Google+ Self Guided Trips - The Mackenzie River (Deh Cho) | Canoe North

Self Guided Trips - The Mackenzie River (Deh Cho)

The 1800 km (1120 mile) Mackenzie River (see map) is the longest river in Canada and forms part of the Finlay-Peace-Mackenzie River, the tenth longest in the world. Travelled by First Nations for generations, by the explorer Alexander Mackenzie in 1789, and later by fur-traders, missionaries, and adventurers.

The Mackenzie River passes through the Dehcho Region, by the communities of Fort Providence, Jean Marie River, Fort Simpson (the oldest fur trade settlement along the river) and Wrigley. The river continues through the Sahtu region where you will visit the communities of Tulita, Norman Wells, and Fort Good Hope and then on to the communities of Tsiigehtchic, and Inuvik in the Gwich'in Region and finally through the Inuvialuit Region to the Arctic Ocean and Tuktoyaktuk.

Click here to download an interactive mileage chart. (must have Excel on your pc) This is only a rough guide as it doesn't take in the speed of the current. There is a good current going through Ft. Providence and then there is little current until the river narrows after Mills Lake. You will then have good current until you hit the delta and then it will slow again.  The current varies with the water levels. So you would expect the flows to be quicker in June than in August.

Hay River is the perfect location to start your adventure. If you drive to Hay River you can either put your vehicle on the barge and it will be waiting for you in Inuvik or Tuktoyaktuk when you complete your paddle.  The barge system MTS is under new management so you will need to them in March to determine when you have to have your vehicle at their dock, the cost is determined by the weight/length of your vehicle. Or you can catch a plane back from Inuvik to Edmonton, Yellowknife or Hay River. 

If you are flying; West Jet, Canadian North, Air Canada, and First Air all fly into Yellowknife from Edmonton.   Canadian North and First Air both fly out of Inuvik. 
If you paddle to Tuktoyaktuk you can either fly out with the local airlines or take a boat ride back with Tundra North Tours or check with the locals if there are people travelling to Inuvik.
Approximate timing of paddling sections of the Mackenzie River:
  • Hay River to Inuvik takes approximately 4-7 weeks  (It has been completed in 3 weeks by two crazy New Zealand paddlers).
  • Hay River to Fort Providence takes 4 days (on the road system)
  • Fort Providence to Fort Simpson 8-9 days (on the road system) 
  • Fort Simpson to Wrigley 5 days (on the road system)
  • Wrigley to Norman Wells 10-14 days (no road access)
  • Norman Wells to Inuvik 10 days (no road access)
  • Inuvik to Tuk is 4-7 days depending on wind.

We can drop you off or pick you up at different sections of the river.

The drop off fees are listed here:

The canoe or kayak rental rates are here, the freight to return the canoe to Hay River is $250. 
We require 25% to book and hold your canoe. (nonrefundable within 60 days of your trip start date) After your trip starts there are no refunds if you do not complete your trip. Payment can be by visa or master card or PayPal.  Wire transfers are also accepted.
Price includes:
- 3 paddles for canoes,
- 2 paddles for kayaks
- PFDs
- throw bag
- bail bucket
We take a $1000.00 deposit on your Visa or Mastercard when you depart and then we return it when you drop off the canoe in Inuvik or Tuktoyaktuk with the barge company (MTS).
We also rent:
GPS/SPOT/inreach   day 10.00
Sat phones mth  250.00
barrels,dry bags/bear cannisters week  5.00
tents week  30.00
sleeping bags week  20.00
We sell River Charts:
River Charts $12.00-$20.00 each
Lake Charts $20.00 each
Topographic maps $11.45 each
A set of Mackenzie River  (1:250,00) topo maps $250.00
All prices in Canadian Dollars (CAD).