The Keele River offers an iconic Canadian wilderness canoeing experience through the rugged Mackenzie Mountains in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Turquoise waters flow from high in the divide between the Yukon and Northwest Territories through towering mountain scenery and broad valleys full of rugged black spruce with inviting vistas on every curve. Although fast and boisterous, the Keele River has lots of room to find a smooth path. As confidence builds, paddlers will seek the larger wave trains. The Keele has very clear lines and the choice to paddle smooth water or bouncy water. There are gracious campsites, big mountain vistas, no portages, very few bugs to worry about, and excellent hiking available.
This river served as a travel route for Mountain Dene hunters. Evidence shows humans used this area 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Our twin otter floatplane lands below the Delthore and Stelfox mountains in the Sayunei, rocks of the big horn and Tigonankweine, the backbone of the earth ranges.
The Keele is wide and deep with high standing waves in places. It narrows into chutes as it glides down a descending gradient slope toward the Mackenzie River turning through spectacular mountain scapes with panoramic views. There can be sightings of caribou, moose, eagles, grizzly and black bears, Dahl sheep and great fishing for both Arctic grayling and bull trout. We don’t always plan for a fish dinner but often if we have fishermen in the group, grayling or trout can be added to tempt everyone’s palate with a fresh fish dinner. Names of landmarks remind us of the exotic nature of a pristine wilderness: dramatic Shezal Canyon; the spacious confluence of the Ekwi River where the mountains plunge right down to the river; sparkling Nainlin Brook; Toochingkla where the fishing is superb; the lively Twitya; Red Dog Creek with its quiet current; and, Talking Cliffs that announce the mighty Mackenzie River lying around the next few bends.
Click here to read an interview account of Keele River by Canoe!
Depart Yellowknife on Canadian North arriving Norman Wells at noon. Orientation, canoe skills training, and accommodation at our basecamp lodge.
09h00 charter flight to the Keele River.
The Keele River is designated by Destination Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, as a Canadian Signature Experience—one of only 180 such experiences designated in Canada.
Return charter flight to Norman Wells; overnight at our basecamp lodge.
Travellers are responsible for arranging their own commercial airfare to and from Norman Wells, NT. Adventure Canada can assist you by recommending flights and itinerary timings, but is not equipped to handle these bookings.
All prices are per person, in Canadian Dollars (CAD) unless specified otherwise, and are cash or cheque discounted.
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