The vast country of Canada is home to some of the most amazing panoramas of nature and wildlife that will send chills down any outdoorsman or hiker's spine. Let's focus on some of the amazing trails in the Northwest Territories with three different difficulty levels to suit any type of outdoorsman.
Formerly known as the Pangnirtung Pass, this mountain trail is truly breathtaking. Located in the beautiful Ayuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, this trail is 100 kilometers long, enough to keep even the seasoned hiker busy for quite awhile. For starters, many hikers only tackle the 20 kilometer journey from the south end of the park up to Summit Lake and then return along the same path. The overall trail follows a spectacular valley between the southern boundary of the national park and neighboring Broughton Island.
There are numerous points of interest along the hiking trail as well. The Pangnirtung valley is lined with shear-faced mountains. Travelers won't be able to miss one of the world's tallest rock cliffs located at Mount Thor. Hikers will see hanging glaciers and plenty of wildlife; careful observers will be able to see the occasional polar bear, but be sure to stay safely away. Nature is beautiful but can be destructive at times.
The major hazards along this trail are the cold weather, snow accumulation, and glacier fed rivers. Snow will linger in the pass into May and even June and will begin to accumulate again in the fall during September. Glacier fed rivers are an extreme frostbite and hypothermia hazard even for experienced hikers. Make sure to take all the necessary precautions and travel in groups with at least two different methods for reaching park authorities for assistance or rescue if needed.
All in all, enjoy the scenery and keep an eye out for the Innushuks!
Katannilik Territorial Park
For the hiker looking to advance beyond the usual national parks, the Itijjagiaq Trail in Katannilik Territorial Park is an excellent choice. At around 100 kilometers in length, it is a good distance for most hikers. The trail itself skirts around Frobisher Bay before it encounters the gently rolling hills of the Meta Incognita peninsula. The moderate difficulty comes from having the trail largely unmarked. There are suggested routes to follow that act as a guideline, but hikers are free to blaze their own trail while gaining experience in hiking off-trail.
Canol Heritage Trail
Before we even mention anything more, note that this trail is only for experienced hikers working in teams. This trail in the Northwest Territories is comprised of an abandoned road, originally used to reach remote oil fields, that stretches for 350 kilometers through the Mckenzie Mountains starting from the Yukon border all the way to Norman Wells. The entire trip is almost entirely through remote wilderness, as this is not a staffed national park and not for inexperienced hikers. However, for those with many treks under your belt, the Canol Heritage Trail is a challenging and visually stunning trail hike should not be passed up.
Any of these three Canadian trails would be an enjoyable trek for seasoned hikers. As with any hike, be sure to pack essential food and safety supplies, and take time to appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors.
A resident of Vancouver, Shawn Baybutt is a worldwide traveler who enjoys writing about his experiences. Shawn Baybutt is also an avid hiker and enjoys everything the great outdoors has to offer.
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