The northernmost, remotest and most mountainous of Nunavut's national parks, 37,775-sq-km Quttinirpaaq is Canada's second largest, way up on Ellesmere Island (next stop: North Pole). Fossil finds up here suggest that four million years ago, when camels roamed the forests, the place was tropical. Now the mass of frozen crags, topped with age-old ice caps, deep fjords, vast glaciers and sheltered valleys boast one of the world's most inhospitable climates, tolerated only by musk ox, wolverine and Peary caribou.
Highlights include 24-hour daylight, 6ºC summers, Mt Barbeau (2616m), eastern North America's highest peak, and Lake Hazen Basin, a thermal oasis where animals, unfamiliar with humans, are strangely tame. Wilderness expertise is crucial. The best time to visit is late May to mid-August.