camp at a small unnamed river that flows into the Burnside from the south that we call Fishing Creek. As well as excellent hiking, it’s one the best fishing locations on the river.

Day 7

Days 7-8: Arriving at the confluence of the Mara River, we’ll spend a day here walking up a local peak to wonder at the vastness of the valley. Being above the tree line, wood on the river is scarce. All our cooking is done over propane stoves and we try to leave each camp in the pristine state that we found it.

Day 9

Day 9-10: From the confluence of the Mara to Burnside Falls the river is squeezed between the narrowing banks that rise 180 to 215 metres (600 – 700 feet) off the water. The river starts to speed up and we keep a constant eye out for the muskoxen, wolf or grizzly. We cross the Arctic Circle, the earthly line above which the sun is visible for twenty-four hours for at least one day during the summer months. Camp is made at Burnside Falls. 

Day 11

We’ll spend the day around Burnside Falls. You’ll get a chance to wander the tundra and hike the canyon to the Burnside estuary. The river here is forced through a narrow chasm of red and white quartzite carving a four-mile canyon as it drops over the escarpment formed by the Wilberforce Hills. It is an ideal place for hiking, exploring, fishing or relaxing. Hikers are rewarded with views of Bathurst Inlet.

Day 12

Our rendezvous with the Twin Otter for the homeward charter is unique and exciting. Two Inuit men cross Bathurst Inlet in a boat and then travel over land by all terrain vehicle to meet us. They tow a traditional komatik (like a big sled) behind the ATV. With this they haul our gear about 2 kilometres to the top of a nearby esker. Here it’s possible to land a Twin Otter on wheels. We follow on foot and explore the region of the esker until the aircraft arrives.

Weather permitting, we’ll be picked up by our chartered Twin Otter and flown back to Yellowknife. Don’t count on getting a flight home this day in case we’re weathered in. Arrangements can be made to stay in one of the local hotels or you can camp just outside of town. This will allow you time to visit Yellowknife.

Day 13

You board your flight for home.