Ivvavik means "a place for giving birth" in Inuvialuktun, the language of the Inuvialuit. Quite fitting as it is the first national park in Canada to be created as a result of an aboriginal land claim agreement. The park protects a portion of calving grounds used by caribou herds and today represents the Northern Yukon and Mackenzie Delta natural regions.
Ivvavik National Park was established in 1984.
When to Visit
While Ivvavik is open-year round, visitors are strongly encouraged to avoid visiting during winter. The best time for a trip is during March and April when days are longer and the temperatures are warmer. Keep in mind that extremely cold temperatures can still occur from mid-September to mid-May.
Plan a trip for summer and be sure to pack your sunglasses. With twenty-four hours of daylight for almost the entire summer, visitors have a rare opportunity to camp and hike at any time of the day or night.
Charter aircraft is currently the most common and practical way of getting to the park. These services are available from Inuvik, which is located about 120 miles east of the park. Inuvik is the largest community within the region and is accessible via the Dempster Highway.
Visitors can choose a flight from Margaret Lake, Sheep Creek, Stokes Point, Nunaluk Spit, and Komakuk Beach. After being dropped off in the park, visitors are on their own until the plane returns for pick up. This is important to remember as weather can be unpredictable and cause delays. Be sure to pack at least two extra days worth or supplies and clothing in case of a delayed flight.
Fees charged in the park are associated with backcountry camping and fishing. Fees are as follows:
- Northern Park Backcountry Excursion/Backcountry: $24.50 per person, daily; $147.20 annual
- Fishing: $9.80 per person, daily; $34.30 annual
Things To Do
If you love the wilderness, Ivvavik National Park is for you! Take a rafting trip down the Firth River for stunning views of wide mountain valleys and narrow canyons. If water isn't your thing, a similar route can be taken by foot, hiking along the mountain ranges to the coastal lowlands. In fact, while there are no designated trails in Ivvavik, hiking opportunities are endless. It should be noted that visitors are required to supply a detailed description of the planned route before visiting the park.
If you are looking for a shorter day trip, check out Babbage Falls. The falls are located on the eastern boundary of Ivvavik National Park and hosts opportunities to view caribou, hundreds of birds, wild plants, and flowers. Be sure to look for the "bear stomp" - a trail that is well used by bears; so much so that you can actually see bear paw prints!
Keep in mind that there are no facilities, services, established trails, or campgrounds within the park. Visitors should feel confident to handle emergencies and are advised to bring extra clothing, gear, food, and supplies.
There are no accommodations or campgrounds in the park. The only way to stay is by camping in the backcountry. Since there are no designated campsites in the park, visitors can camp anywhere except at archaeological sites. Keep in mind that campfires are illegal in the park so if you want to cook, you will need to bring a camp stove.
Areas of Interest Outside the Park
- Tuktut Nogait National Park of Canada
- Aulavik National Park of Canada
Parks Canada Agency
Western Arctic Field Unit
P.O. Box 1840