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DAY 1: VANCOUVER TO FORT NELSON, ALASKA HIGHWAY, MUSKWA-KECHIKA, MUNCHO LAKE
Fly from Vancouver to Fort Nelson over the picturesque Province of British Columbia. Transfer to Muncho Lake in our comfortable air-conditioned van, a two and a half hour drive along the most scenic stretch of the legendary Alaska Highway. Starting at the western edge of the Great Plains we soon climb into the foothills of the Northern Rockies at Steamboat Mountain, and then see Indian Head Mountain before reaching Summit Lake, the highest point on the Alaska Highway.
Keep an eye out for wildlife! Black bears, mountain goats, caribou, stone’s sheep and elk are frequently seen along this route. We soon check in at Northern Rockies Lodge
, an impressive log building set on the shores of breathtakingly beautiful Muncho Lake, your mountain retreat for the next seven nights. Enjoy a welcome drink and a special orientation briefing in the Bushpilot Lounge, then our chef delights you with a tasty three course dinner. This evening we can watch wildlife videos to familiarize ourselves with the species we will see in their natural habitat during our wildlife viewing safari.
DAY 2: NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, MACKENZIE MOUNTAINS, NAHANNI NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA FALLS
After a hearty breakfast at the Lodge, we board one of our floatplanes
, our main mode of travel for today, and take off from the turquoise waters of Muncho Lake. Our northbound flight takes us over BC’s remote Northern Rockies into the Yukon and over the rugged Mackenzie Mountains as we enter Canada’s Northwest Territories. We land above Virginia Falls on South Nahanni River in Nahanni National Park. In 1981 this spectacularly scenic region was one of the first natural areas on earth to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frequently a Parks Canada interpreter is on hand to provide information about Nahanni.
We enjoy an easy stroll to the viewpoint for a breathtaking view of the Falls, twice as high as Niagara Falls. The roaring falls are an unforgettable backdrop, as we enjoy a picnic lunch. On our return flight we follow the 3000 feet high sheer rock walls of the canyon system of the South Nahanni River to the legendary Headless Valley. Interestingly, this area was not glaciated during the last ice age. We return to the Lodge in time for a sumptuous dinner and time to relax by the fireside to reflect on todays great adventures.
DAY 3: TROUT RIVER VALLEY, SMITH RIVER FALLS, WHIRLPOOL CANYON, LIARD RIVER HOT SPRINGS
Following breakfast in the dining room, we embark on a short hike to the “Mineral Licks”. The trail winds through boreal forest to the rim of the old sand and gravel cliffs overlooking the Trout River valley. Stone’s Sheep (a unique subspecies of mountain sheep) climb these steep, weathered walls, while Elk and Caribou frequent the river banks, searching for their daily dose of minerals. Labrador tea, lady slippers, horsetail and berry bushes line the path. Later we drive north on the Alaska Highway and watch out for wild Bison, frequently seen feeding along the highway. We stop to take a hiking trail that leads to the bottom of the majestic two-tiered Smith River Falls. Further north, the wild Whirlpool Canyon offers picturesque scenery for a picnic in style! Back at the Liard River Hot Springs we follow the boardwalk that crosses the wetlands supporting a wide variety of boreal plants, orchids and warm water fish. Bathing in the warm, sulphurous waters of the Liard River Hot Springs, surrounded by lush vegetation is a luxurious indulgence after a day of hiking and sightseeing. This is followed by another memorable dinner at the Lodge and an opportunity to take an evening stroll along the lakeshore or relax in the Bush Pilot Lounge.
DAY 4: FLIGHTSEEING AND WILDLIFE VIEWING IN THE MUSKWA-KECHIKA, "SERENGETI OF THE NORTH"
Breakfast at the Lodge prepares us for todays floatplane
tour that takes us into the heart of the Muskwa-Kechika. This spectacular wilderness is one of the largest protected areas on the continent with an intact ecosystem that continues to function as it has for millennia – as a result of the abundance and diversity of wildlife, the region is also known as the “Serengeti of the North”. It encompasses the northernmost reaches of Canada’s Rocky Mountains and a land area larger than all of Switzerland.
We touch down on the picturesque Tuchodi Lakes, where we stroll along the sandy beaches with our guide. An afternoon flight from Tuchodi Lakes over the Rocky Mountain Foothills provides a bird’s eye view to see elk, mountain goats, stone’s sheep and caribou.
Winging our way north along the spine of Canada’s Northern Rocky Mountains we marvel at the countless glaciers and picturesque valleys of Northern British Columbia. Back at the lodge we relax before another fine dinner prepared by our chef.
DAY 5: MOUNTAIN LAKES, OUTPOST CABIN EXCURSION, MOOSE VIEWING, AND BIRD WATCHING
Fly high with your bush pilot aboard his floatplane
over the northernmost reaches of the Rocky Mountains to your own private mountain lake in British Columbia's remote Muskwa-Kechika Wilderness Area. After enjoying a delicious breakfast we board our floatplane
for another flight into the spectacular mountain wilderness of the Muskwa-Kechika.
Soon we land in the turquoise waters of scenic Netson Lake or Gataga Lake, favourite feeding grounds for moose. We spend the day boating or canoeing the scenic lake, observing those majestic animals in their natural habitat, feeding on the aquatic plants in the shallow bays. We are also likely to see trumpeter swans, loons, water fowl and other bird species.
Far from roads, our wilderness outpost cabins (learn more)
are nestled in pristine valleys in Provincial Parks and protected areas. We have three cabins: Netson Lake, South Gataga Lake and Frog River. Each offers a unique Northern Rockies experience. Each of the lakes is home to abundant wildlife and offers its own unique fishing, hiking and canoeing. The only way to reach the cabins is with our floatplanes
— essentially, you own the lake for the duration of your stay!
If you wish, you can join your guide and bush pilot catching Arctic grayling and lake trout for a tasty shore lunch. Our lakeside outpost cabin offers comfortable wildlife viewing through the picture window looking across this remarkable untouched wilderness lake. We return to the lodge for dinner and another evening to enjoy the long daylight hours of this northern mountain retreat.
DAY 6: SENTINEL RANGE, PETERSON CANYON, TOAD RIVER VALLEY
Following breakfast at the Lodge we depart from the Lodge in our comfortable touring van, following the Muncho Creek Valley with views of the Sentinel Range to our first stop at the Peterson Canyon viewpoint. Continuing our drive, the unusually contorted folded mountains, beautifully displayed in the morning light along Toad River are a “must stop” for the photographer.
These rugged mountains were formed 50 to 60 million years ago and are characteristic of the Northern Rockies. We will explore a secret side road leading to one of the countless unnamed peaks. A short hike brings us to the top of the mountain where we enjoy the splendid view over the vast mountain ranges. Caribou, countless small mammals, ptarmigan, golden eagles and the resourceful beaver make their home in this pristine alpine environment. We enjoy more birdwatching and wildlife viewing before returning to the Lodge in time for a short canoe paddle in Muncho Lake before dinner.
DAY 7: WOKKPASH VALLEY, WOKKPASH GORGE, ALPINE WILDFLOWERS
A hearty breakfast prepares us for todays adventure. Our destination is the wondrous canyon of the Wokkpash Gorge, a virtually unknown natural highlight of Canada’s Northern Rocky Mountains. The Wokkpash Valley is lined with hundreds of spectacular hoodoos (sand pillar formations). We explore this unspoiled area which was formed over the millennia by water, wind and glaciers.
Watch for the wide variety of wild flowers such as woolly lousewort, yellow lady slippers, wild orchids, prickly rose, labrador tea and colorful lichens in the lodge pole pine forest.
Part of our 8 day package, we will fly along the canyon from the comfort of our airplanes and see the hoodoos from above. Hikers have the option to follow the BC Parks hiking trail along the gorge itself to admire natures incredible artistry. Back at the lodge this evening we enjoy a farewell dinner and a final chance to enjoy the breathtaking views across Muncho Lake.
DAY 8: TRIP BACK TO VANCOUVER
The journey home begins with your final breakfast at the Northern Rockies Lodge
closely followed by a timely departure to Fort Nelson. During the ride back, you will have a final chance to capture the splendour of the Northern Rocky Mountains with your camera. A last-minute opportunity to glimpse the wildlife and revel in the spectacular landscape. Soon you'll be sky-high and on your way home, maybe taking a little piece of the Northern BC spirit with you.