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Northwest Territories: Going on a fishing and waterfall safari

The Northwest Territories offer a rugged landscape and pristine beauty that goes unmatched in all of North America. Spot bison, moose and bear right from the road and explore super-sized rivers and lakes whose magnificence—and fishing opportunities—are hard to imagine. From Enterprise to Fort Providence, this is a trip you’ll have to see to believe.

Drive 111.7 miles, 2 hours, 41 minutes

1. Hay River

Starting Point

Nestled on the banks Great Slave Lake, of one of the largest lakes in the world, Hay River is a mecca for anglers looking to hook the big one. Great Slave Lake is a year-round destination that abounds with walleye, pike and lake trout. Outfitters like Great Slave Lake Tours, as well as the numerous lodges in the area, offer guided excursions to remote areas of the lake, where the fish are most plentiful, and even tenderfoots can reap the lake’s bounty. Back in town, take a quick hike or bike ride along the scenic Kiwanis Nature Trail, where you can expect to see foxes and beavers making their home on the lake’s shore.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Enterprise

24.5 miles, 44 minutes

It’s wise to stock up on provisions in this town before heading out to explore the wilderness beyond. Located at the junction of Highways 1 and 2, Enterprise remains the jumping-off point for travelers to the nearby parks and lakes. First, head to the 60th Parallel Visitor’s Centre south of town for detailed info on routes, hikes and the area’s history. Before heading north, be sure to stop at Winnie’s Kitchen and Gift Shop, which serves as both a rest stop and art gallery showcasing some of the finest examples of handcrafted goods by the local Dené community.

 3. Fort Providence

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

87.2 miles, 1 hour, 57 minutes

The largest and longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie offers outdoors adventure for the whole family. Fishing, canoeing and kayaking, as well as shoreline hikes, are plentiful from historic Fort Providence. For the most dramatic views, follow Highway 1, the “Waterfall Highway,” south out of town. There are numerous stops and hiking trails, and Lady Evelyn Falls and Sambaa Deh Falls never disappoint. The Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, home to a large free-roaming herd of the mammals, is a must-see in an area where wolves, bears and falcons are also frequently spotted. End your visit back in town at the Waterfront Walkway, which follows the Mackenzie River and offers vistas of one of the world’s most stunning waterways.