Random camping is encouraged throughout much of Nahanni National Park Reserve. By spreading use throughout the park, human impacts will be less noticeable. Due to the volume of use at certain locations, a few designated campsites have been established. When in these areas, you are asked to camp in the designated campground.
There are certain areas closed to camping and day use. Please respect the following closures:
Due to Vegetation Impact
Km 202 (Big Bend Creek) will be closed for overnight camping. This site appears to be regenerating from previous impacts. Discontinuing overnight use will assist the natural regeneration.
Km 256 (White Spray Springs) will be closed for overnight camping and stopping due to severe day-use impact. Visitors are required to remain in their boats to re-fill their water bottles.
Due to Wildlife Impact
Km 265 (Kraus Hotsprings) will be closed for overnight camping from August 1 - September 30. Lush vegetation and plentiful berry crops result in high numbers of black bears using this area. Limiting visitor use will give the bears more opportunities to forage for food. Visitors are still encouraged to stop and sign in at the check-in station.
Open fires for cooking or heat are not permitted in Nahanni National Park Reserve. All fires must be contained within a portable stove such as a fire-box or fire-pan. At designated campgrounds (Rabbitkettle Lake and Virginia Falls) wood fires may be used within the fire pits provided. It is recommended that visitors bring a gas stove for cooking as periodically, when the risk of forest fires is extreme, there may be a ban on all wood fires.
There are five staff cabins located in the park. Please note that camping is prohibited in the immediate vicinity of a staff cabin. Helicopter landing areas and fuel caches are located at the cabin sites, and helicopters working in support of park operations need clear landing access at all times.
©Parks Canada / J.W.Borcoman
A staff cabin is located here and is staffed during the summer months. In addition to being one of the designated aircraft landing sites in the park, there are two campgrounds in the area. One is located on the shores of Rabbitkettle Lake, approximately 300 metres north of the staff cabin. The other campground is located on an island in the South Nahanni River, directly across from the portage landing. Both campgrounds have food caches and outhouses. There is no camping permitted at the portage landing, although a food cache has been provided here for the use of river travellers to store their food while they are on an interpretive hike in the area.
A reservation is needed to camp at this site. Besides Rabbitkettle Lake, Virginia Falls is the only other designated aircraft landing site within the park. In addition to the campground, there are canoe racks, food caches, and composting toilets.
©Parks Canada / M. Beedell
There is a boardwalk covering most of the portage trail that leads to the viewing area above the falls. Please do not stray off designated walkways, which are provided in an attempt to protect numerous unique vegetation species, including several species of orchids. Due to weathering and heavy use, the boardwalk is in a constant state of repair. Use caution, watch for loose boards or protruding nails and refrain from walking along the edge of the boardwalk.
Given the proximity of the Sluice Box Rapids and Virginia Falls, USE EXTREME CAUTION when approaching the portage landing downstream of the campground landing. Stay as close to river right as possible and be ready for an emergency.
The Gate (Pulpit Rock)
©Parks Canada / J. Butterill /
This is not a designated camping area, but is used with such frequency that a composting toilet has been situated here to try and mitigate some of the impact.
©Parks Canada / M. Beedell
This is the former homestead of Mary and Gus Kraus. The hotsprings are located along the river's edge, and at periods of high water they are inundated by the South Nahanni River. Several species of introduced vegetation such as garden parsnip flourish here. Along with a check-in station, there is a food cache and an outhouse located here. Please DO NOT use soap in the hotsprings.
Click here to learn how you can help preserve the ecological integrity of Nahanni National Park Reserve by reducing your impacts while camping.