Canol Heritage Trail
The Canol Heritage Trail is a 355 km trail running from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, through the Mackenzie Mountains, to the Yukon border. Because of its remoteness, length and river crossings, it is considered one of the most challenging trails in Canada. It should only be undertaken by experienced, physically fit hikers.
The trail follows the route of the Canol Road lying within the Northwest Territories where it is no longer maintained beyond the Yukon border. The road was constructed during the Second World War by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build and service a pipeline bringing oil from Norman Wells to a refinery in Whitehorse, Yukon. Though built at huge expense the pipeline suffered from shoddy workmanship and technical difficulties. It was abandoned after only thirteen months of operation. Some of the steel pipe and other materials were salvaged but sections of pipe, abandoned equipment, pump stations and other buildings remain along the trail.
The trail’s eastern terminus is across the Mackenzie River from Norman Wells, requiring arrangements to be made to cross the river by either air or boat. The western terminus, a small airstrip at McMillan Pass near the Yukon border, can be reached by plane from either Norman Wells or Whitehorse. In summer, it can be reached by road along Yukon Highway 6/North Canol Road. The road receives minimal maintenance and can be a rough ride. The road ends 26 km before the trailhead, bringing the total distance to the McKenzie River to 381 km.
Most hikers will take between 14 and 22 days to complete the trail. There are no services along the trail and, though it has been hiked with no resupply, most people arrange for one to three food drops to be made by aircraft.
There are three major river crossings along the trail, in addition to innumerable smaller ones. Crossing the Twitya River, which has turned back many hikers, requires swimming.
Other modes of travel
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canol Heritage Trail.|
- "5 most challenging hiking trails in Canada". Macleans. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Current status of the CANOL Heritage Trail Park Reserve".
- "Bikepacking the North Canol Heritage Trail". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "L'Odyssee Blanche (The White Odyssey)". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Heiberg-Harrison, Nathalie. "Who owns the rights to Mother Nature?". NNSL.
Hawkings, Tim: “Hiker’s Guide to the Canol Heritage Trail”, Government of the North West Territories, 1996.
- Canol trail on trailpeak.com
- Trail Information (Warning pop ups, menu with trail map etc. is in top window)
- Map and photos
- Cycling the Canol
- Hiking the Trail
- Photo Gallery
- Solo trekking by J.R. Harris.