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Canada’s Spectacular Northwest Territories: Wilderness, Wildlife & Traditions

Program Number: 21495RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/15/2014 - 8/22/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories,
Price starting at: $5,995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Native American Studies; History & Culture; Natural History
Meals: 19; 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners    

The Northwest Territories encompasses more than half a million square miles of Subarctic and Arctic wilds, a remote and pristine wilderness mottled with rivers and lakes and home to ancient beasts like muskox, bison, caribou and bald eagles. Beneath the warm light of the “midnight sun,” experience a seemingly limitless expanse of untouched river valleys, mountains and boreal forests. In the remote Charter Community of Deline, discover the rich history of the Dene aboriginal people through living stories, traditional practices and their connection to the land.


• Experience the beauty of the “midnight sun” and have tea at the Prophets House with Dene elders while they share the stories of their oral tradition.
• Explore the vast and incredible landscape of the Mackenzie Mountains by plane, soaring over rivers and canyons and stopping for a canyon walk.
• Join a community elder, accomplished artist and drum maker to learn about traditional fishing and hunting methods while hearing tales about life on the land.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles at a moderate pace.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Yellowknife, 3 nights; flight to Deline, 4 nights; flight to Yellowknife, departure.

Deline, Northwest Territories

Déline is a community of the Deline First Nation, an Aboriginal Dene people, on the western shore of Great Bear Lake 338 miles northwest of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. Visitors can learn about Dene culture from elders who share their living stories, traditional fishing and hunting practices and tales of connection to the land.

Yellowknife: Inn located in the center of downtown, with complimentary high-speed wireless internet access. Deline: Modern lodge in a scenic setting.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Explorer Hotel
  Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 3 nights
   Grey Goose Lodge
  Deline, Northwest Territories 4 nights
 The Explorer Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Explorer Hotel is located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and is the largest hotel in Northern Canada. With beautifully appointed guest rooms and comprehensive food & beverage services, The Explorer is the North's top hotel destination. Located on a high point in downtown Yellowknife, our spacious guest rooms offer spectacular panoramic views of Niven Lake and Back Bay to the north and Frame Lake and the Legislative Assembly to the south.
  Contact info: 4825 49th Avenue
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2R3 Canada
phone: 867-873-3531
  Room amenities: Pillowtop mattresses and premium bedding, sitting and work areas include an arm chair, desk, ergonomic work chair and desk lamp, iPod compatible clock radio, complimentary coffee, free Wi-Fi, three-fixture bathrooms, hair dryers, telephones and remote control color televisions.
  Facility amenities: Business Centre, fitness facility, 24 hour front desk staff and security, two on site restaurants (Trader’s Grill and Trapline Lounge), room service, laundry service, complimentary airport shuttle .
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel. Contact hotel directly.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Grey Goose Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: When you visit Deline, enjoy the fine food and accommodations at the Grey Goose Lodge. The Lodge is located in the community of Deline, in the spectacular Northwest Territories, where the Great Bear River flows out of Great Bear Lake. The Grey Goose Lodge is a beautiful modern facility providing all the amenities of home. Fishing options available; Great Bear Lake holds World Records for Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling.
  Contact info: P.O. Box 175
Deline, NT X0E 0G0 Canada
phone: 867-589-5500
  Facility amenities: Full service dining room, computer & Internet facilities, Dene Handicrafts Shop.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after:  middle of program

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals to the hotel in Yellowknife, NWT. Check-in is 4:00 p.m. Dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p.m. Orientation at 7:30 p.m. You will be staying at The Explorer Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Morning flight from Deline to Yellowknife, NWT. Approximate arrival in Yellowknife is 12:15 p.m. Departures from Yellowknife, NWT. You will be staying at Grey Goose Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Participants will be flying to Yellowknife.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  From End of Program
  Location:  Deline, Northwest Territories
  Nearest airport:  Yellowknife, NWT
Travel Details



To Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Explorer Hotel
phone: 867-873-3531


Per Person/One Way:


Free of charge
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Our friendly airport shuttle drivers are on duty seven days a week to drop you off at the Yellowknife Airport.




From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Explorer Hotel
phone: 867-873-3531


Per Person/One Way:


Free of charge
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Complimentary shuttle service from the hotel to the Yellowknife airport.

Elevation Note: Flightseeing over the Mackenzie Mountains.

Equipment Requirements: Comfortable walking shoes.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation
(Friday, August 15)
 Afternoon: Arrival and check-in to the hotel in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Check-in is 4:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Dinner at 6:00 p.m. at the hotel.
 Evening: Orientation and introductions at 7:30 p.m. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Accommodations: The Explorer Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Prince of Wales Museum/Legislative Assembly of Northwest Territories
(Saturday, August 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Visit the Prince of Wales Heritage Museum and learn about the history, background, and characteristics of the Dene and Inuit peoples, the Métis, and pioneer whites through artifacts; and talking, reciting, and singing slide presentations depicting the human struggle with an environment so incredibly harsh that survival alone seems an accomplishment. Meet with (Tom Andrews) an expert from the museum to hear about cultural explorations based upon the traditional travel routes of the Northwest Territories’ Aboriginal peoples. Tom will explore the relationship between people and the land and will highlight sites of cultural and historical significance throughout the territory that will be explored later in the program.
 Lunch: Lunch at Prince of Wales Café.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a private visit with former MLA to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. The beautifully designed building is one of the newest legislatures in Canada and is probably one of the most unique. Learn about consensus style of government and how it reflects the traditional values of the people of the territory. Observe the beautiful design of the building and how it highlights the values of consensus government.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Explorer Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Geological Highlights of Northwest Territories/Walking Exploration of Yellowknife/Inuit Art/Aurora Viewing
(Sunday, August 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This walking exploration will introduce participants to the diverse culture and history of the northern city. Our guide will take participants through Old Town, the original city centre. This northern gem’s landscape and architecture creates a ruggedly romantic atmosphere. Around the shoreline there are quaint eateries, boat rentals and aboriginal arts and craft shops. Visit the historic Pilot’s Monument and enjoy the panoramic view of houseboats, floatplanes and the relatively new city center. Participants will have the opportunity to visit some of Yellowknife’s finest galleries which feature locally made moccasins, carvings, jewelry, birchbark baskets, dream catchers and paintings. Then walk along the trail - part-boardwalk, part-paved walkway flanked by Frame Lake that extends from Yellowknife’s hospital to lively downtown core.
 Morning: Learn about the geological history of NWT with Walt Humphries, President of NWT Mining Heritage Society. Walt is a vocal and active advocate for the preservation of the North’s unique history, a well-known personality in the NWT and wealth of knowledge. Walt will speak about the rich geological resources of the NWT and the mining (diamonds and gold) and oil industries and the history of the ice roads.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time/rest up for tonight's late night Aurora viewing.
 Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.
 Evening: Yellowknife is on the 60th parallel which, at its longitude, places it directly within an oval-shaped range at which the aurora appears most often and vividly. View the Aurora Borealis in the comfort of lake-side heated luxury teepees with a local guide and photographer - a breathtaking experience. Here we will experience fabulous aurora borealis viewing. Yellowknife is located directly under the ‘Aurora Oval’, a narrow band encircling the polar reaches of the globe in which the mysterious colored lights of the aurora borealis are at their most brilliant. Coupled with its clear nights, this favorable geographic location makes Yellowknife consistently one of the best places in the world for aurora viewing.
Accommodations: The Explorer Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Explore Yellowknife/Flight to Deline/Greetings from the Community
(Monday, August 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Yellowknife independently.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Flight to Deline and transfer to lodge. Meet with former Chief of Deline and Head Chief of the Sahtu region for greeting and introduction to their community. Strong and wise leaders have been the key to the Dene people’s survival. Hear about the value and role their cultural, political, spiritual and hunting leaders.
 Dinner: Dinner at the lodge in Deline.
Accommodations: Grey Goose Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Walking Exploration of Deline/Wildlife of NWT/Boreal and Taiga Forest/Village Walk and Tea with Elders
(Tuesday, August 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Explore this remote northern community with an elder and former chief of Deline. Formerly Fort Franklin, the town officially changed its name in 1993. The current name is the original Slavey term for the area, meaning where the water flows. The community has a population of approximately 525 people, and is situated 2 miles from the mouth of the Bear River, on Great Bear Lake, North of the 65th parallel. The population is mainly comprised of Slavey Band Dene Indians. The people here are some of the last in the north to come off the land, and establish a permanent community. Much of the traditional culture has been maintained, such as hand games, drum dances and seasonal feasts. Hunting and fishing continue to play a dominant role in the way of life. The influence of French trappers has had an effect on names and some words adopted in the culture.
 Lunch: Lunch in Deline.
 Afternoon: Meet with Wildlife expert who will discuss Taiga Shield Ecozone and the wildlife that inhabit this region. The Northwest Territories is one of the few remaining regions in the world with herds of wild migratory caribou, the incredible prehistoric Muskox as well as the Barrenland and Woodland caribou, and Dall’s sheep, healthy populations of top predators, and rich northern biodiversity. Wildlife is one of the main links between people and the environment. Hear about the importance of Caribou and Moose as an important source for food, clothing, and cultural identity for Aboriginal people in the NWT, and why caribou are one of the NWT’s most important wildlife resources.
 Afternoon: Set out by canoe for short paddle to Jack Point where we will explore on foot the Boreal and Taiga forest. Learn about the unique biodiversity of this area, identify the plant species, hear about the medicinal uses of plants and pick seasonal berries. (There will be an opportunity to return later in the evening for those interested in photographing this incredible landscape under the midnight sun).
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the lodge.
 Evening: Take a leisurely walk through the village under the early “midnight sun” to join the elders at the Prophets House. Share tea while we listen to their simply told oral stories; gifts of deep wisdom that span thousands of years. The stories and wisdom are timeless and offer as much to the listener today as they did centuries ago.
Accommodations: Grey Goose Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Flight to Norman Wells/Aerial Exploration of the Mackenzie Mountains/Drummers and Dancers
(Wednesday, August 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Fly to Norman Wells and explore the town with local Wright family, owners of North Wright Air. Hear about the history of aviation in the NWT, life as a bush pilot and while touring their private hanger which houses memorabilia and private aviation collection.
 Lunch: Pack lunch.
 Afternoon: Take an amazing aerial exploration over the Mackenzie Mountains, rivers and canyons by floatplane; guided by Warren and Justin Wright. We will explore this vast and incredible landscape and stop for an optional canyon walk (weather permitting). We will also go in search of the resident wildlife including Muskox, caribou, Dall’s sheep, wolves and fox. For a sense of the impressive size and majesty of this land, we will explore by air the breathtaking Mackenzie Mountains. The rugged peaks reveal secret after secret: spectacular castellated canyons, glittering rivers and waterfalls, Dall's sheep and woodland caribou. An experience of a lifetime.
 Dinner: Return flight to Deline in time for dinner at the lodge.
 Evening: An evening of traditional music with drummers and dancers.
Accommodations: Grey Goose Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Traditional Way of Life/Preparing Traditional Foods/Drum Making/Farewell Evening
(Thursday, August 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.
 Morning: Embrace the Dene traditional way of life and learn about their culture and traditions. Join community elder, Morris Neyelle, an accomplished artist and drum maker to learn about traditional fishing and hunting methods while sharing stories about life on the land. Check a fish net, gather the catch and learn how to clean and prepare the fish for drying and smoking. Dried fish and meat is a favorite and considered a delicacy.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch with local community members.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the traditional way of life visiting with a Dene family and learning how to make traditional Bannock. A demonstration on drum making will follow (and lessons on mead making).

** Those who wish to go out fishing will be taken out by experienced fishing guides from fresh-water trout in the world on the community. No experience needed, catch some of the largest the pristine Great Bear Lake. Option to stay onshore and fly-fish; all guided with local Dene people.

 Dinner: Gather outdoors at the beautiful Cultural Camp point for a community feast prepared by the local community. Freshly caught fish, caribou and bannock cooked over an open fire will be served along with many other delicious side dishes. Community members and elders will join us.
 Evening: We move to the Cultural Centre to watch exciting traditional hand games demonstration, dancing and drumming ceremony. This will be a truly memorable and moving experience. A wonderful way to complete out visit in Deline.
Accommodations: Grey Goose Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Flight to Yellowknife/Program Concludes/Departures
(Friday, August 22)
 Breakfast: Final breakfast and goodbyes in Deline.
 Morning: Flight to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Approximate arrival in Yellowknife is 12:15 p.m. Departures from Yellowknife. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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