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

We’ll be paddling the upper part of the Thelon River, the largest river in the Barren Lands and easily the most magnificent. The Thelon is, without question, the most remote and the most pristine wilderness river of any considerable size left in North America. Our 120 mile (193km) long route is 80% river paddling. There are eight rapids along our route but no portages at all. There’s a good chance of seeing a few tundra wolves on this Thelon River canoe trip.
Our entire route is on the tundra, south of the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary, and is one of the most remote places left in the world. Big treed sandy eskers are prominent topographical features along our Thelon River canoe route. They stand out many miles away and greatly enrich the landscape. Scattered along these eskers are spike-shaped spruce trees and below their sheltered flanks grow stands of robust spruce and tamarack. Exquisite aquamarine ponds and kettle lakes with beaches all around are almost everywhere you look. The scenery along these eskers is so extraordinary that it seems to belong to a surreal, fairy-tale world. About 80% of tundra wolves are white in colour, so most of them are highly conspicuous against the green summer tundra. Sometimes, they will walk into your campsite with 10 or 20 feet of us, just to check us out! Archaeological sites are abundant on the Thelon river where ancient hunters waited for caribou.
Starting at
$7228 USD
$9460 CAD
Per Person

Trip Highlights

  • Archaeological Sites
  • Can't Get Anywhere More Remote
  • Wildlife + Arctic Birds
  • Eskers and Tundra Topography
  • Dry, Sunny Climate

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
  • River Running

Experience/Service

  • Paddling Trip

Waterway

  • Whitewater Class I

Destination

  • North America

Length

  • 8 Days or More

Accomodation

  • Wilderness Camping

Guided

  • Yes

Outfitted

  • Fully

Special Interest

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

Adventure Level

Easier Challenging

Itinerary

Meeting Place

Jackpine Paddle Base

Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

Our guided Upper Thelon River canoe adventures offer a breathtaking wilderness experience!

Day 1:

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

Day 2:

The Thelon is a big, shallow, clear-water river. We'll be canoeing its upper reaches but, even here, it's a big river that is very wide.

Day 3:

The upper Thelon is easy to canoe because it's mostly fairly fast river with very few rapids.

Day 4:

Most of the lake paddling occurs on the first few days of the trip. For most of the trip, its swift-flowing river with only the occasional easy rapid.

Day 5:

The topography along our canoe route is hilly in most sections.

Day 6:

The landscape is very scenic and is dominated in place by several spectacular sandy eskers, up to 200 feet in height. These are some of the very largest eskers in the Barren Lands.

Day 7:

Spruce are most numerous in sandy areas, especially along the eskers, where some trees reach three feet in diameter and may be close to 1,000 years old.

Day 8:

We’ll look at stone caribou fences (used to funnel caribou to killing sites), tent rings, chipping stones, arrowheads and spear-points. On Day 8, we'll also arrive at "the Gap" and explore the historic Warden's Grove.

Day 9:

Birds of note include jaegers, merlins, bald eagles, osprey, many species of ducks, large numbers of moulting Canada geese, and several species of loons.

Day 10:

Bring sunscreen because Arctic summers may be short, but the Thelon enjoys some of the best summer weather in North America, thanks to it’s dry, sunny climate in this deep interior location.

Day 11:

We paddle out of the stunning and unique Eyeberry Lake near the end of our trip.

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

Thelon River

July 19-30, 2021
- Charter flight from Fort Smith to the Thelon River, return - Shuttles from the airport when in Fort Smith, NWT - Certified guides with a maximum ratio of 5:1 - Royalex expedition canoes and knee pads - Werner paddles, PFDs, and throw bags. - 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

Very well done. All aspects of the trip were very well planned & carried out. Food was superb. Emma did an outstanding job as a guide. She & Dan were a terrific leadership team.

- Stuart S, USA | Upper Thelon 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