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Northwest Territories Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

The Northwest Territories' climate is cold but relatively dry, with temperate, sunny summers, in which temperatures rarely rise above 25°C (77°F), and long, bitter winters, during which the thermometer can plunge to -40°C (-40°F), especially north of the Arctic Circle.

Required clothing

Winter weather requires down-filled and other polar-temperature gear. Special clothing is required for adventure expeditions. Good-quality windproof and waterproof clothes, warm jerseys, gloves and moulded-sole shoes are needed at all times of the year. In the summer, thinner clothes suffice, although the temperature can drop quickly so you should wear layers. A mosquito net and repellent are essential in some areas during July and August.


The Northwest Territories stretch from the Mackenzie Mountains on the Yukon border to the open, barren lands to the east, and from the shores and islands of the Arctic Ocean to the woodlands in the south. Canada's longest river, the Mackenzie, flows 4,241km (2,635 miles) from the Finlay River in British Columbia to its delta on the Beaufort Sea.

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