Arctic seasons and your trip
Auyuittuq is accessed either by Pangnirtung Fiord (from Pangnirtung) or North Pangnirtung Fiord (from Qikiqtarjuaq on Broughton Island). Access is by oversnow travel (snowmachine, dogteam, or skis) when the fiords are frozen, or by boat when the ice has melted. During break-up and freeze-up the park is inaccessible. Following are approximate dates when the park is accessible. Please check in advance with the park office in Pangnirtung (ph. 867-473-2500) for this year's situation.
March/April/early May (spring)
At this time the fiords are frozen, making it possible to travel from either Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq to the park boundary by oversnow means (snow machine, dog team, or skis) to start your trip. We strongly recommend that skiers beginning in Qikiqtarjuaq travel with an outfitter to the park boundary to reduce their risk of encountering polar bears.
Break-up usually occurs near the end of June in Pangnirtung, and by the middle of July in Qikiqtarjuaq. During this time oversnow or boat travel is not possible on the fiords.
Late July, August, September (summer)
The fiords are normally ice-free. At this time it is possible to travel by boat to the head of the fiords. Contact the park office in Pangnirtung (ph. 867-473-2500) for a list of operators who provide transportation and/or guiding services.
October - February (winter)
Travel to Auyuittuq National Park is not advisable at this time. Cold temperatures, near-constant darkness and access difficulties in early winter make winter travel unpleasant, dangerous and, often, impossible.
The above are approximate dates for travel, but they will vary from year to year. If you arrive between June and September you must be prepared for whatever conditions you find.
Ice, wind, tide and weather conditions may also affect your access plans.
- Boat travel is only possible when the fiord is ice-free, normally between July and early October.
- Wind can be very localised. The head of the fiord can be calm while high winds are blowing at Pangnirtung. Under these circumstances, outfitters will not go out in boats.
- Due to the large tides experienced in the Pangnirtung region, boats can only arrive and depart from Pangnirtung within two hours either side of high tide. There are two high tides every 24 hours.
- During ice break up, you cannot travel to the park by boat or snowmachine. If your plans include travel to the park around these times, please phone to check ice conditions. Or, check the Canadian Ice Service page of the Environment Canada website.
- It may be possible to hike the 30 km from Pangnirtung to the park at break-up (mid-to-late June).
- Break up is later in Qikiqtarjuaq (mid-July to early August). You cannot hike from Qikiqtarjuaq to the trailhead at North Pangnirtung Fiord during this time.