the Boyds' Northern Adventure

Trip Map

Northwest Territories

Scroll down to read our Journal on Fort Liard.

For Liard Trail photos, click here.












Friday, August 13 -– Fort Liard, NWT We made a side trip today to the Northwest Territories. Looking back over the last five weeks, it’s hard to imagine that we’ve covered 9,000 kilometres in B.C., Yukon, Alaska, and now the Northwest Territories.

The Liard Trail (Liard Highway) is named for the Liard River valley through which it runs for most of its length. It starts at Fort Nelson and ends at Fort Simpson, NWT. The Mackenzie Highway intersects the Liard Trail, connecting it with Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. The major attraction on the Liard Trail is Nahanni National Park, 100 kilometres north of Fort Liard. Only accessible by air charter, it’s home to Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara.

We left the trailer in Fort Nelson and drove as far as Fort Liard, just inside the NWT border. Driving north, the land became very flat, and changed quite quickly from the forest in BC to almost a moist tundra and then back to boreal forest. In French, liard means “black poplar.”

The road is a relatively straight, 2-lane road, paved to the BC border, then a good gravel road. However, a 50 kilometre stretch in BC was being widened, so it was dirt, gravel, and dust. And more dirt and dust. The car was filthy by the time we got back.

The Hamlet of Fort Liard is a small settlement of traditional log homes and modern housing. Many of its 580 residents live a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, trapping, and fishing, and are known for the high quality of their birch-bark baskets and porcupine quill workmanship. Local craft were featured at the Acho Dene Native Crafts shop.

We were anticipating buying lunch at the local restaurant. It had recently gone broke, though, and as it was the only restaurant in town, we bought some groceries at the only general store in town. We enjoyed making lunch on the bank of the Liard River.

After lunch, we went to the craft shop. It is also the local information and interpretive centre, and we met a really friendly Dene lady working there who was a great source of information about local history and lifestyle. We bought a birch-bark fruit basket there.

For Liard Trail photos, click here.