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Great Slave Lake kayaking expeditions | CA-JT701

Paddle the famous Great Slave Lake on one of these sea kayaking expeditions


The fabled East Arm of Great Slake Lake has a spectacular reputation among locals, and for good reason. It features deep, clear water with abundant islands, narrow channels with tall red cliffs, and world-class fishing.


  • Great Slave Lake
  • Yellowknife
  • East arm Great Slave Lake
  • North arm Great Slave Lake
  • Trout Rock
  • North Arm

East Arm

The fabled East Arm of Great Slake Lake has a spectacular reputation among locals, and for good reason. It features deep, clear water with abundant islands, narrow channels with tall red cliffs, and world-class fishing.

If the North has been on your bucket list for ages, these majestic islands offer a place like no others: unspoiled, remote, and iconic. With craggy cliffs and rocky islands, Blanchet and Etthen support bald eagles, terns and gulls. Breathtaking cliffs on both islands are built from rock as old as 2.7-billion years (the oldest in the world), making for some of the most epic campsites you’ll ever experience. If fishing is your thing, you’ll definitely want to bring a fishing rod to enjoy the seemingly bottomless depths surrounding these islands. They are swarming with trophy-sized lake trout. And because the lake is clean and cold, fish keep near the surface in summer, making for plenty fishing opportunities from a kayak and from camp.

To add an element of magic to these expeditions, we’ve picked dates to take advantage of autumn Aurora season. As you tip your head back in awe to catch the glittering lights dancing across the sky, we’ll show you the best of our spectacular Aurora. Great Slave Lake lies directly in the magnetic “Aurora Belt”, which means it’s one of the most reliable places on earth to spot the northern lights.

If the North has been on your bucket list for ages, the majestic East Arm offers a place like no others: unspoiled, remote, and iconic.

North Arm

North America's deepest lake is brimming with romance and mystery. That's especially true when "heaven's own lightshow" begins. Our sea kayak expedition on the North Arm is planned to take advantage of autumn Aurora season. As you tip your head back in awe to catch the glittering lights dancing across the sky, we’ll show you the best of our spectacular Aurora. The North Arm lies directly in the magnetic “Aurora Belt”, which means it’s one of the most reliable places on earth to spot the northern lights.

If you thought the Aurora was only a wintertime phenomenon, think again. At the tail end of the Northern summer, the skies begin to darken – and the “lights” burst into viewThe North Arm of Great Slave Lake, home to thousands of remote islands and feisty pike offers a remote and unique paddling adventure for Aurora chasers. It's true this sea kayak expedition will put the Aurora on display like no other tour. Unlike motorized tour operators who stick to the roads, we are able to paddle deep into remote wilderness far away from any artificial lights.

Culture, wildlife and landscape round out the other highlights of this expedition. You’ll have a chance to disconnect from the digital world as you paddle through the wide-open water vistas of traditional Tłįchǫ Territory. Referred to by the Tłįchǫ people as Dinàgà Wek ’èhodì, the North Arm has powerful, historical, spiritual and cultural significance. It is a home; a place of legends, sharing, teaching and learning.

The numerous channels and bays of the North Arm are important habitat for breeding birds, and each year attract more than 100,000 northbound migrating waterbirds. You’ll find a stunning variety of birds, such as bald eagles, gulls, terns, ducks, swans and geese. It’s also home to moose, black bears, bison, wolves, and tons of world-class trophy pike.

From a paddler’s perspective, the North Arm is a paradise of unexplored islands of glacier carved, Precambrian rock. It’s a wilderness odyssey of narrow channels we’ll navigate with expedition-grade sea kayaks. This is one great kayak trip!

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability Aug - Sept
Duration 9 days
Departs From Yellowknife, NT
Difficulty Moderate
Group maximum 10
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No
Region Northwest Territories


2 121
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Toll Free number in N. America: +1 888 285 1676
  • International number: +1 780 414 1676

North Arm
August 28-Sept 3, 2023
Price: $2850 CAD per person

East Arm
August 6-14, 2023
August 22-30, 2023
Price: $4450 CAD per person

What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • High-quality fibreglass sea kayaks (single and tandem) and high quality paddles, spray-shirts and other safety equipment
  • Lifejackets (you are free to bring your own)
  • Group gear for each expedition (tarp, kitchen equipment, utensils, water filtration, etc)
  • First aid and kayak repair kits
  • Communication devices (satellite phone and Garmin Inreach)
  • Expedition-quality tents
  • A detailed check-list for recommended personal clothing

Suggested Clothing & Items

  • Outer layers designed to keep you dry when paddling during the day and in the rain
  • Warm clothes to wear under those layers and while at camp
  • For the North Arm trip dry suits or paddling suits are mandatory for this trip - rentals available
  • Fishing gear and license
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with extra batteries
  • Small tripod if you aim to take photos of the Aurora
  • Pen, paper, journal, lighter and matches/extra rope of cord 10’ – 25’

What to bring

  • Sleeping bag and pad (required)

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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


Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


man sitting and watching starry sky with northern lights

Guide information:1:5 guide to client ratio. You will have a lead guide and an assistant guide on this trip. Guides are trained in wilderness first aid, sea kayaking skills and have extensive experience paddling in the Northwest Territories. Our friendly guides are there to keep you safe, and have a fun and exciting trip! All guides are local and live in the Northwest Territories. 

Restrictions: This trip is in a remote location, so previous paddling experience in a kayak is an asset. Participants are not required to be highly-skilled paddlers, but should be familiar with the basics of kayaking and paddled in a kayak at least once before. Previous experience camping in the back-country is required. We can be exposed to wind and waves on this trip, and will be moving every day and camping in the wilderness without facilities. 


In August, weather is fairly sunny on Great Slave Lake. Nights are cool, with a low to moderate chance of precipitation and wind during the day. Expect daily temperatures to be between a high of 15 and a low of 5 degrees Celsius.

In September, weather begins to cool on Great Slave Lake. Days can be cool, and nights can be cold. In 2018, we even snow for one day of this trip! That is the price we pay to experience the northern lights later in the season when the darkness returns. Expect a daily temperature to average between a high of 10 and a low of 0 degrees Celsius.

woman on the shore near kayaks in canada

For East Arm

In the morning, we board an air charter to the East Arm. As our float plane lifts off the waters of Yellowknife Bay, we get a bird's eye view of the spectacular Canadian Shield as we fly deeper into remote wilderness. Once at camp on a majestic rocky island, we take in our new surroundings: pristine air and clear deep water. It doesn't take long to reel in our first lake trout. Fish fry for dinner?


For North Arm

In the morning, we head out from the capital city of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife. Our shuttle takes us down the road to "Frank's Channel". From there we will launch into Great Slave Lake and begin our 130 km paddle back to Yellowknife.

kayaking team posing for a picture

For East Arm

We spend our days moving to a new location each day, setting up camp on beautiful natural sites on the subarctic shield. As we work our way to the North end of Etthen Island, the scenery grows bolder. Spectacular granite cliffs rise along the shore. We are treated to Aurora that dances in the sky above our tents. The fishing is non-stop, and world-class. If the weather permits, we cross over to Utsingi Point for a day trip to hike and explore this stunning peninsula. 


For North Arm

Camping each night on the many islands of the North Arm, we make our way around the historic Old Fort Rae towards the spectacular area known as Trout Rock.

happy couple in a kayak in canada near seaside

For East Arm

We paddle around the North end of Etthen Island and are treated to spectacular granite cliffs rising along the shore. It's a breath-taking and stunning scene that few will ever experience. We continue to paddle South, enjoying some of the most unique and beautiful campsites in the Northwest Territories. Perfect paddling on the profound blue depths off Etthen island will offer exciting days. Often, we spot wildlife such as moose or bears. Eventually, we are back to our original campsite having successfully completed our 70 km circumnavigation of Etthen Island. 


For North Arm

After a 10 km section of exposed shore, we tuck back into the cover of the thousands of islands in the North Arm. Water clarity improves as we paddle east, through the remote and beautiful wilderness of Great Slave Lake.

group of kayaks in water

For East Arm

One last chance to pick our fill of wild berries before the float planes roars in to whisk us 200 km back to the nearest civilisation of Yellowknife. After hot showers we meet up in town for cold celebratory beers and final farewells!


For North Arm

It's a feeling of accomplishment as we paddle back into Yellowknife Bay. The colourful houseboats and a Jackpine Paddle shuttle meet us at the main dock. After hot showers, we meet for dinner, cold beer and final farewells!

While on the kayak trip accommodations are in tent camps along the lake. Hotel accommodations in Yellowknife are an additional cost.

What will the food be like? Really good. Your guides have fine-tuned a high-end, nutritious and well-balanced backcountry menu of unique and tasty dishes from years of expedition tripping – and look forward to sharing it with you. The flexible menu can accommodate vegetarian and gluten-free preferences, and will be tailored in advance for participants on each trip. Guests are always welcome to join guides in cooking and learn to cook our authentic, backcountry recipes.

Breakfast will include fresh fruit and a main dish, like eggs and bacon or pancakes. Lunch features locally-smoked sausages, fruit, hummus, salads, breads and naan with a spread of cheese, jams, and a variety of nut butters. Dinner will offer an appetiser, main course, and dessert! Because the fishing is so good on this trip, we'll eat a lot of fresh, local lake trout caught in the same day including fish fry, chowder, and fish tacos.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • 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

A 20% deposit is due upon booking to reserve your spot on a tour. The balance of your trip fee is due 60 days before departure.

If you register for a trip and subsequently cancel: There is a $100 administration fee applied to any cancellation. The balance of your payment (to date) will be refunded for any cancellation up to 61 days prior to departure.

For notice given:

  • 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