Driving in the Northwest Territories is beautiful and scenic. The roads are very quiet and wilderness surrounds you. Enjoy a leisurely drive of the scenic waterfalls route in the southern Northwest Territories and finish the trip off by stopping at Canada's largest National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park.

Location: 
Wood Buffalo National Park

Day 1

Morning

Arrive in Yellowknife for a brief stop before catching your flight to Hay River

Welcome to the Northwest Territories! This will be a quick stop in Yellowknife before your 1 hour flight to Hay River.

Arrive in Hay River

Welcome to Hay River! Hay River is known as the "Hub of the North" and this is where your driving adventure begins. Experience the beauty of the town and immerse yourself in the community and northern culture.

During the summer, Hay River is bustling with activity with festivals, beaches and some very pretty landscapes to see. Take in the local market at Fisherman's Wharf, which takes place every Saturday, or the annual Hay Day's Festival.

Evening

Hay River Golf Course

For those who love to golf, Hay River has a stunning golf course located on the Mackenzie Highway. The nine-hole course follows the contours of the Hay River and features an air-conditioned log clubhouse where you can rent clubs and power carts and relax with drinks or a meal after your game.

Overnight in Hay River.

Day 2

Morning

Waterfalls! Visit Alexandra and Louise Falls

The South Slave region is home to some of Northwest Territories' most scenic waterfalls. Be sure to take in Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park, just a short twenty-five-minute drive from Hay River. Alexandra Falls and Louise Falls are the twins in the territorial park name. Alexandra Falls has a mighty 32-metre plunge down to the Hay River and two viewing platforms that give you an incredibly close encounter (a great place to take selfies and photos). Don't miss the 2 km hiking trail between the two falls that winds past spectacular flora and 400-million-year-old limestone formations. At the end of the trail you'll find the three-tiered beauty of Louise Falls. Be sure to walk down the 138-step spiral staircase to get an up-close-and-personal view of Louise Falls.

Afternoon

Make your way from Hay River to the Town of Fort Smith. This is an approximately 3-hour drive through wilderness on a fully paved highway. Keep watch for wildlife - from bears to wolves - along the route.

Fort Smith is located where the Slave River divides the boreal plains from the Canadian Shield. It is a pretty town in its own right, and it is the access point to the iconic Wood Buffalo National Park.

Overnight in Fort Smith.

Day 3

Wood Buffalo National Park

Spend the day exploring Wood Buffalo National Park. Wood Buffalo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is Canada's largest national park and one of the largest in the world. It was established in 1922 to protect the last remaining herds of bison in northern Canada. Today, it protects an outstanding and representative example of Canada's Northern Boreal Plains.

Wood bison are quite commonly seen, and watch for the elusive and endangered whooping crane. You can explore on your own, but we recommend that you join a Parks Canada guided hike or two. Different areas within the park offer very different landscapes and experiences. You won't want to miss a stop at tthe Salt Plains Overlook which is just a short drive off Highway 5 on your way to Fort Smith. Other highlights within the park include the moonscape-like Grosbeak Lake and the aquamarine Pine Lake.

Overnight in Fort Smith

Day 4

In the morning travel the three hour drive back to Hay River.

Boat Tour of the Hay River

This trip is a must do while you are in Hay River. The tour is a rugged and beautiful scenic boat ride on the Hay River to the base of Louise Falls. Your experienced guide will navigate through the various shoals and rapids in the midst of Hay River's steep canyons, ending up at the base of Louise Falls. You'll see the falls from a totally different perspective and feel the powerful force of water cascading over the falls.

Late Afternoon

Depart for Yellowknife

Your flight back to Yellowknife will depart in the late afternoon.

Day 5

Morning

Depart Yellowknife in the morning.