The Mackenzie River is located in the Mackenzie River Basin in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The river begins from Great Slave Lake in the southern section of the territories near Hay River, NWT and travels north to the Mackenzie Delta and then eventually empties into the Arctic Ocean's Beaufort Sea.
The Mackenzie River is recorded as the longest river in Canada measuring at 1,738 kilometres (1080 miles) long. Combine the headstreams of the Mackenzie River - the Peace and Finlay Rivers - and it is the second longest river in North America measuring 4,241 kilometres ( 2635 miles) long.
The Mackenzie River Basin is covered with white spruce, englemann spruce and black spruce forests. The shoreline of the river, the many islands and wetland marshes provide an ideal environment for birds. Many migrating birds visit the river and delta every year including tundra swans and snow geese. Even beluga whales visit the estuary for breeding.
During the summer months self guided and guided canoe, kayak and rafting tours explore the Mackenzie River waterways. Floatplanes and charter planes provide flightseeing tours and transportation for people to and from various points on the river. Most operate from the bigger villages on the river.
Guided tours provide experience and knowledge, as well as, transportation, lessons, equipment, meals, accommodations and/or entertainment. The adventures most enjoyed on the river during the summer include flightseeing, wilderness camping, canoeing, fishing, boating, kayaking and rafting.
During the winter months, between the months of October and May, the river freezes over and transforms into a snowmobile route, ice fishing destination and part of an ice road.
The communities of the Northwest Territories located on the banks of the Mackenzie River include Tsiigehtchic, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulita, Wrigley, Fort Simpson, Jean marie River and Fort Providence. The villages of Aklavik and Inuvik are located near the Mackenzie Delta.
Along the banks of the river, in some of the bigger villages, are floatplane bases, marinas and private docks. Many marinas provide boating services and access to boat launches. The parks located on the river may also include boat launches, as well as, picnic sites, campgrounds and viewpoints.