Slave River

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The tugboat Radium Express being portaged around the rapids at Fort Smith.
Great Slave Lake, the Slave River and Lake Athabasca

The Slave River flows from Lake Athabasca to Great Slave Lake, the source of the Mackenzie River.

There is a series of rapids approximately 10 kilometers long between Fort Fitzgerald and Fort Smith that forces passengers and freight to be portaged.[1]

The river is 434 kilometers long.[2]


  1. Slave River rapids, Government of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved on 2022-03-04. “Beginning at Fort Fitzgerald and ending 10 kilometres downstream at Fort Smith are four furious sets of rapids rapids. The house-high waves, dizzying whirlpools, and gushing channels provide a playground for world-class kayakers, while also protecting the world’s northernmost white pelicans, which nest on midstream islands.”
  2. 19 reasons to see Great Slave Lake, Government of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved on 2022-03-04. “Great Slave is a vast reservoir that feeds a complex network of rivers and streams, including Canada’s longest river: the Mackenzie. It receives about 77 percent of its inflow from the 434-kilometre long Slave River.”