Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park


Location: Northwest Territories Map

Area: 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi)


Description of Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park is situated in Northwest Territories of Canada. Nahanni National Park covers an area of 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi). Nahanni National Park is located in the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. It territory encompasses a basin of the South Nahanni river. The name Nahanni comes from the local native American dialect of indigenous Dene people who called this river Naha Dehe what can be translated as "the river of the land of the Naha people". The area of Nahanni National Park is dominated by four canyons that named First, Second, Third and Fourth. The deepest canyon reaches a depth of 1,000 meters or 3,300 feet in depth.


The Nahanni National Park, in the Northwest Territories of Canada, about 500 kilometers west of Yellowknife, protects a part of the natural region of the Mackenzie Mountains. It has an extension of 4766 km2, and was created in 1976. In 1978 it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The park is crossed in its entire length by the South Nahanni River, which runs marked by four large canyons. In the central area of ​​the park is the largest waterfall in North America, the Virginia Falls; On a 200-meter front, the river rushes from a height of 92 meters, twice as high as the Niagara Falls. In the center of the waterfall a rocky outcropping of glacial origin appears, called Mason's Rock in honor of Bill Mason, famous Canadian canoeist, writer and filmmaker. There is a proposal to rename the falls with the name of Pierre Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada.

The natural environment of the park consists of forests of fir and poplar trees, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, sulphurous thermal springs and a system of karst caves, and hosts many species of fish, birds and mammals. There is a visitor center in Fort Simpson, the nearest city, where the geography, culture and history of the region are explained. The only practical means to get to the park are the hydroplane and the helicopter.


Nahanni National Park Reserve covers an area of 30,050 km² (11,600 sq mi), almost the size of Belgium, approximately 500 km (311 mi) west of Yellowknife. It protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. The centrepiece of the park is the South Nahanni River (Naha Dehé). Four canyons reaching 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in depth, called First, Second, Third and Fourth Canyon, line this whitewater river.

The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language name for the area; Nahʔa Dehé, which means "river of the land of the Nahʔa people", who some now speculate may have been the ancestors of the modern day Navajo people.

Nahanni National Park Reserve Headquarters, Box 348, Fort Simpson, NWT, X0E 0N0,, ☎ +1 867 695-3151, e-mail:  Winter (September 15 - June 15) M-F 8:30AM-noon, 1PM-5PM. Closed weekends. Summer (June 15 - September 15) Daily 8AM-noon, 1PM-5PM.


Fees and permits

Northern Park Backcountry Excursion/Camping Permit valid at Nahanni, Auyuittuq, Ivvavik, Aulavik, Quttinirpaaq, Sirmilik, Tuktut Nogait and Vuntut National Parks (per person, 2018):

Daily $24.50
Annual $147.20

Fishing permit:
Daily $9.80
Annual $34.30