In Canada, the Northwest Territories have always represented the last frontier. Over time, several provinces have been carved from "the NWT"—most recently, a giant new territory called Nunavut was created out of its eastern half.
As Canada's last frontier, it is also one of the last places in North America where you can find wide stretches of unspoiled wilderness. If you're outdoorsy, the NWT is your wonderland. Whether you want to see it on a dogsled or a snowmobile, there's plenty of NWT for everybody.
Your trip will almost certainly start in Yellowknife, where half of the territory's people live. The city was founded after a mini gold rush, so much so that they say, "In Yellowknife, the gold is paved with streets." The gold mines are closed now, but the city thrives by serving nearby diamond mines. While in Yellowknife, check out the Wild Cat Café, a log-cabin restaurant from the city's wilder pioneer days.
From Yellowknife, you can fly to a lodge where you might well have a lake's fish all to yourself. Bring back a 40-pound lake trout that will make your angling buddies green with envy. Many paddlers, meanwhile, head to the Nahanni National Park Reserve to canoe the awe-inspiring Nahanni River.
From polar bears and caribou to bison and grizzlies, the territory is teeming with wildlife, and eagle-eyed birders will have a chance to add some 200 species to their life lists. Not only that, but the territories' Aboriginal people, who know these lands best, offer a variety of experiences to help you see this untouched region through their eyes.
Perhaps the best reason for visiting the NWT is to see the Northern Lights, a rare treat that becomes progressively less rare the further north you go. The best time to see the lights is from September to April.