The people of the Northwest Territories inherited and closely guard some of the most spectacular and storied scenery in Canada. The land is mythic in size and fabled in its cultural heritage. Almost every waterfall, hill and pond has figured in one or more stories told by Aboriginal elders. While much of our geology is still unmapped, the rocks and trees, plains and mountains of the Northwest Territories landscape are held in the hearts of all Aboriginal residents. Our parks help to retain that heritage, and community members and guides willingly introduce new arrivals and visitors to some of the time honoured traditions surrounding each area.
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) operates 34 parks. Most of them are open, with services provided, from May 15th to September 15th. Several offer online booking for their campgrounds and kitchen shelters during the summer season, as well as reservation by telephone or e-mail; or by selecting an available site upon actual arrival at the gatehouse. For more information visit NWT Parks or download the NWT Road and Campground Guide for useful information about routes, highway and park services, points of interest, and more.
Natural Environment Parks
- Hidden Lake Territorial Park
- Cameron Falls Trail
- Powder Point
- Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park
- Twin Falls Territorial Park
- Alexandra Falls Day Use Area
- Louise Falls Campground & Day Use Area
- Escarpment Creek Group Campsite
- Sixtieth Parallel Territorial Park
- Blackstone Territorial Park
- Fort Providence Territorial Park
- Fort Simpson Territorial Park
- Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park
- Fred Henne Territorial Park
- Gwich’in Territorial Park
- Happy Valley Territorial Park
- Hay River Territorial Park
- Jàk Territorial Park
- Little Buffalo River Crossing Territorial Park
- Little Buffalo River Falls Territorial Park
- Nitainlaii Territorial Park
- North Arm Territorial Park
- Prelude Lake Territorial Park
- Reid Lake Territorial Park
- Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park
- Boundary Creek Territorial Park
- Cameron River Crossing Territorial Park
- Chan Lake Territorial Park
- Dory Point Territorial Park
- Kakisa River Territorial Park
- Madeline Lake Territorial Park
- McKinnon Territorial Park
- McNallie Creek Territorial Park
- Pontoon Lake Territorial Park
- Prosperous Lake Territorial Park
- Tetlit Gwinjik Territorial Park
- Yellowknife River Territorial Park
There are five national parks in the NWT, each one of them jaw-droppingly beautiful in its own distinct way.
Aulavik National Park
Aulavik, meaning “ place where people travel ” in Inuvialuktun, protects more than 12,000 square kilometres of Arctic lowlands on the north end of Banks Island. The park encompasses a variety of landscapes from fertile river valleys to polar deserts, buttes and badlands, rolling hills, and bold seacoasts. At the heart of Aulavik is the Thomsen River, which offers visitors a chance to paddle one of the continent’s most northerly navigable waterways. This pristine Arctic environment is home to both the endangered Peary caribou and to the highest density of muskoxen in the world. The wildlife and land have supported Aboriginal peoples for more than 3,400 years, from Pre-Dorset cultures to contemporary Inuvialuit.
Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve
Measuring 4,850 square kilometres, Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve adjoins Nahanni National Park Reserve (which was significantly expanded in 2009) and it touches the Yukon boundary to the west. This area, Canada’s newest national park, has been important for hunting and its spiritual relevance to the Shutagot’ine (Mountain Dene) of the Tulita district. The mountain from which the park takes its name is credited with great spiritual powers.
Nahanni National Park Reserve
A key feature of the epic Nahanni is the Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River). Four mighty canyons line this spectacular whitewater river. At Nailicho (Virginia Falls) the river plunges in a thunderous plume. The park's sulphur hotsprings, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests of spruce and aspen are home to many species of birds, fish and mammals. A visitor centre in Fort Simpson features displays on the history, culture and geography of the area. The park was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1978.
Tuktut Nogait National Park
Offering rolling tundra, wild rivers, precipitous canyons, and a variety of unique wildlife and vegetation, Tuktut Nogait (‘young caribou’) is one of Canada’s undiscovered gems. This remote park is located 170 kilometres north of the Arctic circle and is home to the Bluenose West caribou herd, wolves, grizzly bears, muskoxen, Arctic char, and a high density of raptors. The wildlife and land have supported Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years, from the Copper and Thule cultures to contemporary Inuvialuit.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Straddling the NWT/Alberta border, Wood Buffalo National Park is the country's largest national park and one of the largest in the world. It was established in 1922 to protect the last remaining herds of wood bison in northern Canada. Today, it protects an outstanding and representative example of Canada's Northern Boreal Plains.
For more information about camping in the NWT visit SpectacularNWT.