Top 10 Hikes in Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park Reserve


Welcome, fellow adventurers, hiking enthusiasts, and those who accidentally stumbled upon this blog while searching for "top 10 likes in the banana national park" (don't worry, we won't judge your spelling skills). Today, we embark on a hilarious journey through Nahanni National Park, where the trails are as wild as the wildlife and the hiking boots are the chosen fashion statement of bears (just kidding, they prefer going bare-pawed).

Now, before we dive into the heart-pounding hikes and breathtaking views, let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that we're voluntarily subjecting ourselves to sore muscles, bug bites, and questionable bathroom arrangements, all in the name of adventure. It's like willingly signing up for a boot camp run by Mother Nature herself. But fear not, for amid the sweat, tears, and occasional expletives, we'll discover the true beauty and absurdity of hiking in Nahanni National Park.

So, strap on your backpacks, grab your sense of humour an essential survival tool), and get ready to conquer the trails that will test your physical limits and sanity. From tracksuits named after mythical creatures to paths that require ninja-like agility, we've compiled a list that will make you question your life choices and simultaneously marvel at the wonders of this untamed wilderness.

Whether you're an experienced hiker or someone who considers walking from the couch to the fridge a significant achievement, there's something for everyone in our top 10 list. We've got hikes that will make you feel like you've entered a Tolkien novel, trails that will challenge your inner mountain goat and destinations that will make you question if you've accidentally stumbled upon a hidden paradise (spoiler alert: you did).

But wait, there's more! Along the way, we'll share stories of encounters with mischievous wildlife, offer tips on how to spot a grumpy moose before it spots you, and maybe even confess to embarrassing moments involving mosquito nets and attempts at wilderness yoga (don't ask).

So, buckle up (metaphorically, of course, we don't recommend wearing a seatbelt while hiking) and get ready for a side-splitting, breathtaking, and downright ridiculous journey through the top 10 hikes in Nahanni National Park. Adventure awaits, laughter is guaranteed, and the promise of unforgettable memories is just a trail marker away. Let's go forth, one hilarious step at a time!

1. Virginia Falls

Nahanni National Park Reserve, South Nahanni River


If you're looking for a hike that packs a punch, then the Virginia Falls trail is for you. This 12 km round trip hike will take you through some of the most stunning wilderness in Nahanni National Park, including a dense forest, a rugged landscape, and of course, breathtaking Virginia Falls themselves. As you hike along the trail, you'll be surrounded by the sounds of nature, from the chirping of birds to the rustling of leaves. You might even spot some wildlife, like a moose or a bear (but don't worry, they're more interested in the scenery than in you).

As you approach the falls, you'll feel the mist on your face and hear the roar of the water crashing down. It's truly a sight to behold, and one that will leave you in awe of the power of nature. Take some time to soak it all in, and maybe even snap a few photos (just don't get too close to the edge!). And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even take a dip in the refreshing waters of the falls (just make sure you're a strong swimmer and don't stray too far from shore).

2. Headwall Canyon

Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories


Brace yourself, folks, because the Headwall Canyon hike is not for the faint of heart. This 25 km round trip hike will take you through some of the most rugged and challenging terrains in Nahanni National Park. But for those who are up to the challenge, the rewards are truly worth it.

As you make your way along the trail, you'll traverse narrow, deep canyons, scramble up steep slopes, and navigate rocky terrain. It's a bit of a workout, but trust us, the views from the top are breathtaking. You'll feel like you're on top of the world, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. And if you're lucky, you might even spot some wildlife, like a mountain goat caribou herdibou.

But perhaps the most rewarding part of the Headwall Canyon hike is the sense of accomplishment you'll feel when you reach the top. You'll have pushed yourself to your limits, and come out on the other side stronger and more resilient. It's a hike that will test your physical and mental fortitude, and leave you feeling like you can conquer anything.

3. Sunblood Mountain

Nahanni National Park Reserve, parks canada


If you're looking for a hike that combines stunning views with a bit of a challenge, then the Sunblood Mountain trail is the one for you. This 15 km round trip hike will take you to the summit of one of the most majestic peaks in Nahanni National Park, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

As you make your way along the trail, you'll traverse a variety of terrain, from lush forests to rocky slopes. It's a bit of a climb, but trust us, the views from the top are worth every step. You'll feel like you're on top of the world, with 360-degree views of the mountains, valleys, and rivers below.

But perhaps the most unique aspect of the Sunblood Mountain hike is the opportunity to catch some rays and work on your tan. The summit is one of the few spots in Nahanni National Park where you can bask in the sunlight, and soak up some much-needed vitamin D. Just be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, and maybe a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.

4. Flat Lakes Trail

Nahanni National Park Reserve, Nahanni River Adventures


Don't be fooled by the name, folks, because the Flat Lakes Trail is anything but flat. This 8 km round trip hike will take you through a stunning alpine valley, past several small lakes, and offer you awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

As you set foot on the trail, you'll find yourself immersed in a picturesque landscape that seems straight out of a postcard. The trail winds through lush meadows, vibrant wildflowers, and dense forests, creating a feast for the eyes at every turn. You'll feel like you've stepped into a fairy tale as you cross babbling brooks on wooden bridges and follow the path carved into the earth.

But don't let the serene surroundings fool you. The trail does have its fair share of elevation changes and rocky sections, giving you a bit of a challenge along the way. It's a test of both your physical endurance and your hiking skills, but the rewards are well worth it.

As you reach the higher points of the trail, be prepared to have your breath taken away, not just from the physical exertion, but from the stunning vistas that unfold before you. From the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains to the shimmering lakes nestled in the valleys, the scenery will make you feel like you've entered a hidden paradise.

Take a moment to rest and rejuvenate by one of the tranquil lakes along the trail. You can dip your toes in the cool, crystal-clear water, and maybe even spot some fish swimming beneath the surface. It's a perfect spot for a picnic or to simply sit and marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds you.

As you are around island lake and continue your journey, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. You might spot a majestic moose grazing by the lakeshore or a curious fox darting through the underbrush. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring overhead, its wings spread wide against the backdrop of the endless sky.

The Flat Lakes Trail offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, tranquillity, and a touch of adventure. So lace up your boots, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Nahanni National Park.

5. Summit Lake Trail

Fort Simpson river trips


Prepare yourself for a hike that takes you to new heights, both figuratively and literally. The Summit Lake Trail is a 6 km round trip adventure that leads you to the crown jewel of Nahanni National Park. Along the way, you'll be treated to breathtaking views, captivating wildlife sightings, and an invigorating trek that will leave you feeling accomplished.

As you set foot on the trail, you'll be surrounded by a symphony of nature's melodies. The rustling leaves, the chirping birds, and the gentle whispers of the wind will serenade you as you traverse through a variety of landscapes. The path meanders through dense forests, opens up to expansive meadows, and occasionally unveils panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe.

The trail gradually ascends, rewarding you with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. With each step, you'll feel the anticipation building, urging you to reach the summit and witness the grandeur that awaits. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters. From nimble mountain goats gracefully traversing the rocky cliffs to elusive woodland creatures darting through the undergrowth, every sighting adds to the enchantment of your journey.

As you near the culmination of your hike, the sight of Summit Lake emerges like a shimmering gem nestled amidst the rugged terrain. The vibrant turquoise waters reflect the sky above, creating a mirror-like surface that accentuates the surrounding natural splendour. Take a moment to absorb the serenity of this hidden oasis, and perhaps indulge in a well-deserved break.

Sit on the lakeshore, soak in the tranquillity, and let your senses revel in the magnificence of nature. Witness the dance of sunlight on the water's surface, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and feel a sense of utter peace wash over you. It's a perfect opportunity to indulge in a well-deserved snack or sip on a refreshing drink while immersing yourself in the beauty that surrounds you.

As you begin the final canyon of your descent, take a moment to turn around and capture a mental snapshot of the view from the summit. The memory of the breathtaking panorama will stay with you long after your journey is over.

The Summit Lake Trail is not just about reaching a destination; it's about the journey itself. It's about pushing your limits, connecting with nature, and embracing the accomplishment of conquering a challenge. So, tie your shoelaces tighter, take a deep breath, and embark on this unforgettable expedition to Summit Lake.

6. Ram Plateau

South Nahanni Rivers, nahanni butte


Get ready to channel your inner mountain goat as you embark on the adventure of a lifetime through the rugged and exhilarating Ram Plateau hike. This 22 km round trip trail will take you on a wild journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes Nahanni National Park has to offer.

As you set foot on the trail, prepare to be enchanted by the raw beauty that surrounds you. The path winds through a variety of terrains, from dense forests to open meadows, with each step bringing you closer to the heart of the national park reserve's untamed wilderness. You'll find yourself navigating rocky outcrops, crossing babbling streams, and ascending steep slopes, all in pursuit of unforgettable vistas.

As you ascend higher into the plateau, the true magnitude of the landscape unfolds before your eyes. Majestic mountains rise on the horizon, their peaks kissing the sky, while deep valleys and pristine rivers meander through the rugged terrain. The untouched beauty of this remote corner of the world is sure to leave you in awe, making every ounce of effort worthwhile.

Keep your camera at the ready because you never know what wildlife might grace you with their presence. From the graceful movements of a mountain goat navigating the rocky cliffs to the playful antics of a family of ptarmigans, the Ram Plateau is a wildlife enthusiast's dream come true.

While the hike may challenge your stamina and endurance, the rewards are immeasurable. At the end of the trail, you'll find yourself standing on a precipice overlooking a vast expanse of untouched wilderness. The feeling of accomplishment, coupled with the breathtaking views that stretch as far as the eye can see, will make you feel like you're on top of the world.

Take a moment to soak it all in, let the tranquillity of the surroundings wash over you, and reflect on the incredible journey you've undertaken. The Ram Plateau hike is not just an adventure; it's a transformative experience that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

So, lace up your boots, embrace your inner adventurer, and venture into the untamed beauty of the Ram Plateau. Unleash your spirit of exploration and allow the magic of Nahanni National Park to unfold before your eyes.

Note: Due to the rugged and challenging nature of the Ram Plateau hike, it's essential to be well-prepared, physically fit, and equipped with appropriate gear. Plan ahead, check weather conditions, and consult with park authorities for up-to-date information before embarking on this extraordinary journey.

7. Mason's Rock

UNESCO world heritage site, honeymoon lake


Brace yourself for a hike that will leave you feeling like you've entered a realm of giants. The Mason's Rock trail is a 10 km round trip adventure that takes you to a towering rock formation that seems to defy gravity. This natural wonder will leave you in awe of the forces that shaped the landscape of Nahanni National Park.

As you begin your hike, you'll find yourself surrounded by a lush forest that seems to whisper secrets of the ancient land. The trail winds its way from the flat river, through moss-covered trees, over babbling brooks, and up gentle slopes, gradually revealing glimpses of the magnificent rock formation that awaits.

As you approach Mason's Rock, prepare to have your jaw drop in astonishment. Rising high into the sky, the massive rock seems like an otherworldly sculpture carved by the hands of giants. Its sheer size and peculiar shape make it a sight that must be seen to be believed. You'll feel like a tiny speck in the presence of this geological marvel.

Take a moment to sit at the base of the rock and marvel at its grandeur. Run your fingers along its weathered surface, feeling the history and stories it holds within its layers. You might even be lucky enough to witness the dance of light as the sun's rays filter through the cracks and crevices, casting magical shadows on the ground below.

But the adventure doesn't end there. For the intrepid explorers among us, there's an opportunity to go even higher. With a bit of scrambling and a touch of bravery, you can ascend to the top of Mason's Rock. From this lofty vantage point, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the national parks, and park reserve office surrounding wilderness. The vast expanse of Nahanni National Park stretches before you, offering a glimpse into the untamed beauty that lies beyond.

As you make your way back down the trail, take a moment to reflect on the sheer magnitude of nature's power and the wonders it has bestowed upon this extraordinary national park reserve. The Mason's Rock hike is a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty that can be found in even the most unexpected corners of the world.

8. Glacier Lake

mountain ranges of Nahanni


Lace up your hiking boots and prepare to be transported to a world of icy wonders. The Glacier Lake trail is a 14 km round trip journey that leads you to a pristine alpine lake nestled in the embrace of majestic glaciers. This hike offers a unique opportunity to witness the remnants of the last ice age and experience the magic of Nahanni's frozen landscapes.

As you begin your hike, you'll find yourself immersed in a stunning alpine environment. The trail meanders through meadows adorned with colourful wildflowers, traverses rocky slopes, and crosses crystal-clear streams fed by melting glaciers. The air is crisp and invigorating, and the sounds of nature fill your ears, providing a symphony of serenity.

As you approach Glacier Lake, the sight that greets you is nothing short of breathtaking. The lake, surrounded by towering peaks and cascading waterfalls, is a shimmering gem in the heart of Nahanni National Park. The water, fed by ancient glaciers, takes on a mesmerizing turquoise hue, inviting you to dip your fingers in and feel the chill of its icy embrace.

Take a moment to sit by the lakeshore and absorb the tranquillity that surrounds you. The silence is interrupted only by the distant rumbling of ice breaking off the glaciers and crashing into the water. It's a reminder of the dynamic nature of this frozen landscape, where time seems to stand still and yet, everything is in constant motion.

For adventurous souls, there's an opportunity to explore further and get up close and personal with the glaciers. With caution and proper equipment, you can venture onto the icy terrain, marvelling at the towering ice formations and listening to the echoes of your footsteps as they reverberate through the glacial valley. The sensation of standing on ancient ice, surrounded by towering walls of frozen beauty, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

As you make your way back from Glacier Lake, take a moment to reflect on the delicate balance between the frozen and the living. The glaciers, with their immense power and beauty, are a reminder of the Earth's ever-changing landscapes. Witnessing the juxtaposition of frozen ice and vibrant life in Nahanni National Park is a humbling experience that reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things.

9. The Rabbitkettle Hike

Northern Canada, River maintained


Prepare yourself for a journey that will take you to the heart of a geological wonder. The Rabbitkettle Hike is a 20 km round trip adventure that leads you to the mesmerizing Rabbitkettle Hot Springs and Tufa Mounds, a true marvel of nature in Nahanni National Park.

As you embark on the trail, you'll find yourself immersed in a diverse landscape that showcases the park's unique geological features. The path winds through lush forests, crosses gentle streams, and weaves through open meadows adorned with wildflowers. The air is filled with the sweet scent of nature, and the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling provide a melodic backdrop to your journey.

As you approach the Rabbitkettle Hot Springs, the anticipation builds. The sound of bubbling water reaches your ears, and the steam rising from the thermal springs dances in the air, creating an ethereal atmosphere. The hot springs, with their crystal-clear turquoise waters, invite you to take a dip and immerse yourself in their rejuvenating embrace.

But the Rabbitkettle Hot Springs are not the only marvel awaiting you. As you explore further, you'll come across the fascinating Tufa Mounds. These geological formations, created over thousands of years by mineral-rich hot springs, rise from the ground like otherworldly sculptures. Their intricate and delicate structures are a testament to the artistry of nature and the passage of time.

Take a moment to sit amidst the Tufa Mounds, feeling their textured surfaces beneath your fingertips. Listen to the whispers of the wind as it caresses the mounds, and let your imagination run wild as you try to decipher the stories they hold within their ancient layers.

The Rabbitkettle Hike is a journey that combines the soothing powers of the hot springs with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Tufa Mounds. It's an exploration of the Earth's geological wonders and a reminder of the power and creativity of nature.

10. Little Nahanni Valley

mountain goats and mountain dwelling people


Get ready to step into a realm of enchantment as you embark on the Little Nahanni Valley hike. This 30 km round trip adventure takes you through a remote and captivating landscape, showcasing the pristine beauty of Nahanni National Park.

As you set foot on the trail, you'll feel like you've entered a world untouched by time. The path winds through dense forests, traverses meandering rivers, and leads you into the heart of the valley. The air is crisp, carrying with it the scents of the wilderness, and the only sounds you'll hear are the rustling of leaves and the gentle flow of water.

As you venture deeper into the valley, prepare to be awed by the towering cliffs that surround you. The rock formations, carved by millennia of natural forces, stand as silent sentinels, guarding the secrets of the land. The Little Nahanni River, with its crystal-clear waters, weaves its way through the valley, adding a touch of serenity to the already breathtaking landscape.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters along the way. From elusive wolves prowling in the distance to graceful mountain goats scaling the cliffs


And there you have it, my fellow adventurers! We've reached the end of our epic journey through the top 10 hikes in Nahanni National Park. We've laughed, we've sweated, we've cursed at our blistered feet, but most importantly, we've experienced the wonders of this wild and wacky wilderness.

From encountering amorous mosquitoes who mistake us for their soulmates to perfecting our interpretive dance moves to scare off curious grizzly bears ourselves, we've truly embraced the absurdity that comes with exploring the great outdoors. And let's not forget the thrill of triumphantly reaching the summits, only to realize we forgot to pack celebratory snacks (rookie mistake, we know).

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