7 Day Nahanni Canyons Canoe Trip Itinerary: Virginia Falls to Blackstone Landing 240 km (150 miles)

o The perfect way for novice canoeists to experience the legendary Nahanni.
o Paddle to Virginia Falls then fly over the Nahanni’s dramatic canyons or continue on with our seven day canyon raft
o 7 river days

Imagine the “land of the midnight sun”, a country of diverse land forms and new delights to the eye every day. Imagine rivers that flow through these lands in a sinuous manner, serving as a conveyer to move you from one delightful experience to the next. You will be accompanied by your knowledgeable guides who share their love for the area and with them you unfold the mysteries and experience the beauty of the north. You will wake up each morning in your well equipped camp, not knowing specifically what will happen but knowing it will be memorable and will inspire stories to tell your friends for years to come.

A Nahanni River Experience is truly the trip of a lifetime. The following is a tentative agenda and has been designed with much thought to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions. We adhere to the new departure regulation system of the Park, which works to ensure that all river travelers have the same wilderness experience.

From the moment your floatplane touches down on Rabbitkettle Lake on the Nahanni River, you’ll be under the spell of this historic waterway. The beauty of Rabbitkettle Lake and peacefully canoeing the Nahanni through the Mackenzie Mountains is magical. Virginia Falls provides the crescendo for this fabulous canoeing adventure for beginners on this world-renowned river! The flat water from Rabbitkettle Lake to Virginia Falls is considered canoeable by novices and the grand finale of this trip includes a flight home over the Nahanni’s canyons!

We begin our journey at Rabbitkettle Lake with a 1/2 kilometre portage to the Nahanni River. We canoe downstream to Virginia Falls where we have the option to join the Nahanni Canyon Adventure 7 Day trip or to continue by canoe or raft from Virginia Falls through the canyons.

Prerequisites: Beginners welcome! You’ll need flat and moving water skills, and good fitness.

NahanniRiverMap

The following is a tentative agenda and has been designed to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule and itinerary to make the best use of river, weather, and other prevailing conditions.

We adhere to the new departure regulation system of the park, which works to ensure that all river travellers have the same wilderness experience.

Craft Type
2-Person White Water Canoe

Explanation of craft
2 Person Canoe – the traditional 16′ and 17′ canoe. Previous canoe experience is an asset. Physical fitness and comfort on moving water are important.

Route Summary
Rabbit Lake to Virgina Falls, 7 river days:  approximately 240 km (150 miles) with an elevation drop of 396 m (1,300 ft)

Rendezvous point
South Nahanni Airways, Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

Participant Prerequisite
Flatwater canoe experience, Moving water experience would be helpful as well.

A Word About River Ratings
Physical requirements for river trips are generally modest, but can vary depending on the nature of the rapids (on some rivers, portages are necessary at times). Rivers are ranked according to the difficulty of their most severe rapids, and we’ve indicated the class of rapids for each river trip throughout the site.

  • Class 1:  Easy flat water and mild waves. Some maneuvering may be required to navigate around log jams or sweepers.
  • Class 2:  Standing waves up to 3′.
  • Class 3:  Moderate waves and narrower channels due to obstructions such as rocks or gravel bars. Quick and accurate river reading is required with instinctive maneuvers orchestrated with a paddling partner.
  • Class 4:  Expert whitewater canoeist (4 is considered to be the top extreme of canoe capability). Difficult, with narrow channels obstructed by rocks, steep and narrow drops.
  • Class 5:  Possibility of overturning a raft. We always use caution and judicious safety measures and portage around anything that looks doubtful. Our river guides are the best in the business and you can feel confident in their hands.

 

Expeditions Include
Guides, boats, local air charter & ground transportation as described in the itinerary, high quality: tents, paddles, lifejackets, waterproof pack and all meals while on the river.

Expeditions Do Not Include
Transportation to meeting point listed, personal clothing, sleeping bag and pad, guides gratuities, hotel accommodation and meals when off of the river or the The $150 Park fee including GST (5 % Goods and Services Tax).

The following is a tentative agenda and has been designed to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule and itinerary to make the best use of river, weather, and other prevailing conditions.

We adhere to the new departure regulation system of the park, which works to ensure that all river travellers have the same wilderness experience.

Trip length: 6 river days

Day 1 (D)
Your journey north will be a refreshing departure from everyday life. You’ll fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world, pass through quieter airports, meet friendlier service personnel, and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold.

The scheduled flights arrive in Fort Simpson around midday. If you have notified us of your arrival time, the guides will meet you at the airport. If you are driving to Fort Simpson, plan to arrive at South Nahanni Airways by 10 a.m. The friendly staff there will point you towards your guides. Normally, we have time at this point for a quick look at Fort Simpson and to become acquainted with fellow travellers.

Once everyone has arrived there will be a pre-trip orientation and chance for questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. Those requiring our river bags will have time to transfer gear from their own bags. You can leave unrequired items in our trailer. You may also want to separate river specific items to be flown in later on the transition from the lake to the river.

After loading our supplies and gear into the aircraft we begin one of the major highlights of the adventure – the upriver flight. Flying over the majestic Nahanni Range and Ram Plateau, a stunning panorama unfolds in front of our eyes. You’ll want to be sure to have your camera ready! Past participants have stepped off the plane declaring that, “if the trip finished now, I would have my money’s worth!”

Winging west, to the upstream boundary of Nahanni National Park, Rabbitkettle Lake, on the edge of the Ragged Range, is our destination.

Please note that under certain conditions (weather, forest fire, plane availability and upriver conditions), it may be necessary to make our upriver flight soon after arrival. On the other hand, we have occasionally found ourselves waiting for safe flying conditions. In any event, we’ll have supper and camp in Fort Simpson or on the shores of Rabbitkettle Lake.

If we’re required to overnight in Fort Simpson you’re welcome to camp with our gear or take a hotel room (at your own cost).

Day 2 (B/L/D)
In the company of a knowledgeable park warden we’ll hike the 7 kilometres (4 miles, round trip) to the tufa mounds of Rabbitkettle Hot Springs. Here we find unique geological features that help weave together the history of the Nahanni.

The one kilometre portage from the lake to the river will be made in the late afternoon. Camp will be downstream.

Day 3 and 4 (B/L/D)
This portion of the river above Virginia Falls is a flat, meandering section that allows opportunity to learn the necessary canoeing skills from the guides or brush up on techniques. The mountains and U-shaped valley created by the glaciers will dominate the scenery. Camping will be in one of the choicest spots between Rabbitkettle Lake and Virginia Falls.

Day 5 (B/L/D)
As the river descends the valley, it begins to meander through lush vegetation. Moose, wolves, black and grizzly bear may be spotted here. The final camp before the falls will be on a small oxbow lake just off the river. This is a great site for wildlife viewing, fishing or hiking in the surrounding mountains.

Day 6 (B/L/D)
Virginia Falls will be the destination. This is the other spot within Nahanni National Park where planes may land and we might see other campers here. Once we arrive, the day may be spent exploring the area surrounding the falls.

Day 7 (B/L/D)
Those remaining to join the One Week Nahanni Canyon Adventure from Virginia Falls, may opt for a full day hike.

Those departing the Nahanni will board the Twin Otter for the downriver flight back to Fort Simpson. The dramatic flight includes views of the upper canyons, the Gate and Pulpit Rock, before heading across the Nahanni Plateau and karst lands, providing tremendous photographic material! Arriving in Fort Simpson, you’ll have time to explore the northern town before leaving the next day (accommodation not included).

Day 8
Homeward Bound.

Additional Notes
For an exceptionally concise list of the remarkable features of the South Nahanni River, visit this site of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

The following initials indicate the meals included each day:
Breakfast = B Lunch = L Dinner = D

In the interest of participant safety and well being the guide / instructor may alter the actual trip itinerary at their discretion.

Please Note: Prices and Itineraries are subject to change with notice on the main web page. Once a booking is in place no price increases will be applied.

Booking: The booking requires a 30% deposit by Visa or MasterCard (for Canadian Credit Cards) with the balance due 60 days prior to trip departure. Non Canadian Credit Cards are charged the full trip fee payment in US dollars or a Bank Wire Transfer in Canadian Dollars at the time of booking.

The trip dates do sell out so please book early to get the trip dates you want.

Book this Trip Here 

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