Katannilik Territorial Park is a surprisingly fertile arctic oasis tucked in the middle of the ancient Meta Incognita Peninsula on southern Baffin Island. The Park stretches north from the top of Pleasant Inlet near the village of Kimmirut toward the south shore of Frobisher Bay, across from the City of Iqaluit, and follows the Soper Valley and the Itijjagiaq Trail – a 120 kilometre traditional overland trail from Iqaluit to Kimmirut. The park’s boundaries follow a series of rivers, lakes and hills on the plateau above the river valley.
The Soper River and its 1,200 square-kilometres meandering wilderness is central to the park. Known locally as Kuujjuaq (“big river”) the Soper River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1992 for its cultural significance in the lives of Inuit, its natural beauty and its countless opportunities for recreation. Along the river itself, on its many tributaries, in the streams and rivulets flowing down the sides of the valley, countless cascades echo the recurring theme of the park, and the reason it is named Katannilik – “the place of waterfalls”.
No roads lead to Nunavut; our Territory is accessible only by air and sea.
First Air and Canadian North both fly regular daily schedules to Iqaluit from four main southern airline ‘hubs’: Ottawa, Montreal, and Edmonton (via Yellowknife and Rankin Inlet). Flights from Winnipeg (via Churchill and Rankin Inlet) are also available.
There are several ways to get to Katannilik Park from Iqaluit. The simplest is to take a scheduled flight with First Air or Kenn Borek Air to Kimmirut, which both fly regular schedules during the week throughout the year. It is always best to confirm these flight schedules before arrival. Those travelling in larger groups may want to consider chartering a plane to Kimmirut.
The park is only minutes from Kimmirut, although it is a good three hours hike into the Soper Valley around Soper Lake. Boats can also be hired in Kimmirut to cross Soper Lake to Soper Falls at the south end of the valley. Contact the Katannilik Park Visitor Centre in Kimmirut to co-ordinate these services.
The most popular method of getting into Katannilik is by air charter to one of two designated landing strips in the Soper Valley. Hikers should charter to the strip at Mount Joy. Water based charters can land at Mount Joy, or the strip at the Livingstone River, which is on the west side of the river. The cost varies from year to year but should be around $1,500. Contact the Katannilik Park Visitor Centre in Kimmirut or the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre in Iqaluit to find out about charters to these strips. If you are planning on chartering, you should plan well ahead as you may not be able to arrange a charter in Iqaluit after you arrive.
There is one hotel in Kimmirut, and the Kimmirut Hunters and Trappers Association can help you arrange accommodations at a local ‘home-stay’. A new campsite at the edge of the community comes equipped with picnic tables, firepit and washrooms.
Kimik Hotel – Inns North
Mayukalik Hunters and Trappers Association
Discovery Lodge Hotel
Email Discovery Lodge
Email Navigator Inn
Rannva’s Bed and Breakfast
Crazy Caribou Bed and Breakfast
Beaches Bed and Breakfast
Accommodations by the Sea Bed and Breakfast
Alt Tel: 867-979-6074
Outfitted trips from Iqaluit offer package tours of Katannilik Park that fly visitors into the park, by boat across Frobisher Bay from Iqaluit to the Itijjagiaq trailhead for hiking southwest to the Soper River Valley and eventually Kimmirut. Local outfitters will also transport visitors to Kimmirut by dogsled in winter and spring. Outfitted trips should be booked well in advance – it’s often not possible to book outfitters by the day. Contact the Katannilik Park Visitor Centre in Kimmirut or the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre in Iqaluit to find out what might be available.
Mayukalik Hunters and Trappers Association (Kimmirut)
Outfitters offering Katannilik Park Trips
Toll Free: 1-888-781-0411
Visit the Soper House Gallery in Kimmirut to see vibrant arts and crafts from the community, or watch local carving and printmaking at the gallery or throughout the hamlet.
Soper House Gallery
The Katannilik Park Visitor’s Centre is located in the restored Dewey Soper House and provides interpretation for Katannilik Territorial Park, the Soper Heritage River, and the history of whaling in and around Kimmirut. Staff at the centre will also register you in and out of the park (mandatory), and set up home-stays.
Katannilik Park Visitors Centre
Email Katannilik Park Staff
Katannilik Territorial Park Editorial – [.pdf – 876KB] This four page document offers some information on the park.
Safe and Sustainable Travel – [.pdf – 800KB]
Katannilik Territorial Park Registration Package – [.pdf – 3MB] The Registration Package is available for download for you to review in advance of your trip. You will be required to complete the registration process in person with Nunavut Parks Staff upon your arrival.
Nunavut Territorial Park Firearms Permit Application – [.pdf – 1MB]
Polar Bear Safety in Nunavut Territorial Parks – [.pdf – 900KB]
Visitor information is available from the Visitor Information section of the website, and at relevant visitor and information centres throughout Nunavut. Contact Nunavut Parks for any additional information you may be looking for.
Header photo © Curtis Jones, 2015