If you could choose a once-in-a lifetime adventure, where would you want to go? North to watch the aurora borealis sparkle in the velvet-black skies? To Churchill, Manitoba to hone your dogsledding skills? What about a wilderness experience with breathtaking views journeying to the depths of B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest in search of the elusive Spirit Bear?

Spark your imagination with these Indigenous experiences within Canada that will certainly cross items off of your bucket list. 

 

North Star Adventures (NWT)

Embark on a thrilling expedition to Yellowknife and its one-of-a-kind natural wonders including the mighty Mackenzie River and the world-famous Nahanni National Park. Home to the Dehcho Dene, Knowledge Keepers of the waters and lands of the extraordinary Dhecho Region, join the small all-Indigenous team at North Star Adventures for an immersive Cultural experience with guides who are proud to call these lands home.

Marvel at shimmering aurora borealis dancing in the clear night sky; reconnect with nature; paddle the longest river in Canada; camp under the stars and enjoy cozy B&B stays in Indigenous host communities; drive the ice roads of the North and test yourself in sub-zero temperatures of -50C. Experience a true Northern adventure infused with authentic Indigenous Culture.

 

Spirit Bear Tour

Spirit Bear Lodge (BC)

Although closed for the season in 2020, Spirit Bear Lodge, tucked away in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, will open its doors again in 2021 to Canadian residents. Start dreaming—and planning—for the rare chance to explore the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world in the company of its traditional stewards, members of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. On land, and by sea, discover a breathtaking natural world, teeming with grizzlies, spirit bears (a snowy white rare, genetic variation of the black bear), orcas, humpback whales and white-sided dolphins. Sleep soundly in a stunning waterfront lodge, enjoy delicious sustainable Indigenous-influenced cuisine, learn about the fascinating history and thriving culture of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais People and make unforgettable memories beneath the canopy of the towering forests, dramatic waterfalls and lush estuaries of this special place. 

 


Wapusk Adventures (MB)

Head North to Churchill, Manitoba and visit David Daley, and his team of friendly racing huskies at Wapusk Adventures to experience the thrill of sledding! Host, David is proud to share his storied Métis heritage and gives guests a glimpse of both the Traditional and modern-day Métis life. Learn from one of Canada’s most experienced ‘mushers’ the art of dogsledding and challenge yourself on the “Ididamile Trail” – a one-mile-long trail ride through Churchill’s boreal forest. 

On your dogsledding tour listen to the patter of the huskies’ paws as they take you through the beautiful winter landscape on custom-built sleds. Wrapped up warm against the bracing chill of the Arctic air, enjoy an exhilarating ride along well-groomed trails.

 

Gros Morne Adventures (NL)

Listen to the waves roll on the beach as you launch your kayak into the calm waters of an ancient double-armed fjord. To the south, you see The Tablelands mountain, the rust-coloured rocks of the earth’s mantle contrasting with the blue sea and green hills. To the north, the Long Range mountains with their glacier-carved hanging valleys, roaming caribou and arctic tundra vegetation. 

Gros Morne Adventures sits in the centre of Gros Morne National Park. Its beachfront property ideal for paddling, zodiac tours and campfires. In the heart of Bonne Bay, you can enjoy locally roasted coffee and baked goods from their Kayak Café, while taking in the view of sheer cliffs showcasing the unique geological features of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Reconnecting with Mi’kmaq culture and sharing traditional Knowledge with our visitors is of a high priority in evolving our experiences,”

Alongside owner Kristen Hickey, connect with Mi’kmaq Culture and share Traditional Knowledge. Immerse in the world of the First Peoples; see the land from their perspective; watch the sea with their needs in mind. Hold the raw materials of their tools in your hands and make a fire using stone-age tools; prepare a feast of bannock and roast capelin over the open flames. Gather around the fire for tales of the triumphs and tragedies of Mi’kmaq Ancestors.

 


Painted Warriors (AB)

Travel 110 kilometres northwest of Calgary, to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a whip crack away from the legendary Cowboy Trail to the Painted Warriors Ranch to learn outdoor survival skills handed down through generations from Indigenous guides. From multi-day backcountry boot camp adventures, animal tracking and natural navigation using a shadow stick, to honing your skills on horseback or with archery join your Cree/Mohawk Métis host, Tracey Kettl for an adventure of a lifetime rediscovering outdoor skills in the wilds of nature.

Each adventure begins with a traditional welcoming ceremony at Painted Warriors Ranch surrounded by the forest and ringed by dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy Culture sharing guided hikes whilst learning about Métis and other Indigenous ways of life. Be on the lookout for wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, wolves and black bears and learn how to spot their tracks. Depending on the season, choose between horseback riding, snowshoeing, archery or bush survival skills.

is an ideal place to learn about animal tracking and natural navigation using a shadow stick. Certified training courses are also offered for everything from outdoor cooking and hunting, to equine first aid and horseback riding, which can include multi-day backcountry boot camp adventures. On overnight stays, join the chef in collecting wild plants and roots used for food and medications, and take part in preparing a Traditional evening meal. Then head to bed in a tent — go simple or opt for a luxurious walled tent for a night of glamping. Wake up refreshed to the sounds of birds and nature.

 

Hébergement Aux Cinq Sens (QC)

Find your bliss under the stars at Hébergement aux Cinq Sens, in the Eastern Townships village of Piopolis, in the heart of the world’s first International Dark Sky Reserve and enjoy a profound sensory experience. Hébergement aux Cinq Sens boasts five yurts, each named for —and designed to stir— a particular sense. Within the Sight Yurt, guests are encouraged to “see beyond” the everyday; the Smell and Touch Yurts have a rich selection of essential and massage oils to arouse the body and soul. Built by hand, these unique circular dwellings are a labour of love, respectful of tradition and nature and adapted to Quebec’s climate, no matter what the season.

The resort is the creation of Paule Rochette, who believes she heard the voices of her Huron-Wendat ancestors reaching out to her to build her home and business in this remarkable spot. Rochette partners year-round with Benoit Paquette — a local biologist and nature interpreter who lives on the premises, providing guests with opportunities centred around Indigenous wisdom including nature walk adventures, stargazing and traditional sweat-lodges. Horseback riding and dogsledding activities are also available depending on the time of year.

Along with its twinkling night-time views, the area is also famous for its popular Summit Drive, a 193-kilometre route characterized by breath-catching panoramic views of mountains and lakes.

Nikki Bayley

Nikki Bayley is an award winning international travel writer, and food and wine journalist. Originally from the UK, Nikki fell in love with Canada after a visit to Newfoundland in 2008 and moved to Vancouver in 2012. Nikki has been criss-crossing Canada ever since, learning more about the land and its peoples, and sharing their stories around the world.