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Thomsen River Canoe Trip, Northwest Territories

| CA-BWA1503

Canoe on the Remote Thomsen River High Above the Arctic Circle


Join our 15-day canoeing tour for an adventure on the northernmost river in North America you can canoe on! Explore the arctic oasis of the Thomsen River on your next vacation.


  • Exceptional Wildlife
  • The Northernmost Canoe-able River in North America
  • Professional Guides
  • Extremely Remote Location
  • Aulavik National Park
  • Banks Island

Canoe on one of the most remote rivers on the Canadian Arctic archipelago. A charter flight takes you from Inuvik in the Northwest Territories to the Thomsen River on Banks Island, a place rich in wildlife and history. On this river trip, prepare to visit unique archaeological sites and explore the home of the world’s largest muskox population. 

If you’re looking for the best wilderness canoe trip in Canada, look no further! Adventurous, remote, and full of surprises, this trip will show you a world you’ve never imagined.

  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group
  • Expert guides
  • Personal Experience
Availability June
Duration 15 days
Departs From Inuvik, NT
Difficulty Intermediate
Group maximum 5
Pick Up Yes
Meet on Location No


10 740
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability (2024):

  • June 15-29

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What's Included


  • Accommodation (13 nights camping, 2 nights at the Arctic Chalet, Inuvik)
  • Meals and Snacks (from day 2 lunch to lunch on day 14)
  • Canoeing Equipment
  • Camping Equipment
  • Safety Equipment
  • Transportation (charter flights and ground transfers)

What to bring

  • Personal Clothing and Gear (a recommendation list will be provided)

Not Included

  • Restaurant meals in Inuvik
  • Gratuities

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


canoeing near snowy riverside in canada

This tour takes you on a 14-day canoeing adventure on remote Banks Island high above the Arctic Circle. Sail through the arctic oasis rich in wildlife and history. We’ll visit already-known archeological sites and might even discover new ones!  

The banks of the Thomsen River are home to diverse wildlife, from countless species of birds to the world’s largest population of muskox. Prepare to meet animals in their natural habitat.

Our canoeing tour is available for any novice paddlers thirsty for adventure in the Canadian wilderness.

aerial view of inuvik town in canada

Arrive in Inuvik by 3 p.m. Here you’ll meet your guides and fellow travelers. The guides will give you a pre-trip briefing and you’ll have an orientation meeting with Parks Canada, an official agency of the Government of Canada.

After the briefing, you can get together with the group and have dinner in town (not included in the tour price). It’s a good opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers a bit closer.

Before wrapping up the first day, we’ll have a final gear check and make sure everything’s in place and ready for tomorrow.

We’ll spend the night at the cozy Arctic Chalet Bed and Breakfast (included).

Today we’ll take a charter flight from Inuvik to Thomsen River. It’s a 3-hour flight, and we’ll stop to refuel in Sachs Harbour. Look around as we fly over the Arctic Ocean! As we make our way north, we’ll pass directly over Banks Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Aulavik National Park.

Once we reach the Thomsen River, we’ll set up camp and explore the surrounding area. Thomsen River valley is home to many Arctic species, including endangered Peary caribou, the world’s largest snow geese population, and polar bears.  

We’ll also set up our Ally packable folding canoes. These canoes are stable when loaded and perfect for our river trip.

canoeing in thomsen river canada

We’ll finish setting up our canoes and complete an on-water paddling skill session to make sure everyone feels comfortable canoeing. We’ll also have a safety briefing before we make our way into the river.

Throughout the trip, we’ll make various stops at known archeological sites. We might even discover new ones! 

The Auklavik region is rich in history. It has provided shelter and hunting grounds to ancient and more recent civilizations, including pre-Dorset, Dorset, and Thule cultures. Auklavik National Park encompasses evidence of these cultures, such as tent rings, sod house ruins, meat caches, and bone piles that date back more than 4,000 years. Prepare to see the “Head Hill,” a site piled with hundreds of muskox skulls from centuries of hunting. 

Keep an eye out for Arctic wildlife as we paddle north up Auklavik National Park. It’s home to an incredible Arctic hoofed mammal — the muskoxen. About three-quarters of the world’s muskoxen population lives in the area! You’ll have plenty of chances to catch glimpses of snow geese, arctic foxes, and snowy owls. You might even see the elusive Peary caribou.

Depending on the weather, our final campsite will be based near the river mouth close to the Arctic Ocean.

On day 14 we’ll take a charter flight back to Inuvik. Once we land, we’ll check into the Arctic Chalet B&B and have a group dinner in town (not included).

Your morning is free for exploring Inuvik. The charming town in the Mackenzie River Delta was, up until recently, was the most northerly town in Canada reachable by road. The famous Dempster Highway leads to Inuvik, and a recent highway extension added another 90 mi (140 km) northward to the community of Tuktoyaktuk.

Inuvik offers many activities, such as dog sledding, canoeing, and hunting for the Northern Lights.

In the late morning of this day, take an airport shuttle for your flights home, or stay for another day.

  • You should arrive at Inuvik before 3 p.m. on day 1. You may depart on either day 15 or the day after. We recommend staying an extra day due to the unpredictable weather, which might delay our charter flights from Banks Island to Inuvik.
  • You should bring windproof clothes and a bug jacket or a hat. A full list of recommended clothing and gear will be provided.
  • This tour is available for novice paddlers. Advanced canoeing and backpacking skills are not required, but it’s important that you’re in good health and reasonably fit for your 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 60 days before trip commencement.

Cancellations up to 61 days, deposit refundable minus $100. From 31 - 60 days we retain 50% of the fee. From 15 - 30 days we retain 75% of the fee. From 0 - 14 days we retain 100% of the fee.