South Nahanni River from Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds)
Nááts'įhch'oh National Park Reserve
Paddle the wild headwaters of Tehjeh Deé (the South Nahanni River). This 21-day, 600-kilometre paddling expedition takes rafters, kayakers and canoeists down the entire Tehjeh Deé (South Nahanni River), with plenty of whitewater and wildlife along the way.
After a two-hour floatplane ride through the Mackenzie Mountains, set down at Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds), a string of turquoise waters backed by the park’s namesake mountain, the sacred Nááts'įhch'oh. Camp for the night, then plunge into the journey’s most famous stretch of whitewater, 50 kilometres of class II-IV rapids known as the Rock Gardens.
But that’s just the beginning. Over the course of the next weeks, tackle everything from minor rock riffles to steep boulder sections as you paddle your way along the length of the 4,895-square-kilometre park, setting up riverside camps each night in country dense with grizzlies and moose.
The trip is for experienced paddlers only; in fact, only a handful of groups tackle the run each year. Guided tours are available from multiple outfitters.
Skill Level:The Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds) trip starts with over 50 km of Class II – IV rapids known as the Rock Gardens. Expert paddling and backcountry skills are required.
Trip Length:Most paddlers take 18 – 23 days to paddle from Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds) to Nahanni Butte. Earlier take-outs are possible at Island Lakes, Gahnîhthah Mįe (Rabbitkettle Lake), and Náįlįcho (Virginia Falls).
Best Time to Go:This section of Tehjeh Deé (the South Nahanni River) is best run mid-June through July. After August 1, you may need to line or portage sections of the Rock Gardens due to low water levels.
© Colin Field/NWTT
Busy or Off-the-Beaten Track?Off the beaten track. Although several paddlers tackle the Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (Moose Ponds) trip each year, it is unlikely you will encounter another group.
Air Access:Nááts’įhch’oh Tué (the Moose Ponds) are only accessible by air. Contact one of these air charter services to arrange your flight.
Hazards:Like all rivers in the area, rain can cause water levels to rise suddenly - even if it is not raining where you are. Choose campsites accordingly, and secure your boats each night. This is a technical whitewater trip. Pinning and wrapping boats is possible. You need to be skilled in whitewater rescue techniques. Bring your river pin kit, and know how to use it.
Registration:Paddlers must register and de-register their trip with Parks Canada through the Nahanni National Park Reserve office.
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