Aulavik National Park

Location: Banks Island, Northwest Territories
Region: Outside Ontario
Character: Arctic Lowlands
Length/Size: 12,000 km 2

Aulavik National Park
By Parks Canada

Aulavik, meaning " place where people travel " in Inuvialuktun, protects more than 12,000 square kilometres of arctic lowlands on the north end of Banks Island. The park encompasses a variety of landscapes from fertile river valleys to polar deserts, buttes and badlands, rolling hills, and bold seacoasts. At the heart of Aulavik is the Thomsen River, which offers visitors a chance to paddle one of the continent's most northerly navigable waterways. This pristine arctic environment is home to both the endangered Peary caribou and to the highest density of muskoxen in the world. The wildlife and land have supported aboriginal peoples for more than 3,400 years, from Pre-Dorset cultures to contemporary Inuvialuit.

Aulavik National Park offers unprecedented opportunities for backcountry enthusiasts to experience the arctic. Paddlers can take a multi-week trip down the pristine, gently flowing Thomsen River. Backpackers can explore the expansive, rolling terrain where hiking is possible virtually anywhere.

This far north, the sun does not set for most of the summer season. These months of endless daylight offer visitors a unique chance to paddle or hike at any time of the day or night. The midnight sun is also accompanied by hours of soft light and long shadows - a photographer's dream.

A highlight of any trip to Aulavik is wildlife viewing and bird watching. The open landscape and continuous light means you are certain to see a variety of species such as arctic foxes, lemmings, arctic wolves, shore and sea birds, raptors, and of course, herds of muskoxen.

Keep in mind that this is true wilderness. There are no facilities, services, established trails or campgrounds in the park. Visitors must be entirely self-sufficient and be able to handle any medical or weather-related emergency on their own.