What to do in Yellowknife

While staying with us

This gigantic lake is home to more than half the Northwest Territories’ population, living in five communities!

In summer the lake is great for paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing when the waters are calm. This will allow you to admire the deep clear waters as well as the towering cliffs and the many islands the lake counts! Also, you surely will get the chance to encounter some various bird species from bald eagles to ducks, coming to breed.
Spring is a particularly good time as in this season the lake attracts more than 100,00 migrating waterbirds.
 
Furthermore, the lake was home to the Yellowknife gold rush, which started in the 1930s. Today, you can still see remains of the area’s mining history!
 
If you like boats, the lake in summer is a great place to visit by sailing! Although the sailing season in the NWT may be shorter compared to lakes further south, the extended daylight hours ensure that boats can be out on the water almost around the clock. The Yellowknife Sailing Club organizes various events and excursions during the summer, providing ample opportunities for sailors to participate in races or explore the waterways. Additionally, finding a crew position on a sailboat is relatively easy, making it possible for even novice sailors to experience the joy of sailing in Yellowknife!
The lake is also home to loads of fish species. In the lake’s shoreline communities, you can eat fresh caught fish such as pike, trout, inconnu, whitefish, and pickerel. Local fishermen also offer the fish directly on the dock!
 
Another fun experience to have around and on the lake is to try and see bigger types of wildlife! In the winter some caribou herds are visible in the north, east and sometimes south of the lake. On the western shores of the lake lies the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, which serves as a safeguard for the largest wood bison herd in the world.
 
If you are looking for a great view, you should go on Yellowknife’s Pilot’s Monument! After ascending numerous flights of stairs, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking view from atop. Located in Old Town, this rocky promontory provides a panorama of Back Bay and Yellowknife Bay, which comprise only a tiny fraction of the vast Great Slave Lake!
  • 11th largest lake in the world 
  • 28,568 squared kilometers
  • Roughly the same size as Belgium
  • 615 meters deep – North America’s deepest lake
houseboats yellowknife

Yellowknife Bay is home to over 25 colourful houseboats, each one uniquely decorated and maintained by its residents.

These floating homes rely on a combination of solar power, batteries, and generators for energy, and residents are committed to properly disposing of all waste!

This charming and nautical community even hosts its own take on the traditional drive-in movie experience, with viewers watching from canoes and kayaks on the water.

Want to learn more about the Northwest Territories? Visit Spectacular Northwest Territories 


The majority of the North remains a remote and rugged wilderness, accessible primarily by float plane.

During the summer months, the airspace above Yellowknife Bay is abuzz with float-equipped aircraft like Twin Otters and Beavers en route to various destinations such as fishing lodges, mining camps, and research stations.

For a unique experience, consider chartering a float plane to take you on a flight over the stunning East Arm of Great Slave Lake. You can also attend the biennial Float Plane Fly-In, a multi-day summer event that attracts aviation enthusiasts and pilots from all over North America!

Where to eat

We recommend:

  • the locally craft-brewed suds of The Woodyard

  • Barren Ground Coffee, the specialized coffee roastery located in historic Old Town 

  • the two-step dancefloor of the Gold Range

  • the brunch at the Fishy People

  • the catch-of-the-day whitefish at the Bullock’s Bistro

This is the place where you can best see the Northern Lights! The conditions are excellent for you to see them around 240 nights per year.

The colours are particularly bright and the displays longer than anywhere else.

We can even say that there are two seasons for seeing the auroras, as there is autumn when you can see them when the lakes and the land are still warm, and in winter when everything is frozen and white.

“After spending a year studying in Sherbrooke, Quebec, I got a great change of scenery coming to the Yukon. I love it here, the nature is incredible and the people are lovely! Working at Neighbourly North is a real opportunity and a fun experience for me. Being used to travelling and using short-term rentals, I am more than motivated to spend my time here being as useful as possible. So far, my experience has been incredibly enriching.”

Héloïse

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