Discover Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut

Quttinirpaaq National Park is a captivating jewel located within Canada’s remote Arctic expanse. Situated on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, this pristine wilderness beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts to explore its untouched beauty.

Quttinirpaaq, meaning “top of the world” in Inuktitut, offers a unique and unparalleled experience for those seeking adventure off the beaten path. The park is a testament to the raw power and breathtaking majesty of the Arctic landscape with its rugged mountains, vast glaciers, expansive tundra, and icy fjords.

Visitors to Quttinirpaaq have the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights, encounter iconic Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, muskoxen, and arctic wolves, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the Inuit people who have called this region home for millennia.


Top 3 Facts About Quttinirpaaq National Park



Quttinirpaaq National Park is Canada’s second-largest national park, covering an immense area of approximately 37,775 square kilometers (14,585 square miles). Its vast expanse rivals the size of countries like Belgium or Taiwan.


Northernmost Point

As the northernmost national park in Canada, Quttinirpaaq extends to the very tip of Ellesmere Island, reaching latitudes as high as 83° north. This makes it one of the country’s most remote and inaccessible parks.



The park is home to numerous glaciers, including the imposing, 27-kilometer-long (17-mile-long) Sydkap Glacier. Like many glaciers worldwide, those in Quttinirpaaq are experiencing rapid retreat due to climate change, offering visitors a firsthand glimpse into the effects of global warming.

Camping and transportation in Quttinirpaaq National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Quttinirpaaq National Park

Getting to Quttinirpaaq National Park is a challenging endeavor due to its remote location in the Canadian Arctic. Here’s a general outline of how to reach this isolated wilderness:

  • Fly to Resolute Bay: Most visitors to Quttinirpaaq National Park begin their journey by flying to Resolute Bay, a small Inuit community located on Cornwallis Island in Nunavut, Canada. Commercial flights to Resolute Bay are available from select cities in Canada, such as Ottawa and Iqaluit.
  • Charter a Flight: From Resolute Bay, the next step is to charter a flight to Tanquary Fiord, near the southern boundary of Quttinirpaaq National Park. This flight typically requires booking with a charter company specialising in Arctic travel. The flight may involve small aircraft capable of landing on gravel airstrips or the tundra.
  • Overland Travel or Hiking: Depending on your itinerary and the specific location within the park you wish to visit, you may need to arrange overland travel or hiking from Tanquary Fiord to your destination within Quttinirpaaq. This could involve hiring local guides, using all-terrain vehicles, or embarking on multi-day hiking expeditions across the rugged Arctic terrain.

Places to Stay Near Quttinirpaaq National Park

Accommodation options are extremely limited due to the national park’s remote location in the Canadian Arctic. Here are some suggestions for places to stay or camp nearby:

  • Resolute Bay: As the gateway to Quttinirpaaq National Park, Resolute Bay offers some lodging options, including hotels, inns, and guesthouses. These accommodations provide a comfortable base for travelers before and after their expeditions to the park. However, it’s important to note that facilities in Resolute Bay are basic and may fill up quickly during peak seasons, so booking in advance is advisable.
  • Camping: While there are no established campgrounds within Quttinirpaaq National Park, visitors can camp in the backcountry during their wilderness expeditions. However, camping in the Arctic requires careful planning and preparation due to the extreme weather conditions and the presence of polar bears. Visitors should have appropriate camping gear, including sturdy tents, cold-weather sleeping bags, and bear-proof food storage containers.
  • Guided Tours: Joining a guided tour or expedition organized by reputable adventure travel companies or outfitters is another option for experiencing Quttinirpaaq National Park. These tours often include accommodations, meals, transportation, and experienced guides familiar with the region’s terrain, wildlife, and weather conditions.
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Best Time to Go to Quttinirpaaq National Park



Summer is the peak season for visiting Quttinirpaaq National Park, offering the most favorable outdoor exploration and adventure conditions. The Arctic landscape comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom across the tundra, and the sun shines around the clock, providing nearly continuous daylight. July and August are ideal for hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering expeditions, with opportunities to explore the park’s rugged mountains, vast glaciers, and remote fjords. Wildlife sightings are abundant during this time, including chances to spot elusive Arctic foxes, lemmings, and even the elusive narwhal in nearby waters. Additionally, summer is a prime time for experiencing unique Arctic phenomena such as the midnight sun and the mesmerizing displays of the Northern Lights.



Winter in Quttinirpaaq National Park brings extreme cold and darkness, with temperatures plummeting well below freezing and the sun disappearing for months. Despite the harsh conditions, winter offers a unique opportunity for adventurous travelers to experience the Arctic wilderness in its most pristine and secluded state. From November to April, the park becomes a frozen wonderland, with snow-covered landscapes stretching as far as the eye can see. While outdoor activities are limited due to the extreme cold and darkness, winter enthusiasts can still enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Experienced adventurers may embark on multi-day ski expeditions or winter camping trips, immersing themselves in the tranquility of the Arctic landscape and marveling at the breathtaking beauty of the polar night sky.



Spring in Quttinirpaaq National Park marks the beginning of the brief Arctic summer. During this time, temperatures start to rise, and the landscape undergoes a remarkable transformation as the snow and ice begin to melt. May and June offer unique opportunities for wildlife viewing, as animals emerge from hibernation and migratory birds return to breed in the Arctic. Visitors can witness the spectacle of polar bears and muskoxen roaming the tundra, while birdwatchers can observe nesting colonies of seabirds along the coastline. Hiking and backpacking expeditions become more feasible as trails and terrain becomes more accessible, although travelers should be prepared for unpredictable weather and lingering snow cover in some areas.

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Fall in Quttinirpaaq National Park brings cooler temperatures and the onset of the Arctic winter. September and October offer a quieter and more serene atmosphere in the park as visitor numbers dwindle and wildlife prepares for the long winter ahead. Hiking and outdoor activities remain possible during early autumn, although travelers should be prepared for colder weather and diminishing daylight hours. This season provides excellent opportunities for photographers to capture the stunning fall foliage and the striking contrast of colorful tundra against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Wildlife enthusiasts may also have the chance to witness the spectacle of migrating caribou or observe the final stages of polar bear and muskoxen activity before they retreat to their winter habitats.

Must-See Attractions

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Sydkap Glacier

This massive glacier is one of the park’s most impressive natural wonders, stretching over 27 kilometers (17 miles). Visitors can marvel at the towering ice formations and witness the dynamic glacial movement and calving process.

Tanquary Fjord

This spectacular fjord showcases the park’s dramatic landscape, with towering cliffs, deep blue waters, and massive glaciers. Visitors can explore the area by boat or kayak, marveling at the awe-inspiring scenery and perhaps catching a glimpse of Arctic wildlife along the shoreline.

Lake Hazen

Located near the park’s northern boundary, Lake Hazen is the largest lake in the Canadian Arctic and a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The lake and its surrounding wetlands provide vital habitat for various bird species, including nesting sites for snow geese, terns, and other migratory birds.

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

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s facilities, weather conditions, and available activities before your trip. Consider the time of year you plan to visit and any permits or permissions required for your activities.

Pack Appropriately

Prepare for Extreme Weather

Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions, including extreme cold, high winds, and snowstorms, even in summer. Dress in layers with insulated, waterproof clothing, and bring adequate gear for protection against the elements.

Respect Wildlife

Be Bear Aware

Polar bears inhabit the park, so it’s essential to be bear aware at all times. Carry bear deterrents such as bear spray, travel in groups when possible, and learn how to store food to avoid attracting bears to your campsite.

Stay Informed

Travel with Experienced Guides

If you’re unfamiliar with the Arctic environment or outdoor activities such as glacier travel or backcountry skiing, consider hiring an experienced guide or joining a guided tour for added safety and expertise.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Qutttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park is located on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. It is one of the world’s most remote and northerly national parks.

“Quttinirpaaq” means “top of the world” in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit people. It aptly describes the park’s location in the northernmost reaches of Canada.

The best time to visit Quttinirpaaq National Park is during the summer months of July and August when temperatures are milder, wildlife is abundant, and outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife viewing are most accessible.

Yes, Quttinirpaaq National Park is home to polar bears. Visitors should be aware of bear safety protocols and take precautions, such as carrying bear deterrents and properly storing food, to minimize the risk of encounters.

Yes, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, can be seen in Quttinirpaaq National Park, particularly during winter months when nights are long and dark. Visitors have a good chance of witnessing this mesmerizing natural phenomenon.

Facilities within Quttinirpaaq National Park are limited. There are no developed campgrounds, visitor centers, or amenities. Visitors are expected to be self-sufficient and properly equipped for their wilderness adventure.

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