One Of The Most Underrated Destinations In Canada Is A Unique Paradise For Hikers

When it comes to vacation destinations that are adorned with remote locations to explore, Canada is a country that's sure to inspire. It's also a place that's packed with awe-inspiring landscapes to enjoy when you're looking for an entirely new view on nature. If you happen to have a passion for lacing up your hiking boots and discovering wild trails, then you're going to want to be sure to set aside time this year for a trip to Canada's Auyuittuq National Park. Sitting on the southeastern edge of Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park is an off-the-beaten-path gem of a location in Nunavut. It's wonderfully rich in history, a prime place to view the northern lights, and a location brimming over with breathtaking terrain just about everywhere you turn.

No matter what you're hoping to set your sights on, there's a good chance you'll find it right here. Auyuittuq National Park is home to a diverse array of granite peaks and glaciers as well as fjords and tundra valleys. Combined, these create an unforgettable arctic landscape that remains refreshingly untouched. The hiking trails here are bound to beckon if you're the type of adventurer who is looking for an experience where you can pair a thrilling challenge in nature with rich cultural roots to discover along the way.

Combine the best of history and arctic exploration

When you visit Auyuittuq National Park for a hiking journey, you'll be walking in the footsteps of locals whose story goes back more than 3,000 years. Before Europeans ever arrived in the region around 1585, Thule and Inuit tribes had successfully adapted to the arctic waters and tundra while surviving off of the seals, caribou, whales, and narwhals that populated the area. Today, the park remains a pristine and protected space for natural exploration, but Inuit culture remains infused into the very name of the destination. Auyuittuq translates to "the land that never melts" from its native Inuktitut.

You're going to want to set your sights on the iconic Akshayuk Pass to elevate your hiking experience when you visit. This park route spans over 60 miles and creates a stunning natural corridor between mountains. Be sure to set aside several days to trek this entire route, which is best for experienced hikers. There are emergency shelters built into the pathway, but there aren't any official campgrounds established. Hikers need to prepare for wilderness tent camping at its most demanding.

If you're more comfortable hiking through Auyuittuq National Park alongside a pro, you'll want to book a guided hiking experience. Local outfitters like Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions, Black Feather Wilderness Adventure Company, and Northwinds Arctic Adventures offer multi-day group excursions to enjoy. These opportunities can provide a more insightful experience with options to hike safely through areas you might otherwise overlook.

Day hikes and options to expand your itineary

If you only have a day to spare in Auyuittuq National Park, a guided hike to Ulu Peak will help you maximize your experience. These excursions typically depart from Pangnirtung. You'll travel by boat to the park alongside your guide and make your way to Ulu Peak at a moderate pace passing scenic fjords and mountains along the way. Inuit culture and history are built into these itineraries to give you an idea of how the land was used by those who called it home for millennia.

While Auyuittuq National Park is most accessible to visitors in the warm weather months, it's open to travelers year-round. Beyond hiking, activities to enjoy here include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, climbing, mountaineering, and nature photography. While you're exploring in any season, there's a good chance you'll see some spectacular wildlife. Auyuittuq National Park is home to snowy owls, hawks, hares, caribou, red foxes, lemmings, and peregrine falcons. While the landscape offers a rich habitat for wolves and polar bears, the surrounding waters are ideal ecosystems for snow geese, narwhals, and beluga whales.

When planning your hiking journey to Auyuittuq National Park, you'll need to organize a flight into either Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq. From here, local outfitters will transport you to the park by snowmobile or boat depending on the time of year. Visitors are encouraged to contact the park ahead of time to organize transportation for a smooth and successful visit.