Smoking Hills, Canada Cruise Port, 2024, 2025 and 2026 Cruises to Smoking Hills, Canada | The Cruise Web

Smoking Hills, Canada Cruise Port

Positioned on Cape Bathurst’s eastern coast, the Smoking Hills are in an isolated area beside the Arctic Ocean. This stretch of sulphur-rich land is located within Canada’s Northwest Territories and they are amply named because they are literally smoking at all times. Because they consist of sedimentary rock formed by hydrocarbons—also known as oil shales—their unstable nature keeps sulphur deposits beneath the surface set aflame. While dangerous, yet self-contained, these fields are a luminous sight to take in and many passing tourists find it pleasing and an anomaly not seen on the average cruise. The closest community, Paulatuk, is more than 60 miles away and is known for its abundance of raw coal with its name literally meaning “place of coal.” The lakes in the area have acidified over the years, due to the surrounding fires and bituminous coal, to a pH lower than two.


  • Nearby Paulatuk is home to Tuktut Nogait National Park. This oasis from the burning hills contains rich and clear rolling rivers and precipitous canyons.
  • The National Park is also home to a variety of diverse wildlife including: the Bluenose West caribou herd, muskoxen, grizzly bears, and wolves.
  • If cruise ships happen to pass during an electrical storm, passengers brave enough to stay on deck will see how lightning often emboldens the uncontainable flames.
  • The community of Paulatuk, while avid hunters, fishermen, and trappers, make a living off art printmaking, as well as housing travelers who come to check out the smoking hills.

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