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 is the oldest continuously occupied site on the Mackenzie River, established as Fort of the Forks in 1804 by the North West Co. In 1822, the Hudson’s Bay Co. established a post here, naming it after Sir George Simpson, one of the first governors of the combined North West Co. and Hudson’s Bay Co. Fort Simpson served as headquarters for the Hudson’s Bay Co. fur-trading operation, and its key location on the Mackenzie River made it an important transportation centre. Anglican and Catholic missions were established here in 1858 and 1894. Fort Simpson continues to be an important centre for the Northwest Territories water transport system.

Fort Simpson has all visitor services, including motels and bed-and-breakfast accommodations; 2 restaurants; 2 gas stations (1 with repair service); 2 grocery stores, department store, hardware store, a bank, laundromat, post office, and craft shop. Camping at Fort Simpson Territorial Park.


  • Cabin home of Fort Simpson pioneer and prospector Albert Faille.
  • The McPherson House, built in 1936, home to local pioneers George and Lucy McPherson and “Doc” Marion.
  • 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.