arctic haven wilderness lodge aurora borealis

Arctic Haven Lodge Autumn Discovery

  • Overview
    One of the largest herds in North America, the 250,000 strong Qamanirjuaq caribou herd roams the Barrens west of Hudson Bay. From late August onwards, throughout the autumn, the caribou are spread out over the tundra of south western Nunavut. Experience the reward of the autumn colours on the tundra – crimson reds, vibrant yellows and shimmering oranges as a backdrop to caribou with full racks that can, at times, walk within meters of you. The caribou are typically seen in groups of two to twenty. There are mothers with young calves along with males with their fully-grown antlers of velvet. Flying from Yellowknife with our private plane, we land at Arctic Haven Lodge on Ennadai Lake. The lodge sits on a peninsula overlooking the lake. This eighty-four kilometre long lake has natural narrow points where the caribou cross. Using our fleet of aluminum boats we conduct day trips from the lodge along the lake to look for opportunities to observe and/or photograph the caribou swimming in the water as they cross the lake or walk along the shore. Migratory birds also pass by the lake in autumn. Ducks, loons, tundra swans, sandhill cranes, thousands of snow geese and Canada geese, arctic terns and eagles can be seen and heard as they begin their migrations south. The wolves and wolverines also know about the crossing points and wait for the caribou. A keen observer can spot these wary animals but their fresh tracks can often be seen on beaches. The caribou walk along the eskers following the trails they have been using since the last ice age. You too can walk these trails that are worn into the ground - unique paths that stretch for nearly 500 kilometres and can be seen from the air. Arctic Haven’s surroundings are home to a unique history as the lakes and rivers were once inhabited by the Ahiarmiut - Farley Mowat’s “People of the Deer” - for nearly one thousand years. Numerous unspoiled historical sites dot the tundra and can be visited by boat and explored by foot. For the fisherman, or simply the inquisitive: Ennadai Lake has huge pike, lake trout and Arctic grayling fishing. Bring your fly rod and waders! For anyone who wishes to see a grander view, there is a helicopter available for charter. This is an experience you will never forget. From local guides who know the traditional routes of the caribou to shimmering northern lights in the evening, to the subtle beauty of this vast and abundant land, this late summer-early autumn Arctic photography safari will surprise and delight at every step. This uniquely Canadian adventure is suitable for adventurous families as well as the professional photographer. Rates are per person, from Yellowknife NWT All rates are GST applicable Private charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Haven roundtrip is included.
    Duration: 7 days
    Passengers: 24 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Yellowknife, Canada
    Disembarkation Point: Yellowknife, Canada
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: 0.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      In the early afternoon, at the airport in Yellowknife, Arctic Haven guests meet the private charter plane that will fly them the 500 miles to Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge. Your wallet is no longer of any use, your worries from the south are behind you, this is the start of your Arctic adventure. The plane is a modern and comfortable aircraft; you will pass from trees, across the tree line and over the Barren Lands; it’s time to sit back and relax. Flying to Arctic Haven, you’ll see the Barrens from the air; the endless lakes and caribou paths forged into tundra, the sparse trees dotting the tree line amidst a fall backdrop of crimson reds, bright oranges and dark greens.

      The plane lands on the private strip beside Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge. Nestled on the tree line, Arctic Haven is situated on the shores of one of the largest expanses of water on the Barrens, the eighty-four kilometre long Ennadai Lake. Guests are welcomed into the lodge, a short introduction is given and guests are given the opportunity to settle into their private rooms.

      After dinner, guests are welcomed to walk the surrounding tundra, where numerous caribou trails can be explored in solitude.

      For those looking to relax and unwind, we are proud to offer a wood-fired sauna on the shore of our lake for your comfort and enjoyment.

      For the keen fisherman, or avid learner, great trout fishing can be enjoyed just a short walk from the lodge.

      Each night at Arctic Haven is a chance to witness the northern lights. Virtually every clear night there is a light show in the sky.

    • Day 2 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      Breakfast, served at 8:30, typically includes fresh espresso coffee, home-baked pastries, muffins, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, yoghurt, muesli, French toast or pancakes with Quebec maple syrup, eggs, organic double-smoked bacon and sausages.

      Guests are given an introduction prior to heading out onto the waters of Ennadai Lake by boat. Arctic Haven has three twenty-five foot enclosed custom boats as well as a fleet of smaller

      boats. These boats are used on a daily basis as our mode of transportation to find and view caribou, to explore the far reaches of the lake and to arrive to locations where great hiking and panoramic views of the Barren Lands can be enjoyed. Today’s excursion explores the northern reaches of Ennadai Lake. It is here above the tree line that caribou can be found on islands and shorelines. This trip features great views, photographic opportunities and even the unique experience of tracking and viewing caribou from the land. Majestic bulls can be seen on the shores, grazing and slowly making their way south. Females and calves can be seen cautiously moving.

      across the tundra. A lunch spread of soup, gourmet meats and cheeses, hummus and vegetables, and fresh-baked bread and sweets is served by your guides on the unique and picturesque beach on Paradise Island. The afternoon is spent cruising amongst the islands to spot caribou with short walks on land to view them closer.

      The full day of adventure stirs up an appetite. Our chef greets guests from a day of adventure on the Barren Lands tundra with a Canadian gourmet meal. Flavours include AAA Alberta prime rib glazed with a Dijon, garlic and rosemary rub; radicchio, prosciutto and reduced maple-balsamic appetizers rolls, fresh arugula and blueberry salads with desserts such as maple creme brûlée.

      In the evening, Richard Weber, internationally recognized polar explorer and owner of Arctic Watch, offers an informal lecture on his North Pole adventures. His historic 1995 unassisted journey to the North Pole and back—a feat that has never been repeated —is highlighted.

      For those wishing to perfect their aurora borealis photography skills, our staff provide an evening excursion beneath the northern lights to focus on capturing the green, red and purple shimmer as they dance along the evening skies.

      As always, the sauna awaits you at the end of a long day on the lake and on the land. Our staff are happy to fire it up for you at any time. A cooling dip in the lake under the aurora borealis is an experience not to be missed!

    • Day 3 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      We begin today’s adventure with a short, 20-minute boat ride to arrive at the shoreline where our hike to the Blind Hill esker begins. This 9-kilometre hike takes you from the soft and wet blueberry flats to a dry and well-worn caribou trail on the spine of an esker, to an open tundra ridge overlooking the lakes and land below. The eskers are remnants of the great glaciers that covered this land in the last ice age. They are unique sandy ridges and hills that were deposited by the rivers flowing beneath retreating and melting glaciers. The ease of travel on eskers make them an ideal migration route for caribou. With your guides interpreting the flora along the way, the hike makes its way to a sheltered forest gully where another gourmet lunch spread is prepared for you. The hike continues over rolling terrain to a high point where an Inuit stone hunting blind still sits on the ridge above the tundra below. An observer on top of the esker can look northward and see treeless Barrens or look south and see the dark green of the boreal forest. This is the tree line. As we make our way across the high ridge, lakes and rivers and tundra can various types of berries carpet the ground; blueberries, lingo berries, crowberries and more. We re-enter the black spruce forest and esker paths before ending our hike on the blueberry flats near the lake. Here you are more than welcome to harvest blueberries which our chef will be happy to incorporate into our meals and baking.

      An alternative option to hiking today is a fishing trip at Richard’s shoal and Grayling Rapids. At the shoal, trout like are abundant and Grayling Rapids offers an opportunity to fly fish for grayling. Both experienced and new fisherman are provided with equipment and accompanied by expert guides. The shallow waters of the rapids spilling into the lake and the narrow crossing point of land make for the perfect location for a convergence of wildlife. The caribou trails dig deep into the tundra and caribou frequent this crossing point.

      Guests who wish to try their hand at fishing for Arctic Grayling, either on a fly or spinning, have the opportunity to do so. No prior experience is required, some love the way a winged Arctic Grayling will treat a well-presented fly. Others are fascinated by its rarity and appearance. Either way, this fish provides ample action for a great light tackle experience.

      The full-day excursion is complemented by a gourmet meal that awaits guests upon arrival. Arctic Haven’s chef focuses on local flares to the evening dishes, including fresh arctic lake trout gravlax. The Arctic Haven wine list offers some of Canada’s best wines, paired to match the local dishes.

      This evening, a presentation on the Ahiarmiut of Ennadai Lake will shine light on the history and culture of the Inuit people who once called the lake home, hunting from a kayak, living off the land and subsisting almost entirely on caribou. Several thousand Inuit once lived along the shores of Ennadai Lake and the surrounding area. This population was reduced to forty-five people by the mid-1950's; a result of starvation and disease, when the Ahiarmiut were tragically relocated from their homeland to coastal communities.

    • Day 4 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      Another hearty breakfast begins the day at 8:30. Today we board our boats and head to the North Arm exploring the far reaches of our lake where caribou are most frequently seen. As we enter the North Arm we begin to cruise the shorelines, looking for caribou either on land or swimming
      between the islands. Our lodge has a remote camp in this part of the lake and staying a night is an option, as it will give you the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the remoteness of the Barren Lands. Here we dine on another great picnic spread and guests are free to explore the island, perhaps even catching a glimpse of caribou on nearby islands. Our day includes a short hike up to Big Bear, the highest point on the lake. The terrain is quite different from the rest of the lake; here the bedrock is exposed and round rocks have been placed on top by glaciers. From the summit, a truly awe-inspiring panoramic view is enjoyed and guests are given time to explore, relax and take in the scenery in solitude. We embark the boats yet again in search of more caribou, which if given the opportunity, we will try to stealthily approach from land to get a better view.

      This evening, after another spectacular meal, photographer Nansen Weber, offers an informal lecture on his photographic experiences on the Barren Lands. The principal photographer at Arctic Haven and Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Nansen has spent the past 10 years photographing some of the most important and dramatic wildlife events in the Arctic. He highlights his presentation with local photography - both of wolves and caribou.

    • Day 5 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      Today’s breakfast begins with espresso, tea or juice, Arctic blueberry and lingonberry waffles topped with fresh cream, French Canadian maple syrup, fresh fruit and organic Alberta breakfast sausages.

      Today we offer a range of activities, using our cabin outpost as a central hub. We board the boats for a 40 minute boat ride to Cabin Island, where guests can disembark and explore before choosing their activity for the morning. Optional activities include; kayaking amongst the islands, fishing from our boats at nearby shoals and visits to archaeological sites in the surrounding area. Kayaking is led by our certified sea kayak guides who teach you proper technique and bring you to sheltered bays and inlets amongst the islands where the opportunity to see caribou is high. Spin fishing is offered either from shore or from the boat, where an experienced guide provides equipment and tips on technique if desired. Also available is the unique opportunity to visit historical sites where Ahiarmiut have camped for hundreds of years. Here we see stone caches and cairns, tent rings, tent poles, stone tools, and more recent tools like pots, plates and even a harmonica. It is an honour to be able to explore these untouched traditional camping and hunting grounds. Back at Cabin Island, a bonfire on the beach is ablaze throughout the day and a fish fry lunch will supplement our usual gourmet spread! The cabin itself offers a cozy abode for those desiring a relaxing morning or afternoon.

      This cabin is also equipped for overnight stays and we welcome guests to enjoy a night of solitude during their stay. The cabin offers a wood stove, cozy sleeping platform, comfortable chairs and amenities such as coffee, tea, gas stove for heating water and cooking, outdoor fire pit and Muskoka chairs. It is the perfect one-night getaway where the opportunity to see the aurora borealis in a private and secluded location could be the highlight of your trip. Please let us know in advance if this is of interest to you!

      The pace today is relaxed and all about taking in the surroundings and everything the islands have to offer. There is something for everyone!

      After returning to the lodge and enjoying another healthy and hearty meal, we invite you to attend a short informal presentation on the Mythology and Folklore of the Aurora Borealis. This talk is a labour of love and inspired by stories from around the world about the northern lights and their relation to the living on land. If its a clear night, your evening could come to a close gazing out above the lake at the majestic aurora.

    • Day 6 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      Today’s adventure necessitates a gourmet breakfast to start, served at 8:30.

      Heading south into the tree line, today’s excursion starts with a short boat ride up the Kazan River - one of the largest rivers on the Barrens. Here, the tundra begins to turn into forest – birch, black spruce and tamarack trees lay claim to the territory, with caribou trails weaving amongst the sparse yet impressive arctic forest. Moose have been seen in this forested and marshy area as well. This location is also excellent for tundra swans; the majestic Arctic swans nest on the edge of the river bank, in small grassy openings. This area was burnt by natural forest fire some years ago. Now the new growth is clearly visible all around.

      For the more adventurous, there is a spectacular 7 km walk along the eskers, following caribou, moose and wolf tracks that takes us back to Birch Bay on Ennadai Lake. The walk normally takes about four hours.

      For those who want to walk less, a short walk amongst the forested eskers bring us to the final paths of the Qamanirjuaq caribou - only a few miles south from here they overwinter. Have your camera ready! Wolves have been seen here in the past and a den is strategically placed near one of the eskers. After lunch, guests are given the opportunity to try a final hand at fishing for arctic grayling. The swift current of the Kazan is an excellent location for the species. Near-to world record grayling has been caught in these waters! After dinner guests are welcome to join Arctic Haven guides for catch-and-release arctic lake trout fishing. The shallow beach on the shoreline in front of Arctic Haven is excellent for lake trout at sunset.

      That evening, for the foodies at heart, Josée Auclair, co-owner of Arctic Watch & Arctic Haven, provides an informal cuisine class. At Arctic Haven, everything is prepared fresh and homemade from bread to ice cream. All the meat is organic. On the tundra are edible wild foods. There is also a seminar of cleaning and filleting fish. As always, we are happy to fire up the sauna for those interested in relaxing by the lake. Today is the last opportunity to take in the northern lights! Cozy up in a blanket on the front deck Muskoka chairs and enjoy a glass of fine Canadian wine as the lights begin their show.

    • Day 7 - Arctic Haven Lodge

      By their last day in the Barren Lands, guests are familiar with the area of Ennadai Lake and Arctic Haven Lodge. Today we offer a short hike following the caribou trails on the esker near the lodge. Wolf and caribou tracks can be followed in the sandy paths and beautiful shimmering ponds are seen through the black spruce forest. We return to the lodge for a hearty lunch and guests are free to relax for the afternoon before the plane arrives. We are proud to offer a final and unique Arctic experience; homemade tea and bannock - a staple food of the Arctic. The tea is infused with fresh, fragrant and local Labrador Tea and the bannock is freshly baked and served with blueberry jam, honey and butter. In the late afternoon, the plane will arrive to take guests back to Yellowknife. Guests can choose to spend some time visiting Yellowknife or catch a flight south.

      During the week, a helicopter stationed at the lodge is available for charter to fly to more inaccessible areas or to do aerial viewing or photography. For this service, please advise us before you arrive at the lodge.

      The cabin and weather haven outposts are two unique ways to experience the remote Arctic. If an overnight stay at either of these interests you, please write to us for more information so we can plan for your stay.

      Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of an experience at Arctic Haven. In the Arctic, there are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. The weather and the wildlife run on their own schedule. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to an Arctic experience.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Adventure Activities

    Arctic Wildlife Photography

    Come in search of exploring some of the Arctic most unique wildlife species including, Wolverine, Bears and Caribou.


    Arctic Kayaking

    Kayaking on the lakes around the lodge is a quiet and intimate way to explore and see the wildlife from a different perspective.


    Motor boats

    The Arctic Haven lodge has a couple of motor boats that we use to discover different areas around the lakes within close proximity to the lodge.



    Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge utilizes a combination of wind and solar power. At twelve private rooms, a common area, dinning room and more, this isn't camping! Comfortable hotel like accomodations, sauna, gourmet dining and guides who expertly know the tundra await!

    Predatory Wildlife

    Wolves, wolverines, grizzly bears, cross foxes and more all call Arctic Haven's surroundings home. Photo: Wolverine eating a caribou carcass.

    Fall Colours & History

    As the fall colours set on the tundra, the treeline holds unique landscapes - vibrant reds, lush greens, fiery yellows. Archaeological sites dating to pre-contact dot the area; once home to the "People of the deer", Arctic Haven's surroundings were inhabited by an Inuit group that survived almost exclusively from caribou.


    As the autumn colours settle on the tundra, the Qamanirijuaq caribou migrate south for the winter. The migratory caribou spend approximately two months in the vicinity of Arctic Haven, grazing on ripe tundra fruit such as blueberries and cranberries before heading into treeline for winter.

    Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

    During the Autumn season at Arctic Haven, the northern lights shine brightly. Calm, cool autumn evenings are the perfect backdrop for the aurora borealis.

  • Inclusions

    Gourmet Canadian fare

    Canadian gourmet fare with local dining experiences such as Ennadai Lake trout sashimi, tundra blue berry compote, Baffin Bay turbot and more - Arctic Haven guests feast on the same fresh, chef-prepared fine cuisine you're just as likely to find in the best urban restaurants yet with northern flare.

    All our dining experiences are made from scratch: homemade European-style breads baked fresh daily, homemade yogurts, ice creams, organic Canadian meats, Ontario fruit and more.

    As proud Canadians, we strive to incorporate the best elements of every Canadian province into our menus: Okanagan Valley wines, Alberta Organic Beef, French-Canadian cheeses and more.

    Charter Flight from Yellowknife

    At Arctic Haven we do everything possible to ensure that you have an enjoyable holiday. Using our own charter planes from Yellowknife allows you to spend less time travelling and more time enjoying the Arctic. It’s important to note, however, that travel in the Arctic is weather dependent. Delays do happen.

    You will need to make your own way to Yellowknife, Canada. First Air, West Jet, Canadian North and Air Canada offer regular daily service from Edmonton and Calgary to Yellowknife.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - All lodging, dining, excursions (with the exception of helicopter time), guiding are included.

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
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    Arctic Haven is a Nunavut resort, located on the Arctic treeline. Home to the 250,000 strong Qamanirjuaq caribou herd, Arctic Haven offers access to hiking, kayaking, boating, world class fishing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, snow mobiling, Arctic safaris with northern lights, arctic wolves, caribou, grizzly bears and wolverine. A family of polar explorers. Richard, Josée, Tessum and Nansen have spent the past 25 years exploring the polar regions. Having lead some of the first polar expeditions to successfuly reach the North Pole, set speed records at both poles, recipient of the Order of Canada, renowned Arctic Wildlife photographer and worldclass polar guides, the Weber family knows Arctic. They've skied, kayaked, hiked and explored across Canada's far north.

    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating:
    Guests #: 24
    Crew #:
    Ice Class:
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 2002
    Length: m
    Elec Outlets:
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We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

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arctic haven lodge double room

Arctic Haven Lodge - Double

18 Sep 2019 - 24 Sep 2019
Arctic Haven boasts 12 private guest rooms, with full private bathrooms. This is not camping! Single rooms can be accommodated at no additional charge, subject to availability at time of booking. Please note a 5% Canadian GST charge will be applied at the checkout.
USD$ 6,684pp
USD$ 6,684pp
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