Waterfalls Route

(Highway 1)

 

When crossing the 60th parallel from Alberta into the NWT, Alberta Highway 35 becomes NWT Highway 1 and the beginning of the Waterfalls Route. This route extends from the Alberta/NWT border to Enterprise then continues to Checkpoint at the junction of Highways 1 and 7.

This route features numerous waterfalls, ranging from small and charming to large and spectacular, as well as numerous rivers and lakes.

Territorial campgrounds along this route are located in wilderness settings. Each campground has unique natural features and many offer excellent hiking trails, sandy beaches, thundering waterfalls and great fishing spots.

The following territorial campgrounds are located on this route: the 60th Parallel, Twin Falls Gorge, Lady Evelyn Falls and Sambaa Deh Falls.

Interesting communities to visit along this route are Enterprise, Kakisa and Jean Marie River.

This route is also known as the Mackenzie Highway, where you will see signs that display the symbols of a knife and quill. The knife represents our Indigenous and trapping heritage. The quill symbolizes our history and its first recording by the famous explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who visited our area over 200 years ago. The Mackenzie Highway was built in 1942 and is named in his honour.

Kilometres/miles reflect distance from the NWT/Alberta border.

The 60th Parallel Visitor Information Centre

Kilometre 0 (Mile 0)

Upon entering the NWT from Alberta, the 60th Parallel visitor staff will welcome you. The Visitor Information Centre is open from mid-May to mid-September, with free coffee, brochures, maps, fishing licences, camping permits, pay phone, drinking water and washrooms. Indigenous arts and crafts are on display and audio-visual presentations depict the northern way of life. Make sure to ask for your "North of 60" Certificate to commemorate your journey past the 60th Parallel.

Of Special Interest

  • Look for the historic marker that commemorates the completion of the Great Slave Lake Railway.
  • Take a photograph of the NWT 60th Parallel sign to share your experience.

60th Parallel Territorial Park

Kilometre 0 (Mile 0)

Adjacent to the 60th Parallel Visitor Information Centre, this park has 9 nonpowered campsites nestled amongst birch and aspen trees, and a scenic picnic area overlooking the beautiful Hay River.

Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park

Kilometre 72 (Mile 44.7)

This beautiful park includes Alexandra Falls, Louise Falls and Escarpment Creek.

Of Special Interest

  • View the breathtaking Alexandra and Louise Falls from lookouts.
  • Climb the awesome spiral staircase at Louise Falls.
  • Stroll the beautiful 2 km/1.2 mile trail that winds along the Hay River Gorge from Alexandra Falls to Louise Falls.
  • Learn more about the area from the drum shaped interpretive panels.

Warning

There are many natural hazards within the Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park (unstable cliffs, uneven surfaces, dangerous currents, slippery surfaces). Please exercise caution while enjoying this Territorial Park.

Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park - Alexandra Falls Day Use Area

Kilometre 72 (Mile 44.7)

A dramatically beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic, stroll the boardwalk to Louise Falls or watch Alexandra Falls tumble 32 metres over the Hay River. View the magnificent falls from either of two viewing platforms a short walk away.

Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park - Louise Falls Campground

Kilometre 74.6 (Mile 46.4)

Louise Falls offers 28 powered campsites surrounded by jack pines, spectacular flora and 400 million year old limestone formations along the Hay River gorge. A unique 138-step spiral staircase leads you down the embankment to a viewpoint overlooking the three-tiered Louise Falls. Please note, drinking water is provided, but the closest RV water-fill station from Louise Falls Campgrounds is located at the Hay River Visitor Information Centre.

Escarpment Creek Group Camping Area

Kilometre 77.5 (Mile 48.2)

There are 12 powered campsites well equipped for group camping as well as space for day use activities. An attractive series of small waterfalls adorn this deep gorge of the Hay River. To arrange bookings, contact (867) 875-5565.

Enterprise

Kilometre 83.2 (Mile 51.7)

Located at the junction of Highways 1 and 2, Enterprise (pop. 102) is the first community on the Waterfalls Route and offers a range of services, including a gas station, restaurants, accommodation, a grocery store and an excellent craft store. Visitor information is available at the hamlet office on Robin Road.

Junction of Highways 1 and 2

Kilometre 83.2 (Mile 51.7)

Keep left on Highway 1 to continue the Waterfalls Route. Highway 2, to the right, leads to Hay River and Fort Resolution (Great Slave Route) and to Fort Smith (Wood Buffalo Route).

McNallie Creek Territorial Park Day Use Area

Kilometre 119.8 (Mile 74.4)

A small picnic area with a short trail leading to the 17-metre McNallie Creek Falls. At the viewing platform, a plaque explains the origin of the creek's name. Look for the cliff swallows nesting in the ravine walls.

Slave River Lowlands Overview

Kilometre 123 (Mile 74.4)

From here you can see the Slave River lowlands as they roll north and west to the shores of Great Slave Lake. You can also see the only high-rise building in Hay River, which is over 50 km/31.7 miles away.

Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park

Kilometre 167.1 (Mile 103.8)

Take the access road to the south off Highway 1 for 6.8 km/4.2 miles to the park.

This park has 23 powered campsites and Lady Evelyn Falls are only a short walk away. These dramatic falls form a giant curtain of water as the Kakisa River spills over a limestone escarpment.

A staircase leads into the gorge at the base of the falls. The Kakisa River is a warm boulder-strewn river with many lovely spots for wading and swimming. The fishing is excellent! Northern pike, pickerel/walleye and Arctic grayling can often be hooked by casting with small spoons into the pools at the base of the falls.

Kakisa

Kilometre 168.5 km (Mile 104.7)

To reach this small Dene community (pop. 40), follow the access road off Highway 1 and travel another 5 km/3 miles past the Lady Evelyn Falls campsite road. This picturesque log village has a convenience store, with groceries, gasoline and a motel.

Kakisa River Territorial Park Day Use Area

Kilometre 168.8 (Mile 105.1)

Take a break to enjoy a picnic or spend the afternoon fishing (in season) along the fast moving Kakisa River. Watch for trophy grayling. Great Slave Lake is home to the current world record Arctic grayling and one of the grayling's favourite spawning tributaries of Great Slave Lake is the Kakisa River. Hike the trail to Lady Evelyn Falls.

Junction of Highways 1 and 3

Kilometre 187.5 (Mile 116.5)

Continue west on Highway 1 to complete the last portion of the Waterfalls Route. Highway 3 is the beginning of the Frontier Trail, which ends in Yellowknife.

Bouvier Creek

Kilometre 277.4 (Mile 172.5)

In springtime, this creek offers a nice fishing experience, a great scenic point and a good place to look for fossils!

Wallace Creek

Kilometre 289.4 (Mile 179.6)

A pretty rest spot that offers a short 15 minute forest walk north to a small, but sometimes spectacular, waterfall.

Redknife River

Kilometre 295.2 (Mile 183.8)

A favourite fishing spot for pickerel/walleye or Arctic grayling.

Sambaa K'e

Kilometre 321.3 (Mile 200.1)

Looking south, you may see evidence of the winter road that leads 126 km/78 miles to the Dene community of Sambaa K'e (pop. 85). There is no road access to the community in the summer, but air charters are available from Fort Simpson and Hay River. The community is known for its traditional lifestyles and big fish. The communityrun Sambaa K'e Fishing Lodge offers a rustic fishing experience, with the opportunity to catch lake trout, pickerel/walleye and northern pike.

Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park

Kilometre 325 (Mile 245)

The park has 20 non-powered campsites. It is located at the junction of Highway 1 and the Trout River.

The Trout River (Sambaa Deh in the Slavey language) was traditionally an important transportation route for the Indigenous populations of the area (before and during the fur trade). The falls forced travellers to portage around this dangerous stretch of water.

Hiking trails take you to views of both Sambaa Deh and Coral Falls, with a new viewing platform that overlooks the gorge. Coral Falls is so named due to the numerous coral fossils washed down the river each year.

Of Special Interest

  • This park has three impressive geographic features:
    • Sambaa Deh Falls, which are readily visible from the bridge that crosses Trout River
    • Coral Falls, which are approximately 1 1/2 km/1 mile upstream
    • The dramatic gorge running along the north side of the highway about 1/2 km west of the bridge
  • Good fishing for Arctic grayling and pickerel/walleye
  • Fossils can be found throughout this area

Jean Marie River

Kilometre 375 (Mile 233)

An access road north of Highway 1 leads 27 km/17 miles to the community of Jean Marie River (pop. 71). There is a small community campground here. To book a campsite, contact (867) 809-2000. The community boasts a number of fine artisans, some of whom have great skill in the creation of beautiful crafts using moose hair tufting.

Jean Marie River Bridge

Kilometre 412 (Mile 256)

In spring, the fishing is good here and paddlers use this location as a starting point to reach Fort Simpson via the Jean Marie and Mackenzie Rivers.

Attention

As water levels drop, Jean Marie River may become impassable. Visit Environment Canada's hydrometric portal for real-time water level updates for rivers across the north:

Checkpoint

Kilometre 413 (Mile 258)

There are NO VISITOR SERVICES here.

Junction of Highways 1 and 7

Continue northwest on Highway 1 to travel the Heritage Route to Fort Simpson and Wrigley. Highway 7, the Liard Trail, leads south to Fort Liard and the Alaska Highway.

Attention

The nearest location for fuel is Fort Simpson (61 km/38 miles). If you are taking the Liard Trail, the next available fuel is at Fort Liard (223 km/138 miles).

Checkpoint Bed and Breakfast

Kilometre 413 (mile 258)

Beautifully located next to the Jean Marie River Bridge, they also have spots for RVs and tents, as well as easy fishing access along Jean Marie River in the spring. (867) 695-2953. .