Canada’s Northwest Territories is an area in the mammoth country that is decidedly bare when it comes to the modern marvels overtaking the major cities in other territories. That’s fine, though, and actually contributes to the fascination people are having with this rugged terrain. If it’s a plush and posh, five-star hotel you’re looking for, the Northwest Territories might not be the best place to set your gaze to, but there’s plenty of outdoors excitement and adventure to be had by the hardy traveler. With miles of trails, rivers, and forests to explore, there’s more to do in the Northwest Territories than meets the eye.
If you’re the kind of traveler that goes crazy for being on the water, you’ll find yourself right at home in Northwest Territories. There are plenty of incredible rivers that feature canoe routes, white water rafting, and kayaking. If you’re staying in the territory’s capital city, Yellowknife, you can find routes through nearby rivers that are suitable for people of all experience levels. Many of the rapids can be reached by a short commuter plane that flies out of Yellowknife. The river that takes the same name is known to be a popular destination for experienced white water rafters. It combines white and flatwater paddling with waterfalls and boulder gardens that are sure to challenge you.
These river courses all flow from some of the most amazing lakes on the planet. Great Bear Lake, the king among lakes in the Northwest Territories (and all of Canada) is one of the largest fresh water bodies on the face of the planet. It stretches 31,400 sq km and has a depth of 440 meters, making it a popular tourist destination. You can check out the popular Great Bear Lake Outfitters Ltd to get set up with all the gear you need to make your day at the lake complete. Take your hand at fishing, for example, and you could catch one of the record-breaking lake trout that swim there.
If you came to the Northwest Territories with fishing in mind, you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of choices to be had. You can take a plane out to one of the many lodges in the barrenlands and go on a private fishing tour with a local fisherman. Taking a guided fishing trip isn’t for everyone, but it does give you a chance to see local spots that are teeming with underwater giants. There are other lodges that simply provide lodging and boats, which are perfect for those fishermen looking to go it alone. You can get a really worthwhile experience at Lynx Tundra Lodge. Located 270 miles east of Yellowknife, this arctic lodge is located on Lynx Lake, where much of the watershed claims to still be unexplored. This is about as remote as it gets, and adventurous fishermen could land trophy Lake Trout, Northern Pike, and Arctic Grayling.
While fishing remains a popular attraction in the Northwest Territories, hunting is also making the region a strong attraction. Whether you are looking to take it to the mountains, forests, or plains, you’ll find unrivaled hunting in the Northwest Territories wilderness. No matter what season you’re visiting in, you’ll find incredible game species roaming free in healthy numbers. Central Canadian Barrenground Caribou roam free during the fall months, while Inuit guides are readily available during the winter and spring seasons. There are plenty of outfitters in the Northern Territories that will not only supply you with the tools you need for a successful hunt, but also guides to take you into the rugged terrain that makes up this province. A popular guide company that has been growing since 1984 is Pokiak Guiding and Outfitting, located in Tuktoyaktuk. They outfit big game hunts throughout the arctic are known to put together some unforgettable hunts.
If you still like the outdoors, but don’t enjoy hunting or fishing, you can take part in a number of exciting winter activities. Everything from dogsledding to snowshoeing is available in the Northern Territories. Winter lodges, such as the popular Yellowdog Lodge at Pilote Point, offer all the amenities you’ll need for a trip into the Northern Territories. Most of these lodges will also hook you up with local outfitters or guides to help set you up with activities throughout the day. Snowmobiling is a popular activity as well, and taking the ice roads in the winter months on them will connect you to other towns and activities.
Once activity you won’t need a lodge to help you take part in is the Aurora Borealis. This is more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights, and it is really a sight to behold. Whether you’re spending a night in a lodge or just camping in the wilderness, watching the colorful tendrils of glowing light maneuvering through the sky is an experience of a lifetime. Since this natural light show occurs in the fall and winter nights, it can be very cold in the Northern Territories. Some guides, however, offer Aurora viewing from bubbling hot tubs, a truly relaxing experience. For a more aboriginal feel to your Aurora experience, check out Aurora Village (www.auroravillage.com). It’s the only aboriginal tourism village in the Northern Territories and offers extended Aurora viewing.
The Aboriginal culture in the Northwest Territories is reason enough to visit the province. There are a number of tours that will take you through villages to see how these tribal people live. The Great Canadian Travel Company (www.greatcanadiantravel.com) will help put together a great tour that will incorporate native culture and arts and crafts. If you’re lucky enough to travel at the right time, you might even have the chance to take part in a local, aboriginal festival. Spring and summer are the best times to go, as more festivals are packed in here than during the winter and fall months. The Summer Solstice Festival is a popular event in Yellowknife that attracts visitors from all over.
There’s something for everyone in the Northern Territories. Whether you’re a hunter, a fisher, or just a viewer of all nature has to offer, this is the place for you. Year round there are adventures and cultural event happening all over the province. Start planning a trip today and you’ll soon find out why the Northern Territories is such a revered place of untamed beauty.