Mackenzie Mountains

Last updated
Mackenzie Mountains
Keele Peak, 2005
Highest point
PeakKeele Peak
Elevation 2,972 m (9,751 ft)
Coordinates 63°25′53″N130°19′26″W / 63.43139°N 130.32389°W / 63.43139; -130.32389
TerritoriesYukon and Northwest Territories
Range coordinates 64°N128°W / 64°N 128°W / 64; -128 Coordinates: 64°N128°W / 64°N 128°W / 64; -128

The Mackenzie Mountains are a Canadian mountain range forming part of the Yukon-Northwest Territories boundary between the Liard and Peel rivers. The range is named in honour of Canada's second prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie. [1] Nahanni National Park Reserve and Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve are in the Mackenzie Mountains.


The mining town of Tungsten, site of the Cantung Mine, is in the Mackenzie Mountains. Only two roads lead into the Mackenzie Mountains, both in Yukon: the Nahanni Range Road leading to the townsite of Tungsten and the Canol Road leading to the Macmillan Pass.

The highest mountain in this range is Keele Peak at 2,972 m (9,751 ft), in Yukon. The second-highest mountain is Mount Nirvana. It is, at 2,773 m (9,098 ft), the highest mountain in the Northwest Territories.

The Silurian fish family Archipelepididae has been described from specimens found in the Mackenzie Mountains. [2]

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Northwest Territories Territory of Canada

The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately 1,144,000 km2 (442,000 sq mi) and a 2016 census population of 41,790, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. Its estimated population as of 2020 is 45,161. Yellowknife is the capital, most populous community, and only city in the territory; its population was 19,569 as of the 2016 census. It became the territorial capital in 1967, following recommendations by the Carrothers Commission.

Mackenzie River Largest river system in Canada

The Mackenzie River is a river in the Canadian boreal forest. It forms, along with the Slave, Peace, and Finlay, the longest river system in Canada, and includes the second largest drainage basin of any North American river after the Mississippi.

Great Slave Lake Second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada

Great Slave Lake, known traditionally as Tıdeè in the Tłı̨chǫ language, Tinde’e in the Yellowknife language, Tu Nedhé in Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé, and Tucho in the Dehcho Dene language, is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada, the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres, and the tenth-largest lake in the world. It is 469 km (291 mi) long and 20 to 203 km wide. It covers an area of 27,200 km2 (10,502 sq mi) in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from 1,070 km3 (260 cu mi) to 1,580 km3 (380 cu mi) and up to 2,088 km3 (501 cu mi) making it the 10th or 12th largest by volume.

Nahanni National Park Reserve National park in Canada

Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, approximately 500 km (311 mi) west of Yellowknife, protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. The centrepiece of the park is the South Nahanni River. Four noteworthy canyons reaching 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in depth, called First, Second, Third and Fourth Canyon, line its whitewater river. The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language name for the area; Nahʔa Dehé, which means "river of the land of the Nahʔa people", who some now speculate may have been the ancestors of the modern day Navajo people. The park was among the world's first four natural heritage locations to be inscribed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978 because of its picturesque wild rivers, canyons, and waterfalls.

Melville Island (Northwest Territories and Nunavut)

Melville Island is an uninhabited island of the Arctic Archipelago with an area of 42,149 km2 (16,274 sq mi). It is the 33rd largest island in the world and Canada's eighth largest island.

Liard River

The Liard River of the North American boreal forest flows through Yukon, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, Canada. Rising in the Saint Cyr Range of the Pelly Mountains in southeastern Yukon, it flows 1,115 kilometres (693 mi) southeast through British Columbia, marking the northern end of the Rocky Mountains and then curving northeast back into Yukon and Northwest Territories, draining into the Mackenzie River at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. The river drains approximately 277,100 square kilometres (107,000 sq mi) of boreal forest and muskeg.

Mount Nirvana Highest mountain in NWT, Canada

Mount Nirvana, at 2,773 m (9,098 ft) is the unofficial name of the highest mountain in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Currently the Canadian government is working to officially recognize the name Thunder Mountain, reflecting the local Deh Cho first nation name for the mountain. Today, the name Mt. Nirvana is commonly depicted in alpine literature.

District of Keewatin

The District of Keewatin was a territory of Canada and later an administrative district of the Northwest Territories. It was created in 1876 by the Keewatin Act, and originally it covered a large area west of Hudson Bay. In 1905, it became a part of the Northwest Territories and in 1912, its southern parts were adjoined to the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, leaving the remainder, now called the Keewatin Region, with a population of a few thousand people. On April 1, 1999, the Keewatin Region was formally dissolved, as Nunavut was created from eastern parts of the Northwest Territories, including all of Keewatin.

Boothia Peninsula

Boothia Peninsula is a large peninsula in Nunavut's northern Canadian Arctic, south of Somerset Island. The northern part, Murchison Promontory, is the northernmost point of mainland Canada.

Cantung Mine

Cantung Mine is a tungsten producer in the Nahanni area of the Northwest Territories, Canada, located northeast of Watson Lake in the Flat River Valley of the Selwyn Range close to the Yukon border. Tungsten was originally discovered in the area in 1954 by prospectors. Cantung Mine operated from 1962 to 1986, again from 2002 to 2003, and from 2005. Production was suspended from October 2009 to October 2010. The mine owner, North American Tungsten Corporation, went bankrupt in 2015 and the mine closed in October of that year. The federal government of Canada now owns the mine and has to clean up the site. As of December, 2017, the mine remained closed, with the possibility of being opened to process a nearby lithium deposit. As of February 2019, the mine is still closed; the federal and NWT governments are trying to sell it.

Geography of Yukon

Yukon is in the northwestern corner of Canada and is bordered by Alaska and the Northwest Territories. The sparsely populated territory abounds with natural scenic beauty, with snowmelt lakes and perennial white-capped mountains, including many of Canada's highest mountains. The territory's climate is Arctic in the north, subarctic in the central region, between north of Whitehorse and Old Crow, and has a humid continental climate in the far south, south of Whitehorse and in areas close to the British Columbia border. The long sunshine hours in the short summer allow a profusion of flowers and fruit to blossom. Most of the territory is boreal forest, tundra being the main vegetation zone only in the extreme north and at high elevations.

Nahanni Range Road

The Nahanni Range Road was completed in the early 1960s from Watson Lake, Yukon along the present alignment of the Robert Campbell Highway to Miner Junction, thence along the Highway 10 route, across the border into the Northwest Territories to the privately owned mining town known, confusingly, as either Cantung or Tungsten. The portion between Cantung Junction and Watson Lake has, since 1971, been part of the Robert Campbell Highway.

Canol Heritage Trail

The Canol Heritage Trail is a 350-kilometre-long (220 mi) trail running from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, through the Mackenzie Mountains, to the Yukon border. Because of its remoteness, length and river crossings it is considered one of the most challenging trails in Canada. The trail is in the process of becoming a territorial park.

Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut Settlement in Nunavut, Canada

Bathurst Inlet,, is a small Inuit community located in Bathurst Inlet in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, Canada. As of the 2016 census the population remained at zero.

Keele Peak

Keele Peak, in Yukon, Canada is the highest peak in the Mackenzie Mountains at 2,972 metres (9,751 ft). With a prominence measure of 2,177 m (7,142 ft) it is one of Canada's most prominent peaks. It is located about 25 km from the Canol Road not far from the Northwest Territories border.

South Nahanni River

The South Nahanni River is a major tributary of the Liard River, located roughly 500 km (310 mi) west of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is the centerpiece of Nahanni National Park Reserve. It flows from the Mackenzie Mountains in the west, through the Selwyn Mountains, growing as it heads east over the majestic Virginia Falls, and finally empties into the Liard River. The Nahanni has a unique geological history. It was formed when the area was a broad flat plain, forming a winding course typical of flatland rivers. As the mountains lifted, the river cut four deep canyons into the rock, maintaining its eccentric course.

Náátsihchoh National Park Reserve

Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve is a Canadian national park reserve encompassing parts of the South Nahanni River watershed in the Northwest Territories. The name means "stands like a porcupine" in the Dene language. The national park reserve covers an area of 4,850 km2 (1,873 sq mi), protecting the Sahtú Settlement Area of the upper South Nahanni River watershed, adjoining Nahanni National Park Reserve. The two areas are to be managed separately, similar to Banff and Jasper National Parks which are also side by side. The South Nahanni watershed is home to several endangered species, including grizzly bears and boreal woodland caribou. The area is also known for its moose, Dall sheep and the northernmost population of mountain goats in Canada.

Keele River

The Keele River is a tributary of the Mackenzie River, about 410 kilometres (250 mi) long, in the western part of the Canadian Northwest Territories. Flowing in a generally northeast direction, it drains a sparsely populated, rugged area of the Mackenzie Mountains.

The Man on the Hill (MOTH) locality of northwestern Canada has fossils that are very well preserved and have had a profound impact on the understanding of vertebrate evolution. The geology of the MOTH locality consists of fine, alternating laminae of light grey argillaceous limestone, or calcareous shale, and dark grey silt to sand-rich calcareous shale, as observed in thin section, and the characterization of the lithology for the vertebrate-bearing strata as an interlaminated argillaceous limestone and calcareous shale. The abundance of cryptic trace fossils and the presence of pyrite suggest that the intra-shelf topographic sag at MOTH had restricted circulation and was generally hypoxic.


  1. Mackenzie Mountains
  2. Soehn, K. L., Märss, T., Caldwell, M. W. & Wilson, M. V. H., 2001: New and biostratigraphically useful thelodonts from the Silurian of the Mackenzie Mountains, Northwest Territories, Canada. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 21: 651-659

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