Parks Canada
Credit: Tuktut Nogait

Tuktut Nogait National Park

Nearest Town: Paulatuk, NT

Difficulty: Advanced

Welcome to the frontier — 18,000-sq-km of utterly untouched wilderness accessed via 463-km charter flight from Inuvik, a town located at the end of the Dempster Highway just past 68 degrees north. So yeah, it’s “off-the-beaten-path.”

Tuktut Nogait National Park is raw Earth: there are marked trails or designated campsites (outside the Parks Canada base camp). Self-sufficiency and experience are required, but the rewards are staggering. Follow river valleys to imposing canyons and roaring waterfalls; see the Arctic in its full fall vibrancy in August and September; marvel at a sky full of migrating birdlife in late summer or visit in June to watch the caribou migration. Connect with local Inuvialuit culture; explore an area few will ever see.

The sun doesn’t set from mid-June to late-July, the wind always seems to blow and the average temperature is about five degrees Celsius — in midsummer. You are free to wander as you see fit, roaming the tundra and canyons — use rivers, eskers, lakes and rock formations as makeshift trail markers and keep an eye out for some of the 360 culturally significant archaeological sites. But time is short — by early-September, weather patterns change for the worse and the hiking season will come to an end.

How do you get here? While some groups hire a charter flight and travel to Tuktut on their own, the easiest way to access this park is via Parks Canada's guided trips. During the summer, Parks offers five-day hiking adventures from a base camp near the park's Brock River Canyon. Currently, only self-catered options are available; prices include air transport from Inuvik. Maximum group size: seven.

Cost: $3,400

Best For: Those who feel the Chilkoot Trail is for wannabes.

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