Exploring Yellowknife

5 things to do on a frozen Yellowknife lake

Fat Biking Yellowknife

Sure Yellowknife’s winters are long but that doesn’t mean we have to stay inside all the time. Yellowknife offers a constant playground all winter long thanks to the frozen lakes and trail systems. Here are some of the top ideas for having some fun on a frozen lake around Yellowknife. Got more suggestions? Leave us a comment.

Go Snowmobiling

Whether it is just for fun or you are trying to get to your winter getaway, snowmobiling is a fun ride around Yellowknife. For a snowmobiler in Yellowknifer, there are endless routes, trails, and lakes that you can follow. Snowmobiling around Yellowknife is not as restricted southern Provinces where trails are regulated and groomed. In Yellowknife, trails are adapted and shaped over time, naturally and can take you to any part of the city with ease.

There are speed limits and regulations in place to ensure safety and there are also places in Yellowknife that rent snowmobiles.

Yellowknife by Snowmobile

Go Ice Fishing

There are only a few lakes in Yellowknife that don’t have any fish, the rest are fair game. It is not uncommon to head down the Ingraham Trail on the weekends to try your hand at some trout fishing during the winter.

All you need is an ice auger, fishing tackle, and patience. Of course, it would be nice to have an enclosed shelter or even a cabin to hold up in while you wait for the bait.

Go Cross-country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Skiing, snowshoeing, ski-joring all can be done anywhere. Thanks to the snowmobiles there are an endless amount of trails heading everywhere.

However if you are looking for a nicer stroll, start on Grace Lake in Kam Lake area and head up the lake. The trails heading off this lake are often groomed and you might even catch a glimpse of a dog team running by.

Active North

Go Skating

This is a Canadian Classic, strap on a pair of skates and glide over the ice. In Yellowknife, there is often a skating rink and oval cleared on Frame Lake right out in front of City Hall. A perfect place for a game of pickup over the lunch hour, or taking the kids on the weekends.

There is also a rink or two that are cleared on Yellowknife Bay or if you are feeling ambitious clear a rink of your own. The City of Yellowknife does also clear other skating areas in some school fields however I’m not entirely sure on locations.

One other option I tried last year was skating on the Dettah Ice Road. While I don’t recommend it, it can be done.

Go Dog Sledding

Sure we don’t all have a team of dogs and a sled lying around but there are a couple of tour operators that will take you on a dog sled ride and even teach you how to be a musher.

Dog Sledding is an exhilarating activity to try as you learn how many aboriginal people and early settlers first traveled around the NWT. There is also nothing quite like going on a dog sled ride while the aurora dance overhead.

Bonus: Try Kite Skiing

Kite Skiing is a sport that has grown in the recent years here in Yellowknife and doesn’t look to be sailing away anytime soon. With access to the wide-open Great Slave Lake right at our doorstep we have a perfect playground for Kite Skiing. Strap on a pair of skis and catch a breeze coming off the lake and away you go. It isn’t uncommon to see several residents out on the lake over a weekend, head out onto the Dettah Ice Road to see them for yourself.

Kite Skiing in mush !

Bonus 2: Fatbiking

Since the original writing of this article Fat Biking has really come onto the scene in Yellowknife. Residents and visitors alike can all take to the streets, snowmobile trails and frozen lakes to peddle their way around. The beauty of a fat bike is the combination of its wide low-pressure tires and low gears make them a great mode of transportation to go anywhere.

Got some ideas of your own, let’s compile a list of all the activities that keep us Yellowknifer active throughout the winter.


About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

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