One thing the Yellowknife region is not short on is park lands. Despite being the center of a mining and industrial region there are more lakes than can be counted and a massive amount of park lands surrounding town. Fortunately for tourists the Ingram Trail, a/k/a NWT Route 4, provides access to many of these facilities.
The trail leads north-east from Yellowknife for about 70 kilometers and all along the way are public park facilities that provide entertainment year-round. In the summer there are boat launches and campgrounds. In the winter the lakes freeze over to form cross-country skiing or snowmobile tracks and the rivers mostly freeze up as well.
Fortunately for us on this trip, however, the -15–20°C weather was still early in the season. The falls may solidify fully later in the winter but it was not yet sufficient to actually freeze Cameron Falls completely. There was plenty of ice on and around the falls, but the water was still running and visible, making for a beautiful scene.
Getting to the falls involved a 25 minute hike through snow-covered hills and amongst some rather amazing scenery. Birch and conifers lined the well marked path – mostly just earthen but raised boardwalks in some areas – and their ice-covered branches sparkled in the low sun barely peeking over the top of the hills.
About 15 minutes into the hike the sounds of the running water coming from through the trees spurred us on and we were very soon upon a clearing at the top of a hill overlooking the falls.
From here we continued on the path, walking a bit upstream from the main falls as well as descending down the hill until we found ourselves on the banks of the river. Keeping an eye out for what was land and what was an ice shelf was particularly important at this point as it was obvious the ice was not particularly solid across the river. Still, getting up close to the falls meant some phenomenal views of the different sections and their various states of freezing over.
The trail also showcased some local wildlife. Despite the cold there were still a few animals out enjoying the brisk early winter weather. As an added bonus they were not particularly intimidated by humans nearby.
The hike served a dual purpose on this chilly afternoon. We were all quite toasty by the time we made it back to the car and headed out for the next adventure. Maybe it was the five layers of clothing that really solved that problem, but the moving around definitely contributed.
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