CANADA's NORTH > Indigenous Tribes
Seven Natural Wonders of the Northwest Territories
1. Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean is a vast region of sea and ice encompassing 68% of Canada's coastline, stretching 165,000 kms from James Bay and Baffin Island to the Yukon. It is the smallest of the world's five oceans but it is the most extreme in regards to the seasonality of light and its year-round existing ice cover. It is home to the incredibly strong and resilient Inuit people, the famous "Northwest Passage" and a multitude of unique life forms highly adapted in their life history, ecology and physiology to the extreme conditions of the Arctic. We offer our "Arctic Ocean Experience" package for those looking to experience this unique and amazing natural wonder of the Northwest Territories!
2. Arctic Tundra
In the Arctic Tundra there are two seasons: winter and summer. In the summer, the sun is present almost 24 hours a day warming up the tundra up to an average 12°C. In the winter it's a little more extreme, for many weeks the sun never rises and has an average -28°C and has gone down to -70°C! The word tundra comes from the Finnish word "tunturia" meaning treeless plain. This is what defines the tundra. Another factor is the limited vegetation in the tundra due to the permafrost, a layer of permanently frozen ground just below the surface. It is also home to many species of mammals such as grizzly bears, arctic foxes, muskox, caribou, etc and of course millions of migratory birds to spend another summer up here in this unique natural wonder of the Northwest Territories!
3. Aurora Borealis
The sun's surface activity causes our aurora. We see aurora when highly charged electrons (solar plasma) from the solar wind interact with the earth's atmosphere. Solar winds can reach speeds of up to 800 km/s! When they reach the earth, some 40 hours after leaving the sun, they enter the earth's upper atmosphere colliding with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen at altitudes 30 to 300 kms above the earth. The color depends on which atom is struck and the altitude of the collision. Green-oxygen, up to 250 kms in altitude; Red-oxygen, above 250 kms in altitude; Blue-nitrogen, up to 100 kms in altitude and Purple/violet-nitrogen, above 100 kms in altitude. Sunspot activity follows an 11-year Solar Cycle. The next peak year occurs this year so book your Amazing Arctic Aurora Package now and experience this truly amazing and breathtaking natural wonder of the Northwest Territories!
4. Great Bear Lake
This Great Lake is over 31,000 km2. It is located on the Arctic Circle and about 200km south of the Arctic Ocean. It's the 7th largest lake in the world (320km long, 175km wide) and has a total shoreline is 2,719 km. This Great Lake lies in a vast wilderness, with its north and east arms reaching into the tundra and the south shore lapping the hard rock edge of the Canadian Shield. The south and west shores are wooded, mostly with stunted spruce. The lake is frozen 8 months of the year, often into July and because of this is home to some the largest Lake Trout in the world! In 2000 American sportsman Matt Cornell’s 35.7kg monster set a new record that still stands today. However, a local Deline resident netted a 38kg granddaddy three years ago! Truly a natural wonder of the Northwest Territories.
5. Great Slave Lake
This Great Lake is the 9th largest lake in the world deepest lake in North America at 615m (2,010 ft). You can sink the Empire State Building in it and it will still be over 500ft underwater! It is almost 500 kms long and almost 200kms from the North Arm to the south shore wide. It covers an area of 27,200km2. It's home to some of the world's best Lake Trout and Northern Pike fishing. The East Arm is truly a spectacular natural geological wonder with islands that have 1,000 foot cliffs. It has a colorful history with names like Hearne, Mackenzie, Franklin and many more who have explored this lake dating back to the late 1700's. We offer a number of fishing and boating tours on tis very deep natural wonder of the Northwest Territories.
6. Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the Northwest Territories. The river's mainstem runs 1,738 kms in a northerly direction to the Arctic Ocean, draining a vast area nearly the size of Indonesia. It is the 2nd largest river in North America and 13th longest in the world! It has 9 communities along its shore, 8 of them Aboriginal communities with vibrant cultures. Alexander Mackenzie first explored the river in 1789 hoping to find the Pacific Ocean but ended up at the Arctic Ocean. We offer Mackenzie River boat tours, book your tour and experience this natural wonder of the Northwest Territories for yourself!
7. Nahanni National Park
Originally established in 1972, the park was 4,766 km2 in area. On June 2009 the Canadian Government, with the Dehcho First Nations, announced to increase the area of the Park to now cover 30,050 km2. It is home to the powerful and spectacular Virginia Falls which plunges 90m (295 ft) in a thunderous plume, more than twice the height of Niagara Falls. The park was among the world's first four natural heritage locations to be inscribed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978. We partner with South Nahanni Airways in Fort Simpson for our Nahanni Park Tours. It is truly an incredible natural wonder of the Northwest Territories and must be visited at least once in one's lifetime!