• Start: Island Lakes
  • Finish: Blackstone Territorial Park
  • Length: 22 days (19 river days)
  • Distance: 473 km (294 mi)
  • Elevation Loss: 528 m (1732 ft)
  • River Class: 2/3
  • Craft: Canoe/Hiking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Our Nahanni Headwaters trips include the classic South Nahanni River Canoe/Hiking Trip from Island Lake. This trip is designed for people who wish to explore the rugged landscapes away from the river corridor. Commencing at the north end of the Ragged Range we paddle east and then south along the soaring Vampire Peaks. At Britnell Creek we leave our canoes and begin an alpine hiking trip into Glacier Lake and up into the renowned Cirque of the Unclimbables. We will explore the Fairy Meadows on a layover day and look for mountain goats. Back on the river we will begin a thorough exploration of Nahanni National Park. The highlights include Rabbitkettle Lake and tufa mounds, pristine mountain scenery, awesome Virginia Falls, four deep canyons, hot springs, wildlife, hiking and more fun than you can imagine under the care of our experienced and qualified river guides. The Island Lake canoe/hiking trip appeals to active people who are looking for a cooperative, though guided, canoe tripping adventure where the group shares in camp chores with an interest in further developing skills in camp and on the river. Participants should be prepared for three weeks of wilderness camping, be reasonably physically fit and confident swimmers. They should be able to carry a 35-45 lb. pack to the Cirque and portage personal and group gear around Virginia Falls. Participants should be comfortable paddling tandem. Moving water experience with intermediate canoeing skills and basic camping experience is required. Once on the trip, our guides are excellent instructors and are able to assist you in developing your skills.

We have added special features to each of our trips to enhance your experience.

On our Nahanni Headwater Island Lakes 22 Day Canoe/Hiking Trip we provide:

  • Shorter flight distances - produce fewer CO2 emissions
  • Bare wetsuits provided at no extra charge - safety first.
  • Screened dining tent- keep mosquitoes at bay on early season trips
  • Grey Owl wooden and Werner Bandit curved blade paddles- we provide the best paddle on the Nahanni

View the "Nahanni Wild Advantage".


If you have any questions regarding this trip please contact us info@nahanniwild.com .

Toll free number CANADA and USA
1-888-897-5223

Callers from outside North America please dial
1-403-688-7238