Broken Skull River

Broken Skull River

The Broken Skull River ... 150 km of pure whitewater fun! It is located in one of Canada’s newest national parks: Nááts’ihch’oh. The river is a little-known tributary of the fabled South Nahanni River. Starting high in the Mackenzie Mountains, the river boasts excellent Class 1 and 2 whitewater, pristine hot-springs, great hiking, and true untravelled wilderness.

We will fly into 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. Our last 2 days of paddling will take us to Nahanni National Park’s Rabbitkettle Lake, where we will meet our charter flight back to Fort Simpson.

At this point, there is also the option of joining our Nahanni "Classic" trip for an additional 2 weeks (must be arranged in advance). This trip is highlighted by fun Class I and 2 whitewater, interesting day hikes, wildlife viewing, and hot springs. Although not well known, the river is a hidden gem waiting to be paddled.

The Broken Skull River trip is suitable for paddlers with previous canoe-camping and whitewater canoeing experience, but advanced whitewater skills are not required. More experienced paddlers will appreciate the river for it’s remoteness, scenic beauty, and the fact that it is so very rarely paddled.

"150 km of pure whitewater fun! The fantastic hot-spring was an added bonus." Lyn, NWT, Canada

Recommended Skill Level And Dates

Skill Level: 3
Dates Trip Fee
July 17, 2019 to July 27, 2019
$ 7,550.00 CAD
July 31, 2019 to August 10, 2019
$7,550.00 CAD
September 01, 2019 to September 11, 2019
$7,550.00 CAD
June 29, 2020 to July 09, 2020
$7,550.00 CAD** Early Booking Rate
July 29, 2020 to August 08, 2020
$7,550.00 CAD** Early Booking Rate
What is Included: 


  • 5:1 ratio


  • 9 nights camping
  • 1 night in Fort Simpson - Day 9


  • excellent trail meals and snacks from Day 1 lunch to Day 9 lunch
  • Dinner on Day 9 in Fort Simpson

Canoeing Equipment

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

Camping Equipment

  • • tents: free-standing, custom 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
  • • charter float plane flight from Rabbitkettle back to Fort Simpson - Day 9
  • • transportation of guides, group gear, food, etc. to Norman Wells
  • • ground transfers between Airport and Black Feather Base / float plane
  • docks



Trip Location

Trip Rendezvous Point: Norman Wells, NWT