A bucket list moment awaits those visitors who can get to southern Baffin Island, to a park with some of the highest peaks in the Canadian Shield. Auyuittuq National Park, from the Inuktitut word for “land that never melts” – also has some of the most dramatic shoreline in all of Canada. The star attraction is undoubtedly Mount Thor, the highest uninterrupted rock face on Planet Earth. Looming over the Weasel River Valley, Mount Thor reduces its visitors to mere specks on the landscape.
With a park this remote, your park fees are the least of your expenses. Getting to the high Arctic is expensive, as are the essential services of a local tour operator. This one is not for campers on a budget!
Best time to go : Early season is March to May, when snowmachines, dogsleds and skis can cross the frozen fjords. When the ice breaks up, typically June to July, both parks are inaccessible. By mid-July, the midnight sun is beaming and the ocean is ice-free. Outfitters will bring visitors in all the way to September. The October/November freeze-up once again makes the park inaccessible. Due to extreme weather conditions, Parks Canada recommends against visiting over the dark winter months.
Wheelchair friendly : No
Family friendly : Yes, but call ahead to a local tour operator to confirm
Where to eat :
Tundra campers typically bring homemade or purchased dehydrated meal packs. Only local Inuit are allowed to hunt, but not while guiding. A treat for visitors is the abundance of Arctic char, a particularly tasty fish closely related to salmon and trout.
Official Site :
Parks Canada has more visitor information and contacts for Auyuittuq National Park. Click here for more information about Great Canadian Trails 8-day hiking trip to Mont Thor.
Where to Stay :
The Angmarlik Interpretive Center located in Pangnirtung can assist with Auyuittuq outfitters and local homestays. Camping is the most typical form of accommodation. An Arctic expedition cruise ship is your most comfortable option, although visits will likely be a short, on-shore excursion.
Getting There :
Unless you have extensive Arctic wilderness experience, the services of a local outfitter, tour company or expedition cruise is essential. Great Canadian Trails offer an 8-day hiking trip to Mount Thor including guides, accommodation and meals. Adventure Canada Cruise North and One Ocean Expeditions get you into the high Arctic with Baffin Island expedition cruises. For local dogsledding, boating or kayaking outfitters, contact Parks Canada’s offices in Auyuittuq.
Note from Robin :
Artist Cory Trapenier’s Into the Arctic is an outstanding documentary about his adventures to Auyuittuq and other remote Canadian Arctic parks.
Credit: Parks Canada
Credit: Michael Davies/Parks Canada