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.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

Canada is famous for its stunning vistas, from the Arctic shores to the Rocky Mountains. But that's not all the country has to boast about. It also has engro…

30 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

Simply put, Canada is stunning. The second largest country in the world, Canada is a land of crashing waterfalls, turquoise lakes and magnificent soaring mounta…

29 Jun 2017 • Olivia Rawes videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook