Straddling the Arctic Circle on the northeast coast of Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park is one of the most spectacular destinations in the Canadian North. The heart of the park is the massive Penny Ice Cap, a remnant of the ice sheet that extended over most of Canada east of the Rockies about eighteen thousand years ago, and the 110km Pangnirtung/Akshayuk Pass, a major hiking route which cuts through the mountains between Cumberland Sound and the Davis Strait. Auyuittuq is Inuktitut for “the land that never melts” but despite the unrelenting cold in summer the sparse tundra plants do bloom and chance encounters with arctic hares and foxes, polar bears, Canada geese, snowy owls and gyrfalcons are a possibility. Just offshore you may spot narwhal, walrus, bowhead and beluga whale, as well as harp, ringed and bearded seals. Yet the main attraction is not necessarily the random, rare wildlife sightings, but the sheer rugged beauty and raw power of the dramatic landscape.

Services within the park are extremely limited and the weather is highly unpredictable. Snowstorms, high wind and rain occur frequently, and deaths from hypothermia have been known even in summer. All-weather hiking gear is essential, as is a walking stick to assist you with the ice-cold stream crossings which occur every 200–300m and can be waist-high in July. There is no wood for fuel, so a camping stove is essential.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Rugged and vast, Canada has much to explore and enjoy. Driving gives you freedom to travel at your own pace, allowing you to pull over and appreciate scenery al…

05 Dec 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
15 awesome images of Canada

15 awesome images of Canada

Canada is has vast and varied landscape, from beautiful beaches to glassy mountain lakes. It's difficult to capture the country's real beauty in a photograph, b…

09 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month