Vast and beautiful, Ivvavik National Park expands over some 10,000-square-kilometres of Arctic landscape in the northern tip of Yukon. As part of Beringia, this area remained unglaciated during the last Ice Age—resulting in a landscape not seen anywhere else on the continent.

It is home to grizzly bears, Dall’s sheep, caribou, muskox and raptors. It’s dotted with Arctic lupines, tundra grasses and spruce trees. And it’s deeply entwined with Inuvialuit culture—home to indigenous people for more than 4,000 years.

As one of the oldest waterways on the continent, the Firth River cuts a swath through the heart of this park, leading from the British Mountains to the Arctic Ocean. This is your pathway to adventure, scientific research and deep cultural connections—all set in a landscape so impressive it defies description.

This summer, join Parks Canada and Canadian River Expeditions on their incredible “Rafting with Researchers” expedition.

Ivavvik National ParkParks Canada/Tyler Garnham

What Is “Rafting With Researchers?”

This exclusive trip takes a traditional Firth River rafting expedition and dials it up a notch. Immersing in the Western Arctic for two weeks, you’ll become one part adventurer, one part scientist and one part cultural anthropologist. Along with braving up to Class IV rapids and tent-camping deep within a park that sees far more caribou than humans, you’ll work alongside Parks Canada scientists to help implement research initiatives.

Partake in water sampling studies to monitor the ecosystem health. Hike across the tundra and uncover the natural phenomena that created this landscape. Study wildlife and bird migration patterns. Inspect signature Beringian landforms like “tors” and the interesting V-shaped valleys alongside a researcher who can enlighten you well beyond a typical guided trip. In fact—there’s so much to explore, this trip is a full day longer than Canadian River Expeditions’ traditional Firth River rafting adventure to allow for such in-depth examinations.

Ivvavik National ParkParks Canada/Tyler Garnham

Connect with Inuvialuit culture. As vital accompaniment to every Parks Canada trip into Ivvavik, engaging cultural liaisons will illuminate the ancient human stories of the land. Listen to traditional tales, play Arctic games, get hands-on with traditional tools and clothing, ask questions and share your own stories in a meaningful cultural exchange. And close out each day with lively lecture-style talks about wildlife, culture and regional research—all under the midnight sun’s long Golden Hour.

Ivvavik National ParkParks Canada/Tyler Garnham

What Can I Expect?

This experience is for the hands-on adventurer; those who dream of disconnecting from modern distractions; those who desire to traverse a river for two weeks without seeing another person beyond the members of your tightly knit group.

Days are spent rafting the turbulent Firth, making your way from Margaret Lake in the British Mountains all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Watch for wildlife—the famed Porcupine Herd of caribou migrate through Ivvavik, an impressive herd nearly 200,000 animals strong. Muskox, grizzly bear, moose, Dall’s sheep, gyrfalcons and golden eagles also call this area home. In between, the otherworldly tors, feeder creeks still iced-over from winter and the picturesque peaks of the British Mountains will astound.

Ivvavik National ParkParks Canada/Tyler Garnham

There’s also time to fish for Dolly Varden and venture on hiking excursions across the tundra to impressive mountain viewpoints. Most of the park is above the treeline—the views are 360 degrees and boundless. At any moment, you can access the rich knowledge of your scientific and cultural companions—connecting the landscape, the lifeforms and stories with which it is so irrevocably intertwined. Close your memorable adventure with a dip in the Arctic Ocean.

Travel a landscape only a handful of humans on Earth will see and come away with a deeper understanding of it all—brought to life by science, culture and your own curiosity.

 

This article was brought to you by Parks Canada. Discover more about Ivvavik National Park at: pc.gc.ca/ivvavik

 

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