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Experience the Slave River

In the summer, the Slave River becomes a playground for boaters, picnickers, kayakers, and canoeists. There are many secluded and hidden beaches along the shores of the Slave River for you to enjoy with friends and family, for both paddlers and hikers.

The Slave River has some of the best white water paddling in the world, and offers something for all all levels from flatwater to class 5!

The rapids between Fort Fitzgerald and Fort Smith amount to 25 kilometres of whitewater adventure, with something for all abilities. The four main rapids in the Slave River white water corridor include:

Visiting whitewater paddlers should contact local paddlers for guidance before venturing onto the Slave River. There are different routes from Fort Fitzgerald to Fort Smith and many of them are not safe for the inexpereinced – Class V and VI rapids abound.

For more information on incredible kayak and canoe paddling routes for all skill levels visit one of the following :

Fort Smith Paddling Club -

Slave River Paddlefest -

Leif & Natalie Anderson - Leif and Natalie Anderson blogspot - Professional paddlers talk about thier love of the Slave River and why you need to come here.

Visitor Information Centre -  Visitors Centre  - (867) 872-3065 or (867) 872-7960

Slave River Paddlefest

Paddlefest is a week-long event celebrating the Slave River and all those who paddle it. It takes place in early August when the water is warm and the waves are exciting. There are clinics, river trips, races, and competitions for paddlers of all skill levels. There are also "Learn to Kayak" clinics and games for kids, youth, and adults.

On land, there are guided "Meet the River" hikes and a community feast. Want to experience the whitewater thrill but don’t quite have the skills to match? Try "Introduction to Awesome" and run through the rapids with an expert in a duo kayak or raft.  

For more information:

Slave River Paddlefest -

Flat Water

Pine Lake in Wood Buffalo National Park is an aquamarine lake in the middle of the boreal forest, about 60 km (a 45-minute drive) from Fort Smith.

Created by a series of three sink holes, the lake is a get-away destination for residents of Fort Smith with its sandy beaches and warm waters.

Multi-day Trips

Fort Smith is an ideal access point to the largest wilderness left in North America: the storied Arctic Barren Lands, or mainland tundra, of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Canoeists from all over North America and Europe come to Fort Smith to paddle the Barren Lands on some of the most remote and wild rivers on the planet.

Between the treeline and Fort Smith lies the largest boreal forest wilderness in Canada. The forest is dotted with thousands of unnamed lakes and coursed by major rivers that offer the adventurous canoeist unparalleled opportunities to see extraordinary wildlife roam the Barren Lands such as massive caribou herds, muskoxen, wolves, and grizzlies.

Here are some of the historic and legendary rivers you can access:

  • Thelon River
  • Black River
  • Dubawnt River
  • Taltson River
  • Snowdrift River
  • Tazinand & Thoa rivers

Whether your canoeing party requires a flight of 50 km or 1,000 km, Fort Smith air charter operators can provide float plane access to any location in this great wilderness. Businesses in the community provide canoe rentals, outfitting services, and guided canoe trips on the remote Arctic tundra. Much closer to Fort Smith, and accessible by road, are one-day and multi-day canoe trips on other rivers. Routes on the Slave River and rivers within Wood Buffalo National Park can be done by paddlers of all skill levels.