Dehcho Region


(867) 695-7750

Status: National Park; Natural Wonder; Unexplored; Only Accessible by Float Plane or Foot



Morning in First Canyon (9103461166).jpg

By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="">Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce</a> - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="">Morning in First Canyon</a>, CC BY 2.0, Link

Mount Harrison Smith.jpg

By <a href="//;action=edit&amp;redlink=1" class="new" title="User:True person (page does not exist)">True person</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Nahanni River - The Gate.JPG

By <a href="//" title="User:Gierszep">Paul Gierszewski</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link

Nahanni - VirginiaFalls.jpg

By <a href="//" title="User:Gierszep">Paul Gierszewski</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link

History and Paranormal Activity

This area is one of the first 4 World Heritage Areas named by the United Nations in 1978. It has a diversity that cannot be experienced anywhere else in North America.

It’s mountains and ridges were formed from sediment from an inland sea that covered the area between 200 and 500 million years go. When the North American and Pacific Plates collided – something that continues to this day – the layers of sediment, now hardened into rock, were forced upward creating the ranges in the park. Huge towers of magma also rose up leaving the granite towers – much like El Capitan in Yosemite – that make up the Ragged Range.

Before European colonization people had lived in the Nahanni area for 10,000 years. The Dene people were nomadic people who raided the more permanent settlements in the lowlands. The Dene people are now gone – in fact, it is said they just up and disappeared overnight.

They weren’t the last to have disappeared either.

When gold fever struck in the nearby Yukon Klondike prospectors made the dangerous journey into the 4 valleys of the Nahanni. One of the first were Frank and Willie McCleod in 1908 who never returned. Their bodies were found some time later headless and tied to a tree – there was also a note saying they had discovered gold.

Next Martin Jorgenson – from Switzerland – another experienced outdoorsman. He was eventually found – or rather his bones were; less a skull – next to his burned out cabin and his loaded gun.

In 1945 an Ontario miner was found in his sleeping bag; again, missing his head.

Numerous people have disappeared in this massive unyielding wilderness that is not a place for the faint of heart. Of course, anyone not prepared for being out here is liable to end up dead but bears or exposure or accidents tend to not remove your head.

The original population – of which there are still some left despite the legends – have a story handed down of a giant who would cook it’s food in the hot springs that are now in the park. Then we have the wendigo and other legendary beasts wandering the park as well as a legend of a tribe of cannibals said to still be hiding in the wild expanse.

Then we have the straight up paranormal encounters here including: apparitions both headless and not of both Europeans and Indigenous populations; screaming winds that can come of our nowhere and have been described as disturbing enough to test your sanity; whispers and voices that carry on those winds or find you asleep in your tent in the dark of night; there are countless stories of things that are very much neither animal or human walking through camps at night, seen on the other side of rivers etc; unexplained lights in the sky including things that definitely technological but just definitely not human technology; encounters with spiritual being including fairies, elementals, ghosts and other legendary creatures and what can only be called dimensional shifts.