The Northwest Territories of Canada boast some of the biggest, best and most impressive natural features in Northern America. The Mackenzie River, smatterings of enormous National Parks and inescapable majestic scenery waits for you here. Though Canada is often synonymous with snowy conditions (even more so the further north you go) the summer months – though short- are unbelievably sweet. Each park and each astonishing natural feature is all the more impressive when drenched in the sun’s rays and the unique cultural festivals and celebrations that take place during these months only serve to strengthen your connection to the beauty around you. If you want to immerse yourself in these dramatic landscapes, but don’t necessarily fancy wearing a parka every day, here’s a list of what to do and how you can do it.
Explore Nahanni National Park Reserve
We can’t help but point out a few spots in Nahanni National Park Reserve that simply have to be seen. That being said, we wholeheartedly suggest spending a few days in this enormous natural reserve to truly appreciate the magnificence that’s on offer and doing so in the summer sun will only add beautiful golden hues to everything. The jewel in the crown of Nahanni is arguably the grand Virginia falls; a waterfall formation that is almost twice as high as the well-known Niagara Falls. The Tufa Mounds, some of which are tens of thousands of years old, are as unique as they are impressive. Lastly, the ragged range is another imposing destination that takes its name from the steep and sublime granite formations sculpted by the movements of the earth’s crust. Keep an eye out for wandering caribou, swooping bald eagles and other majestic wildlife that roam the expansive Nahanni territory; all of this natural beauty is bound to leave you in awe.
Raft along the Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the longest river in Canada and takes on average around 25 days to kayak or canoe along. Whilst this would undoubtedly be 25 days well spent, those pressed for time can pick out a specific section to glide along, or spend a few days drifting at their own leisure. As you might expect, the Mackenzie runs through gorgeous terrain and the imperious Mackenzie Mountains are the perfect backdrop to this outdoor adventure. What’s more, those who want grand sights as well as a bit of action can select a section of the river than runs into one of the two rapids of Mackenzie. The summer months ensure that this grand waterway is clear of ice, whilst the shining sun helps to bring out the spectacular colours of the Northwest Territories.Read more
Summer in the NWT also marks the start of a particularly lively events season. National Aboriginal Day falls on June 21st (to coincide with the summer solstice) and if you time your journey to concur with this celebration, you’re in for a treat. Traditional and modern dance, showcasing’s of talented First Nations craftwork and sacred ceremonies will all give you a glimpse into the rich humanity and spirit that the NWT plays host to. It’s fascinating to see the intricate process of tufting up close whilst hearing seasoned elders repeating ancient stories that have echoed around the lands for centuries will give you a newfound respect for these mighty lands.
Wood Buffalo National Park
The largest park in Canada and one of the largest national parks in the world, Wood Buffalo National Park is stunning; perhaps even more so when the sun’s hues illuminate the lands and the animals that roam them in beautiful natural light. Aside from expansive and visually impressive landscapes, Wood Buffalo is a cultivated site that protects one of the richest and rarest ecosystems in the Northwest Territories. Journeying there in June or July will ensure that you see plenty of the formerly endangered Wood Bison. The world’s last remaining migratory flock of Whooping Cranes are also under protection at Wood Buffalo making it a destination that offers a truly unique wildlife experience.