Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories, a diverse land on the western half of Canada, north of British Columbia and east of the Yukon, attracts outdoor adventures, cultural tourists, and people looking for experiences that can't easily be duplicated. This land of the northern lights, diamonds, wildlife, and and time-honored heritage offers adventures that are as unique as those who make their way to the true north.

Trips to the Northwest Territories Canada can begin by air or highway. Many of the airports throughout Western Canada offer regular flights to Yellowknife, the territory's main city. Throughout the year, you'll find flights leaving from Edmonton and Calgary, while service from Vancouver, British Columbia, is an option in the spring and summer. Service is also available from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The airport is Yellowknife is also a hub for flights to some of the smaller communities throughout the Northwest Territories and off-the-beaten-path wilderness lodges.

A network of modern highways meander through the province, cutting through towering forests and by waterfalls. Along the way, you'll find the typical gas stations, restaurants, and hotels you would expect on a road trip. With a stop at one of the visitor center, you can find out about the things to do and the amazing photo opportunities nearby. After the snow has melted, usually by April, free ferries can take you across the winding rivers, and bus service travels the Mackenzie and Dempster highways on the way to Yellowknife and the neighboring Yukon Territory.

Outdoor adventure is readily available both close to the highway and beyond. Whether you're the type of who dreams about spending a month hiking the backcountry or you think an afternoon walk sounds good, you can enjoy the wild side of the Northwest Territories Canada. Local outfitters can provide you with the gear and guides you need to experience the type of adventure that you want. If you want to watch for wildlife, go sightseeing, or something else, you find a vacation designed just for you in the vast stretch of Canadian wilderness, some bordered by Nunavut, Canada's newest territory that separated from the Northwest Territories in 1999.

A visit to the cities, especially Yellowknife, is another way to experience the one-of-a-kind character of the Northwest Territories. Located along Great Slave Lake, this city is especially vibrant in the summer—a time when the sun shines for most of the 24 hours. During the darker times of autumn and winter, it's a wonderful place to look for the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis.

Yellowknife keeps up with its wild roots through top-notch fishing, sled-dog races, and hiking, depending on the season. It's also the starting point for hiking and kayaking at East Arm, a collection of dramatic cliffs that fall into Great Slave Lake, which is one of the biggest lakes in the world.

Diamonds, still brought from the mines north of town, brought both wealth and hard workers to Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories Canada. Shops and boutiques throughout town carry Canadian diamonds, along with Aboriginal-made crafts and other one-of-a-kind gifts. The city's cultural side comes to the forefront every July with the arrival of the Folk on the Rocks music festival, while art galleries and chic restaurants welcome Northwest Territories travelers in all seasons.

Another NWT town, Forth Smith, serves as the headquarters for Wood Buffalo National Park, where people flock to watch wildlife and go paddling. The Slave River Rapids provide a scenic setting for kayaking and hiking. In the past, the river was the only way to get this far north; today you can catch a flight from Yellowknife or Edmonton, Alberta.

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