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Nahanni National Park Reserve

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North America > Canada > Northern Canada > Northwest Territories > Nahanni National Park Reserve
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Nahanni National Park Reserve [dead link] is in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect the South Nahanni River, one of the most spectacular wild rivers in North America.


The Gate

Nahanni National Park Reserve Headquarters, Box 348, Fort Simpson, NWT, Canada X0E 0N0, Phone: 867-695-3151 (Fax: 867-695-2446, Hours: Winter (September 15 - June 15) M-F 8:30AM-noon, 1PM-5PM. Closed weekends. Summer (June 15 - September 15) Daily 8AM-noon, 1PM-5PM.



Flora and fauna[edit]

The park is mostly boreal forest, with a variety of ecosystems ranging from lowland wet areas to alpine tundra. The main tree species are white and black spruce, lodgepole pine, jackpine, subalpine fir, larch, balsam poplar, trembling aspen and white birch. The varied ecosystems resulting from varied altitudes, hot and cold springs, and river influence results in a diversity of vegetation.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife including Dall's sheep, mountain goats, woodland caribou, wolves, black bears, grizzly bears and trumpeter swans.


The climate is cold and highly variable and visitors should be prepared for extremes. July and August are generally warmest with temperatures between 0°C to 30°C, with frost possible at night toward the end of the period. The river begins icing in September.

Get in[edit]

To actually get to the river, a floatplane is necessary. There are a number of charter companies providing service to the Nahanni.

Companies operating from Fort Simpson:

Other regional airlines:

Complete list of operators can be found on the Parks Canada website[1].


Parks Canada does charge visitors to Nahanni a fee. Parks Canada employees track your progress throughout the park (utilizing their Park Wardens and river check-in points) and this fee covers the costs of managing the park. For most visitors on a planned canoe trip this fee will be around C$175. [2] [dead link] [3]

Get around[edit]

One can travel down the river via canoe or kayak.


  • Rabbitkettle Hotsprings, source of the largest known tufa (a kind of limestone) mounds in Canada.
  • Virginia Falls, with a vertical drop twice that of Niagara Falls.
  • Several river canyons up to 1200 meters in depth.
  • Caves such as Grotte Valerie which contains ancient skeletons of nearly a hundred Dall's sheep.


  • The park offers whitewater canoeing, kayaking and rafting trips ranging from ten days to three weeks. Make reservations well in advance through the Park Office.
  • While there are no developed trails, route descriptions are available for a few of the more popular hikes.
  • Flight-seeing day trips are available by air charter to Virginia Falls. Day visitors to Virginia Falls can enjoy a picnic as well as a short walk to the viewpoint. A longer portage trail, of moderate difficulty, descends to the base of the falls. Allow two hours return for the hike.

Licensed Outfitting Companies[edit]








Stay safe[edit]

Use a licensed commercial outfitter for whitewater trips.

Go next[edit]

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