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Nahanni River canoeing expeditions


Experience an exceptional canoeing adventure on the famous Nahanni River.  The Nahanni area is the first "World Heritage Site", named by the United Nations in 1979.  True wilderness canoeing with highlights such as Virginia Falls, The Gate, Sunblood Mountain, Painted Canyon, First Canyon and Kraus' Hot Spring.  You will find yourself becoming immersed in the mystique of this river and the surrounding mountains.  Your guides look after all the meals and camp chores.  Dip your paddle in the legendary Nahanni and never look back.  

The week long adventure explores the Nahanni's most spectacular landscapes. Drifting down river from 316' Virginia Falls you become immersed in the "Grand Canyons" of the Nahanni, Canada's deepest river canyons. Watch for wildlife or just let the view dazzle your mind as you soak in the scenery. Experience the thrill of paddling through sets of rollercoaster waves. Ashore your guides choose the best campsites and offer hikes to vistas over looking the river and up the many intriguing side canyons. In addition to a welcoming smile your guides prepare and serve hearty and delicious meals from our unique river trip menu.

The 12 day adventure is perfect for people with a bit more time and offers a second night of camping at Virginia Falls before moving on to explore the Nahanni's most spectacular landscapes. 

The 14 day canoe trips from Rabbitkettle Lake provide a thorough exploration of Nahanni National Park. These trips appeal to active people who enjoy the adventure of canoe tripping. Participants should be prepared for two weeks of wilderness camping which will require you to be in good health, reasonably physically fit and a confident swimmer. 

The 22 day Nahanni Headwater trips include the classic South Nahanni River whitewater canoe expedition from the Moose Ponds. This trip explores the entirety of the Nahanni River beginning in the newly formed Naats'ihco'oh National Park Reserve. Participants will be thrilled with the whitewater of the Rock Gardens and the stunning mountain scenery of the Sapper and Ragged Ranges. Additonal highlights include Rabbitkettle Lake and tufa mounds, pristine mountain scenery, awesome Virginia Falls, four grand canyons, hot springs, wildlife, hiking and more fun than you can imagine under the care of our experienced and qualified river guides.

STARTING AT
$6100.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
River Canoeing
SEASON

June to August

DIFFICULTY
Moderate / Challenging
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
12
GUIDE INFORMATION

German and French speaking guides available.  Experienced, licensed, professional, knowledgeable, fun-loving and caring.  All have strong backgrounds in natural history, biology, geology, outdoor education and are knowledgeable about the local region and its folklore.  They are licensed by Parks Canada and certified in wilderness first aid and CPR.  A 6:1 ratio of clients to guides is followed for all trips.

RESTRICTIONS

$175 per person Nahanni National Park Fee applies to all trips.

8 and 12 day trips: Suitable for intermediate paddlers with some moving water experience.

14 day trip: You should be an intermediate paddler and able to portage personal and group gear for 2 km around Virginia Falls. Participants should be comfortable paddling tandem. Moving water experience is an asset. Once on the trip, the guides are excellent instructors and are able to assist you in developing your skills.

22 day trip: Moose Ponds whitewater canoe trip appeals to active people who are looking for a cooperative, though guided, canoe tripping adventure where the group shares in camp chores with an interest in further developing skills in camp and on the river.  Participants should be prepared for three weeks of wilderness camping, be reasonably physically fit and confident swimmers. They should be able to portage personal and group gear around Virginia Falls. Participants should be experienced whitewater canoeists for either tandem or solo canoes.  Wilderness camping experience is also required.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad. 

The Nahanni is Canada's most celebrated wilderness river and has long been favoured as the country's classic river trip.  The Nahanni's remote valley and mountainous surrounding will leave the wilderness traveller in awe.  The Nahanni tumbles almost 600 km through some of the most majestic country on the continent.  The famous Virginia Falls, with a drop of over 90 metres, provide an inspirational setting for the photographer and naturalist.  A riverside soak in the soothing warm waters of Kraus' Hot Spring adds another incredible dimension to your Nahanni trip.  Many opportunities to view the abundant wildlife exist as the region is home to Dall sheep, caribou, moose, black bears, bald eagles and trumpeter swans.

TRANSPORTATION

Trips originate and end in Fort Simpson, NWT, accessible by road or air. Flight between Edmonton and Ft. Simpson can be added to the package price.

22 day whitewater trip begins and ends in Fort Nelson, BC, accessible by road or air.

WEATHER

Summer temperatures average between 10-25 degrees Celsius.

REGION
Northwest Territories
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Canoe and equipment, group camping gear, tents and dry packs.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Warm clothing suited to a variety of weather conditions, rain gear, swimsuit, towel, hiking boots, gloves, hat and waterproof footwear. Full packing list provided upon booking.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, fishing license, gear and tackle, binoculars, insect repellent, daypack, sunglasses, sunscreen and pocketknife.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodations in tent campsites along the river.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

Nutritious and hearty meals are included.

8 day tour, available June - August
$6100.00 / per person - CAD
June 10-17, June 24-July 1, July 8-15, July 22-29, Aug 5-12, Aug 19-26, Aug 23-30, 2018.
12 day tour, available June - August
$6750.00 / per person - CAD
June 10-21, June 24-July 5, July 8-19, July 22-Aug 2, Aug 5-16, Aug 19-30, 2018.
14 day tour, available June - August
$7100.00 / per person - CAD
June 8-17, June 18-July 1, July 2-15, July 16-29, July 30-Aug 12, Aug 13-26, 2018.
22 day tour, available June - July
$7800.00 / per person - CAD
June 24-July 15, July 1-22,2018.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A 20% deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Cancellations 60 days or more prior to departure - full refund less $200 administration fee. Cancellation 59 days or less no refund. Discount airfare is non-refundable. Be sure to purchase travel insurance.

8 day tour, available June - August

Day 1

Participants need to arrive in Fort Simpson with First Air, or before 12 noon with their own vehicle. Following a pick-up at the airport, your guide will hold a pre-trip orientation with lunch at the MacKenzie Rest Inn. Personal clothing and bags not required for the trip can be left behind in Fort Simpson. These will be waiting for you at Blackstone Territorial Park upon completion of your trip. Charter flight to Virginia Falls. (weather permitting) This breathtaking flight takes us over the Nahanni Range and the Ram Plateau before reaching Virginia Falls. We will camp at the Falls the first night and will have time to explore and take photographs from the many promontories overlooking the Falls.

Day 2

After breakfast your guides will complete the portage of camp equipment. Participants are asked to portage their own pack 2 km to the "put in" below the Falls. Most of this portage is on a board walk and downhill. Lunch is served on the cobble beach below the falls. Following a safety talk, we load the rafts and begin our descent. Leaving the roar of the falls behind us, we will ride high on the waves through the Painted Canyon. The excitement continues with our passage through Figure Eight Rapids. We will find our camp close to the mouth of the Flat River.

Day 3

Days 3-6: Back on the river we float along the foreboding Funeral Range and enter Third Canyon (35km) where the Nahanni cuts a passage just past Mary River. You will be awestruck as we float silently between the 1200m canyon walls which rise skyward above the river. We will camp at The Gate in view of Pulpit Rock. A short hike to a lookout above The Gate affords a magnificent vista of the valley below. We continue on through Third and Second Canyon (15 km) into Deadmen Valley - known for its legends and mystery. This spectacular open valley offers numerous exploratory options. Following an exciting run through George's Riffle, we drift between the sky-high walls of First Canyon which reach heights of over 1400 m. This 26 km canyon will lead us to the soothing waters of Kraus' Hot Spring. We then bid farewell to the canyons and make our way into the Splits - a maze of islands.

Day 7

Following breakfast, we will continue on to the Native village of Nahanni Butte. (Pop. approx. 120) Remote yet surprisingly modern, a stroll into town provides insight into a culture far removed from most of North America. Following a snack from the village store we will board the Nahanni Butte River taxi for the 15 km ride to the Nahanni Butte Road Landing on the Liard River. The awaiting NWA shuttle van will take your group on the short drive to Blackstone Territorial Park. This beautifully situated park offers hot showers, a private day shelter, an information centre and tenting. Any baggage you left behind will be waiting for you. Sue Lindberg, a local homesteader, provides your meals, mainly from her garden for the last night and morning with inviting Northern hospitality.

Day 8

After breakfast we will depart with a van shuttle for Fort Simpson. We will arrive in time to meet your south bound flight with First Air or for you to begin the drive with your own vehicle.

12 day tour, available June - August

Day 1

Participants need to arrive in Fort Simpson with First Air, or before 12 noon with their own vehicle. Following a pick-up at the airport, your guide will hold a pre-trip orientation with lunch at the MacKenzie Rest Inn. Personal clothing and bags not required for the trip can be left in our van and our driver will bring them to our base. These will be waiting for you at Blackstone Territorial Park upon completion of your trip. Charter flight to Virginia Falls. (weather permitting) This breathtaking flight takes us over the Nahanni Range, the Ram Plateau and then up the Nahanni River to Virginia Falls. We will camp at the Falls for the first night and will have time to explore and take photographs from the many promontories overlooking the Falls.

Day 2

After breakfast your guides will complete the portage of camp equipment. Participants are asked to portage their own pack 2 km to the "put in" below the Falls. Most of this portage is on a board walk and down hill. Lunch is served on the cobble beach below the Falls. Following a safety talk, we load the rafts/canoes and begin our descent. Leaving the roar of the Falls behind us, we will ride high on the waves through the Painted Canyon. The excitement continues with our passage through Figure Eight Rapids. We will find our camp close to the mouth of the Flat River.

Day 3

Days 3-10: Back on the river we float along the foreboding Funeral Range and enter Third Canyon (35km) where the Nahanni cuts a passage just past Mary River. You will be awestruck as we float silently between the 1200m canyon walls which rise skyward above the river. We will camp at The Gate in view of Pulpit Rock. The following day we will layover and make a short hike to a lookout above The Gate that affords a magnificent vista of the valley below. The following day we will continue on through Third and Second Canyon (15 km) into Deadmen Valley - known for its legends and mystery. This spectacular open valley offers numerous exploratory options. Following an exciting run through George's Riffle, we drift between the sky-high walls of First Canyon which reach heights of over 1400 m. This 26 km canyon will lead us to Lafferty's Canyon, a side canyon which joins the Nahanni on its east side. We often take a second layover here and spend the day exploring chasms and pools which dot the canyons floor. The following morning it is down to the soothing waters of Kraus' Hot Spring. We then bid farewell to the canyons and make our way into the Splits - a maze of islands.

Day 11

Following breakfast, we will continue on to the Native village of Nahanni Butte. (Pop. approx. 120) Remote yet surprisingly modern, a stroll into town provides insight into a culture far removed from most of North America. Following a snack from the village store we will board the Nahanni Butte River taxi for the 15 km ride to the Nahanni Butte Road Landing on the Liard River. The awaiting NWA shuttle van will take your group on the short drive to Blackstone Territorial Park. This beautifully situated park offers hot showers, a private day shelter, an information centre and tenting. Any baggage you left behind will be waiting for you. Sue Lindberg, a local homesteader, provides your meals, mainly from her garden for the last night and morning with inviting Northern hospitality.

Day 12

After breakfast, we will depart with a van shuttle for Fort Simpson. We will arrive in time to meet your Southbound flight with First Air, or for you to begin the drive with your own vehicle.

14 day tour, available June - August

Day 1

Participants need to arrive in Fort Simpson with First Air, or before 12 noon with their own vehicle. Following a pick-up at the airport, your guide will hold a pre-trip orientation with lunch at the MacKenzie Rest Inn. Personal clothing and bags not required for the trip can be left in our van and our driver will bring them to our base. These will be waiting for you at Blackstone Territorial Park upon completion of your trip. Charter flight to Rabbitkettle Lake or Gravel Bar. (weather permitting) This breathtaking flight takes us over the Nahanni Range, Ram Plateau and on up the river to Rabbitkettle Lake. We will set up camp where we land, have dinner and get a good night's sleep.

Day 2

Days 2-5: Planned activities include an interpretive hike, guided by Nahanni National Park personal to view the Rabbitkettle Hot Spring and Tufa Mounds. We then begin down river canoeing to Virginia Falls. On the Nahanni River our trip continues with a few days of easy paddling which provides a good opportunity for refining canoeing skills. This section of the river is dominated by U -shaped valleys which were scoured out by advancing cordilleran glaciers thousands of years ago. We paddle 120 km (72 mi.) on the smooth flowing water to Virginia Falls where we arrive on day 5.

Day 6

Everyone will appreciate a rest day at Virginia Falls. At over 90 m (300 ft.) Virginia Falls is twice the height of Niagara, and is the spectacular centerpiece of Nahanni National Park. The options for these days are many - you can lounge in the group camping area, explore the Falls with your camera, or strike off on an invigorating hike to the grassy summit of Sunblood Mountain. Virginia Falls is a fascinating place to discover.

Day 7

Following our layover day, we complete the 2 km portage around the Falls and reload our canoes. For the following week we will immerse ourselves in the spectacular scenery of the lower Nahanni River. The lower Nahanni is canyon country and is often described as the Grand Canyon of the North. Beginning with Painted Canyon, so named because of its brightly coloured walls, you will experience the thrill and excitement of this whitewater section. On this night we will camp in the vicinity of the confluence with the Flat River.

Day 8

Downstream we enter Third Canyon with its imposing 1200 m walls formed as the Nahanni has carved its way through the Funeral Range. We will camp in the shadow of the Gate; where the river has sliced a narrow chasm on the apex of a hairpin meander. An optional hike to the top of the Gate presents magnificent views of the river valley with imposing Pulpit Rock 460 m below.

Day 9

Today finds us completing the 35 km Third Canyon and continuing on through 2nd Canyon, (15 km) where the Nahanni has carved its route through the Headless Range and into Deadmen Valley. This valley is known for its legend and mystery made famous by the mysterious deaths of the McLeod Brothers.Here the vista is noticeably different, as the valley opens up, with distant views of the Tlgotsho Plateau. Deadmen Valley offers an abundance of exploratory options. The massive Prairie Creek alluvial fan provides excellent camping, hiking and wildlife observations.

Day 10

Days 10-11: We start the morning with a run through the exhilarating waves of George's Riffle and on into First Canyon. The imposing walls of First Canyon reach heights of over 1400 m. Groups often drift the length of this magnificent 26 km canyon, immersed in its splendor. The canyon walls are dotted with hundreds of caves. Close to its exit we will camp for the night at Lafferty's Canyon, with good hiking opportunities for a layover on day 12.

Day 12

Following breakfast, it's down to Kraus' Hot Spring for a soothing dip in its 32 C plus waters. From here we bid farewell to the canyons and make our way to the Nahanni's Splits, a 70 km run through a maze of islands.

Day 13

Following breakfast, we will continue on to the Native village of Nahanni Butte. (Pop. approx. 120) Remote yet surprisingly modern, a stroll into town provides insight into a culture far removed from most of North America. Following a snack from the village store we will board the Nahanni Butte River taxi for the 15 km ride to the Nahanni Butte Road Landing on the Liard River. The awaiting NWA shuttle van will take your group on the short drive to Blackstone Territorial Park. This beautifully situated park offers hot showers, a private day shelter, an information centre and tenting. Any baggage you left behind will be waiting for you. Sue Lindberg, a local homesteader, provides your meals, mainly from her garden for the last night and morning with inviting Northern hospitality.

Day 14

After breakfast, we will depart with a van shuttle for Fort Simpson. We will arrive in time to meet your Southbound flight with First Air, or for you to begin the drive with your own vehicle.

22 day tour, available June - July

Day 1

Rendezvous at the Fort Nelson airport upon arrival of the Central Mountain Air's flight from Edmonton. Anyone who drove to Fort Nelson can leave their vehicles at the airport for the duration of the trip. Following introductions we will load the van and canoe trailer. Our drive to the Alaska Hwy will take us through town where we will shop for additional food and items. Our route to the headwaters of the Nahanni River takes us west through the NE corner of the Rocky Mountains. The landscape has a rugged beauty of all its own. We will make sightseeing stops at Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake Provincial Parks. From the van we are sure to see stone sheep and mountain caribou along the way. We will camp for the night on the shores of Muncho Lake.

Day 2

Following breakfast your guides will organize a half day whitewater skills session starting on the lake and then proceed down the exciting class 2 Trout River. A short drive from the takeout is the Liard Hot Springs where we will enjoy a meal and a relaxing soak. Back on the road again we'll drive to Watson Lake and walk through the historic Sign Post Forest. At Watson Lake, Yukon we drive north on the Robert Campbell Highway and then onto the Nahanni Range Road for our detour back into the NWT and our base on Flat Lake.

Day 3

Days 3-8: 

Weather permitting we will fly this morning into the Moose Ponds. Our flight takes us north along the divide between the Yukon and the NWT. From the plane we will be amazed with the remarkable views of the Logan and Selwyn Ranges. Our destination is the picturesque ponds at the base of Mount Wilson which provide a delightful venue for our first camp on the Nahanni River.

The Moose Ponds provides an opportunity to explore the alpine country of the continental divide between the Yukon and Northwest Territories. This land is rich in wildlife such as moose, caribou and trumpeter swans. An optional hike up Mount Wilson may be planned. Leaving the Moose Ponds, we join the Nahanni flowing as a stream; just over a canoe length in width. Over the next 40 km the Nahanni swells to a formidable river, tumbling through the boulder strewn "Rock Gardens". This stretch offers some of the best whitewater canoeing in the country.

 

Day 9

Days 9-10: Paddling on, the down River view is blocked by the massif of the Ragged Range. Popular stops are the Island Lakes, Moore's cabin and Moore's Hot Spring. Paddling through "The Gap" we pass the east flank of the soaring Vampire Peaks and on towards Nahanni National Park with a stop at Rabbitkettle Lake on day 9.

Day 11

Days 11-14: 

Planned activities include an interpretive hike led by a Nahanni National Park warden, to explore Rabbitkettle Hot Springs and Tufa Mounds. We then begin down river canoeing to Virginia Falls. This easy flowing section of the river is dominated by U -shaped valleys which were scoured out by advancing cordilleran glaciers thousands of years ago. In this section the river meanders 120 km (72 mi.) to Virginia Falls where we arrive on day 12. Everyone will appreciate a rest day at Virginia Falls. At over 90 m (300 ft.) Virginia Falls is twice the height of Niagara, and is the spectacular centerpiece of Nahanni National Park. The options for these days are many - you can lounge in the group camp area, explore the falls with your camera, or strike off on an invigorating hike to the grassy summit of Sunblood Mountain. Virginia Falls is a fascinating place to discover.

Following our layover day, we complete the 1.25 km portage around the Falls and reload our canoes. For the following week we will immerse ourselves in the spectacular scenery of the lower Nahanni River. The lower Nahanni is canyon country and is often described as the Grand Canyon of the North. Beginning with Painted Canyon, so named because of its brightly coloured walls, you will experience the thrill and excitement of this whitewater section. On this night we will camp in the vicinity of the confluence with the Flat River.

Day 15

Downstream we enter Third Canyon with its imposing 1200 m walls formed as the Nahanni has carved its way through the Funeral Range. We will camp in the shadow of the Gate; where the river has sliced a narrow chasm on the apex of a hairpin meander. An optional hike to the top of the Gate presents magnificent views of the river valley with imposing Pulpit Rock 460 m below.

Day 16

Today finds us completing the 35 km Third Canyon and continuing on through 2nd Canyon, (15 km) where the Nahanni has carved its route through the Headless Range and into Deadmen Valley. This valley is known for its legend and mystery made famous by the mysterious deaths of the McLeod Brothers. Here the vista is noticeably different, as the valley opens up, with distant views of the Tlgotsho Plateau.Deadmen Valley offers an abundance of exploratory options. The massive Prairie Creek alluvial fan provides excellent camping, hiking and wildlife observations.

Day 17

Days 17-18: 

We start the morning with a run through the exhilarating waves of George's Riffle and on into First Canyon. The imposing walls of FirstCanyon reach heights of over 1400 m.

Groups often drift the length of this magnificent 26 km canyon, immersed in its splendor. The canyon walls are dotted with hundreds of caves. Close to its exit we will camp for the night at Lafferty's Canyon, with good hiking opportunities. Day 18 will be a rest day with an optional hike up the Lafferty's side canyon.

Day 19

Days 19-20: Following breakfast, it's down to Kraus' Hot Spring for a soothing dip in its 32 C plus waters. From here we bid farewell to the canyons and make our way to the Nahanni's Splits, a 70 km run through a maze of islands.

Day 21

Following breakfast, we will continue on to the Native village of Nahanni Butte. (Pop. approx. 120) Remote yet surprisingly modern, a stroll into town provides insight into a culture far removed from most of North America. Following a snack from the village store we will board the Nahanni Butte River taxi for the 15 km ride to the Nahanni Butte Road Landing on the Liard River. The awaiting NWA shuttle van will take your group on the short drive to Blackstone Territorial Park. This beautifully situated park offers hot showers, a private day shelter, an information centre and tenting. Any baggage you left behind will be waiting for you. Sue Lindberg, a local homesteader, provides your meals, mainly from her garden for the last night and morning with inviting Northern hospitality.

Day 22

After breakfast, we will depart with a van shuttle for Fort Nelson. We will make a gas stop in Fort Liard with an opportunity to visit the renowned Acho-Dene craft shop. We will arrive in time to meet your Southbound flight with Central Mountain Air, or for you to begin the drive with your own vehicle.