Nahanni National Park – wild river, deep canyons and thunderous waterfalls
In the southwest of the province, Northwest Territories in the north of Canada is the Nahanni National Park. To him belong the Mackenzie Mountains and the South Nahanni River with its unique, wild watercourse. Already since 1978, the Nahanni National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the remote wilderness of the animal-rich park with wolves, grizzly bears and caribou do not lead roads. The park can only be reached by boat or floatplane from Fort Simpson. The South Nahanni River, with its deep gorges and deep-rooted Virginia Falls, is an ideal area for breathtaking white water rafting. The waterfalls are twice as deep as the Niagara Falls at a depth of over ninety meters. After the first canyon a pleasant, canoeing awaits 30 degrees Celsius warm bath at the Kraus Hotsprings. In the Nahanni National Park, the dream of restful seclusion, a crackling campfire and the proximity of wild animals come true.
By plane and boat in the protected natural paradise
The gate to the National Park with its 4,766 sq km is Fort Simpson, a settlement located on a river island. Fort Simpson can be reached from Canada via the Mackenzie Highway or from Europe via Edmonton Alberta Airport and a connecting flight. The Fort Simpson Heritage Park gives an insight into the world of fur traders. With the Gold Rush, the fur hunters received strong competition from the prospectors. To be able to visit 1976 established Nahanni National Park near the border to the province of Yukon, one must be sure to register half a year earlier, as no more than about 24 people per day to visit the park. Thus, the protection of the last great natural paradises is granted. The area of the National Park was never covered by glaciers. This geological feature and the hot springs, in contrast to the rest of the Northwest Territories, led to a vegetation of ferns and orchids, as well as a mild climate. The ideal time to visit Nahanni National Park is from early June to late September.
Whitewater rafting through the canyons of the South Nahanni River
With a rafting tour, you can start eg after a landing with the water flight on the South Nahanni River, above the Virginia Falls. The Naha warriors, who are believed to be ancestors of the Navajo Indians, gave their name to the South Nahanni River, the white-water river. With its thousand meter deep gorge and many rapids, it is considered whitewater. Legendary stories are entwined around him. The Nahanni National Park with four canyons lies on both sides of the river. In “The Gate”, a unique rock formation, the river has drilled through the rock. South of Mount Wilson, the Nahanni River, which rises in the Mackenzie Mountains, reaches the National Park. There you will find the “Rabbitkettle Hotspring” hot water springs.
On the South Nahanni River, some rapids are to be crossed by boat. The most challenging is about 40 kilometers below the Virginia Falls. Later, the river winds through the Canadian tundra. Here you will find caribou herds, North American reindeer with shovel-like antlers. Many canoe trips end at Fort Liard in the beautiful valley of the Liard River, surrounded by the Nahanni Mountains.
Nahanni National Park Reserve – Conservation of wildlife for animals and humans
The Nahanni Wilderness Park is located 600 kilometers west of the capital Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. He is a “national park reserve”. The suffix “reserve” means that only the aborigines are allowed to go hunting and fishing. The South Nahanni River is considered one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. His rapids, or “rapids,” are classified as Classes 2 and 3. They challenge the canoeist’s experience. Prior to the passage of the rapids, the whitewater riders must register with Park Warden, the park supervisor, outside the National Park prior to the tour.
Another unique experience is a “heli-hiking trip.” Visitors can experience an exceptional fishing trip in the Mackenzie Mountains by helicopter with a wilderness guide. In general, it is recommended to be accompanied by an experienced guide for the breathtaking expeditions in the Nahanni National Park. Through the knowledge of the guides, you can meet wolves, grizzly, caribou and the Dall-Muflons in the mountain ranges from a safe distance.
Did you know that …
- the area of Nahanni National Park overlaps two major eco-zones – the taiga prairie in the east and the taiga mountains in the west – and the boreal mountain ecozone in the south?
- a series of river canyons in Nahanni National Park descend over 1200 m?
- the Nahanni National Park is home to a variety of wildlife? Mountain goats, wolves, brown bears and grizzly bears are among them.
- 42 species of mammals are registered in Nahanni National Park?
- Moose are the ungulates that are most common in Nahanni National Park and are most widely distributed?
- In the Nahanni National Park, 180 species of birds are documented, of which 21% remain in the north all year round.
- Has the park a richer variety of vegetation than any other area of comparable size in the continental Northwest Territories?
- the Virginia Falls in the Nahanni National Park fall spectacularly 92m in depth? That’s twice as high as the Niagara Falls.
- There are relatively few lakes in Nahanni National Park? The four largest lakes cover from 61 to 345 hectares, all others are smaller with less than 25 hectares.
- Both brown bears and grizzly bears have a home in Nahanni National Park?