Thelon River

Thelon River

The Thelon River stretches across northern Canada. Its source is Whitefish Lake in the Northwest Territories, and it flows east to Baker Lake in Nunavut. The Thelon ultimately drains into Hudson Bay.

Natural features

The drainage basin of the Thelon River encompasses some . Located far from almost all human development, the Thelon and its surroundings are entirely pristine wilderness.

The river has a width of up to a kilometer (0.6 mi) along much of its lower section, widening into Beverly, Aberdeen, and Schultz Lakes about upstream from its mouth at Baker Lake.

Approximately 100 moose and more than 2,000 muskoxen forage on the land around the Thelon. 300,000 migrating barren-ground caribou cross the river every fall and spring.


The Inuit people, including Caribou Inuit, have long occupied the sparsely-populated lands around the Thelon. Artifacts of Inuit hunting and travel (including inukshuk guide stones) are readily observed near the river.

In 1770-71, English explorer Samuel Hearne crossed the Thelon while exploring Canada's northern interior.

Over the winter of 1926-27, Canadian naturalist John Hornby starved to death on the Thelon along with two other men. They had planned to hunt migrating caribou, but failed to find the herd. Nevertheless, on the basis of Hornby's earlier explorations with James Critchell-Bullock in 1923, the Thelon Game Sanctuary was established in 1927, renamed the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary in 1956.

In 1927(?), the Norwegian explorer and writer Helge Ingstad went by dog sled to the headwaters of Thelon (Lynx Lake) together with native peoples from east end of Great Slave Lake. Read more in his book "The Land of Feast and Famine".

In 1990, the lower of the Thelon were designated a Canadian Heritage River. Although there is no road access to the river, a number of wilderness campers and canoeists visit the Thelon every summer.

External links

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