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NWT Must-Know


  • There are 11 official languages in the NWT - Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłı̨chǫ.
  • Ice Roads -  Our 2,000-kilometre network of ice roads inspired the hit TV show Ice Road Truckers. The busiest frozen freeway in the Northwest Territories is the route from Yellowknife across the bay to Dettah. It opens in December when the ice is a metre thick. For the next four months, the route is busy with drivers, joggers, bikers, skiers, snowmobilers, and, at night, people gathering to view the world's best Northern Lights.
  • Summer Farmers Markets can be found in the communities of Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Hay River.
  • Midnight Sun - the fun never sets in the Northwest Territories in the summer.
  • The oldest rock in the world is found in the North Slave Region of the NWT and is four billion years old.
  • House Boat Bay - The North's most colourful neighbourhood bobs on the waves of Great Slave Lake, just offshore of Old Town.
  • NWT is home to six National Parks - Aulavik National Park, Nahanni National Park, Nááts'ihch'oh National Park, Tuktut Nogait National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, and Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve. These are some of the most impressive and largest National Parks in Canada.
  • Permafrost - Some of the most important water in the Northwest Territories lies hidden just inches beneath our feet. Our whole region is underlain with permafrost - a deep layer of ice suspended in the soil, creating bizarre phenomena such as the Pingos in the Western Arctic.
  • Mackenzie River - the largest river in Canada, 4,200 kilometres long and bearing more than two million gallons of water per second northward to the polar sea.


  • Virginia Falls - Nearly twice the height of Niagara, this rampaging waterfall is four acres in size, louder than a freight train, and astounding to behold. It's the centrepiece of Nahanni National Park Reserve.
  • The Cirque of Unclimables - Back in the far country of Nahanni National Park Reserve, this unlikely set of peaks defies gravity, spiking toward the sky in a great cathedral of stone. The world's top alpinists congregate here to scale the sheer faces, while hikers trek the trails of the idyllic "Fairy Meadow" below.
  • Sambaa Deh Falls - The Northwest Territories is full of waterfalls, but none is more accessible than this.
  • The Papal Flats - Pope John Paul II held mass for the Indigenous people of Canada nearly three decades ago.
  • Kraus Hot Springs - Thermal pools are common in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories. Best known is Kraus Hot Springs, a popular stop for paddlers right on the shore of the South Nahanni River.
  • Rabbitkettle Tufa Mounds - geothermal waters burble up from deep in the Earth, dissolved calcium carbonate then leaches out, forming ornate "tufa" mounds. The North Mound of the Rabbitkettle is the largest tufa feature in Canada - 30 metres high, 60 metres wide, and 10,000 years old.


  • Great Bear Lake - is the largest lake in Canada, and the eighth largest on Earth. It has a surface area of 31,153 square kilometres - bigger than Belgium.
  • Fishing in Great Bear Lake - holds the world record for the biggest sport-caught Lake Trout: a 72-pound behemoth.
  • Norman Wells Heritage Centre - A wild hodgepodge of artifacts can be found at this museum, which showcases the history of the central Mackenzie region.
  • The Canol Trail - A three-week-long epic hike through the brooding Mackenzie Mountains, following the rough tracks of the Canol Road and Pipeline that pierced this wilderness back in World War II. It is said to be the toughest hike in North America.

Western Arctic

  • Ibyuk Pingo - A pingo is an ice-filled mound that rises up out of the permafrost. The second-highest pingo on Earth, 49-metre-high Ibyuk, is just on the outskirts of Tuktoyaktuk.
  • Smoking Hills - On the shores of Cape Bathurst in the Western Arctic, the bleak Smoking Hills have smouldered for centuries, sending sulphuric soot billowing over the Northwest Passage. A place of fire and brimstone, the area is underlain with oil shales that spontaneously ignite when exposed to air.
  • Tuktoyaktuk - This is the community at the end of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, and an Inuvialuit town of 900 people on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
  • In the Western Arctic, above the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise for nearly 30 days.
  • Igloo Church - Possibly the North's most iconic and photographed structure, the Our Lady of Victory church in downtown Inuvik is a bleach-white cylinder capped by a silvery dome, imitating the Inuvialuit snow-houses of old.
  • The most Northern golf course in the world can be found in Ulukhaktok. Muskoxen can sometimes be an additional hazard on the course.
  • Reindeer - The Northwest Territories is home to Canada's only free-ranging herd of domesticated reindeer.

South Slave

  • Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest National Park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Kakisa, a tiny Dene settlement of log cabins, is the smallest community in NWT.
  • Pelicans - In the midst of the ferocious Slave River Rapids, they're an unlikely sight - the world's northernmost colony of white pelicans, nesting on protected islands and fishing in the foaming waves.
  • The Salt Plains of Wood Buffalo National Park are a must-see. The saline minerals leach from an ancient seabed, turning the world white and crystalline, and attracting many of the North's incredible wildlife to the bed of minerals.

North Slave

  • Northern Lights - With crystal-clear skies and a perfect geographic location, Yellowknife is the world's top destination for viewing the Northern Lights, or as we call them up here, the Aurora.
  • Great Slave Lake in the North Slave region is the deepest Lake in North America. The official figure is 2,014 feet, but recent bathymetric studies suggest certain pockets descend many dozens of feet deeper.
  • The East Arm - Here you'll find a wealth of fishing lodges, sailboats, muskoxen, historic sites, shore cliffs, kayakers, towering lookouts, mega-sized fish, serene islands, and sacred waterfalls.
  • Yellowknife is the largest city and capital of the NWT. If you're travelling out to the further communities or remote lodges, it's likely you'll spend time in Yellowknife where you can truly experience the lively atmosphere, thriving culture, and warm hospitality of the North.