Be prepared for adventure
The Northwest Territories is a mix of subarctic and arctic climate zones. The temperatures can get extremely cold during the winter month, but can also get really hot during the summer. Daytime temperatures in the winter can dip below -35 degrees Celsius. From June through August temperatures in the Northwest Territories can be scorching hot. The all-time highest recorded temperature is 39.4 degrees Celsius. It is important to remember to bring the right clothing and equipment to ensure your visit with us is a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
It is also important to remember that varied weather conditions can have an impact on travel, particularly travel during the winter months that involves flights or extensive road travel to remote regions within the NWT. It is encouraged to build in an additional day or two into your itinerary to account for any delays that may occur while travelling to a particular region on the NWT that may have inclement weather during a particular season.
COVID-19 Travel Related Information
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Northwest Territories has implemented a number of travel regulations to protect local residents and those people travelling from outside the territory. Due to the ever-changing status of the pandemic, these travel restrictions are updated on a regular basis. Before making any plans to travel to the NWT, we ask that you review the latest information that the Government of the Northwest Territories has provided.
October - April
Winter Average Temperature:
January record high/average high
January record low/average low
What to Pack
Snow starts falling in October and will likely stay on the ground until May. January temperatures can drop below -40 °C so a down-filled jacket rated for extreme temperatures and multiple layers of clothing are a good idea. You should also bring headgear that covers the skin on your face totally and waterproof boots and gloves. The rule for dressing warmly is, adding 1 layer for every -10 °C (14 °F) below 0 degrees e.g. if it's -30 °C (-22 °F), wear 3 layers. Most tour suppliers offer winter clothing rentals as part of their tour package pricing.
Autumn and spring are short. Temperature can vary between warm temperatures where a sweater or light jacket is all you need or it can dip well below 0 °C and you'll need your winter gear. It's a dry cold, so as long as you're covered up with the right clothing, you'll be warm and cozy. Remember to bring lip chap and lotion to protect your skin from the dry air.
May - September
Summer Average Temperature:
July record high/average high °C (°F)
What to pack
Summer only lasts for a few months, but we make the most of it. The sun stays in the sky up to 20 hours in June, much longer than you're probably used to. Sunblock is a must. If you're not used to the extremely long days, you'll want to protect your skin from the extra sunlight.
July can get hot -- up to 35 °C (95 °F). Pack short sleeve shirts and shorts. Bring swimwear if you plan on going for a dip in the lake.
Average Hours of Sunlight:
|Region / Community||Summer Solstice
|South Slave (Fort Smith)||18||9|
|Dehcho (Fort Simpson)||19||5|
|North Slave (Yellowknife)||20||6.5|
|Sahtu (Norman Wells)||22||4|
|Western Arctic (Inuvik)||24||0|
The Northwest Territories enjoy brilliant blue skies for most of the year. Yellowknife is Canada's sunniest city in the spring and summer. With all those clear days, we're the best place on Earth to enjoy the Northern Lights and the midnight sun.
One of the last great wildlife refuges on the planet, the Northwest Territories is home to a rich diversity of species, many of which aren't seen down south.
Most of the Northwest Territories is timeless wilderness. That means you can see wildlife in their natural habitat, and you may be the first human they see. We have 6 national parks featuring breathtaking scenery and an abundance of wildlife.
Some of our wildlife:
- Beluga Whales
- Mountain Goats
- White Pelicans
- Barrenground Caribou
- Dall Sheep
- Wood Bison
- Black Bears
- Grizzly bears
- Polar Bears
- Whooping Cranes
- Bald Eagles
- Arctic Hares
Travel Times Via scheduled air service
|Origin||Final Destination||Average Length of Time|
|Vancouver (via Edmonton/Calgary)||Yellowknife||4 hours|
|Toronto (via Edmonton/Calgary)||Yellowknife||8 hours|
|Montreal (via Edmonton/Calgary)||Yellowknife||8.5 hours|
|Ottawa (seasonal)||Yellowknife||5 hours|
|Toronto (seasonal)||Yellowknife||5 hours|
Driving (by car or RV)
|Origin||Final Destination||Average Length of Time|
|Ottawa||Yellowknife||2.5 - 3 days|
|Toronto||Yellowknife||2.5 - 3 days|
|Montreal||Yellowknife||2.5 - 3 days|
International Visitors to Canada
Depending on your country or origin, the Government may require you to acquire a travel visa or fill out an electronic travel authorization form (ETA). For more information we encourage you to visit the Government of Canada website international visitors information page.
It is also important to note that the Government of Canada now required that all international visitors to Canada provide a negative COVID-19 test, that has been taken within 72 hour prior to entering Canada. For more information please visit the following page on the Government of Canada website.
Basic requirements (from Government of Canada website)
To visit Canada, travellers will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
- Have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
- Be in good health,
- Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
- Assure an immigration officer that they have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take them back to their home country,
- Assure an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their visit, and
- Have enough money for the duration of their stay.
How long can my client stay in Canada as a visitor?
Most visitors are allowed a six-month stay from the day they enter Canada, but this will be decided by a border services officer at the port of entry.
If the officer authorizes a stay of fewer than six months, they will indicate in the traveller's passport the date by which they must leave Canada.
For complete information visit the Government of Canada's website