Quttinirpaaq National Park Travel Guide

Explore the beauty of Quttinirpaaq National Park with our helpful travel guide. Discover its cultural attractions, natural wonders, outdoor adventures, hiking trails, and more.

A Comprehensive Guide to Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park is a spectacular wonderland located in Nunavut, in Northern Canada. Being the second-largest protected area in Canada, it boasts a diverse landscape with vast inland icefields, glaciers, and mountains, making it an ideal destination for visitors who love nature, adventure, and culture. This comprehensive guide is all you need to navigate through Quttinirpaaq National Park, from the cultural landmarks to the scenic views, outdoor activities, and exciting things to do. Discover why Quttinirpaaq National Park is the ultimate destination for travelers looking for a unique experience.

Introduction to Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park is located on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, the world’s tenth-largest island, in Nunavut, Canada. The park’s name means “Top of the World” in Inuktitut, the local language of the Inuit people who have lived in the region for centuries. The area has been protected since 1988, and it covers an area of 37,775 km² making it larger than some countries. The park’s remoteness, unspoiled wilderness, and rugged terrain make it one of the world’s most extreme environments.

List of Places to Visit in Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park is full of stunning natural and cultural attractions that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty. Here are some top places you should visit when exploring the park:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Sirmilik National Park - Explore the historical sites, cultural traditions, and archeological remains of ancient Inuit culture in this neighboring park of Quttinirpaaq.
  • Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve - Learn about the Thule culture, early explorers, and human activity in this neighboring park of Quttinirpaaq.

Natural Attractions of Quttinirpaaq National Park: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lake Hazen: The world’s second-largest lake within the Arctic Circle, is a must-see in Quttinirpaaq National Park. The lake is surrounded by towering mountains, glaciers, and cliffs, providing stunning views and fantastic photo opportunities.
  • Chaunigan Lake National Wildlife Area: Discover the stunning array of wildlife that inhabits the area, including muskoxen, Arctic wolves, and foxes. The area is also popular for birdwatching, fishing, and camping in the summertime.
  • Cape Hay: Access this stunning, remote coastline with mountaineering views and varied wildlife on hiking trails that offer spectacular sightseeing opportunities.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park has an incredible network of multi-day backpacking trails, and the park attracts thrill-seekers who are looking for an adventure. Here are some of the top hiking and biking routes to try:

  • Thomsen River: A looped trail that offers spectacular views of Mount Whisler and the Thomsen River valley.
  • Aulavik National Park West River Trail: The 25 km West River Trail offer hikers an exceptional view of Mount Asgard, beautiful Esker formations, and the varied Arctic flora on this route.
  • North Arm Trail: This is the longest and most challenging out-and-back trail in the park. It offers hikers stunning views of the ocean, glaciers, and inlets.

Best Things to Do in Quttinirpaaq National Park: Activities and Tours

There is never a dull moment in Quttinirpaaq National Park, with plenty of outdoor activities that cater to all ages and fitness levels. Here are some of the best things to do while exploring the park:

  • [Wildlife Watching])(https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nu/quttinirpaaq/activ/decouverte-experience/faune-wildlife): Observe diverse Arctic wildlife in Quttinirpaaq National Park, such as muskoxen, lemmings, Arctic wolves, and foxes.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Paddle through the park’s countless rivers, crystal-clear lakes, and serene fjords and enjoy the peace and quiet of the stunning Arctic landscape.
  • Dog Sledding: Experience the true Arctic tradition of dog sledding in Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Week-Long Itinerary for Quttinirpaaq National Park

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a one-week trip to Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Day 1: Arrival and orientation Day 2: Thomsen River Trail Day 3: Lake Hazen Day 4: Chaunigan Lake National Wildlife Area Day 5: Day hike to Mount Whisler Day 6: Dog sledding tour Day 7: Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Quttinirpaaq National Park

Food and drink options may be scarce, basic, and expensive in Quttinirpaaq National Park. Be sure to plan your meals before departure and bring essential supplies for meals, snacks, and hydration.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Arctic Char: A sought-after freshwater fish that is found in many Arctic lakes, including Lake Hazen.
  • Raw Caribou: A traditional Inuit food that is often eaten raw, sliced thinly, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs.
  • Bannock: A fried bread with a chewy texture that is traditionally made by indigenous people in the Arctic.

Local Beverages

  • Herbal Tea: Arctic herbs, including Labrador tea, offer a unique taste of the region’s indigenous flora.
  • Snowmelt or Glacier Ice: Clean, naturally pure water can be obtained from glacier ice or snow drifts in Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Where to Stay in Quttinirpaaq National Park: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Accommodation in Quttinirpaaq National Park is limited in numbers and style. Primarily the facilities provided are basic and intended to cater to the adventure-seekers and backpackers looking to have an authentic experience of the park. Visitors have the option to camp or stay in a cabin if available.

What to Buy in Quttinirpaaq National Park: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Quttinirpaaq National Park has various unique souvenirs that reflect the rich history and culture of the indigenous communities in and around the park. Some of the items worth considering while shopping in the park include:

  • Inuit carvings: Depicting animals and nature themes, these carvings are made from local materials such as soapstone, ivory, and bone.
  • Qiviut Clothing: made from a soft, warm, and lightweight wool from the underbelly of muskox, a unique souvenir from Quttinirpaaq National Park.
  • Hand-woven baskets: Made of natural fibers from plants, trees, and lichens, these baskets are traditional Inuit handicrafts sold as souvenirs.

Local Culture and Customs of Quttinirpaaq National Park

The culture of the Inuit people in and around Quttinirpaaq National Park is rich with history and traditions. The best time to experience local culture is during the summer months when Inuit communities nearby host cultural events, such as festivals featuring traditional foods, dances, music, and art. Visitors can have more information by seeking guidance from Park officials or Information Centers.

Best Time to Visit Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park welcomes visitors year-round, although the accessibility of the park, weather conditions, and visitor safety may limit the operation of facilities and outdoor activities. Late May to September is the most common time for visitors to explore the park, when the climate is milder, and summer weather can enable hikers and avid explorers to relish all the adventures that the park has to offer.

Do’s and Don’ts of Quttinirpaaq National Park

Here are some necessary Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Quttinirpaaq National Park:


  • Respect the local culture and customs of the indigenous people living in the region.
  • Stick to the marked trails and roads while hiking, camping, or exploring in the park to avoid treading on precious mosses and breaking lichens.
  • Take appropriate safety precautions and ensure an adequate supply of food, water, and medical supplies for your trip.


  • Do not disturb wildlife for selfies or photographs. Show respect for the nature and wildlife habitat.
  • Do not litter in the park.
  • Do not make noise that will disturb other hikers, animals, or the environment.

Safety and Health

Safety and Health remain paramount while visiting the Quttinirpaaq National Park. As conditions vary significantly, come very prepared for your trip. Check the latest information and advice before your trip and take appropriate safety precautions.

Safety in Quttinirpaaq National Park

  • Observe weather changes and stay informed about local conditions.
  • Be aware of the wildlife that may inhabit the park, including muskoxen, Arctic wolves, foxes, and bears.
  • Be prepared for potential hazards in remote areas, such as extreme weather or lack of supplies.

Health in Quttinirpaaq National Park

  • Take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as covering up, wearing a bug repellent, and screening your shelter.
  • Drinking untreated water from streams or lakes is not advisable as it can lead to stomach problems and illness.
  • Carry a basic first-aid kit with medications for any pre-existing conditions or emergency treatments.

Getting to Quttinirpaaq National Park: Transportation Options and Logistics

Quttinirpaaq National Park is quite remote and requires careful planning and preparation for getting to the park. Here are some transportation options to reach the park:

Airports Near Quttinirpaaq National Park

  • Qikiqtarjuaq Airport is the nearest airport to Quttinirpaaq National Park, located about 350 km southwest of the park with seasonal flights from the city of Iqaluit.

Bus Stations Near Quttinirpaaq National Park

  • There are no commercial bus services to reach Quttinirpaaq National Park. The nearest transportation hubs are in the neighboring town of Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord.

Other Options

  • Visitors are advised to use local outfitters and tour operators accustomed to handling the logistics of an Arctic adventure.

How to Get Around in Quttinirpaaq National Park

Quttinirpaaq National Park is primarily a wilderness area, so walking, skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling are the most common modes of transportation. Visitors can rent boats and kayaks to access the park’s waterways or join guided park tours or day trips to navigate the park.

Where to Go Next from Quttinirpaaq National Park: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

After a thrilling adventure at Quttinirpaaq National Park, visitors can explore other nearby destinations and excursions, including:

  • Greenland: This unique destination is known for its rugged landscape, ancient culture, and incredible fjords.
  • Baffin Island: Another stunning National Park that offers a range of outdoor adventures, including hiking, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  • Pond Inlet: A popular hub for Arctic exploration, visitors can experience the local Inuit culture and lifestyle of modern Inuit communities.


Quttinirpaaq National Park is one of the world’s most remote and pristine wilderness areas, offering unspoiled Arctic scenery and rich indigenous culture. Visitors can discover a wide range of outdoor adventures, historical landmarks and cultural attractions, unique local foods, and shopping opportunities. Whether hiking the rugged trails, spotting the region’s abundant wildlife, or meeting the welcoming Inuit communities, Quttinirpaaq National Park provides a truly unique travel experience for adventurers seeking to connect with nature and culture.