North American National Park #32: Nahanni, Northwest Territories

North American National Park #32: Nahanni, Northwest Territories
North American National Park #32: Nahanni, Northwest Territories

Occasionally I visit places which are amazing, yet no one seems to know about. Places like Oman and South Georgia Island. I like to champion those places to get people more aware of them. I have another one to add to the list: Nahanni National Park.

I discussed some of the significance of Nahanni in my world heritage post (of which, Nahanni was one of the first world heritage sites on Earth), so here I’ll talk about the logistics of visiting.

Nahanni is not an easy park to get to. Despite how much it has to offer, it gets fewer than 1,000 visitors per year. This is because of its location in Northwest Territories and also because you cannot drive to the park. The only way into the park is to hike or take a floatplane. Most people will simply take a float plane tour, although many people also spend several days rafting down the Nahanni River. If I return to Nahanni I will definitely take a rafting trip. I flew into the park with Simpson Air.

Nahanni National Park

Most floatplane trips depart from Fort Simpson, NWT and this is also the location of the park’s headquarters. To give you an idea of how remote the park is, even though Fort Simpson is the closest town to the park and the location of the headquarters, it is still over 50 miles away from the park boundary. There are also weekly flights to Nahanni from Muncho Lake, BC, which is a bit easier to drive to.

Nahanni is a very special place that more people should know about. It is truly one of the great national parks in the world. It is difficult to visit, but it only makes the reward of visiting that much greater.

What to See in Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park

The Virginia Falls is the main feature of the Nahanni National Park in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The river has a plunge depth of about 90 meters, causing the water to fall in a thunderous plume. It is more than twice the height of the more famous waterfall in Canada – Niagara Falls. The most notable feature about the Virginia Falls in Nahanni National Park is the resistant rock that has formed a dramatic spire in the middle of the upstream . This rock is named Mason’s Rock, which is named after Canadian canoeist Bill Mason.

In addition, there are other notable sights and attractions to see in Nahanni National Park. An example is the Sunblood Mountain, Tufa Mounds, and the Kraus Hot Springs.

If you are planning to visit and want to make the most of the experience, plan a trip to Nahanni National Park in late June to middle of August.


View the complete list of North American National Parks I visited.