We scoured Canada from the West Coast, to the Maritimes, to the remote Arctic, and uncovered our BEST campsites.
To celebrate 35 years of explore, we compiled a definitive list of the 35 best campsites in Canada—one for every year of publishing Canada's best outdoor adventure magazine.
So get outside and enjoy our great country—one campsite at a time.
How do I get to Cape Fife? Set at the far northern end of Haida Gwaii, Cape Fife is the best base to explore Naikun or Rose Point.
Why Go: About 10 kilometres north of Cape Fife, Graham Island ends in a five-kilometre spit of sand stabbing into Hecate Strait. In between, you’ll find miles of empty beaches covered in dunes, grasses and partially buried driftwood, all lapped by endless waves. A campsite and cabin sit where a rough road meets Kumara Lake. Trapped by sand dunes, it’s like a piece of desert on the edge of the rainforest. Cape Fife is one of the last stops on the East Beach Trail, a long-distance hike.
Highlight: Beyond the juxtaposition of sand, rainforest and ocean, this place feels spiritual. The local First Nations believe Naikun is where Raven released men from a clamshell and women from a chiton, giving birth to the Haida people.
Tourism Vancouver Island/Boomer Jeritt
How do I get to Rebecca Spit? On Vancouver Island, head north to Campbell River, hop a ferry to Quadra Island and then drive to its eastern shore and Rebecca Spit Provincial Park campground.
Why Go: Quadra has lots going on: explore coves, islands and tidal rapids by sea kayak; grind around a growing network of mountain bike trails; beachcomb the south shore or hike into the rolling hills. But it’s the newest attraction that has everyone excited—more than 100 rock-climbing routes on Chinese Mountains. Scaling quality basalt, the one-pitch climbs frequently top-out with a view over the Discovery Islands, the Coast Range and the peaks of Vancouver Island.
Highlight: Morticia’s Groove, the best climb at the Lakeview Crag, is best reached by mountain biking the Morte Lake trail. Boogie up Morticia’s and some of the other moderate climbs and then head for home down the Deadfish trail. The downhill plunge is fast and fun, with bermed corners and optional log rides.
How do I get to Taylor Basin? A half-day’s drive north and then east of Vancouver, where the craggy, snow-cloaked Coast Range transitions into the rounded summits of the South Chilcotin Mountains.
Why Go: What they lack in grandeur and glaciers, the Chilcotins make up for in alpine meadows and rust-red streaks in golf-green hillsides. Taylor Basin is right in the middle of the best of it. Follow ever-rougher logging roads from Gold Bridge to Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa and up Taylor Creek to the trailhead. The trail follows old mining and prospector roads and paths high into the mountains to a camp in a nice subalpine basin. From the camp, explore south into Cinnabar Basin, a sprawling field of wildflowers. Another worthwhile daytrip starts on old mining roads climbing west, into Eldorado Basin, and then onto a long ridgeline above Windy Pass. Intimidated by such wilderness? Book a guided trip with Chilcotin Holidays. (chilcotinholidays.com)
Highlight: Finding yourself alone on a long ridge or in an alpine flower garden.
How do I get to Bugle Basin? You’ll suffer to get here, but it’s worth it. Drive two hours of progressively rougher logging roads from Kimberley to Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park and then hike 11 muddy kilometres.
Why Go: Hot springs. Wildlife. Hot springs. Amazing day hikes. Hot springs. Wilderness. Hot springs. Did we mention hot springs? Just downhill from the campground, 80-degree Celsius water bubbles to the surface and joins an icy creek in a perfect mix for soaking. It feels especially good after a day of hiking into the nearby alpine cirques and meadows surrounded by snow-capped Purcell peaks. Keep an eye peeled for the abundant wildlife. Moose, elk, deer and goats rely on the hot spring’s deposited minerals. They, in turn, attract grizzly bears, wolves and wolverines.
Highlight: You’ll never sleep better than after a solid mountain hike followed by a hot springs soak under a sky full of stars.
Mount Terry Fox
How do I get to Mount Terry Fox? This isn’t an exact campsite so much as an invitation to explore the horseshoe-shaped ridge connecting Mount McKirdy to Mount Terry Fox, above the town of Valemount (near Jasper, Alberta).
Why Go: Either taxi shuttle to the trailhead or save a day and splurge on a heli-lift to the alpine. For the former, a good trail leads to the alpine, where established paths and campsites are left behind with the trees. The route rarely dips into the trees again until it joins the trail down Mount Terry Fox. In between is a string of interconnecting ridgelines—and perfect alpine tarn campsites—slicing into the Canadian Rockies with views across the huge Robson Valley at the glaciated Cariboo Mountains and east towards the craggy summits lining the Continental Divide.
Highlight: The view of Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies, dominates to the north. Admire its 4,000-metre south face from a dozen different angles.
How do I get to Sulphur Gates? This campground is just outside of Grande Cache, Alberta, 4.5 hours west of Edmonton, on the edge of the vast Willmore Wilderness Park.
Why Go: Grande Cache is a little-known mountain mecca. Whitewater rivers pour out of the Canadian Rockies, the fishing is phenomenal and there are too many places to hike and explore. The town has even organized a peak-bagging passport, with cairns on the 20 summits visible from town. Oh, and it’s a short walk from the campground to its namesake: the cliff walls lining the confluence of the Smoky and Sulphur rivers.
Highlight: The Willmore Wilderness sits on Jasper National Park’s northern border. A trip into its interior, best done on horseback, promises a true wilderness experience.
How do I get to Whistlers Basin? Tucked behind the Marmot Basin ski area in Jasper National Park is a rarely visited valley backed by imposing Rocky Mountain peaks.
Why Go: In most of the Rocky Mountain national parks, an alpine valley this close to the road is busy with day-trippers and backpackers—but out of sight, with no signed trail, this overlooked beauty is usually empty. Skip the grunt with a lift up the Jasper SkyTram, right above Jasper. Hike and scramble southwest onto Indian Ridge and then down via Whistlers Pass to the cirque below. Camp beside a small glacial pond beneath the ramparts of Manx Peak and Terminal Mountain and then retrace your steps or hike over to the ski hill.
Highlight: A remote-feeling valley without the usual demands of time and effort.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
How do I get to Dinosaur Provincial Park? In the near-desert around the southern Alberta town of Brooks, this campground sits on the banks of the Red Deer River near where rain and erosion reveals dinosaur bones and unique hoodoos.
Why Go: It’s hard to fathom 65 million years until you spot a dinosaur bone emerging from the mud. This is a daily affair along the short interpretive hikes winding through the rugged country surrounding this campsite. Canoeing on the Red Deer River is also a great way to take in the valley and the best way to spot the wildlife: whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope and coyotes. Spot the local hoodoos by foot or water—cartoonish towers of mud capped with a stone.
Highlight: Watch for some of the world’s most northern cactus and rattlesnakes.
Ribbon Lake Campground
How do I get to Ribbon Lake Campground? In Kananaskis Country, an hour west of Calgary. Push on past the first campground to the upper lake.
Why Go: The trail starts off the road to Nakiska Ski Resort and rises gently up a valley. Close to Calgary, with several waterfalls along the way, the trail to the falls is justifiably popular. Most people stop at the main falls, 8.1 kilometres from the trailhead. Suck up some courage and energy and push on. The crowds disappear after billy-goating up the rock wall at the valley’s end using chains and paws. At the top, a hanging valley appears with a lake and campsite surrounded by mountain peaks and alpine meadows. From a base here, day-hike to Buller Pass, Guinn’s Pass, Galatea Creek or scramble to summits looming overhead.
Highlight: Hoofing it to the unnamed summit directly above the lake, looking straight down on your tent far below and then scree-skiing all the way back down.
Parks Canada/Stephen Harrington
How do I get to Crandell Mountain? Off Waterton Lakes National Park’s Red Rocks Parkway, in the southwest corner of Alberta, Crandell is away from the bustle of town, within easy striking distance of amazing day hikes and often visited by black bears and deer.
Why Go: Waterton boasts some of the best day hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Don’t miss Crypt Lake, Carthew-Alderson and Lineham Ridge, but just about every trail in the park is worth a ramble. Spend an afternoon poking around the park’s charming townsite and take in the view of Upper Waterton Lake from the majestic Prince of Wales Hotel.
Highlight: Just bring your sleeping bag and spend the night in one of the five tipis set up in the Crandell Campground.
Parks Canada/Kevin Hogarth
How do I get to Namekus Lake? Eighty kilometres north of its namesake city, Prince Albert National Park, in Saskatchewan, protects a huge chunk of prairie-to-boreal transitional forest. This quiet campsite sits on the park’s eastern border.
Why Go: Family camping at its best. The campground’s six walk-in sites sit right on the lakeshore, steps from a sandy beach. In summer, the water is warm, the fishing is great and a motor restriction means the lake is always quiet. A short drive from Waskesiu, the commercial hub of the park, the campground is a good base for exploring the many trails and canoe routes—including Grey Owl’s Cabin.
Highlight: A dawn paddle across the quiet waters of Namekus Lake.
Canoeski Discovery Co.
How do I get to Whitemud Falls? The Clearwater River tumbles nearly 300 kilometres off the Canadian Shield in Saskatchewan towards the vast forests of northern Alberta. About mid-way and close to the Alberta border, this small campsite looks down on Whitemud Falls.
Why Go: A Canadian Heritage River, the Clearwater was once an important link in the fur trade route. Today, its wild rapids and pristine nature make it a classic whitewater canoe journey. The upper river is tougher paddling, as the channel runs through boulder gardens, off bedrock ledges and through a couple of canyons. Lower, the valley deepens and the river meanders. Throughout, it cuts through wilderness rich in boreal species.
Highlight: This campsite on a ridge looking down on Whitemud Falls is the best on its run to the Athabasca River.
Parks Canada/Ryan Bray
How do I get to Deep Lake? At the foot of Riding Mountain National Park’s western slope, in Manitoba, Deep Lake’s serene campground is perfectly positioned to explore the park’s quieter western side.
Why Go: This might be the most diverse section of the park. Grassland, aspen parkland and boreal forest collide here. Climb onto the escarpment via one of a few trails in the area, and look down on the mixed forests and out onto the surrounding prairie. A swim in the lake at the campground is a refreshing way to end the day and a great place to lily-dip an afternoon away.
Highlight: Load up for an overnight and trek into the park’s backcountry on the Tilson Lake Loop, a 40-kilometre adventure.
How do I get to Kiche-Manitou? About two hours southwest of Winnipeg, the prairies give way to the cactuses, sand dunes and spring-fed ponds of Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
Why Go: Known as Spirit Sands, this unusual oasis is all that remains of an Ice Age-era delta. Over 15,000 years, giant Lake Agassiz receded and plants covered most of the delta, but near the Kiche-Manitou campground, the sand remains exposed. Explore it via several hiking and biking trails that lead along the Assiniboine River, through prairie and spruce forest and up the main dune face.
Highlight: Hike to the Devil’s Punchbowl, a 45-metre deep depression in the sand with a blue-green pond in its centre.
Rock Campsite/Lake Obabika
How do I get to Rock Campsite-Lake Obabika? West of the sprawling tendrils of Temagami Lake, 4.5 hours north of Toronto, is Lake Obabika and at its northern end, near a portage trail heading to Bob Lake, is this little gem.
Why Go: At the lake’s northern end, Obabika River Provincial Park protects the largest remaining stand of old growth white and red pine in North America. A day’s worth of trails loop through the forest to some of the tallest and oldest (380 years old) trees in the grove. Two spiritual sites for local First Nations sit on the lake. All is easily reached from this campground, located a day’s paddle from logging roads or part way through one of many canoe loops in the area.
Highlight: Spend a day wandering the towering pine and thank the protesters who went to jail in 1987 to protect it from logging.
Les Petits Ecrits
How do I get to Lake Petits Ecrits? Two hours east of Thunder Bay, the Voyageur Hiking Trail, running along the Superior shore between Thunder Bay and Sudbury, enters the Casque Isles section. This campsite is a day-trip from Terrace Bay.
Why Go: Think of this section of the Casque Isles Trail as Ontario’s version of the West Coast Trail (without the tides). Following the shore of Lake Superior, the trail climbs hillsides, dips into ravines, traverses the coastline and follows ancient glacial features. The views across the lake, forest and islands are frequent and inspiring.
Highlight: End a demanding day with a refreshing swim from the campsite’s beach.
How do I get to Pincer Bay? Between Peterborough and Bancroft, in southern Ontario, is the Pincer Bay campsite in Silent Lake Provincial Park, about two hours from Toronto.
Why Go: Race your own off-road triathlon. The motor-free lake is an obvious place to start. Jump in from one of two beaches near the campground. Two mountain bike loops duck through the forest, covering more than 40 kilometres in fun single-track. And then run the Lakeshore Hiking Trail, a 15-kilometre hike around Silent Lake’s shore with several nice viewpoints to keep up the motivation.
Highlight: Nab one of the walk-in campsites at the campground. They’re on the lake, a short walk from the car, but they feel like the backcountry.
How do I get to Baldhead River? A half-day hike along the Coastal Trail in Lake Superior Provincial Park, 1.5 hours north of Sault St. Marie.
Why Go: One of the nicest camping spots in a park full of stellar ones, Baldhead is easy to reach, but rarely busy (it’s only an hour’s hike from the highway near Katherine Cove). Once at the campground at the mouth of the Baldhead River, wander upstream, swimming in the pools and admiring the nearby cascades. Or head further north on the Coastal Trail. Without a heavy pack, the ups and downs from cobble beaches to cliffside views won’t be so arduous.
Highlight: Watching the sun set into an inland sea. The park boasts some of the best sunsets anywhere.
How do I get to Fox Lake? Deviate east over a couple portages from the Killarney Provincial Park classic Bell Lake-David Lake canoe circuit to this small lake. Killarney is four hours north of Toronto.
Why Go: With its granite outcrops, crystal waters and easy tripping, Killarney is what Ontario canoe journeys are all about. That could mean solitude is usually hard to come by, but not at Fox Lake, where there’s only one campsite. Claim it early in the day and then enjoy a private lake full of bass and pike. Swim off the smooth granite, portage to Peter Lake, an even quieter spot, or just lie in the sun and soak in the atmosphere that inspired the Group of Seven.
Highlight: Watch for moose in the marshes across from camp and listen for wolves in the impeccable silence of darkness.
Resorts of Canadian Rockies
How do I get to Mont-Sainte-Anne? Five minutes from the base of the Mont-Sainte-Anne ski hill, an hour from Quebec City, this campground sits at the start of 124 kilometres of mountain bike trails and 42 kilometres of hiking routes.
Why Go: Known for its rocky and rooty World Cup-calibre trails, Mont-Sainte-Anne is turning over new soil. In the sandy loam around the campground, trail crews are sculpting banked-and-buff modern single-track that anyone can enjoy. The new loops are fast, fun and link into the rest of the vast and varied established trail network. And it’s all within easy access of all the resort amenities—gondola, hiking routes, etc.—and the St. Lawrence River.
Highlight: Finished last year, Y’able is a roller coaster of berms, table tops, bridges and fun airs.
Tadoussac Mer et Monde
How do I get to Tadoussac Mer et Monde? Just north of Tadoussac, three hours from Quebec City, Le Paradis-Marin perches on the bank of the Gulf of St. Lawrence—and this campground feels like it might fall right in.
Why Go: The air around here smells like whale breath. The tent platforms sit so close to the water, the neighbours cruising past offshore might wake you. Rich marine waters attract several species of mammal, including fin, minke and beluga whales. Watch them from your tent or join one of the guided sea kayak or SUP trips that leave from the campground. Spectacular hiking and paddling in the Saguenay Fiord are just down the road.
Highlight: Sign on for the Sound and Light Show, a nighttime sea kayak trip. With a guide leading the way, paddle through bioluminescence and listen for whale calls using a hydrophone.
Mathieu Dupuis, parc national du Lac-Témiscouata, Sépaq
How do I get to Grand-Lac-Touladi? Where the Appalachian Mountain range runs out of steam sits Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata, about three hours northeast of Quebec City on the Gaspé Peninsula.
Why Go: Start hiking right from this brand-new campground, through one of the park’s archeological sites, and along the River of Memories, where voyageurs and lumberjacks once passed. Other nearby hikes lead to the top of the park’s mountains. Canoe down the park’s three glacier-sculpted lakes; the park rents boats and can help with shuttles. Cycling paths crisscross the park.
Highlight: Dig into thousands of years of human history in this area by taking part in an actual archeological dig with park staff.
How do I get to Le Wilcox? In the throat of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is Anticosti Island. Le Wilcox sits on its north shore, about two hours from the island’s only town.
Why Go: Home to 160,000 white-tailed deer and only 240 full-time residents, the 240-kilometre long island is more than a Bambi safari. Just down the road from the campground, head inland to towering waterfalls and rushing rivers. The fishing is excellent for salmon and trout and the development-free coastline screams for a paddling adventure.
Highlight: Check out the shipwreck right off shore from the campground, one of the many that gave the island its nickname, “Cemetery of the Gulf.”
How do I get to Camping Grosbois? Just 10 kilometres from Montreal is Parc national des Iles-des-Boucherville, five islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. This campground is only accessible by boat, foot or bike.
Why Go: Backcountry camping with the family doesn’t get much easier than this. Hop on a ferry and then use a trolley to haul your gear from the car to the campground. Now the hard part: deciding what to do next. Pedal around the islands on 21 kilometres of paths. Explore the marsh on a hiking trail. Or rent a kayak or canoe and follow an eight-kilometre nautical trail through the channels.
Highlight: Admiring the lights of Montreal across the river at night. The park feels much more wild when most of the day visitors are gone.
Mersey River Cabin
Parks Canada/Lachlan Riehl
How do I get to Mersey River Cabin? Near the centre of the action in Kejimkujik National Park, this new cabin sits on the Mersey River, about 2.5 hours west of Halifax.
Why Go: Paddle a canoe or SUP right from the rustic cabin and around the maze of islands in Kejimkujik Lake, or beyond into a chain of lakes heading north. Hike into the backcountry on several trails. But maybe the most compelling reason to come to Kejimkujik is to check out the petroglyphs. Carved into the shoreline rocks by the Mi’kmaw people who lived here for 4,000 years, the symbols and characters speak a forgotten language. Park staff lead regular tours of the sites.
Highlight: Make time for a day-trip to Kejimkujik Seaside, a separate portion of the park on the Atlantic Coast, to walk whitesand beaches and watch for sunbathing seals.
Hole in the Wall
Tourism New Brunswick
How do I get to Hole in the Wall? Looking like it should belong to Maine, Grand Manan Island sits in the Bay of Fundy just off the Maine-New Brunswick border and this campground is near the island’s northern head.
Why Go: The powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy bring huge amounts of nutrients to the surface, fuelling a food-web dominated by whales. From the cliffside sites, expect to see these mammals swim right by. Join the whales on the water with a sea kayak or whale-watching tour. Or stay dry and spot them from land from a cycling and hiking trail network that traces the coast and heads inland. Some of the trails predate the original 18th century settlers.
Highlight: Spot the nine lighthouses either on or visible from Grand Manan. Three more might be visible on clear nights.
Sugarloaf Provincial Park
Tourism New Brunswick
How do I get to Sugarloaf Provincial Park? Near the northern New Brunswick town of Campbellton, 3.5 hours from Moncton.
Why Go: At the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain, the campground is a base camp for multi-sport fun. A ski hill in winter, during the summer the chairlift shuttles mountain bikers to the summit for the Maritimes’ only downhill riding. One website ranked the 10 trails as the best in eastern Canada, beating out Bromont, Blue Mountains and Mont-Sainte-Anne. In addition, 25 kilometres of hiking trails spoke out from the base. One route heads right to the 305-metre summit with wicked views over Campbellton, across Chaleur Bay and on to the rolling hills of the Chic Chocs Mountains on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula.
Highlight: Freshen up with a swim in Chaleur Bay, home to some of the warmest ocean waters in Canada.
Tourism Newfoundland & Labrador/Barrett & MacKay Photo
How do I get to Brimstone Head? Considered by The Flat Earth Society as one of the four corners of the Earth, Fogo Island is in fact on the north shore of Newfoundland, about six hours from St. John’s.
Why Go: Imagine a postcard of a quaint Newfoundland outport. Now multiply it by 11, the number of small towns on Fogo. Arts and culture are big here, with several museums, galleries and festivals that preserve the unique history and culture. Outside, the island sits in Iceberg Alley and along the migration route of humpback whales. Spot both from several hiking trails to viewpoints around the island or from your campsite, right on the North Atlantic. And don’t miss the short walk down to Sandy Cove Beach, a whitesand wonder.
Highlight: The Great Fogo Island Punt Race to There and Back is an annual rowboat race in the North Atlantic.
Parks Canada/Heiko Whittenborn
Where: At the end of a fiord in northern Labrador, protected within Torngat Mountains National Park.
Why Go: Just getting there is worth the trip. After flying over most of the Labrador Coast to Saglek Airstrip, a boat steams north into the park and down a thin fiord lined by 1,000-metre rock walls. On shore, Parks Canada has set up a basecamp safe from wandering polar bears where researchers, Inuit and adventurers rub shoulders over meals. With an Inuit guide, day-hike to waterfalls and viewpoints. Fish for Arctic grayling right in front of camp. Or go self-supported and backpack along traditional hunting routes, up river valleys and deep into the mountains.
Highlight: The chance to spot a polar bear from the safety of the camp.
Travel Yukon/Fritz Mueller Photography
How do I get to Divide Lake? In the heart of Tombstone Territorial Park, off Yukon’s Dempster Highway, about two hours north of Dawson City.
Why Go: The brown pinnacles of the Tombstone Mountains reflect in the calm blue waters of a tundra lake; this campground is the iconic image of this northern park. The two-day backpack trip in is almost as good, with plenty more Tombstone scenery to keep up the motivation. From camp, at the bottom of Monolith Mountain, continue deeper into the park to a campground at Talus Lake, or day-trip to explore one of the many cirques off the main river valley, or scramble up Mount Frank Rae. Always keep an eye out for caribou, grizzly bears and peregrine falcons
Highlight: Watch the midnight sun turn the peaks a rainbow of shades as it spins across the horizon.
How do I get to Fort Selkirk? This one-time bustling trading post is now a ghost town, reached only by water at the confluence of the Pelly and Yukon Rivers, roughly halfway between Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon.
Why Go: Fort Selkirk is equal parts destination and journey. Start by either paddling the Pelly or Yukon rivers, both easy, multi-day trips along ancient trading routes. The fort site was first used by the Chilkat Tlingit as a convenient place to trade goods from the coast. When the Klondike Gold Rush erupted, it morphed into a valuable frontier post. Never connected by road, it was abandoned in the 1950s. The buildings remain as a museum to the glory days of sternwheeler travel.
Highlight: Camping in the same place people have been pitching tents for 8,000 years.
Million Dollar Falls
How do I get to Million Dollar Falls? Off the Haines Highway, west of Whitehorse, 1.5 hours south of Haines Junction, Yukon.
Why Go: After the short hike down to the campground’s impressive namesake falls, use this quiet and private campground as a base for hiking into the wilds of Chilkat Pass. The roadside alpine in Chilkat Pass encourages random hiking—pick a valley, ridge or peak and start hiking. Or follow old mining roads for miles into the foothills of the St. Elias Mountain Range and the largest protected area in the world. The mountain scenery is incredible.
Highlight: Follow old mine roads to the abandoned Copper Butte Mine. The rusting mining equipment contrasts the wild mountains.
How do I get to Adrian Creek? Just over halfway through the 350-kilometre Canol Heritage Trail in the Northwest Territories.
Why Go: Following a long-abandoned pipeline from the Yukon-Northwest Territories border east to the Mackenzie River, the Canol is a 350-kilometre wilderness hike through some of the wildest terrain on the continent. Adrian Creek is in the middle of it. It’s like the Serengeti of Canada’s north, with abundant woodland caribou, grizzly bear, Dall’s sheep and other northern mammals wandering through camp. Set between two of the hardest sections of trail—the scramble up Trout Creek and the grind onto the Plains of Abraham—it’s a good place to rest and prepare for the push to the end.
Highlight: Taking a much-needed bath in the icy but crystal-clear waters of the creek while caribou cross just downstream.
Parks Canada/Mike Beedell
How do I get to Virginia Falls? Right on the brink of one of Canada’s most impressive waterfalls in Nahanni National Park, in the Northwest Territories.
Why Go: A desire to canoe or raft down the Nahanni River is almost a demand of citizenship in Canada, and Virginia Falls is the most iconic spot along the way. Within earshot of the campground, the South Nahanni rushes over a series of ledges, splits around a midstream pinnacle (Mason’s Rock) and then crashes 96 metres into a canyon. Check out the falls from several viewpoints around the campsite, including from rock slabs right on the edge. A good hike leads up Sunblood Mountain, across the river. While you can fly-in and out of this campground, travelling the wilderness river is what coming here is all about.
Highlight: Surviving the rushing rapids of the four canyons below the falls. Don’t forget to look beyond the next wave train at the walls above.
Parks Canada/Wayne Lynch
How do I get to Tanquaray Fiord? About as far north as one can go, the fiord is the main base in Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, about 800 kilometres north of Resolute Bay.
Why Go: Getting to Ellesmere Island used to be an expedition in itself. Now you can hop aboard a scheduled Twin Otter flight. Join an organized trip with Black Feather, a guiding service (blackfeather.com). Or go alone. From a basecamp near the landing strip, head out on a multi-day backpacking trip through the ancient river valleys. Or stick to day-trips and wander up hills and along the nearby shoreline. Either way, watch for Arctic wolves, muskox, caribou and other northern residents.
Highlight: Being one of only a handful of people who ever make it this far north.
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