For a territory whose people were nomadic for centuries, we know our hikes. And to boast one of the most remote and beautiful geographies on the planet, Nunavut hikes guarantee adventure like no other. Whether you’re a hobby hiker looking for a bucket-list walk, or a long-term trekker seeking a new challenge, Nunavut trails have you covered.
1. The Apex Trail | Iqaluit | 5 km (3.1 mi)
Whether you’re in Iqaluit for a conference, or passing through onto further adventure, this day hike is a great way to get out on the land, and experience the tundra. Accessible from town, this short route offers a good immersion into the tundra terrain, and all the low-growing plant life that is found across Nunavut. In the summer and fall months, the autumn colours spread out across the terrain in an array of colour. From here you’ll find alongside the Arctic Ocean, and experience the vast treeless land. If you’re visiting in the summer months, you don’t have to
worry as much about the start time, as the sun will still be up well past 11pm.
photo by @michael.s.becker
2. The Akshayuk Pass | Auyuittuq National Park | 100 km (62 mi)
Accessible via Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq, this backpacking route is full of mountain drama. On route you’ll see the peaks of the iconic Mount Thor, Mount Asgard, and the South Baffin mountain range. You’ll mostly trek through a glacial valley with stops along rivers, and summit lakes. Parks Canada requires hikers to stay in the park cabins, meaning you don’t have to carry a tent, and you’re safe from unwanted animals. This trail also passes across the Arctic Circle, making an opportunity for a memorable trail photo. You can hire guides for this hike, or go as a self-sufficient hiker. Be sure to check in with Parks Canada for the required permits before booking.
photo by Parks Canada
3. Multiple Routes | Ukkusiksalik National Park (Baker Lake) | 4 km - 16 km (2.5 mi - 10 mi)
Ukkusiksalik National Park may be the smallest in Nunavut, but at 20,885 square-km, it is still the sixth largest National Park in Canada. While there isn’t one single multi day trek, Ukkusiksalik offers several short treks that lead you to a land of waterfalls, wildlife viewing, and archeological sites. Wager Bay also offers an opportunity to spot beluga whales, seals, and the North’s apex predator: the Polar Bear. If you’re planning on setting up camp at Ukkusiksalik, Sila Lodge is the area’s Inuit owned operator that can help with everything from park access to safe camping.
photo by @thegreattrail
4.The Itijjagiaq Trail | Katannilik Territorial Park | 120 km (75 mi)
This multi-day Baffin Island trail’s name translates to “over the land”. Which could be said about most treks, except this one truly is for the experienced hiker looking for adventure. With no trail markers, hikers must rely on maps and wayfinding skills as they traverse through Katannilik Territorial Park. However, the trail’s reasonable accessibility from Iqaluit makes this a popular destination for those looking for a hike in an all new environment. The Itijjagiaq Trail is also Nunavut’s contribution to Canada’s Trans Canada Trail, making the network truly coast to coast, to coast.
5. Fossil Creek Trail | Salliq (Coral Harbour) | 1.5 km (0.9mi)
About 8km south of the airport is a small trail that tells a long history. The harsh terrain of Nunavut makes it hard to believe that the Kivalliq Region was once underwater. But the abundance of fossils along this trail tell a 450 million year old story. With interpretive signs along route, you can find fossils of ancient creatures that resemble modern snails, clams, shelled animals, and a wild variety of marine plant life. The route also offers waterfall views, and the bustle nature life of a sub-arctic creek.