Hay River is located in the Great Slave Lake Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. The community is a marine, tourism and transportation centre located in the southeast corner of the Northwest Territories region. It is the first community when entering the N.W.T. from Alberta, Canada on Highway #1.
Hay River is on the shores of Great Slave Lake, on the banks of the Hay River, near the scenic Waterfall Highway and surrounded by forests of tamarack trembling aspen, lodgepole pine, alpine fir, black and white spruce trees. The wilderness creates many opportunities for adventure.
Some of the summer activities in the region include fishing, canoeing, swimming, kayaking, boating, flightseeing, hiking, sailing, golfing, picnicking, sightseeing, birdwatching and camping. There are walking paths in town along the Hay River. There are beautiful sandy beaches on Great Slave Lake. There are boat launches everywhere.
During the winter - after the lakes and rivers freeze, the snow falls and the days become shorter - the activities change to include snowmobiling, cross country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing and aurora borealis sightings.
Downtown Hay River is on the mainland side while another section of the community is located on Hay River on Vale Island. East and west of the island are two river channels.. both popular for recreation. And north of Vale Island is Great Slave Lake.. a major recreation destination and marine route. Great Slave Lake is the 2nd largest lake entirely within the borders of Canada.
The community of Hay River, NWT is at the doorstep of the Mackenzie River. Great Slave Lake is the headwaters for the Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie River is a major marine route in the N.W.T. which eventually connects to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic.
There are docks and piers on the east and west channels of the Hay River. Each lined with recreation boats, barges, sailboats, yachts, houseboats, floatplanes and tug boats. Even the Canadian Coast Guard operates a base in Hay River. The "red and white" vessels patrol the Mackenzie-Athabaska and Arctic Coast shipping lanes, as well as, operate an oil spill response unit.
The community enjoys many services important to travelers. Some of the important services include accommodations, campgrounds, air travel, tours, guides, restaurants, bank, coffee shop, laundromat, equipment rentals, grocery store, liquor store, museums, internet, art galleries, gas stations and gift stores.