Kayaking & Canoeing

Inuit ancestors created the kayak (Inuktitut qajaq meaning hunting boat), to explore and hunt, travel and survive along the Arctic coasts, waters and rivers that shape our land. Each kayak was custom built of animal skins over bone or driftwood and perfectly balanced to the kayaker. Historically what was once an adventure in survival in the North, can be your Arctic adventure. 

Nunavut is a unique world-class destination for sea-kayaking, whitewater kayaking and canoeing. Our rivers and lakes thaw in late spring and when the sea ice breaks up in the summer 45,000 miles of Arctic coastline await your paddle alongside majestic icebergs, secluded fiords, bays and inlets, past waterfalls and over thrilling rapids. 

Find Your True North in Nunavut

Paddle north of the Arctic Circle in the most beautiful waters of the world. On the ocean, kayak alongside beluga whales, navigate the floe edge around floating ice while spotting colonies of kittiwakes, low-flying fulmars and king eider ducks, stopping to photograph seals, walrus and the unicorn like tusks of the narwhal. 

Canoeing our world famous heritage rivers – the Coppermine, the Thelon, the Kazan, the Soper – make the spirit of the Arctic come alive in the long twilight hours of summer. You’ll experience a connection to the land from gently rolling lush tundra hills to steep barren rock cliffs, from calm lakes to swift flowing narrows and imposing waterfalls. 

With our experienced guides and expert outfitters, each of the three regions of Nunavut offers the polar splash of kayaking and canoeing Arctic adventures:  along the Coppermine River in Kitikmeot, the Dubawnt River, the Kazan and Thelon Heritage Rivers and the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary in Kivalliq, and the Back River, running through both regions. The Soper Heritage River with the countless waterfalls of Katannilik Territorial Park is in the Qikiqtaaluk region.

Canoeing & Kayaking Experiences

You can arrange short day trips or longer canoeing excursions including 200 miles without portage, from outfitters and wilderness lodges in the communities of Arviat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Igloolik, Kugluktuq, Pangnirtung, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, and Repulse Bay.

Sea-kayaking and floe edge adventures start in many communities such as Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Igloolik, Iqaluit, Kugaaruk, Pond Inlet, Resolute Bay and Sanikiluaq. Whitewater kayaking and rafting runs take place on rapid waterways like the Sylvia Grinnell River located near Iqaluit and the Soper Heritage River located near Kimmirut.

Many visitors to Nunavut choose to combine kayaking or canoeing with other activities – fishing, wildlife viewing or birdwatching, camping and trekking explorations of the land and flora of the colourful tundra in summer. These adventures can include floatplane fly-ins and portages and all can be arranged through local outfitters and guides or at Wilderness Lodges. 

 

Begin planning your trip with one of our operators.

Similar activities in Nunavut

Outdoor

Tours

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Outdoor

Photography & Filming

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Outdoor, Wildlife

Fishing

World Class and World Record Sport Fishing

Before we go on, allow us to brag for moment — fishers in Nunavut hold 6 world records with the International Game Fish Association — from a saltwater all tackle record 32 pound Arctic Char to a freshwater fly rod record Lake Trout of 28 pounds. Now, for the cast: 

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Outdoor, Spring

Floe Edge

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Adventure, Outdoor, Winter, Spring

ATV & Snowmobiling

It’s not the traditional way to get around, but it sure gets you around

ATVs and snowmobiling have become a modern alternative to trekking, snowshoeing or dogsledding. A new way to travel to the old places where you can ice fish, see the wildlife or get to and from our parks, sanctuaries, cultural sites and local communities. 

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Outdoor, Spring, Summer, Fall

Hiking & Camping

Experiences and Locales

Summer hiking and camping experiences include the migratory bird wetlands of Polar Bear Pass near Resolute; along the shores of Whale Cove for sightings of beluga whales; through wondrous Akshayuk Pass in the mountains of Auyuittuq National Park featuring magnificent Mount Thor and the world’s tallest vertical cliff face at 1,250 metres (4,101 feet) near Pangnirtung.

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Outdoor

Boating

 

Boating in the arctic is a broad spectrum including the large bespoke super-yachts and icebreaking expedition ships to privately arranged eco-tours, custom nautical experiences, sport fishing expeditions, local small boat tours, rafting & kayaking to wildlife viewing marine trips - even polar diving.  

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Outdoor, Wildlife

Bird Watching

Our main birdwatching season starts in May and goes through August in the midnight sun, as millions of migratory birds return to the land where they were born to give birth to a new generation.

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Outdoor, Winter, Spring, Wildlife

Dogsledding

Mush Hour Adventures

Qimmiit, the plural of qimmiq, is the Inuktitut name for Canadian Inuit dogs - official animal of Nunavut and rarest and oldest dog breed in the world. Our brave, revered dogs pull strong and flexible qamutiit (sleds) and have helped us travel and hunt and provided loyal companionship for centuries in the Arctic. 

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You definitely need to discover it for yourself.

You have to see it for yourself, how the awesome vistas extend past the frame of what is represented in photos and videos. Hear authentic voices tell their stories first hand. Define your experience through direct perception, undergo a transformation through observing, encountering and participating first hand in the Spirit of the Arctic.

It’ll be good.

Your adventure starts now

Start planning

What's on your travel bucket list? Experience the rare and unique arctic wildlife. Take a ride on a dog sled across ancient Inuit hunting trails. Witness centuries-old traditions in modern time. All of this is possible in Nunavut.