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Canoe the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories

| CA-NSA003

Experience Indigenous Culture and Communities on this Canoe Expedition


Canoeing, camping and genuine Indigenous culture. Join a culturally immersive canoe trip down the Mackenzie River to experience the indigenous cultures and local communities.


  • Mackenzie River
  • Canoe Expedition Northwest Territories
  • Local & Experienced Indigenous Guides
  • Genuine Indigenous culture
  • Dene Elders, Storytelling
  • Wildlife and Bird Viewing
  • Riverside Camping
  • Road trip from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson


On this canoe trip down the mighty Mackenzie River, you will be immersed in the timeless landscapes and the culture of the Indigenous people of Canada’s Northwest Territories. You will experience the history of the Dene people of Canada's North, hear their stories, share their respect for the land, learn about their special connections to the land, connections that have provided life for millennia, and share their timeless traditions. Welcome to the Dehcho!

Availability Mid June – late August
Duration 12 days
Departs From Yellowknife, NT
Difficulty Moderate
Group maximum 10 people
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up Yes


4 415
  • Expert Guides
  • Small Group Experience
  • Fast & secure payment
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability Mid-June – late August (2023):

  • $5995 CAD per person (4 person minimum).

All prices are per person, in CAD.
Based on double occupancy.

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What's Included


  • Return ground transportation from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson & Wrigley
  • Scenic road trip on the Mackenzie Highway
  • Accommodations in Yellowknife, pre and post trip
  • Accommodations at B&B’s in remote communities
  • Canoes, safety equipment
  • Motorized support boat
  • Flight to Nahanni National Park
  • Tent camping accommodations while on the canoe trip
  • All camping meals & snacks

What to bring

  • Warm jacket
  • Fleece clothing
  • Long pants
  • Shorts
  • Hiking boots
  • Wet shoes or rubber boots
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants)
  • Hat & gloves
  • Insect repellent
  • Full packing list provided at booking

Not Included

  • Fishing licenses (available for purchase online)
  • Transportation from your home city to Yellowknife NWT
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
  • Gratuities

Contact us for more Information about this tour


You can also send an email to info@adventures.com, or use the contact form here below.

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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


The Mackenzie River is literally known as the 'great' river or the 'big' river by the region's Indigenous people. The trip starts from Yellowknife Northwest Territories, with a scenic road trip of 650km west to the picturesque community of Fort Simpson, at the confluence of the Liard River and the Mackenzie River. There you will canoe and camp the next 240km downstream to Wrigley. There will be 6-7 days of canoeing and camping on the mighty Mackenzie River. Along the way, you will learn about the river's history, from the First Nations that have lived here since the last ice age to the explorers that began the early fur trade and settled in the region.

After your canoe trip, you will return to Fort Simpson by road and spend the night in town at a B&B. The following morning you will fly into the spectacular Nahanni National Park Reserve in the western Northwest Territories, a UNESCO world heritage site. You will see the Nahanni River, the 2nd longest river in Canada, and the amazing Virginia Falls. After flying back to Fort Simpson, you will return to Yellowknife by van and arrive at your hotel in the evening.

Your guide on this Canadian canoe expedition is famous for his area knowledge and speaks all the region's Indigenous languages. Joe' The Aurora Hunter' was born and raised in the NWT and had a strong track record of leading visitors and tour groups into the wilderness of Canada's north. Joe's Dene background and his personal connection to the local communities on this canoe trip are simply remarkable. You will be amazed by his down-to-earth approach as he continues the tradition of storytelling and keeps his people's spoken history and languages alive. His family has lived here for generations, and his ancestors have lived here for thousands of years. They are waiting here to welcome you into their homes and homeland. You are in good hands.

The Mackenzie River passes through several small northern Canadian towns and Indigenous communities as it makes its way north to the Arctic Ocean. On this expedition-style canoe trip, you will spend time in some of these communities and learn about the local peoples' history and connection to the land and the mighty Mackenzie River. Some days will be spent camping along the river banks at traditional campsites. On other days you will spend the night at local B&Bs.

The history, wildlife, and ecology of this region in northern Canada are remarkable. You will be immersed in the traditions and history of the Indigenous people and will have opportunities to experience Canada's true north by canoe on the great Mackenzie River. You will learn to slow down, reflect, and take it all in!

The Mackenzie River is the longest river in Canada, the largest drainage basin in Canada, and second only to the Mississippi River in all of North America. Though its drainage area covers a large portion of northern British Columbia and northern Alberta, the main stem of the Mackenzie River starts at the west end of Great Slave Lake, about 150km southwest of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

After leaving Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River winds its way west before turning northwest along the eastern side of the Mackenzie Mountain Range, eventually emptying into the Arctic Ocean about 1750 km downstream. At times, the river is up to 2-3km wide, with narrower sections of 200-800m. Rapids are infrequent, but there is a stretch of rapids downstream of the village of Jean Marie River. The river finds its own path, and there are many braided sections and islands along its course.

The Mackenzie River flows through vast areas of Canada’s great northern boreal forest and sub-arctic taiga. The region is considered one of the largest intact ecosystems remaining in Canada. 

The Mackenzie River and its massive arctic delta draw hundreds of migratory bird species. Wildlife in this area includes moose, caribou, wood bison, beaver, wolverine, lynx, wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears.

Payment Details

Booking and Cancellation Policy:

All bookings require a deposit of 15% per person in order to confirm your dates. The balance is due at least 60 days prior to your trip departure date, at which time the deposit become non-refundable.

Between 59 and 31 days prior to departure, there is a 75% refund of all funds. 30 days or less prior to the Package departure date, there is a 50% refund of all funds.