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Canadian Wild Life Adventures – CANOEING

Peaceful days that are hard to describe – because there
really are no words to capture the silent beauty that lays before you.

Northwest Territories Canoeing Adventures

nwt canoeing

A canoeing adventure in the barrenlands of Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) is as stunning as it gets. Beautiful landscapes, rivers and streams just made for exploring and enjoying native wildlife, skies that range from 24-hour sunlight to spectacular aurora borealis, and so much more. These are the scenes that will populate your memory for years to come. Words will fail you – come see for yourself.

northwest territories canoeing

This is a stunning NWT canoeing trip through lesser-known parts of the tundra, where you will canoe down small rivers connecting massive lakes, beside eskers and rolling hills. Very few people have travelled this route – and that means hard work.

There are up to 10 portages on this 17 day trip, depending on water levels. The reward is the scenery, the remoteness, and the satisfaction of doing what few people have done.

This trip is the shorter of our two canoe expeditions. You won’t give up any of the excitement by choosing Courageous. Essentially, you will follow the same route as the Jolly Lake Tour from the fourth day forward. These challenging itineraries will repay your efforts with daily pleasures that very few have experienced.








You do not need to be an advanced paddler. You do need to be looking for a challenge and be willing to carry heavy loads over uneven ground. With our camps at both Jolly Lake and Courageous Lake, you can choose the trip length that works best for you. Starting from Jolly Lake takes you through the last pockets of trees into the open tundra, while starting from Courageous Lake keeps you well above the treeline.

Storms in the arctic are not uncommon and weather is unpredictable. It is possible that we will have days where the lakes will be too rough to paddle safely. There is a chance that we will not reach Aylmer Lake Lodge and will be picked up by floatplane, if our time runs out before we make it there. This is
just part of the excitement of arctic trips!

Get up close and personal with the best of Canada’s arctic.

Every day you’ll discover a new jewel in your travels.

Where the journey takes you

If you start at jolly lake:

DAY 1 –

6 km / 3.7 miles

This is a short, easy day to get used to loading and paddling the canoes. We start at the camp on the east end of Jolly Lake and canoe into the unnamed river that leads to Courageous Lake. After one shallow section where we may have to line the canoes, we camp on a beautiful esker with sandy sections and quite a few spruce trees around.

DAY 2 –

9 km / 5.6 miles

We’ll start off canoeing a narrow river running beside the esker. This section contains two likely portages and a few places where we will line the canoes. We’re not going far, so we’ll have time to enjoy the scenery along the way. Depending on the season, we may be able to snack on abundant cloudberries by one of the portages.

DAY 3 –

13 km / 8 miles

This is our first day paddling in Courageous Lake. The esker system on the west end of the lake provides unique landscape to explore during our lunch break. No need to set up tents this night, as we end the day at the camp on Courageous Lake

DAY 4 –

0 km / 0 miles

This is a short, easy day to get used to loading and paddling the canoes. We start at the camp on the east end of Jolly Lake and canoe into the unnamed river that leads to Courageous Lake. After one shallow section where we may have to line the canoes, we camp on a beautiful esker with sandy sections and quite a few spruce trees around.

DAY 5 –

30 km / 18.64 miles

Today is a long paddling day after our rest yesterday. Our goal is to get across Courageous Lake and into the Snake River to a picturesque camping spot.

If you start at Courageous Lake:

DAY 4 (Day 1) –

16 km / 9.94 miles

A reasonable day of lake paddling to get used to loading, canoeing, and setting up camp. We will likely camp on an island in Courageous Lake.

DAY 5 (Day 2) –

14 km / 8.7 miles

We enter the Snake River and camp on a beautiful esker sticking out into the Snake river.

From Here, both trips are the same:

DAY 6 (Day 3) –

17 km / 10.56 miles

We paddle most of the Snake River, through islands and eskers, with some rapids and rocks. We may have a portage, depending on water levels.

DAY 7 (Day 4) –

14 km / 8.7 miles

We get to MacKay Lake after some rapids and another portage, then head up the west side of the lake.

DAY 8 (Day 5) –

20 km / 12.43 miles

This is a lake paddling day, weather permitting. We head north on McKay and cross over to the east side, past many islands.

DAY 9 (Day 6) –

15 km / 9.32 miles

We say goodbye to MacKay Lake and enter the Lockhart River. The current will push us along, but there will be at least one portage and likely a lot of lining canoes.

DAY 10 (Day 7) –

15 km / 11.2 miles

The last day river paddling. There are lots of rapids near the end to line and portage. We camp near a small set of falls (or large rapids) beside an esker.

DAY 11 (Day 8) –

0 km / 0 miles

A perfect rest or hiking day if we’re not behind schedule – hike along the esker, fish below the falls, relax on a sandy beach, or visit and play games in camp.

DAY 12 (Day 9) –

16 km / 9.94 miles

We paddle across the first of Outram Lakes, portaging or lining our last set of rapids, and camping on another esker.

DAY 13 (Day 10) –

24 km / 14.91 miles

Another relatively long padding day, out into Aylmer Lake, passing some steep hills and camping near the mouth of the Thonokied River.

DAY 14 (Day 11) –

30 km / 18.64 miles

Our last long paddling day with a big crossing on Aylmer Lake in the weather permits. We’ll end up on a rocky point with a beautiful beach.

DAY 15 (Day 12) –

15 km / 9.32 miles

A reasonably short day not that you’re seasoned paddlers. We’ll canoe into Aylmer Lake Lodge and enjoy not having to set up tents, appreciating luxuries like electricity and internet!

You must purchase medical evacuation insurance. We use Global Rescue. Further information about Global Rescue can be found at https://partner.globalrescue.com/aylmerlakelodge/index.html

In the event of a health issue, you need to be able to purchase the flight to pick you up. The plane companies will not leave their dock until they are paid by credit card or insurance company. If you elect to leave lodges or remote camps for other than scheduled flights, it’s at your cost to charter a flight out. The charters require credit card payment be paid before flight leaves the airport.



(NO COTTON other than t-shirts, shorts, and underwear)
Important in the North:
• Bug shirt (bugshirt.com elite edition recommended)
• Bug hood or head net (optional)
Wicking/Base Layers:
• long sleeved tops – 2
• long johns – 2
Insulation/Mid Layers (Fleece or Wool):
• long sleeved tops – 2
• pants – 1
• jacket – puffy or warm fleece for cold evenings in camp
Wind and Rain/Outer Layers:
• Rain jacket with hood – 1
• Rain pants – 1
• Dry pants – 1 (optional, but recommended)
• Wind jacket -1 (must be breathable)
• Quick drying hiking pants – 2 (must be breathable)

Head Gear

• Toque – 2
• Buff or neck warmer – 1 (no cotton buffs – these are common)
• Sun and rain hat – 1 (can be a simple baseball cap)

Hand Gear

• River gloves – 2 pair (either neoprene gloves, a wool glove inside a rubber glove, or waterproof insulated gloves)
• Gloves to protect hands from mosquitos – these could be one of your paddling gloves that are not too warm, or they could be a pair of work gloves
• Warm gloves or mitts for camp – 1 pair


• River Wool socks – 6 pair (one dry pair for at sleeping / around camp, and enough to get through a lot of wet days before we have a warm day to dry them)
• River shoes – 1 pair (these are the shoes you will wear in the canoe every day. Can be a pair of runners with neoprene socks, or can be neoprene rubber boots such as a pair of Muck or Bogg boots, or neoprene booties to go over dry pants. Sandals are not recommended unless they are very sturdy.)
• Hiking boots – 1 pair – waterproof is good, the ground is often wet and very uneven.
• Camp shoes – 1 pair (these you will never wear on the river. Keep them dry. This can be a pair of runners or rubber boots).


• T-shirts – 2 (these can be cotton, but ideally wool or synthetic)
• Shorts – 1 pair (quick drying)
• Underwear – as needed
• Swimwear (optional)
• Small towel (optional)


• Sleeping bag – Rated to -5 or -10°C.
• Insulated sleeping pad
• sunglasses with strap – also bring a strap for prescription glasses if you wear them.
• extra prescription glasses or contacts – if needed.
• Sun screen
• Lip balm/sun screen
• Tough garbage bags – 4 (these are for putting wet clothes in your barrel so you don’t get dry clothes wet).
• Toiletries – bring the minimum (tooth brush and tooth paste) – no need for perfume or even deodorants.
• Full roll of toilet paper in a zip-lock bag with a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
• Water bottle – min. 1 litre. Bring two if you like.
• Leakproof insulated bottle (recommended if you want warm drinks in the canoe)
• carabiners to clip water bottles into the boat
• Small travel towel
• Personal snacks
• Headlamp – bring extra batteries (early season trips likely won’t need this, late season will)

Canadian WildLIfe Adventures Will Supply:

• Canoes, PFDs, paddles, throwbags, dry barrels, dry bags, (or if you have your own pfd, paddle, or dry bags feel free to bring them)
• Shelter and kitchen gear other than your thermos and water bottle.
• Breakfast, lunch, and supper on the canoe trip.
• Safety equipment such as InReach and first-aid kits.


• Journal and pen or pencil
• Camera and waterproof case
• Tripod
• Binoculars
• Fishing rod and small tackle box

Your Investment in Adventure

Jolly Lake Canoe Trip   17 Days   $11,900 CDN + GST

Courageous Lake Canoe Trip   10 Days   $10,500 CDN + GST

Minimum Guest on these tours is 2 people – maximum of 10 people.


2024 Jolly Lake 17-Day Outing

$11,900.00 CAD plus 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST)

2024 Courageous Lake 14-Day Outing

$10,500.00 CAD plus 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST)


Additional Details

• We require 50% deposit. Your final payment is required 90 days prior to your trip. All bookings are non-refundable.
• Contract documents will be forwarded via email for electronic signature. Your documents must be signed and
returned within 7 business days of booking.
• Due to fluctuating fuel costs, a fuel surcharge maybe applicable
• Please be advised that we reserve the right to change our current price listed. Prices at time of booking are
subject to change.

What’s included:


Float Plane Flight from Yellowknife to Aylmer Lake lodge



Professional Guide for your Trip


Lodging & Meals

  • Breakfast, lunch, and supper on the canoe trip.



Laundry Service




use of lodge equipment / lures *

  • Canoes, PFDs, paddles, throwbags, dry barrels, dry bags, (or if you have your own pfd, paddle, or dry bags feel free to bring them)
  • Shelter and kitchen gear other than your thermos and water bottle.
  • Safety equipment such as InReach and first-aid kits.

*Lost or broken equipment/lures are payable by the guest.

What’s NOT included:


Commercial Flight/Travel to Yellowknife from Home Base

  • Airport transport for pick up and drop off at hotel.
  • Transport to the float plane dock for pre-scheduled chartered flight to lodge

licenses (If you choose to fish)

You must bring collapsible dry bag coolers if you plan on fishing and taking fish home with you. There is
no place to buy them in Yellowknife.





Hotel Stay Before and After Your Trip


Frequently Asked Questions

Is there internet / Wifi Available?

While we pride ourselves on being super remote and in tune with nature we do have satellite internet available at our main lodge at Aylmer Lake. 

What do I need to bring?

It depends on your chosen adventure. We have provided lists for potential items that our other adventurers have been grateful to bring to make their trip that much more enjoyable. Please reference your chosen adventure page for more details. 

How do we get to the lodge?

Aylmer Lake Lodge is only accessible by private float plane. There are no roads - just remote wild Tundra terrain and vast lakes and waterways surrounding the area.