The Boreal and Taiga forests that grace the shores of the Great Bear River offer paddlers an inspiring and historic journey through the Mackenzie lowlands. The current on this river often reaches speeds of 10 – 12kms per hour with pristine, crystal-clear water. An active layer of Permafrost underlays the entire region. The rugged campsites are situated at the confluence of small side creeks. Class II swifts and rapids offer added excitement from the steady swift current ideal for novice or intermediate paddlers.
The only technical paddling on the river occurs just upstream from Mount St Charles where rocky Class II rapids demand a cautious approach. As you paddle along, you are continually reminded of the explorers who used this route to access Great Bear Lake and beyond into the arctic barrenlands. George Douglas tracked his freighter canoe upstream on the Great Bear River and onwards to the Dismal Lakes and Coppermine River in the 1930’s. Hiking at Mount St Charles is worthy of a day spent in camp and you can count on fresh fish cooked on an open fire for dinner. Fishing for trout, grayling, inconnu, pickerel and pike can only be defined as world-class on the Great Bear River. Great Bear Rock announces the upcoming confluence with the mighty Mackenzie River at Tulita where trippers can tour and experience an authentic Dene community. A hike up Great Bear Rock offers an awesome view of Tulita and the Front Range of the Mackenzie Mountains. A full day paddle on the historic Mackenzie River returns paddlers right to the dock in Norman Wells where the trip concludes.