Great Slave Route

(Highways 2. 5 and 6)


At Enterprise, take Highway 2 to begin the Great Slave Route. This interesting drive takes you to two communities located along the southern shores of Great Slave Lake - Hay River and Fort Resolution.

There are two campgrounds located along this route: Hay River Territorial Park (GS1) and Little Buffalo River Crossing Territorial Park (GS2).

Kilometres/miles reflect distance from Enterprise.

Paradise Gardens

Kilometre 14 (Mile 8)

This is the largest market gardening area in the NWT. Here, rich soil has built up along the banks of the Hay River and long summer days make for good wheat, vegetable and raspberry growing.

Hay River Golf Course

Kilometre 25.3 (Mile 15.7)

A scenic nine-hole golf course, with artificial greens, sprawled along the Hay River. The clubhouse serves meals and drinks. Licensed facility. Visitors are welcome.

Hay River

Kilometre 38 (Mile 23.6)

Located on Great Slave Lake, the community of Hay River (pop. 3,728) began as a mission and fur trade centre in 1858. Water, road and rail transportation links have made Hay River "the hub of the north". The Great Slave Lake Railway ends here. Mackenzie River and Arctic Coast freight barging begins where the Hay River meets Great Slave Lake.

Of Special Interest

  • Hay River is the largest shipping centre in the north
  • The town has the look and feel of a seaport, with its tugs, barges and commercial fishing operations
  • Get your fishing license and experience some great fishing
  • Opportunity to visit several arts and crafts shops
  • Visit the Fisherman's Wharf, every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm during the summer

Hay River Territorial Park

Kilometre 46 (Mile 28.6)

Located on Vale Island right in the community of Hay River (follow signs, it's about 10 km/6 miles past the information centre), the campground has 33 powered campsites, with nearby wilderness and modern amenities. Group camping sites are available. This park offers fantastic swimming on the sandy shores of Great Slave Lake, unique viewing of barges and fishing vessels plying the waters, and great opportunities to fish for northern pike.

Campsite A3 at Hay River Territorial Park has been designated as wheelchair accessible. To book, contact the Park Manager directly. Contact information is at

Of Special Interest

Great Slave Lake is:

  • A remnant of an enormous inland sea scoured out of the Canadian Shield by glaciers during the last Ice Age
  • The second largest lake wholly within Canada, with an area of 28,438 km2/10,980 miles2
  • The deepest lake in North America at 616 metres/2,027 feet deep

Junction of Highways 2 and 5

Kilometre 32.0 (Mile 19.9)

When leaving Hay River, turn east onto Highway 5 to reach Fort Resolution and Fort Smith. Continue south on Highway 2 to return to Enterprise.


There are no services between Hay River and Fort Resolution (156 km/96.9 miles) or Fort Smith (268 km/167 miles).

The Hay River Dene Reserve/Kátł'odeeche First Nation

Kilometre 34.3 (Mile 21.3)

Eastbound on Highway 5, turn left immediately after the Hay River Bridge. A 5 km drive north will bring you to the small Dene village of Kátł'odeeche First Nation/Hay River Dene Reserve. The village is home to the unique Yamozha K'ue Society (Dene Cultural Institute), which has a small craft shop (Open M-F 1-4 pm). There is also a small grocery store and gas station located further along the main community road.

A few kms north of the main village (keep right on the main road) you will arrive at the Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada. Established in the late 19th century, the site consists of St. Peter's Anglican Church, Ste. Anne's Roman Catholic Church, informational panels, the remains of a rectory, and associated cemeteries containing spirit houses.

For more information about the Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada, visit: .

Junction of Highways 5 and 6 (Buffalo Junction)

Kilometre 61 (Mile 37.9)

Continue east on Highway 6 to Fort Resolution to complete the last portion of the Great Slave Route. Highway 5 to the south is the start of the Wood Buffalo Route, which ends in Fort Smith.

Kilometres/miles reflect distance from junction of Highway 5 and 6.

Little Buffalo River Crossing Territorial Park

Kilometre 67.3 (Mile 41.8)

Here you will find 20 non-powered sites on the shores of Little Buffalo River and minutes away from Great Slave Lake. A pleasant stopping point for fishing, boating and picnicking, or as a base to explore nearby Fort Resolution.

Fort Resolution

Kilometre 90 (Mile 55.9)

First located at the mouth of the Slave River, Fort Resolution (pop. 499) was moved to its present location in 1796. The first settlers were Cree-Metis. By 1852, Oblate priests had arrived to establish a mission and school. Treaty 8, with the Chipewyan, was signed here in 1900. Fort Resolution was a major medical and educational centre until the 1950s. For a taste of northern history and insight into the Dene way of life, Fort Resolution is an excellent destination.

Of Special Interest

Great Slave Lake is:

  • Fort Resolution is the oldest, continuously occupied modern settlement in the NWT
  • Information on walking tours of the town and boat trips to the original settlement are available at the Community Council Office