Paddling & Fishing
Aulavik National Park
Running for 160 kilometres through the heart of the park, the calm, Class I Thomsen River offers canoeists and kayakers a chance to explore true Arctic wilderness, with abundant wildlife, ancient archaeological sites and unmatched hiking.
The three week journey starts with flying to put-in points at or near the park’s southern boundary. There, paddlers slice through clear, unhurried waters, surrounded by tundra bursting with wildflowers. Plentiful birdlife nests here, from plovers to sandpipers. Hikes to nearby historic sites like Nasogaluak reward with millennia-old food caches and tent rings.
As the journey continues, the lower Thomsen turns rocky, with steep banks favoured by nesting peregrine falcons. This area boasts the highest density of muskoxen on the planet.
The long, gentle float northward concludes at Castel Bay and the frigid M’Clure Strait.
A journey on the Thomsen requires extensive planning and backcountry experience. Guided excursions are available from licensed outfitter Black Feather.
Experience Date: Late June to late July. The river can be iced over until mid-June and the lower Thomsen can be too shallow for canoes by early August.
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