Hay River, NWT to Manning, Alberta

The Grand Adventure part of the trip is now over (total mileage so far is 3,425 km). I’m in northern Alberta, and most of the rest of the ride is on highways I’ve been on dozens of times. Beautiful country for sure, though, and something new could pop up 🙂

It started to rain hard as I left my hotel in Hay River at about 9:30 yesterday morning, and I had rain to varying degrees for much of the long day. The first photo, shot from the shoulder of the Mackenzie Highway, shows my first look at Hay River’s port status – Great Slave Lake and the Mackenzie River are a virtual ocean for shipping.

Boats at Hay River, NWT

The MV Norweta is a famous boat in the North, having run tours up and down the Mackenzie River for 19 years. She’s unfortunately now parked and up for sale.

MV Norweta - Hay River, NWT

Great Slave Lake apparently has gorgeous beaches – yesterday the beauty was a bit obscured.

Beach at Hay River, NWT

The number of ships and barges parked in the yard at NTCL (Northern Transportation Company Limited) amazed me.

Boats at Hay River, NWT

That barge could be sitting beside the Yukon River 110 years ago – other than having a steel hull now, it’s identical to what the sternwheelers used to push.

Barge at Hay River, NWT

The Hay River museum was closed.

Museum at Hay River, NWT

I caught a glimpse of something interesting through the trees across the street from the museum, though…

Old boat at Hay River, NWT

… and found this particularly fine example of the boat-builders’ art. She’s about 25 meters long, driven by a single prop.

Old boat at Hay River, NWT

Much of the shipping at Hay River involves fuel – there are railway tank cars, tank farms and fuel barges all over the place.

Fuel tanks at Hay River, NWT

Buffalo Airways has a lot of aircraft stored at Hay River! This is a 1944 Douglas C54G-DC, C-FBAM.

1944 Douglas C54G-DC C-FBAM at Hay River, NWT

To me, a DC-3 is one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed. CF-CUE is a 1942 C-47A. While I was shooting from outside the fence, a fellow came along in a pickup and offered me a ride along the aircraft line!

CF-CUE, a 1942 C-47A, at Hay River, NWT

A 1945 Douglas C54E-DC, C-GCTF. The symbol in front of the props is a globe with “First around the world” – I don’t know what that means exactly.

Douglas C54E-DC, C-GCTF - at Hay River, NWT

The railway just came north here in 1964.

Railway at Hay River, NWT

Heading out of town, this was tough decision. I really wanted to go left here to see the ruins of the town of Pine Point, but that would take at least 3 hours. Perhaps in good weather I would have – oh well, next time! 🙂

The population of the community of Enterprise (“Gateway to the Northwest Territories”) is supposed to be 100, but other than a lodge and a mobile home sales office (??), it looks pretty much abandoned.

Enterprise, Northwest Territories

Back on Highway 1, the “Waterfall Route”. First stop, Louise Falls, 15 meters high (50 feet). This view is a 5-minute walk from the parking lot.

Louise Falls, Northwest Territories

This impressive and dizzying spiral staircase takes you down closer to the lip of Louise Falls, to a trail that would have a chain-link fence along it in any jurisdiction other than the NWT!

Louise Falls, Northwest Territories

The view of Louise Falls from the lower trail.

Louise Falls, NWT

If you scramble down the bank, you get this view.

Louise Falls, NWT

Three minutes further down the highway is the parking lot for Alexandra Falls. From the river above, a hint of what’s ahead – a time to start paddling very hard if you see this view from a canoe!

Alexandra Falls, NWT

The Hay River goes over the edge!

Alexandra Falls, NWT

WOW! That’s a 35 meter drop (115 feet).

Alexandra Falls, NWT

The impressive undercut.

Alexandra Falls, NWT

As with all other parks in the Northwest Territories, the one at Alexandra Falls is extremely well developed. This is the “picnic shelter”!

Alexandra Falls Park, NWT

The tree growing up through the bench is a good indication of how much use some of the facilities are getting.

Alexandra Falls Park, NWT

The brand-new visitor centre at the Alberta-NWT border is very impressive, as it should be for $3 million! The plush white leather sitting area seems a bit much, but the displays are excellent and the windshield-washing station is a nice touch.

Crossing the 60th Parallel – from Alberta, Welcome to the Northwest Territories! For me, bye-bye NWT 🙁

Crossing the 60th Parallel - Welcome to the Northwest Territories

There’s not much to say about the drive south from there – this view is typical.

I used my spare gas again due to a missing town. Both the government map and signs along the highway say that the community of Meander River has fuel and groceries. I did see a groceries-and-fuel stop that’s been closed for many years, but none of the 4 houses visible from the highway seemed to be in business of any kind.

Meander River, Alberta

I stopped for an A&W dinner at High Level and thought a lot about staying there last night. But my original plan was to make it to Manning, and that’s where I am now, at the Manning Motor Inn, about ready to head out for breakfast.


Hay River, NWT to Manning, Alberta — 4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great photos of a/c along your trip.
    “First around the world” was the Douglas Aircraft Co. claim and logo. It stems from their (and the world’s first) successful round the world aircraft trip undertaken in 1924 with a group of Douglas World Cruisers. I think they may have stopped in Whitehorse on their first leg. See more at
    Take care,

  2. Too bad you did not go to Pine Point. I grew up in that town (left when I was nine) and I just would have liked to see the town site. There is a website called Welcome to Pine Point http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/#/pinepoint if you want to see the history of the town.

  3. Thanks, Shawn. That’s a very impressive Web site that I hadn’t seen before. Yes, I do need to get to Pine Point. But I have to make sure that I know where to find the basement of the Pine Point Hotel – experiencing it would make the trip something very special.