Broken Skull-Nahanni River

Broken Skull-Nahanni River

For those looking for an extended intermediate paddling experience, look no further. The first section of this expedition is located in one of Canada’s newest national parks: Nááts’ihch’oh. The Broken Skull river is a little-known tributary of the fabled South Nahanni River. Starting high in the Mackenzie Mountains, this river boasts excellent Class I and II whitewater, pristine hot-springs, great hiking, and true untravelled wilderness.

We will fly to Divide Lake, where we will take a day hike to the surrounding mountains. After following Cold Feet Creek to the Broken Skull River, the paddling fun begins. The route will take us past Swallow Falls and downstream to the Broken Skull Hot Springs. This is a short hike from the river. Continuing downstream with consistent, runnable rapids, we then meet the South Nahanni River. From there we begin on the next segment of the journey, a two-week canoeing trip and the perfect opportunity to paddle the highlights of this world-class paddling river. At Rabbitkettle Lake, we will experience the rare Tufa Mounds - the largest "warm-spring" tufa formation in the north. Paddling downstream from there, we reach awe-inspiring Nailicho (Virginia Falls), which pours over a cataract twice the height of Niagara Falls. Next, we will paddle through four canyons that are, in places, deeper than the Grand Canyon. We finish the trip by navigating the meandering "Splits" to end in Nahanni Butte, where we will take a motor boat shuttle for a well deserved dinner and rest at Lindberg's Landing.

This trip is highlighted by fun whitewater throughout, interesting day hikes, wildlife viewing, and hot springs. The trip is suitable for paddlers with previous canoe-camping and whitewater canoeing experience. A warm up paddling session at one of our springtime clinics is highly recommended! More experienced paddlers will appreciate the river for it’s remoteness, scenic beauty, and the fact that it is so very rarely paddled.

A little too intense? Not intense enough?? Check out our other Nahanni Trips on offer!

Recommended Skill Level And Dates

Skill Level: 3
Dates Trip Fee
July 07, 2021 to July 29, 2021 $8,995.00 CAD
July 06, 2022 to July 28, 2022 $8,995.00 CAD *until Oct 31st*
What is Included: 


  • 5:1 ratio


  • 21 nights camping
  • 1 night at Lindberg Landing - Day 22


  • All meals and snacks from Day 1 lunch to Day 22 lunch
  • Dinner on Day 22 at Lindberg Landing

Canoeing Equipment

  •  17’ ABS expedition canoes with spray decks and knee pads
  •  paddles, PFDs, throw bags, paddling helmets

Camping Equipment

  •  tents: free-standing expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
  •  "kitchen": tarp, fire box, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc.
  •  containers for food and group equipment

Safety Equipment

  •  first aid, safety, river rescue, and repair kits
  •  communications equipment (satellite phone)


  •  charter float plane flight from Norman Wells to Divide Lake - Day 1
  •  boat shuttle from Nahanni Butte to Lindberg's Landing - Day 22
  •  van shuttle from Lindberg's Landing to Fort Simpson - Day 23
  •  transportation of guides, group gear, food, etc. to Norman Wells
  •  ground transfers between Airport and Black Feather Base / float plane docks in Norman Wells & Fort Simpson

Trip Location

Trip Rendezvous Point: Norman Wells & Fort Simpson, NWT