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

As a major tributary of the Thelon River, the Elk River lies on the tundra in the south-central Barren Lands and is one of the most remote places left in the world. The Elk has some of the largest and most beautiful eskers in the Barren Lands, and we’ll certainly be taking a number of hikes in these very scenic places. At least half of our campsites will be on eskers fronted by white sandy beaches.
The eskers along the Elk River are the most prominent topographical features in the region. Eskers are the scenic crown jewels of the Barren Lands and some of the largest and most spectacular in the world can be found on the Elk River. Eskers are inverted beds of long-dead rivers that form a single ridge of sand and gravel, formed under melting glaciers 9,000 years ago. The scenery and vegetation along our route is varied and beautiful. The Elk River is rich in wildlife and arctic birds. We’ll also find several archaeological sites on this trip, some of which may be thousands of years old. Cultural artifacts which we’ll look at but leave as they lie include tent rings, arrowheads, spear points, stone knives and numerous tipi poles. Today, the Elk River and surrounding region are completely uninhabited and remain one of the most remote areas of pristine wilderness left anywhere in the world.
Starting at
$7575 USD
$9860 CAD
Per Person

Trip Highlights

  • Lake Paddling with Whitewater Excitement
  • Stunning Beach Camping
  • Very Remote Adventure
  • Superb Arctic Grayling Fishing
  • Arctic Wildlife and Birds

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

  • Rivers and Streams (no whitewater)
  • Whitewater Class I
  • Whitewater Class II

Destination

  • North America

Length

  • 12 Days

Accomodation

  • Wilderness Camping

Guided

  • Yes

Outfitted

  • Fully

Special Interest

  • Family
  • Women
  • Youth
  • Photography
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Wilderness Gourmet
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Adventure Level

Easier Challenging

Itinerary

Meeting Place

Jackpine Paddle Base

Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

Be one of the lucky few to experience one of the most remote and spectacular tundra rivers in Canada, the Elk River!

Day 1:

Departing from Fort Smith, we'll start this canoe trip on the Elk River, where we will land in our float plane on Day 1. We will not likely travel far, if at all, on the first day of this trip. We'll set up camp and begin to take in our beautiful wilderness surroundings.

Day 2:

More than half of our campsites are likely to be on big eskers which present wonderful hiking opportunities.

Day 3:

Exquiste white, sandy beaches will front our campsites that are ideal for swimming.

Day 4:

The eskers along the Elk River are the most prominent topographical features in the region.

Day 5:

The scenery and vegetation along our route is varied and beautiful.

Day 6:

The landscape is hilly, dominated by eskers and keeps changing every day so that it's anything but repetitive.

Day 7:

And the water in the Elk River is crystal-clear, as pure as any water on Earth. There's nothing within hundreds of miles to pollute it.

Day 8:

The Elk is a small to medium-sized river on the Canadian Shield with scattered small lakes and river sections between these lakes. There's plenty of river paddling on this trip with about four dozen short, and short shallow, rapids.

Day 9:

These are all class 1 and 2 rapids except the five or six we'll portage. This is not a technical river but whitewater experience will be an asset. Good flat-water canoeing skills are a prerequisite for this river.

Day 10:

Although the Elk lies on the tundra well north of the treeline (edge of the forest), there are clumps and stands of spruce along its entire length. Spruce are most numerous in sandy areas, especially along the eskers, where they can reach three feet in diameter and be close to 1,000 years in age.

Day 11:

By the dates of this trip, it’s starting to get dark around 10 pm. And with the darkness may come some good displays of northern lights.

Day 12:

Our float plane arrives around noon to take us back to Fort Smith. We say goodbye to the Elk River and some of the largest and most beautiful eskers in the Barren Lands. Back in Fort Smith, we meet up for a farewell dinner and cold beers (after hot showers)!

Dates & Packages

Elk River

August 4-15, 2021
- Charter flight from Fort Smith to the Elk 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, 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

I enjoyed a great trip with Jackpine on the Elk River. Guiding and meals were top notch, and we saw a good number of muskox. Very memorable!

- Sheldon, Canada | Elk 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