- Yellowknife City Tour
- Dog sledding excursion in the snowy wilderness
- 3 Nights of Aurora Borealis Viewing and Aurora Hunting
- Authentic Dene Cultural Indigenous Experience
- Indigenous ice fishing demonstration with hot lunch
- 3-Day Full Winter Clothing Package Rental (includes jacket, boots, snow pants, mitts, polar fleece balaclava)
- 4 nights of accommodation
- Professional Tour Leader
- Ground transportation in Yellowknife
- 9 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch 4 dinners
- 3 day winter clothing rental (includes jacket, boots, snowpants, mitts, polar fleece balaclava)
- Roundtrip airport transfers in Yellowknife
- 5% provincial tax on top of tour base rate
- Gratuities to driver (Recommend $3-$4 per person per day)
- Gratuities to guide (Recommend $5-$7 per person per day)
- Meals not listed
- Attractions not listed
- Credit card payment fees, where applicable
- Airfare - domestic and international (unless specified)
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended, ask us for a quote!)
Wed, 18 Jan 2023
Sun, 22 Jan 2023
Wed, 15 Feb 2023
Sun, 19 Feb 2023
Sat, 18 Mar 2023
Wed, 22 Mar 2023
Wed, 22 Mar 2023
Sun, 26 Mar 2023
Welcome to Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories and the Diamond capital of North America! Yellowknife is a place where traditional indigenous culture blends together with modern amenities, for a truly remarkable experience while discovering the mystery of the Aurora Borealis. On winter nights the Aurora Borealis is often so vivid it seems close enough to touch. Far from city lights, watch the night sky light up. It’s a marvel that seems to embody the mysteries at the crossroads of Heaven and Earth in all its elegance and raw beauty.
Your arrival transfer to the hotel will be coordinated by us, and tonight, there will be a tour briefing and our first group dinner with our Tour Leader to prepare us for the adventures to follow. Depending on the flight arrival time, we may go out and get our winter clothing package this evening and be prepared for our adventures over the following days. (Dinner provided if arriving before 7:00 pm)
We begin our time in Yellowknife with a guided tour of the NWT Legislative Assembly Building, where you will learn about our consensus-style, non-partisan government, one of only a few in Canada.
Following the Legislative Building, we will make our way to the site of Giant Mine. Rich in the history of Yellowknife’s gold mining days. There is an outdoor museum available to view. In winter many of the displays are covered in snow but we will hear of history from the comfort of our vehicle. Then we make a quick stop at YKEA and look for local treasures!! Next, we drive to Buffalo Airway’s home of the popular TV series, Ice Pilots with the Star of the show being Buffalo Joe McBryan, owner of the largest DC 3 ‘s and DC 4’s in North America. We will visit the hangar filled with vintage aircraft. These are propeller-operated WW2 legendary aircraft.
We return to the downtown core and stop in at the NWT Diamond Centre that showcases diamonds from two of NWT local mines. Next, we drive to The Old Town / Latham Island and N’dilo. We will first visit Ragged Ass Road, the street immortalized by Tom Cochrane on his third album by the same name and then a drive on the frozen Great Slave Lake. The Great Slave Lake is the second largest lake outside of the Great Lakes in Canada, and the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres, and the tenth-largest lake in the world. We will get a close view of the colourful, local houseboats and visit the Snow Castle. Next is N’dilo, a small Dene community is located on tip of Latham Island, which is an isthmus extending from Yellowknife into Great Slave Lake. The land was set aside for use by “status Indians” by the Government of Canada in
1947. The name was officially changed to N’dilo in 1991, which means “end of the island” in the local Dene dialect.
We continue our tour with a stop at Yellowknife’s first bank (Bank of Toronto) a privately owned, historic log cabin. Next is a photo stop at the Bush Pilot’s monument, Yellowknife’s most popular lookout rises above Old Town, providing a stupendous view over Great Slave Lake, Back Bay and the northern reaches of the city. The monument is high up on “The Rock,” and is accessed via a winding staircase to the top. It is dedicated to the bush pilots and engineers whose lives were lost as they flew the wilderness skies of the Northwest Territories. Finally, we stop at at Weaver and Devore, Yellowknife’s first Trading Store and a local carver’s shop. Local artists will be invited to showcase their artwork.
The tour ends at the Visitor Centre where you can get your Yellowknife pin and your North of 60 Certificate. We visit the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, a museum that chronicles Aboriginal and European history in the North and features environmental exhibits.
After dinner, we head out for our first aurora viewing experience in a cozy intimate cabin located 15 minutes drive away from Yellowknife in a private dark location. There will be a light midnight lunch of fresh local fish chowder, fresh bannock, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. There are a limited number of camera tripods which are available to share and there is a generator, so power is available to charge batteries. There is an outhouse for the washroom, which is heated.
Return to your hotel around 1:00 am.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
After an easy morning, we start late to drive out to one of the many frozen lakes outside of Yellowknife, hear the ice crack as we drive on the lake, and try and catch our own northern Canada freshwater fish!! On our way we will see the Yellowknife-Dettah Ice Road, the Highway of Ice. We then visit the Snow Castle either completed or under construction, for some great photo opportunities. Note that the Snow Castle is open only from March although construction starts in January. Before March we will have the opportunity to see the construction phase of the castle and take some pictures. Our local guides know the best spots and have been ice fishing on these frozen lakes for years. When they find a suitable spot, they will help us drill some holes into the ice and get everything set up for ice fishing! While you are fishing, the guides will cook for you so you can enjoy a genuine Canadian ice fishing cookout meal.
This afternoon, there will be an opportunity to try your hand at snowmobiling. Before heading out, you will learn of the safety guidelines and the basic operating instructions. We have planned our snowmobile experience through the wilderness and on the frozen lakes of northern Canada with one of Yellowknife’s best snowmobile tour experiences. Once on the frozen lakes, shut off your snowmobile and listen to the quietness of Mother Nature, while breathing in the cool, clean fresh air! Please note that the snowmobiling experience is entirely voluntary, and you will be free for a walk along the frozen lakeshore if you are not comfortable riding a snowmobile. Following our adventures, we have some time at our leisure, with time to explore Yellowknife, or relax before tonight's dinner.
After dinner on your own, we go Aurora hunting today. Yellowknife is the best place in the world to view Aurora! If skies are clear, you have a 98% chance to see Aurora! However, if skies are cloudy, the chances are low. We aim to increase our chances to see the aurora and go out and “hunt” for the aurora! When we reach a suitable viewing place, we park, and view and talk all about aurora, identify some stars, the Milky Way and maybe even see wildlife while driving from location to location!
Each night we don’t exactly know where we are going, as it depends on the weather and the aurora, and where we go there is nothing but wilderness, wildlife, and Aurora. Depending upon weather conditions, we may choose to substitute our second or our last night’s Aurora viewing outings.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
After a late breakfast and g again an easy morning, we set out for our Indigenous dogsled tour. Watch as our guides take the excited dogs one by one from the dog kennels and harness them up to the sled. Get to know and pet the dogs, learn their names, and get a photograph with them. Every dog is friendly and likes to meet new people. We then get into the dog sleighs and get ready to hit the trail. We will team up the dogs and head out on the frozen lake for a 30 minutes dog ride along a secluded and well-maintained dog trail. We end the tour in a heated teepee or trapper’s camp with hot beverages and Bannock as we listen to stories about how the dog teams played an important role in the daily lives of both the Indigenous peoples and western settlers in the old days, and how they helped people survive. The dogs were like family and are still treated that same way today. This activity is carried out in collaboration with an indigenous family business who want to keep the cultural traditions and teachings that they have learned from their grandparents and have decided to share it with others in an enjoyable way. Through their dog sledding they aim to promote respect for Indigenous culture and share the survival ways of people living in the cold subarctic areas.
Tonight, after dinner, we experience an authentic Indigenous aurora experience and spend an evening among the Dene people, with northern lights, storytelling, Dene history, and legends, traditional drumming, hand games demonstration, and samples of traditional foods such as local Great Slave Lake fish, and freshly made bannock. We travel by snowmobile over the frozen lake to a Dene campsite on the shores of the frozen Great Slave Lake near the village of Dettah and spend time in a heated cabin and teepees and comfortable seating for everyone.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our northern Canadian Yellowknife experience comes to an end this morning. Following breakfast, we will transfer to the airport for our return journey home. (Breakfast provided if departure flight is after 10:00 am)