Be prepared for an adventure
The Northwest Territories is a mix of subarctic and arctic climate zones, so it gets cold here in the wintertime. Summers can get really hot, though. It's important to know what equipment you should bring depending on when you visit.
From June to August, temperatures in the Northwest Territories can get scorching. The all-time highest recorded temperature is 39.4 °C (103 °F). For the most part, we're room temperature – perfect conditions for playing all day and night.
Oct - April
Winter Average Temperature (°C | °F)
January record high/average high
April record high/average high
January record low/average low
April 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° e.g. if it's -30°C (-22°F), wear 3 layers.
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 - Sep
Summer Average Temperature:
July record high/average high (°C | °F)
March record high/average high
What to pack
Summer last 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||June 21st (Summer Solstice)||December 21st (Winter 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) and above||24||0|
The Northwest Territories enjoys brilliant blue skies for most of the year. Yellowknife is Canada's sunniest city in the spring and summer.
Here's how our skies compare with other Canadian cities during peak visitor season:
Percentage of days with Sunny skies, April-August
Quebec City 48.6%
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 untouched wilderness. That means you can see wildlife in their natural habitat, and you'll be the first human they see. We have 5 national parks (soon to be 6) with unmatched in size and condition.
Some of our wildlife:
- Mountain Goats
- White Pelicans
- Barrenground Caribou
- Dall's Sheep
- Wood Bison
- Bears – Grizzly, Polar & Black
- Whooping Cranes
Wondering where you can find these magnificent creatures?
Spectacular Northwest Territories has a brief wildlife guide.
Flights and typical cost (roundtrip)
Vancouver ▶ Yellowknife: 4 h - $507
Whitehorse ▶ Yellowknife: 1 h 50 min - $641
Edmonton ▶ Yellowknife: 1 h 40 min - $432
Calgary ▶ Yellowknife: 2 h - $475
Ottawa ▶ Yellowknife: 4 h 40 min - $687
Toronto ▶ Edmonton/Calgary ▶ Yellowknife: 8 h - $761
Montreal ▶ Edmonton/Calgary ▶ Yellowknife: 8 h 30 min - $700
Driving (by car or RV)
Vancouver ▶ Yellowknife: 25 h
Whitehorse ▶ Yellowknife: 29 h
Edmonton ▶ Yellowknife: 15 h
Calgary ▶ Yellowknife: 18 h
Ottawa ▶ Yellowknife: 2 d 2 h
Toronto ▶ Yellowknife: 2 d 2 h
Montreal ▶ Yellowknife: 2 d 4 h
Travel Visa Information
Visitors usually require an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visa to travel to Canada.
Fortunately, the process only takes a few minutes and can be done online.
It costs $7 CAD and most travelers get approved within minutes of submitting their application. Let your clients know to apply before booking their flight in case the authorization takes longer.
Travellers from visa-exempt countries need a passport, a credit or debit card and an email address.
The authorization is electronically linked with your passport and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Basic requirements (from Government of Canada website):
To visit Canada, travelers 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,
- Convince 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,
- Convince 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 less than six months, they will indicate in the traveler's passport the date by which they must leave Canada.
For complete information visit the Government of Canada's website