Hart and Peel Rivers: Elliott Lake to Fort McPherson (19 days / 665 km)

The Hart River is arguably the most scenic of the Peel Watershed rivers. Its sharp mountain peaks, sharp canyons and crystal-clear waters make it one of the most beautiful rivers you can ask for. The headwaters are at Elliot and Hart lake, and it empties in the Peel River, just after the junction of the Ogilvie and Blackstone Rivers which form the Peel as the meet. The Peel is a beautiful wider river with deep canyons which seem to create their own micro ecosystems, and challenging whitewater. Amazing pristine wilderness awaits you on this journey, with a variety of landscapes and great campsites.

We paddled the Hart and Peel in early July 2013, and it was an incredible journey. We were a group of 6 paddlers with 2 dogs in 3 different canoes: 2 Nova Craft Prospector 18 Royalex and one Nova Craft Prospector 17 Royalex, all with spraydecks. Both rivers were at regular levels for the time of year. The Hart was crystal clear, and the water was very cold, while the Peel was murkier, but the water was warm enough to swim with ease.

We kept going passed Fort McPherson to go to Old Crow by going up the Rat River and down the Bell and Porcupine Rivers. You can find the details of that section of the trip in the Rat/Bell/Porcupine Rivers report.

Trip Completed: July 2013

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Elliot Lake, YT

Ending Point: Fort McPherson, NWT

Duration: 19 days

Difficulty: Advanced


Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Nacho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Tetlit Gwich’in and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations. 

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: A Guide to Paddling in the Yukon, Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed.

Map: I use the Canada Topo app for all my river trips, which is a free app (on iphones) which uses the original topo maps of Canada. You download the maps of your route before departing, and you can use them on your ...

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