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 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. 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. On select departures, you can opt to combine this trip with our Nahanni Classic adventure and continue downstream for a further two here for more information!

The Broken Skull River is highlighted by fun Class I and II whitewater, interesting day hikes, wildlife viewing, and hot springs. Although not well known, the river is a hidden gem waiting to be paddled. The trip is suitable for paddlers with previous canoe-camping and whitewater canoeing experience, but advanced whitewater skills are not required. 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!

"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 07, 2021 to July 17, 2021 $8,195.00 CAD
July 28, 2021 to August 07, 2021 $8,195.00 CAD
June 29, 2022 to July 09, 2022 $8,195.00 CAD *until Oct 31st*
July 06, 2022 to July 16, 2022 $8,195.00 CAD *until Oct 31st*
July 27, 2022 to August 06, 2022 $8,195.00 CAD *until Oct 31st*
What is Included: 


  • 5:1 ratio


  • 9 nights camping
  • 1 night in Fort Simpson - Day 10


  • All meals and snacks from Day 1 lunch to Day 10 lunch
  • Dinner on Day 10 in Fort Simpson

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
  •  charter float plane flight from Rabbitkettle back to Fort Simpson - Day 10
  •  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 & Fort Simpson, NWT