Hay River

Population: 3,606

Hay River is located on NWT Highway 2 on the shore of Great Slave Lake, 76 miles north of the Alberta–Northwest Territories border along the Deh Cho Route.

Visitor Information: Town of Hay River operates a Visitor Information Centre, open daily in summer, phone 867-874-3180.

Hay River was established in 1868 with the building of a Hudson’s Bay Co. post. Today, the community is the transfer point from highway and rail to barges on Great Slave Lake bound for arctic and subarctic communities. Hay River harbour is also home port of the Mackenzie River barge fleet that plies the river in summer.

Visitor services include lodging, restaurants and fast-food outlets, gas stations, supermarkets, banks, schools, churches, a library, laundromat, and gift and arts and crafts shops. Camping at Hay River Territorial Park campground.


  • Hay River has 1 of only 2 year-round swimming pools in Northwest Territories.
  • Farmer’s market at Fisherman’s Wharf in summer.
  • Play golf at Hay River Golf Club (9-holes).
  • Good pickerel fishing in Hay River from bank.
  • Beach Park on Vale Island on Great Slave Lake has picnic sites, a boat launch, hiking trails, volleyball and swimming.
  • Boating and fishing Great Slave Lake: northern pike, inconnu (sheefish), pickerel and grayling.