Discover Aulavik National Park, Northwest Territories

Have you ever imagined exploring one of the most remote and untouched natural landscapes in Canada? Aulavik National Park, located on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, offers you just that. A haven for paddlers and those seeking to connect with the Arctic’s unique cultural heritage, Aulavik is a gem waiting to be discovered.

But Aulavik is more than just a playground for outdoor enthusiasts; it’s a place to reconnect with the natural world and rediscover the sense of wonder and awe that comes from being surrounded by such breathtaking beauty. Whether you’re embarking on a multi-day canoe trip down the Thomsen River, hiking through remote valleys, or simply sitting quietly by the shore, listening to the sounds of the Arctic wilderness, Aulavik National Park promises an unforgettable adventure unlike any other. So pack your bags, leave the hustle and bustle behind, and prepare to be captivated by the untamed splendor of Aulavik.


Top 3 Facts About Aulavik National Park


Muskoxen Haven

Aulavik National Park is home to one of the largest populations of muskoxen in the world. These iconic Arctic creatures, with their thick coats and formidable horns, roam freely across the park’s expansive tundra, offering visitors a rare opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat.


Thomsen River

Flowing through the heart of Aulavik National Park, the Thomsen River is a designated Canadian Heritage River and a popular destination for canoeing enthusiasts. Its crystal-clear waters wind their way through dramatic valleys and past towering cliffs, providing paddlers with a breathtaking journey through some of the most remote and pristine wilderness in North America.


Dark Sky Preserve

Aulavik National Park is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. With minimal light pollution and expansive views of the Arctic sky, visitors to the park are treated to mesmerizing displays of auroras dancing across the sky, offering a truly unforgettable celestial experience.

Camping and transportation in Aulavik National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Aulavik National Park

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a remote Arctic paradise? Aulavik National Park, situated on the northern reaches of Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, is that untamed wilderness sanctuary you’re searching for. But how do you get out there?

  • Flying to Inuvik: To start your journey, you’ll need to catch a flight to Inuvik. Considered the gateway to the western Arctic, Inuvik is accessible by commercial airlines from major Canadian cities.
  • From Inuvik to Aulavik: Next up, you’ll need a charter flight. Aircraft charter services offer trips from Inuvik to Aulavik National Park. Charter flights are weather-dependent, so it’s a good idea to have a flexible schedule.
  • Sachs Harbour: Alternatively, you can fly to Sachs Harbour before making your final hop to the park. From here, your entry into Aulavik’s wilderness will depend on the season and charter flight availability.
  • Don’t forget the Dempster Highway if you’re up for a road trip before flying. It’s a journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories!

Best Places to Stay Near Aulavik National Park

Welcome to the Thomsen River! This is the go-to place for campers keen on pairing the peacefulness of a remote camping getaway with the thrill of a paddling expedition.

  • Tranquil Riverbanks: Set up your tent on one of the many welcoming riverbanks for a night under the Arctic sky.
  • Wildlife Galore: Keep your binoculars handy! Muskoxen roam these lands and you might just spot one.
  • Summertime Blooms: The tundra comes alive with vibrant wildflowers adding to the beauty of your campsite.
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Best Time to Go to Aulavik National Park



In the summer, Aulavik National Park comes to life with vibrant colors and abundant wildlife, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable Arctic experience.



Winter in Aulavik is not for the faint of heart. The park becomes a polar desert, with extreme cold and limited daylight. Travel logistics become more complicated. However, if you’re up for it, you’ll find peace in the pristine, snow-covered tundra. The brave souls who venture during this time must be well-prepared for arctic conditions.



In spring, Aulavik National Park undergoes a dramatic transformation as the arctic tundra begins to awake. From May onwards, though still chilly, you’ll witness the birth of new wildflowers peeping through the snow. It’s a bit early for most wildlife, but you might spot arctic hares and foxes.

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Must-See Attractions

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Thomsen River

Whether you prefer a kayak or a canoe, the Thomsen River offers serene waters just begging to be explored.

Mount Aulavik

As the highest peak in the park, Mount Aulavik offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Arctic Wildlife

Aulavik National Park is home to a diverse array of Arctic wildlife, including muskoxen, Arctic wolves, caribou, and migratory birds.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Aulavik National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead and make charter flight and campground reservations, especially during peak seasons.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Pack layers and be prepared for changing weather conditions, even in summer.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Respect wildlife and stay on marked trails to preserve the park’s natural beauty.

Stay Informed

Stay Informed

Don’t leave anything behind. This Arctic paradise deserves our utmost care.

wildflowers scaled
muskoxen scaled

Frequently Asked Questions about Auvalik National Park

You’re looking at a truly off-the-grid adventure since Aulavik National Park is only accessible by air. Charter a plane from Inuvik and fly directly to one of the four landing sites in the park. Remember, this remote beauty is hundreds of kilometers from the nearest community!

Rafting down the Thomsen River, anyone? This park is a haven for river rafting, with the Thomsen offering one of North America’s most northerly navigable waterways. Hiking and wildlife viewing are also on your to-do list here, in a landscape that’s as vast as it is beautiful.

Camping in Aulavik is all about self-sufficiency and truly communing with nature. You can set up camp anywhere in the park, but there are no facilities—be prepared to be completely self-reliant and leave no trace of your visit.

Keep your binoculars ready! Muscoxen, Arctic foxes, and countless species of birds are all part of this park’s vast ecosystem. If luck is on your side, you might even spot a polar bear from a safe distance. Always remember to give wildlife space and respect their habitat.

Don your layers because Aulavik’s climate is characteristically cold, with long, severe winters and brief, cool summers. It’s also a polar desert, so expect less precipitation but brace for high winds that can spring up without warning.

Apart from the dominant Thomsen River, Aulavik’s landscape is a tapestry of rolling tundra, jagged cliffs, and flat plains. The park covers an approximate area of 12,200 km², making it a vast ground for exploration and experiencing the Arctic’s unspoiled splendor.

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