Welcome to Tuktut Nogait National Park
Surprisingly few people experience the deep canyons, stunning waterfalls, and crystal clear rivers of Tuktut Nogait National Park. For those seeking solitude in a world where it is increasingly rare, the vast arctic landscape of Tuktut Nogait offers unparalleled opportunities.
The area’s importance as a birthing and rearing area for the Bluenose West caribou was a key factor in the establishment of the park, and is reflected in its name. In Inuvialuktun, the language of the Inuvialuit, Tuktut Nogait refers to a young caribou from the time it drops, wobbly-footed, on the tundra, until roughly one year of age.
Visit Tuktut Nogait in June for a chance to witness the herd of 20,000 Bluenose West caribou travelling to their calving grounds in the park. Paddle down the pristine Hornaday River in July along a watercourse rich with birdlife. Consider an extended wilderness hike in August when the tundra is ablaze with fall colours. Whatever activities you choose, you are in for an unforgettable arctic adventure.
The Traditional Rights of the Inuvialuit
Though it may feel at times as though you are the first person to walk this landscape, people have been part of the arctic for thousands of years. Tuktut Nogait lands are part of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. While you are on the land you may meet Inuvialuit carrying out their traditional activities as is their right under the Tuktut Nogait Agreement. Many Paulatuk residents engage in fishing, hunting, trapping, berry harvesting and more. These foods make up an important part of their diet as well as an important element of the Inuvialuit culture. Respect the Inuvialuit camps and activities as you explore.
Tuktut Nogait is an Isolated Wilderness Experience
Representing the Tundra Hills Natural Region of Canada, Tuktut Nogait is one of the most isolated national parks in North America. The closest community is the arctic hamlet of Paulatuk, 40 km by air from the western boundary of the park. Weather can be extreme here and there are no visitor facilities in the park. Parks Canada search and rescue staff are based in Inuvik and shared between Tuktut Nogait, Ivvavik and Aulavik National Parks. Search and rescue operations may be delayed by poor weather, geography, aircraft availability and more.
The only first aid available to your party may be the expertise of your party. Visitors should be physically fit and experienced wilderness travelers. They should have advanced wilderness first aid skills and be ready and equipped to handle any medical or weather related emergency.
Having a safe and enjoyable trip in Tuktut Nogait requires careful planning and preparation.
Planning and Preparation
As you are preparing for your trip consider:
- What activities you will be doing (hiking, paddling etc. ) and what level of experience and skills you will need.
- What route you will take.
- Where you will start and end.
- How you will get there. What transportation options will work for your group.
- How long you will be out. Plan a buffer of at least two days at either end of the trip for bad weather or other unexpected delays.
- What equipment you will need for the activities you will be doing.
- What environmental conditions, hazards and risks you can expect. How you will mitigate your risks.
- What backcountry etiquette is expected of your group and are you adequately prepared?
- What park regulations and superintendant's orders you should be aware of.
- Have you contacted Parks Canada staff in Inuvik? They have experience traveling and working in this environment and can provide advice on exploring the park and they will also schedule a time for your mandatory registration and orientation to Tuktut Nogait National Park.
Trip Planning Information
Services and Facilities in the Western Arctic
The Hamlet of Paulatuk
Paulatuk (population 300) is located 40 kilometres west of the park and approximately 420 kilometres east of Inuvik. Many members of this community have close ties to the land. Paulatuk is home to Inuvialuit hunting and fishing guides, as well as artists known for their soapstone, caribou antler and muskox horn carvings.
Fixed Roof Accommodations
The Paulatuk Hotel has ten fully equipped rooms with private washroom, fridge, telephone, wireless internet and satellite TV. A communal kitchen is available to guests. There is no restaurant in Paulatuk, but the hotel manager can provide meals upon request. Both meals and room reservations must be made well in advance of your trip.
There are no campgrounds or camping facilities (washrooms, showers, picnic tables or cooking facilities) in Paulatuk.
Basic groceries are available in Paulatuk’s Northern Store. Consider preparing your backcountry food before arriving in Paulatuk as the variety of groceries is limited.
Camp stove fuel and other flammable items
Scheduled flights do not allow passengers to carry fuel or other flammable items but charter flights often will if consulted in advance. Most types of camping fuel may be purchased in Inuvik, some are available in Paulatuk. If you require specialty fuels you should check in advance with local suppliers.
An ATM is available in the Northern Store. The Northern Store and the hotel will accept credit and debit cards.
The Paulatuk Health Centre has two nurses on staff.
There is a two-member RCMP detachment in town.
Parks Canada Office and Tuktut Nogait Interpretation Centre
Located in the same building as the Paulatuk Hotel and Northern Store, the centre serves as a link between the community, visitors and Parks Canada. It showcases the works of local artists and offers exhibits, photo displays and maps of the cultural and natural history focused on the Tuktut Nogait region. The community uses the centre for story-telling, Elders Teas, Youth Drop-in sessions and more.
The Town of Inuvik
Inuvik is located on the Mackenzie River, 463 kilometres west of Tuktut Nogait. The town has a population of 3,450 and is the regional service centre for the Western Arctic. A wide variety of services are available including several grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, a bank and ATM, hospital, and an RCMP detachment.
The Town of Norman Wells
Norman Wells is located 684 km NW of Yellowknife or approximately 2,210 km by road from Edmonton. Serviced daily by flights from Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife and Inuvik this town of 800 has all the basic services for visitors: hotel, restaurant, bank and groceries.