Canoe North Adventures

For over 30 Years, Canoe North Adventures has been making memories for life. With bases in Norman Wells & Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, CNA provides guided wilderness canoe and rafting trips on some of the most renowned wilderness rivers in Canada, including the Nahanni, Keele and Horton Rivers. Owners Al Pace, Lin Ward and Taylor Pace have dedicated their lives to curating quality expeditions for their guests that provide a backdrop to unwind, reconnect and share a truly spectacular wilderness experience in the most wild spaces left in Canada. CNA's professional guides will share their enthusiasm with you and provide a safe and fun experience while on trip. Let the adventure begin!

Overview

The South Nahanni River is a Canadian Icon. Flowing through its namesake Nahanni National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the river plunges almost 100 meters over majestic Virginia Falls before carving its way through 4 incredible canyons filled to the brim with adventure. This trip- beginning at Virginia Falls- is perfect for those who are pressed for time but still want to explore all of the hidden secrets and experience the magic of of the Nahanni River.
Nahanni National Park was originally created by Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1972, thanks to its unique canyon landscape. Together with its sister park Nááts’įhch’oh protecting over 35 000 km² of pristine mountain wilderness, this is a magical land that will capture your imagination. The Nahanni River flows through the heart of the park, and traditional Dene Territory of the Dehcho and Sahtu Regions, and we are grateful for the vision of the elders from these regions in protecting this vast wilderness area. Fort Simpson is the leaping-off point for the incredible floatplane flight into NahʔĄ Dehé (Virginia Falls) where the trip begins. There is one 1.5 km portage around Virginia Falls on a sturdy board-walk and of course it is downhill all the way! Our guides are great teachers and are dedicated to assisting in developing your canoeing skills in order to handle the large-volume wave-trains through the famous Nahanni Canyons and beyond.
Starting at
$6530 USD
$8925 CAD
Per Person

Trip Highlights

  • Experience Virginia Falls in all its glory
  • Hike up the spectacular "Gate"
  • Soak in Kraus Hotsprings

Canoe North Adventures

For over 30 Years, Canoe North Adventures has been making memories for life. With bases in Norman Wells & Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, CNA provides guided wilderness canoe and rafting trips on some of the most renowned wilderness rivers in Canada, including the Nahanni, Keele and Horton Rivers. Owners Al Pace, Lin Ward and Taylor Pace have dedicated their lives to curating quality expeditions for their guests that provide a backdrop to unwind, reconnect and share a truly spectacular wilderness experience in the most wild spaces left in Canada. CNA's professional guides will share their enthusiasm with you and provide a safe and fun experience while on trip. Let the adventure begin!

Quick Facts

Paddlesport

  • Canoeing

Activity

  • Whitewater
  • Expedition
  • Canoe Tripping

Experience/Service

  • Paddling Trip

Waterway

  • Whitewater Class II
  • Whitewater Class III

Destination

  • North America

Length

  • 11 Days

Accomodation

  • Wilderness Camping

Guided

  • Yes

Outfitted

  • Fully

Special Interest

  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Adventure Level

Easier Challenging

Itinerary

61°51'55.8"N 121°21'32.9"W

Meeting Place

CNA Base & Cabana

Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

Begin your trip in the town of Fort Simpson along the banks of the Mighty Mackenzie. Fly to Virginia falls, and then paddle the Nahanni 11 days to the hamlet of Nahanni Butte, where a boat/and van shuttle will take you back to the trip starting point.

Day 1:

Arrive in Fort Simpson before noon, meet your guides, lunch in Fort Simpson, debrief and gear selection prior to exploring the charming village of Fort Simpson.

Day 2:

9 AM charter flight departure to Virginia Falls, flying over the beautiful mackenzie mountains. Upon Arrival, Enjoy the stunning scenery around Virginia Falls on this scheduled layover day with an opportunity to hike around the falls and take in a spectacular view.

Day 3:

Complete the 1.5km portage around Virginia Falls and load the canoes prior to entering Painted Canyon. Inside its towering walls lay some of the biggest rapids on the Nahanni River, up to class 3 in difficulty. We cover approximately 15kms on this first big day of whitewater.

Day 4:

We canoe to the gate of Third Canyon at the confluence with the Mary River, with 1200m walls awaiting us downstream. On our way we pass through Figure 8 and tricky currents rapids.

Day 5:

Another glorious day on the river takes us through the 3nd Canyon to the Gate, a huge cleft in a canyon wall that the Nahanni river squeezes through. Arriving around noon, we take our time to set up our camp and then ascend up to the top of the gate for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Day 6:

After taking one last look at the spectacular Gate, we depart down river through 3rd Canyon Past the Big Bend and arrive at the Gate of 2nd Canyon, where we will stop to enjoy a hike.

Day 7:

We move through 2nd canyon into the Headless Valley, a place shrouded in mystery, myth and legend. A longish day, we arrive late in the afternoon at Dry Canyon camp, with 1st canyon just in sight downstream.

Day 8:

Upon awaking people have the opportunity to take a short early morning hike up Dry Canyon before we descend into the maw of 1st canyon. Nahanni has saved its best for last! Paddle through the deepest canyons in Canada, in awe of their beauty. After some time we arrive at Lafferty creek.

Day 9:

Layover day to, weather permitting, explore the spectacular side canyon of Lafferty Creek. After a pleasant but boulder strewn 5km hike you arrive at a slot canyon carved in the limestone through the eons which you will have to swim up while exploring!

Day 10:

We leave the canyons behind and after shooting Lafferty's Riffle, a class 2-3 wavetrain, bathe ourselves in the relaxing waters of Kraus's Hotspring. A long day of paddling through the braided channels of the splits gets us to Last Chance camp, just 20km upstream from the end of our Journey.

Day 11:

After 20km of flatwater we arrive at the lovely hamlet of Nahanni Butte- a short distance upstream from the end of the Nahanni River. From here we take a short plane ride back to Fort Simpson where we will stay the night and celebrate our adventure together!

Dates & Packages

11-Day Nahanni Canyons Canoe Trip

July 18 - July 28, 2025 August 12 - August 22, 2025
Airport pickup and return in Fort Simpson (complimentary airport shuttles are available in Yellowknife and Edmonton). Charter flights to and from the river. Royalex Canoes 17′, with spray decks. All required paddling gear (PFD, paddles, splash jackets) 60L personal watertight barrel with harness (holds about 30 to 35lbs of clothing and gear). Eureka K-2 Expedition Tents. All quality camping equipment and gear. Camp chairs for each person on the trip. Certified guides with a maximum ratio of 5:1. Hearty and nutritious trip meals including two snacks (GORP) each day. Emergency satellite phone and two-way radios for guide-staff.

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