On a planet containing seven billion people, it's difficult to imagine that there are still places as empty as the Northwest Territories (NWT). A vast swath of boreal forest and Arctic tundra five times the size of the UK, it has a population of a small provincial town. In the 19th century, gold prospectors passed it over as too remote; modern Canadians, if they head north at all, prefer to romanticize about iconic Nunavut or the grandiose Yukon. More people orbit the earth each year than visit lonely Aulavik, one of the territory's four national parks.
What they're missing is something unique: a potent combo of epic, remarkably beautiful, accessible terrain, singular aboriginal culture and a vibrant, cosmopolitan regional capital. With one of the world's greatest waterfalls and North America's deepest lake, it has enough brutal wilderness to keep a modern-day David Livingstone happy for a couple of lifetimes.