For thousands of years the ancestors of Inuit traveled in this place. They knew that their survival depended on their obedience to the dictates of the land and its weather. If the wind blew and the temperature plummeted, they stopped and found shelter, and continued when the land became kinder again. Inuit travelers to this day let the weather, the seasons and the rhythms of the land set their travel schedules.
The polar marine climate means long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Although summer brings almost endless daylight from May to August, the sun is absent from the sky December and January. Spring brings strong winds and late summer is often cloudy. In winter, loss of daylight and the presence of sea ice can make for extremely cold weather.
Weather in the Arctic is notoriously changeable. Abrupt weather changes can affect sea and boating conditions forcing boaters to wait out rough waters, sometimes for several days. Be prepared for snow anytime, anywhere in Sirmilik! White out conditions are possible any time of year.
Best times to visit
The following are approximate dates for the methods of accessing the park. Please check in advance with the park office in Pond Inlet for this year’s likeliest scenario.
Arctic seasons and your trip
Late March to Early June (spring)
The best time of year for winter activities. Frozen oceans mean it’s possible to travel from either Pond Inlet or Arctic Bay to the park boundary by snowmobile or dog team to start your trip.
Late June to mid-July (break up)
During ice break up, travel to the park is impossible. This is a great time to explore the areas around Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay.
Late July to late September (summer)
This is the best time for hiking and camping. Boat travel to the park is possible.
October to early November (freeze up)
During freeze up, travel to the park is impossible.
November – February (winter)
Travel to Sirmilik 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.
If your plans include travel to the park during break up or freeze up, please phone to check ice conditions. You can also check the Canadian Ice Service website for Arctic ice conditions.