Auyuittuq National Park
Though Auyuittuq is Inuktitut for “the land that never melts,” during the short summer season there is plenty of snow-free hiking and camping to be found within the park’s 19,000-sq-km of high Arctic terrain. Getting to Auyuittuq doesn’t require a charter flight — just catch a scheduled First Air or Canadian North flight to Pangnirtung then arrange for a 30-km boat ride up Pangnirtung Fiord and into the park. During summer, Akshayuk Pass is the most popular backpacking route in the park: a 10-day, 97-km trek that carves between imposing peaks and permanent icefields. In springtime, experienced backcountry skiers brave the vast expanses of Akshayuk Pass to view the park in all its snowy, glaciated glory.
Ukkusiksalik National Park
Accessed from the community of Repulse Bay, Ukkusiksalik National Park offers 20,500-sq-km of mudflats, cliffs, tundra banks and eskers alongside a unique coastal environment at the northwest edge of Hudson Bay; all rife for exploration. The park is rich with archaeological sites as well, some dating back over 3,000 years. Hire a guide and explore the magnificent hikes around Wager Bay — keep an eye out for wildlife such as caribou, polar bears and even barrenground grizzlies; and birdlife like snow geese, tundra swans and golden eagles. In fall, when night-time darkness returns, the aurora borealis dances in the sky — just one more reason to visit. Here, the natural world dictates your travel, so slow down, immerse in the local culture and experience the True North, strong and free.
Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park
One of the easiest parks to visit in Nunavut, Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park is just a one-kilometre walk from downtown Iqualuit. Gaze over the pristine namesake river as it meanders through the tundra — if you’ve brought your fishing rod, you can even try to hook (and release) a hard-fighting Arctic char. Where the waterway tumbles into a scenic falls, you’ll find the perfect picnic spot. For further exploration, follow one of the many interpretive hiking trails and learn about the regional flora and fauna as well as the people of the land — dating back to the ancient Thule. (And keep an eye out for roaming caribou!)
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