If you’ve never ventured off the beaten track to visit the Northwest Territories, there’s no time like the present to plan your first adventure. You’ll be amazed by the diversity of the landscape, the wildlife and the thriving communities along the northernmost sections of the Trans Canada Trail, which makes for an unparalleled experience that you’ll never forget.
Discover these three sections of the Trans Canada Trail in the Northwest Territories.
CANOL Heritage Trail
This epic trail spans 373 kilometres and travels through the Mackenzie Mountains to the border with the Yukon Territory. It’s the longest hiking trail in North America and promises challenging terrain along with extraordinary landscapes. This World War II–era pipeline service road was abandoned after the war and now serves as a hiking, snowmobiling and snowshoeing route.
Along your journey, stop to view the remnants of vehicles and buildings used during the pipeline project. At Mile 8, some derelict huts and an old post office remain, and at Mile 36, an old pumphouse structure is still standing. Similar structures can be found at Mile 22, 42, 108, 170 and 217. Several river crossings intersect the trail. Keep an eye out for 300-million-year-old dolostone, grey limestone and other fascinating geological formations. You may also spot grizzlies, Dall sheep or alpine caribou. Guided services and support services are available.
City of Yellowknife – Frame Lake Trail
The Frame Lake Trail is an extended network of well-maintained paved and gravelled walkways and bike routes that circles the scenic lake, connecting downtown Yellowknife with the residential and commercial areas to the west.
Frame Lake itself is a popular destination in the summer for kayaking, bird watching and canoeing. This urban trail – great for walking, hiking or snowshoeing – is a popular commuter route that runs from Somba K’e Park to the Stanton Territorial Hospital.
In the Somba K’e Park, take a tranquil moment at the Loraine Minish-Cooper Garden of Hope, or check out the playground and picnic area. Another highlight is McNiven Beach Park, featuring a playground, tennis courts and beautiful views of the lakeshore. The network of trails also connects to the Bristol monument, Lakeview cemetery and Fred Henne Territorial Park.
Town of Inuvik – Boot Lake Trail
Boot Lake is a recreation destination located in the southeastern section of the community of Inuvik, and is ideal for walking, jogging, skiing and snowshoeing. Consisting of boardwalk trail and dirt trail, Boot Lake’s boardwalk trails and footbridges help to protect the sensitive eco-systems living along the wetland-like shoreline of the lake.
Stroll along the trail, keeping an eye out for beavers, rabbits, foxes and birds, and enjoy amazing views of the Mackenzie Delta and the Richardson Mountains. Access the trail via Boot Lake Lions playground (a great spot for the little ones to burn off some energy) or at Duck Lake Park.