Auyuittuq National Park

Top choice national park in Baffin Region

Among the globe's most flabbergasting places, Auyuittuq (ah-you-ee-tuk) means 'the land that never melts.' Appropriately, there are plenty of glaciers in this 19,500-sq-km park, plus jagged peaks, vertiginous cliffs and deep valleys. Hikers trek the 97km Akshayuk Pass (crossing the Arctic Circle) in summer, when it's snow-free. Access is by boat either from Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq ($140 per person one way); arrange pickup in advance. Camp in any safe, wind-proof, ecologically appropriate spot. Nine emergency shelters dot the pass.

In the park, experienced climbers and base jumpers scale Mt Thor (1500m), the earth's highest sheer cliff, and twin-peaked Mt Asgard (2015m), famed for the parachute scene from The Spy Who Loved Me.

Register at Parks Canada in Pangnirtung and pay the fee (day/overnight/maximum $12/24.50/147.20). Maps ($20) are sold here, though the valley route is relatively intuitive.

While wondrous, Auyuittuq is also brutal and isolated. To hike it you need to be an experienced wilderness operator, and fit. Think 10 days as an average for the route. Rivers must be crossed; polar bears are seen most seasons. A guide makes sense: speak to Pangnirtung outfitters or book a trip with Black Feather.

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