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Raft or Canoe on the Coppermine River in Canada | CA-NRA1601

Raft/Canoe Adventure on the Coppermine River in Nunavut


Immerse yourself in an ultimate adventure of a lifetime and spend 16 days rafting or canoeing on an Arctic river in the Coppermine Mountains of Nunavut, Canada!


  • Crossing the Arctic Circle
  • Great Bear Lake
  • Bloody Falls
  • Rocky Defile Rapids

Embark on an unforgettable 16-day expedition through deep ravines and rapids. Choose between an adventure on a raft or a more demanding canoe option.

Following in the footsteps of Sir John Franklin’s journey to the “Polar Sea,” this trip will take you through some of the most amazing, uncharted lands in Canada. Explore the Great Bear Lake and observe the wildlife around the Bloody Falls in Kugluk Territorial Park.

Cross the Arctic Circle and traverse an untouched wilderness on an adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
  • Personal Experience
Availability Jun - Aug
Duration 16 days
Departs From Yellowknife, NT
Minimum age No limit
Group maximum 12
Difficulty Easy / Challenging Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Pick Up No
Meet on Location Yes


9 934
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Toll Free number in N. America: +1 888 285 1676
  • International number: +1 780 414 1676

Availability (2023):
July 21-August 5
August 4-19

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What's Included


  • Accommodation at the Great Bear Lake Lodge
  • Charter flights
  • Tent River bag
  • Day bag

What to bring

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Hiking boots

Not Included

  • Wetsuit or drysuit rental
  • Hotel meals and accommodation in Yellowknife

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


Choose between the Coppermine River canoe trip or a rafting adventure. Rafting is an easier option and suitable for those who have some intermediate rafting experience. Canoeing is more challenging and you’ll need to have Class III Whitewater experience. Overnights on this tour are in tents.

The Coppermine River is a part of the Canadian Heritage River System – a national river conservation program that recognizes and protects outstanding rivers in Canada.

During this 16-day trip, we’ll travel through two territories of Canada, cross the Arctic Circle and drift along 135 mi (215 km) of the Coppermine River. The elevation drops 900 ft (280 m) allowing us to enjoy the most extraordinary views of the Coppermine and September Mountains. We’ll also paddle past some other charming Arctic rivers along the way.

Our expedition starts at Yellowknife a town in Canada’s Northwest Territories, near the Great Slave Lake. Departing from there, we’ll take two charter flights to the Coppermine River.

The banks of the river are rich with Canadian wildlife. Spot magnificent moose, Peregrine falcons, and even a Golden eagle soaring above the tundra! Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy seeing Arctic char, lake trout, and grayling. This great rafting or canoeing experience combines exciting rapids, with some amazing hikes to explore the best sights of Franklin’s famous trip to the “Polar Sea” in the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”

We’ll meet up in the morning and take a charter plane to the north. We’ll fly over the tundra and land on the airstrip of the Great Bear Lake Lodge, from where we’ll take a float plane to the Coppermine River.

Between the flights, we’ll have a chance to explore the shores of the Great Bear Lake. Depending on the weather conditions, we’ll stay at the lodge overnight if needed.

brown bear near coppermine river in canada at summer

If we take the charter flight in the morning, we’ll set up our camp by the Coppermine River as soon as we arrive.

After lunch, we’ll explore the area by hiking the surrounding hills. You’ll have a great opportunity to observe the local vegetation and wildlife.

herd of caribou in canada looking at a camera

We’ll start the day by inflating the rafts and rigging the canoes. We’ll paddle downstream and enjoy some spectacular views. The river bank is a sanctuary of herds of magnificent moose, and we might spot some graceful swans and other shorebirds on the water.

We’ll approach our first challenge as the river narrows down and the stream rushes up for the “Big Bend.”

campsite at sunset near coppermine river

Today, we’ll reach the Rocky Defile Rapids. These formidable rapids run through a canyon that stretches 1,640 ft (500 m) long and 197 ft (60 m) high! Once we come to the majestic ravine, we’ll settle in for the day and take a jaunt exploring.

canoes and a tent on a river shore in canada

Today we’ll paddle past the Kendall River. This segment of the Coppermine River has several boulder islands. Locals call this area “the Splits,” and it’s renowned for its breathtaking sights of the Coppermine and September Mountains.

We’ll camp near Stoney Creek, which can sometimes get quite icy!

flower field near coppermine river at summer

We’ll hike up the picturesque Coppermine Mountains and enjoy unimaginable hues of red. The area around our camp is full of eye-catching wildflowers, such as Western wood lily, Red paintbrush, and Pink wintergreen, so it’s a good day for a photo shoot!

flying arctic tern in canada

We’ll enter the river valley between the Coppermine and September Mountains. With terraced hillsides on one side and barren slopes on the other, we’ll reach the spot where the river makes its largest drop. It plunges 460 ft (152 m) over 30 sets of high volume, treacherous rapids, so get ready for some breathtaking views!

The tundra vegetation rolls over the river banks, together with some lofty cliffs and mossy rocks. Look up to catch sight of some Peregrine falcons, Golden eagles, and Rough-legged buzzards swooping above our heads!  

bear footprint in mud

We’ll approach one of the most challenging parts of the expedition. We’ll paddle down to turbulent Escape Rapids and then drift to the frightfully-named Bloody Falls. This section of the river will take us through some fast-paced, twisted rapids to the boulder island above the falls.

After portaging our equipment around the plunging water, we’ll spend a day hiking and reach the summit of a local peak for a panoramic view of the “Polar Sea.”

In the first half of the day, we’ll complete the last segment, stretching over 10 mi (16 km), before the Coppermine River drains into the Arctic Ocean.

In the afternoon, we’ll reach Kugluktuk, a hamlet with the westernmost community in Nunavut. You’ll be able to explore the village before our flight back to the Great Bear Lake.

We’ll spend the day and relax at the Great Bear Lake Lodge, where you’ll have a chance to revel in hot showers and other facilities. Hotel nights and meals aren’t included in the price.

One the last day of our expedition, you’ll have some time to explore the town and learn more about the natural and human history of the capital of the Northwest Territory.

A charter plane will fly us back to Yellowknife.

The meeting point is at the Explorer Hotel lobby after breakfast.

You will receive a detailed list of what to bring to the trip and what you can rent out from us.

Please note

You should plan to arrive in Yellowknife a day before the trip begins, as we’ll have a pre-trip orientation meeting at the Explorer Hotel.


Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include 5.00% GST.
  • A 30% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.

Your deposit is refundable less a $100 administration fee until 90 days prior to your trip departure date - then your final payment will be due, and all deposits become non-refundable. Trip Cancellation & Medical Evacuation Insurance is available and highly recommended. Insurance is refundable until the 90-day non-refundable period.