Fort Simpson

Population: 1,238

Fort Simpson is located at the end of the Mackenzie Highway (NWT Highway 1), at the confluence of the Mackenzie and Liard rivers, 390 miles from Yellowknife, 588 miles from Grimshaw and 282 miles from the Alaska Highway via the Deh Cho Route. 

Visitor Information: Fort Simpson Visitor Information Centre, first building on the left as you come into town, is open daily in summer; phone 867-695-3182.

Fort Simpson or Liidlii Kue (Deh Cho First Nations meaning “the place where the rivers come together”) is the administrative headquarters for the Deh Cho (Big River) region. It is the oldest continuously occupied site on the Mackenzie River, dating from 1804 when the North West Co. established its Fort of the Forks. There is a National Historic Site plaque on the bank of the Mackenzie overlooking the confluence.

Fort Simpson is a full-service community. Accommodations at motels and bed-and-breakfasts. There are 2 restaurants; 2 gas stations, one with repair service (unleaded and propane available); 2 grocery stores, department store, hardware store, a bank, laundromat, post office, and 1 craft shop. Small engine repair shop and mechanics available. Diesel available at Imperial Oil bulk plant Monday through Friday.

Recreational facilities include an arena, curling rink, gym, ball diamond, tennis, and small indoor pool; a 9-hole golf course (longest hole is 475 yards) with clubhouse and gear rental ($15 day pass); and a boat launch at government wharf. Camping at Fort Simpson Territorial Park on village access road.

Attractions:

  • Cabin home of Fort Simpson pioneer and prospector Albert Faille.
  • Fort Simpson Heritage Park, overlooking the National Historic Site Ehdaa, also known as the Papal Grounds where Pope John Paul II landed in 1987, features the McPherson House, built in 1936 and home to local pioneers George and Lucy McPherson and “Doc” Marion. Some old structures are from the Experimental Farm, or Research Station, which operated at Fort Simpson for more than 20 years.
  • Dene crafts, such as birch-bark baskets, beadwork, moose hide crafts, northern carvings and other hand made crafts.
  • Fly-in trips to spectacular Nahanni National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, with Simpson Air.