The Extraordinary Little Doctor Lake
Almost one year ago exactly, we went on the most magical Northern adventure to-date, to Nahanni Mountain Lodge on Little Doctor Lake. Our journey started off with an 8-hour road trip from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson, ~2 hours of which was on unpaved and narrow Northern ‘highway’.
When we finally arrived in Fort Simpson, a quaint little town just East of the Nahanni Mountain Range, we stayed at the beautiful Mackenzie Rest Inn. Our B&B was located right on the mighty Mackenzie River and directly in front of the dock which housed the tiny float plane which would serve as our ‘taxi’ to our next accommodations.
In the morning, we excitedly made our way down to the dock and filled the little float plane with all of our food and clothing for the next 4 days of remote camping. It was quite the snug fit with all of our gear, myself, Adam, Helga (Adam’s mom), and our pilot. We took off from the river and headed West over some beautiful, rolling green hills littered with small lakes and small boreal trees.
After about 15 mins in the air just admiring the landscape below, we could see a change in the scenery ahead: our first view of the Mackenzie Mountains! The Mackenzie Mountain Range straddles the border between Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory.
We knew that we would be staying at a cabin on a lake just outside of the Nahanni National Park Reserve but as we flew over so many small lakes surrounded by trees, we half-expected to land on any of them as we saw the mountains approaching. Much to our delight, we just got closer and closer to the mountains until we reached the First Range of mountains and the beautiful lake that divided them, the pilot smirked at us and said, “this is your stop.” We were speechless as we swooped in and landed on Little Doctor Lake, crystal clear water cutting through the mountains and over 1 km of sandy beach! We had arrived at the Nahanni Mountain Lodge. Our pilot helped us unload our gear from the plane and then swiftly took off and left the three of us to our own devices in our remote, wilderness paradise.
The Nahanni Mountain Lodge was fully equipped with anything we could have possibly wanted/needed except for the luxury of running water, of course. Along the beach were two large, brand new cabins, and two smaller older cabins; one of which was the kitchen cabin housing a full-size propane fridge and stove. There were two motor boats, barrels of fuel, a generator, a satellite phone, multiple canoes, PFDs, fishing gear, bedding, etc.
The oldest of the cabins was originally home to Gus and Mary Kraus, northern pioneers. The story is that these two had previously lived further into the mountains but were asked to relocate when the government declared the area a National Park Reserve; the Kraus family chose Little Doctor Lake as their new home and lived there until passing it along to Ted Grant, owner of Simpson Air.
It was a truly extraordinary place and it was just unbelievable that we could have the entire place to ourselves for three nights. We canoed in the connecting river system, power boated through the mountain range and to the fresh water spring between them, cooked over an open fire on the beach, and even had the opportunity to see our first sighting of Aurora Borealis since the beginning of the summer. What a ridiculously awesome trip! Thanks for joining us, Mom!
Road Trip To Fort Simpson/Stay At The Mackenzie Rest Inn/Flight to Little Doctor Lake
Nahanni Mountain Lodge
Our Stay At Little Doctor Lake
Adam & Amanda
Wow!!!! Great description and pics. It was so amazing to see all these wonderful pics and relive the fabulous vacation we shared together. It was so special and actually brought tears to my eyes. I know it’s hard to imagine right?
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Amazing pictures. We are thinking of going with our two small children. Would it be good for families?
It’s a special place! It would be great for familes. If you’re able to go on a camping type trip with the two children, then the lodge should be doable. I don’t know if this is still the case, but when we were there, the bathrooms and shower facitiles are rugged (outhouses/outdoor shower).