Auyuittuq National Park

Top choice in Nunavut

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 (per person one way $150) or Qikiqtarjuaq ($275); arrange pickup in advance. Camp in any safe, windproof, ecologically appropriate spot. Nine emergency shelters dot the pass.

Register and pay park fees at Parks Canada.

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.

Parks Canada sell maps ($17), 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. Ten days is average for the route. Rivers must be crossed; polar bears are seen most seasons. The trail follows the valley, so it's difficult to get lost.