The Mountain River is our "Guides' Choice" as the best wilderness canoeing river in Canada. Awesome alpine scenery bathed in constantly-changing colours, dramatic canyons, exciting Class 1 to 3 whitewater, and non-stop current - all in a pristine wilderness setting - make this trip a "must" for experienced paddlers. There are exceptional side hikes to mineral springs and tufa formations, alpine ridges, and mountain lookouts. Dall sheep, caribou, wolves, and bears live along the river.
The expedition starts with a dramatic flight through the Mackenzie Mountains to a high, jewel-like alpine lake. From here we complete our only portage to a tiny tributary creek, and begin the thrilling descent through the mountains. The river literally falls away in front of our canoes as the current pulls us forward. The river is continually changing, but always moving - complete with swifts, rolling waves, rocky rapids, sweeping turns, and narrow canyons.
The Mountain River trip is a good choice for those with solid whitewater skills, previous river canoe-tripping experience, and reasonable fitness levels. A warm up paddling session at one of our springtime clinics is highly recommended! Novices should gain experience elsewhere - such as the Keele River or Wind River - before considering this route.
*NEW EXPORATORY TRIP IN 2021* Contact our office for more information on our new Stone Knife-Mountain River trip which will explore a rarely paddled tributary and end with a 4-5 day descent of the Mountain River.
"Keep up the excellent work! I was thrilled with the trip ... I plan to sign up for my 4th Black Feather trip down a river next year." Jim, California, USA
Recommended Skill Level And Dates
Guides 5:1 ratio
• 12 nights camping, 1 night hotel in Norman Wells
• excellent trail meals and snacks from Day 1 lunch to Day 13 lunch
• custom 17’ ABS expedition canoes with spray decks and knee pads
• paddles, PFDs, throw bags, paddling helmets
• 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
• first aid, safety, river rescue, and repair kits
• communications equipment (satellite phone)
• charter float plane flight from Norman Wells to Willow Handle Lake - Day 1
• shuttle of group and gear from the mouth of the Mountain River to Norman Wells
• transportation of guides, group gear, food, etc. to Norman Wells
• ground transfer between Norman Wells Airport and Black Feather Base / float plane
docks on Day 1, and from the hotel to the airport on day 14
Trip Rendezvous Point: Norman Wells, NWT