Jackpine Paddle is 100% northern-owned. Explore the Canadian North on a guided expedition trip. Rent a canoe or kayak for a trip of your own. We would be happy to assist you in finding the trip of a lifetime whether it be herds of muskox, northern lights, true wilderness, or all of the above. Remember, Life is Better Outside!

Overview

This 170 mile long canoe trip on the Clarke and Thelon Rivers lies inside the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary and almost dead-centre in the Barren Lands (mainland tundra). This sanctuary is the most remote location on the North American continent and was the last significant part of the continent to be “explored” by Europeans (1899 and 1900). The Clarke is a small to medium-sized tributary of the Thelon and is according to Alex Hall, “the most beautiful river in the Barrens".
The Clarke River flows through a deep, lush, little valley, spattered with clumps of big white spruce trees and flanked on either side by miles of big, treeless tundra hills. There are spectacular monster eskers, huge sand hills and sand dunes, and even some badlands. Clear-water feeder creeks gush into the Clarke through narrow canyons and over waterfalls. And on the river itself are sandstone cliffs and canyons in places, guarded by peregrine falcons. There are lots of fast and easily runnable rapids and probably more peregrine falcons than anywhere else on the tundra. There are several tundra wolves dens on this route, nestled into the sides of striking sand eskers. Moose are a common sight on this trip, as well as red fox, arctic hare, weasel, and otters. In 2019, a herd of muskox forded the Clarke River in front our campsite and ran through our camp!
Starting at
$7704 USD
$10100 CAD
Per Person

Trip Highlights

  • Most Remote Location on the North American Continent
  • Open Tundra Views and Good Wildlife Viewing
  • Wonderful Trip for Birds
  • Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Many Archaeological Sites

Jackpine Paddle is 100% northern-owned. Explore the Canadian North on a guided expedition trip. Rent a canoe or kayak for a trip of your own. We would be happy to assist you in finding the trip of a lifetime whether it be herds of muskox, northern lights, true wilderness, or all of the above. Remember, Life is Better Outside!

Quick Facts

Paddlesport

  • Canoeing

Activity

  • Recreation
  • Fishing
  • Whitewater
  • Expedition
  • Lakewater Canoeing
  • Canoe Tripping

Experience/Service

  • Paddling Trip

Waterway

  • Whitewater Class II

Destination

  • North America

Length

  • 12 Days

Accomodation

  • Wilderness Camping

Guided

  • Yes

Outfitted

  • Fully

Special Interest

  • Family
  • Photography
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Wilderness Gourmet
  • Intermediate

Adventure Level

Easier Challenging

Itinerary

Meeting Place

Jackpine Paddle Base

Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

This is a trip of a lifetime and true wilderness experience on the fabled Clarke and Thelon Rivers in the Northwest Territories.

Day 1:

We'll start this canoe trip on the Clarke River, where we will land in our float plane on Day 1.

Day 2:

During the evenings you'll have plenty of time to pursue your interests whether they be photography, fishing, hiking, birding, swimming or just taking a nap.

Day 3:

As we descend the Clarke River, we notice it's more like a mountain river than a barrenlands river. There are many Class I-II rapids that are fun to run.

Day 4:

The Clarke River flows through rugged, scenic country that just begs you to go exploring. The hiking is wonderful with panoramic vistas everywhere you look.

Day 5:

For the most part, the Clarke winds through a narrow, steep-sided valley with scattered clumps of spruce. Beyond the lip of the Clarke valley the tundra rolls on, seemingly forever.

Day 6:

Approaching the Clarke's junction with the Thelon, stands of spruce trees become larger and more frequent.

Day 7:

The Thelon is a big, shallow, clear-water river with a strong current but very few rapids. It's the largest river on the tundra, by far the easiest to canoe, and easily the most magnificent.

Day 8:

The country along the Thelon differs markedly from the Clarke. It's a much larger river in a much broader valley. The scale of the country is huge! You feel very small and insignificant in this big landscape that keeps changing every day.

Day 9:

The Thelon Oasis is legendary as a wildlife paradise, long known to Chipewyan Dene as "God's country" as "the birthplace of animals" and when the world as created as "the place where God began".

Day 10:

There are also many archaeological sites on the Clarke and Thelon rivers where ancient hunters waited for the Beverly caribou herd to cross these rivers on their summer migration.

Day 11:

We’ll also visit late in our trip John Hornby’s cabin, and graves. Hornby, his 18 year old nephew, and another young man died of starvation here in the winter of 1927. The three graves, marked by crosses, are beside the cabin.

Day 12:

Our float plane arrives around noon to take us back to Fort Smith. We say goodbye to this highly unique place of rich wildlife. Back in Fort Smith, we meet up for a farewell dinner and cold beers (after hot showers)!

Dates & Packages

Clarke River

June 22 – July 3, 2021
- Charter flight from Fort Smith to the Clarke River, return from the Thelon River - Shuttles from the airport when in Fort Smith, NWT - Certified guides with a maximum ratio of 5:1 - Royalex expedition canoes with knee pads - Werner paddles, PFDs, throw bags, and paddling helmets - Group gear for each expedition (tarp, kitchen equipment, utensils, water filtration, etc) - Personal watertight barrel or drybag - Expedition first aid kit and canoe repair kit - Emergency satellite phone, two-way radios for guide staff - Expedition tents by Mountain Hardware - hearty and nutritious meals including snacks while on trip - Group will be limited to 10 participants + 2 guides

What Guests Are Saying

Dan and PB led a wonderful expedition, guiding us through some harsh weather, spoiling us with their cooking, and overall doing the best possible job.

- Kurt & Family, USA | Clarke River Expedition
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Company Overview

By choosing to join a trip with us, you are supporting the local economy of the Northwest Territories. As the only northern-owned paddling outfitter offering arctic wilderness expeditions, we appreciate your support.

Learn More
Company Overview

By choosing to join a trip with us, you are supporting the local economy of the Northwest Territories. As the only northern-owned paddling outfitter offering arctic wilderness expeditions, we appreciate your support.

Learn More
Our Team

The North is a spectacular place to explore, so why not discover it with Northerners? We employ experienced guides who live in the Northwest Territories, with deep roots on our rivers and lakes. Based out of Yellowknife, NT, we know that when it comes to the North, there is no other place like it.

Learn More
Our Team

The North is a spectacular place to explore, so why not discover it with Northerners? We employ experienced guides who live in the Northwest Territories, with deep roots on our rivers and lakes. Based out of Yellowknife, NT, we know that when it comes to the North, there is no other place like it.

Learn More
Our Services

We offer: - Fully Guided Expeditions - Rentals & Shuttles - Paddle Canada Courses - Youth Paddle Camps!

Learn More
Our Services

We offer: - Fully Guided Expeditions - Rentals & Shuttles - Paddle Canada Courses - Youth Paddle Camps!

Learn More
Company History

On March 2, 2019, after an eleven month battle with cancer, Alex Hall passed away peacefully at home in Fort Smith. Before Alex passed away, he handed the reins of Canoe Arctic Inc. to fellow northerner Dan Wong. For 2020 and beyond, Jackpine Paddle will proudly carry on the legacy of Canoe Arctic Inc. on the Thelon River and its major tributaries.

Learn More
Company History

On March 2, 2019, after an eleven month battle with cancer, Alex Hall passed away peacefully at home in Fort Smith. Before Alex passed away, he handed the reins of Canoe Arctic Inc. to fellow northerner Dan Wong. For 2020 and beyond, Jackpine Paddle will proudly carry on the legacy of Canoe Arctic Inc. on the Thelon River and its major tributaries.

Learn More