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Mountain River Canoeing in the Northwest Territories

| CA-BWA1402

Canoe whitewater Mountain River through the Mackenzie Mountains in Northwest Territories


Immerse yourself in an unforgettable 14-day whitewater canoeing adventure on the Mountain River in Canada’s Northwest Territories.


  • Mountain River
  • Black Feather Creek
  • Mackenzie Mountains
  • Mackenzie River
  • Norman Wells
  • Willow Handle Lake

The restless Mountain River flows from the Mackenzie Mountains, near the watershed border with Yukon. Embark with us on an unforgettable canoeing adventure on these whitewater rapids through five canyons and past the picturesque Mackenzie Mountains. Due to its strong current and high volume rapids, the Mountain River always changes, making this tour a perfect choice for experienced paddlers.

Get ready for two weeks in the Canadian wilderness. This tour has it all! Amazing wildlife, whitewater river canoeing filled with exciting challenges and some impressive side hikes that make for the adventure of a lifetime.

  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group
  • Expert guides
  • Personal Experience
Availability Jul-Aug
Duration 14 days
Departs From Norman Wells, NT
Group maximum 8
Difficulty Demanding
Pick Up Yes
Meet on Location No
Region Northwest Territories


6 501
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability (2024):

  • July 13-26
  • August 9-22

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What's Included


  • Guides
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Canoeing and Camping Equipment
  • Safety Equipment
  • Transportation

What to bring

  • Waterproof clothes
  • Dry suit or paddling suit
  • Hiking boots
  • Sleeping bag and an inflatable sleeping pad
  • Bug protection

Not Included

  • Flights to and from Norman Wells
  • Restaurant meals on two last days
  • Gratuity

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


The Mountain River is very lively with many twists and turns, cutting its way through sand and shale. Its rapids change with the tides, making some parts quite challenging to canoe through, but our canoes’ spraydecks go a long way in keeping you protected.

During the 14-day adventure, in addition to canoeing, we’ll enjoy some phenomenal hikes to relaxing mineral springs, impressive tufa formations, and immense mountain ranges. Some great bird’s eye views open up from the Cache Creek ridges. The Mackenzie Mountains reach heights of over 2,700 meters (highest peak - 2,972 meters) and feature some amazing color palettes. Lining up with lush green trees, they create a breathtaking landscape.

The wildlife around the Mountain River is extensive. Wolves, moose, Dall’s sheep, caribou, and grizzly bears live in the area. Hawks and eagles also hover above the river.

The northern extension of the Rocky Mountains, the Mackenzie Mountains, stretch over 800 kilometers and are named after the second Prime Minister of Canada, Alexander Mackenzie.

You’ll arrive at Norman Wells airport and transfer to Lake Float plane base outside the town. Here we’ll have a trip briefing and equipment check. A charter flight will take us to beautiful Willow Handle Lake — one of the headwaters of the Mountain River.

Tonight we’ll set up camp and prepare for our canoeing adventure!

Around a kilometer away from our starting location is a small creek with enough water to float our canoes. We’ll have to portage the gear to this small tributary creek. Once we do that, we’ll have to push our canoes down the creek, until it gets deep enough to paddle.

We’ll either float or drag the equipment to the junction of the Black Feather Creek and set our campsite by the river’s bank.


Some hiking and exploring the picturesque area before dinner.

Today we’ll paddle down Black Feather Creek. The untouched wilderness of the creek spoils us with picture-perfect views. Before long, we’ll reach the junction where the creek flows into the Mountain River.

The Sahu Dene tribe are the traditional inhabitants of the Mountain River area. They hunted and traveled between the headwaters near the Continental Dive and the village of Fort Good Hope in large mooseskin boats.

After floating through the calm creek, the Mountain River is where the real challenge begins. Get ready for some swift currents and braided rapids!

aerial view of people canoeing in a canyon

During these days, we’ll visit a unique Tufa Mound, what we call “The Fountain of Youth.” This great Tufa formation is similar to the Tufa Mounds of Nahanni National Park. The mound is a large hill of calcium with a mineral spring bursting out of the top of the hill.

We’ll also explore five amazing, yet challenging, canyons. Just to keep you on your toes, the first one will be a real rollercoaster of furious whitewater, fast currents, and wavy rapids! Some outstanding rugged mountain views open up as the river flows downwards.

As we paddle into the Mackenzie Lowlands, the river valley broadens revealing more amazing sights. We’ll explore some of the breathtaking wilderness on foot.     

The last leg of our journey starts as we paddle into the Mackenzie River. From here, a charter plane will take us over some beautiful views of the river valley, back to Norman Wells.

We’ll be dining and spending the night at the Heritage Hotel.  

Today you’ll explore Norman Wells, a small oil town with a rich history. With a population of around 800, the town has a nursing station, schools, grocery shops, a few hotels, and restaurants.

Visit the Norman Wells Historical Centre to learn more about the town. It offers an extensive collection of displays recounting the oil, mining and cultural history of the town and the surrounding area.

When you’re ready for your flight home, there’s an airport transfer waiting for you.

The weather is often unpredictable, and you can sometimes experience all four seasons in just one day! Get your clothes packed for anything from rain to snow. Don’t forget to bring some sunscreen too!

Pickup information:

You’ll be picked up from Norman Wells airport and taken to the Lake Floatplane base that is 6.5 km south of town.

Please note:

Please contact us before booking the tour, if you’re considering traveling with children of the minimum required age.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST..
  • A 25% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.
  • If booking within 90 days or less, full payment is required.


  • If you cancel 91 days or more before the start of the trip any funds submitted will be refunded as follows: 70% refund plus a 15% credit to be used on another trip with the same operator in that season or the next operating season. In addition, a $200 CAD administration fee will be deducted
  • If you cancel 90-61 days or before the start of the trip any funds submitted will be refunded as follows: 10% refund plus a 15% credit to be used on another trip with the same operator in that season or the next operating season.  In addition, a $200 CAD administration fee will be deducted
  • If you cancel 60 days or less before the start date there is no refund or credit. We highly encourage that you purchase trip cancellation insurance so that you are covered for any unexpected change in plans.