Nunavut: The Great Trail Planning Resource

Nunavut contains less than 200 km of the Great Trail. The majority of that is the Itijjagiaq (Inuktitut for “over the land”) Trail which begins on the southern shore of Frobisher Bay. Rugged and unmarked, this trail is not for the inexperienced hiker. It is rough, rocky, and includes frigid stream crossings.

You can do the trail entirely on foot or boat down the Soper River. By river, it takes 4-5 days; by trail 7-8. Generally, people start at Iqaluit and head towards Kimmirut. Apparently, this is the simplest way to go, logistically speaking.

This trail is frequented by ATVs as it is the main connection between Iqaluit and Kimmirut. The weather can be temperamental, as severe storms can blow in during any season. It is quite cold near the coast, though the temperature will increase a little as you get inland. You are required to carry GPS equipment while hiking the Itijjagiaq.

All that said, it looks like a beautiful place to hike in the summer. Historically an Inuit caribou hunting route, there are many kinds of wildlife to see (mainly predators including peregrine falcons, foxes, wolves, bears). Apparently in the summer it is rife with berries for picking, and the views over the land and water look absolutely incredible.

Sections

 Section Distance (km)  Type  Managing Body
Itijjagiaq Trail 143.11 Natural Trail Nunavut Parks

City of Iqaluit

Iqaluit and Connection to Itijjagiaq Trail 33.72 Natural Trail, Water Trail Nunavut Parks

City of Iqaluit

arctic

It’s not snowy all year round…but almost. This picture was taken in June 2016 just north of the 61st parallel (Photo: S. Olthof).


Logistics

In order to get to the Itijjagiaq trail, it is necessary to take a boat ride to the southern tip of Baffin Island, on Frobisher Bay. The Unikkaarvik Visitor Center in Iqaluit can suggest licensed outfitters who can provide this service.

There are between nine emergency shelters along the trail where you can stay.


Additional Resources

You need to register at the Unikkaarvik Visitor Center or at the Katannilik Park Center in Kimmirut before entering Katannilik Territorial Park, and there is a trail guide available at both of these locations. This essential guide includes topographical maps, emergency shelters, park protocol and regulations, and points of interest. You can find contact information for those visitor centres here.

Nunavut Tourism lists these outfitters/services for planning trips to their territory.

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