Canada’s northern territories are often viewed as the country’s final frontier. Huge stretches of unbroken wilderness, limited road access and a culture steeped in Inuit and Dene tradition can make this land seem like a world away. But those who take the time to explore Canada’s north will attest to this area’s beauty – simply driving along the region’s highways exposes travellers to the views of a lifetime. Add in an assortment of one-of-a-kind attractions scattered among all three territories and you have yourself an outdoor explorer’s paradise. To get you acquainted with just a few of the destinations that make a trip to Canada’s north worth every bit of effort, here is our list of Top 10 attractions to see in Northern Canada.

 

Yukon

Carcross Desert

Covering 259 hectares (640 ac) just north of Carcross, this area is affectionately known as the “smallest desert in the world.” It is actually too humid here for the dunes to be considered a true desert, but the rolling sandy landscape, leftover from a retreating glacial lake, is impressive nonetheless. The dunes are home to several rare species of vegetation, and locals love to come here to sandboard, ATV and hike.

 

Photo via Yukon Tourism

 

Northern Lights Centre

Located in Watson Lake, this space and science centre offers interactive displays, local folklore, audio-video presentations and more, and is a great place to view the lights themselves, especially in the winter. The centre even features a direct link to the Hubble Space Telescope, projected on a 60” screen.

 

Backroad Mapbook - Northern BC

 

Sourtoe Cocktail

A uniquely Yukon experience, the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City offers a drink garnished with a mummified human toe. To date, there have been over 100,000 members inducted into the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club,” hailing from all corners of the world. There is one important rule while enjoying this drink: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe.”

 

 

Takhini Hot Springs

Home of the world-famous “Hair Freezing Contest,” the Takhini Hot Springs feature two connected pools with a temperature of 40 C° that cools to 35 C° at the outflow. The springs have been in operation for over 100 years and there is a campground and hostel conveniently located next to them, as well as a café that offers a variety of delicious locally grown and organic cuisine.

 

Backroad GPS Maps - Northern Canada

 

Northwest Territories

Lady Evelyn Falls

Forming a giant curtain of water as the Kakisa River spills over a limestone escarpment, these stunning falls are accessed by a short trail, with a staircase leading to a scenic gorge at the base of the falls. Camping is available nearby, and the Kakisa makes for some very pleasant swimming in the summer months. Be sure to bring your fishing rod while visiting the falls, since the river is also known for its excellent northern pike, pickerel, walleye and Arctic grayling fishing.

 

Backroad GPS Maps - Northern Canada

 

Folk On the Rocks

This annual event is held each July in Yellowknife on the shores of Long Lake and features a diverse lineup of artists including world-famous rock bands, Dene drum dancers, spoken-word poets, children’s entertainers and more. In the land of the midnight sun, you can dance until dawn at this weekend event. Past performers include City & Colour, Northcote, A Tribe Called Red, The Pack AD and many others!

 

Photo via folkontherocks.ca

 

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

Featuring a wide variety of exhibits pertaining to the natural and human history of the Northwest Territories as well as the arts, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that also hosts the territory’s archives and performs a variety of cultural resource services. Located on Frame Lake in Yellowknife, the centre offers free admission.

 

Photo via www.pwnhc.ca/

 

Nunavut

Graves of Beechey Island

Standing on a peninsula off Devon Island are four lonely graves, three of which were members of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, and the fourth is that of Thomas Morgan, a member of another crew sent to find them. The bodies of John Torrington, William Braine and John Hartnell, when removed in the 1980s for an anthropological examination, were well preserved, basically mummified due to the freezing ground. They were later reburied and the desolate graves still stand.

 

Backroad GPS Maps - Northern Canada

 

Kekerten Territorial Park

Located on Kekerten Island, this park is home to a former whaling station first established in 1840. Visitors can follow an interpretive trail and explore the remains of this by-gone era. Highlights include storehouses, large cast-iron pots, blubber-hauling pins and the remnants of an antique whaling ship.

 

Image via Nunavut Parks

 

Pond Inlet

Located close to the floe edge, Pond Inlet is a great place to see arctic wildlife, including walruses, seals, polar bears, whales and even narwhals, known as the unicorns of the sea for their large tusks. The predominantly Inuit community also provides access to both Tamaarvik Territorial Park and Sirmilik National Park, while the mountains of Bylot Island can be seen in the distance, home to a globally important bird sanctuary.

 

Photo via World Wildlife Federation / Paul Nicklen

 

You can find all of these attractions and more in our brand new Northern Canada GPS Maps! Featuring all the cartographic detail and adventure information you expect from a Backroad Mapbooks product, these maps are the most detailed adventure guides for Northern Canada available anywhere!