Mackenzie River

Mackenzie River is a major river system in north-western North America. It drains an area of about 697,000 square miles which is the largest of any river in Canada. This area represents about 20% of the Canadian total land area. At 2,635 miles, it is the world’s eleventh longest river.

Major tributaries of this river are the Liard, Keele, Great Bear, Arctic Red and Peel Rivers.The average discharge of the river is 9,700m3/second. The peak discharge of Mackenzie River occurs in June otherwise the flow remains strong and uniform throughout the year.


Quick Facts: –

  • Mackenzie River is navigable for approximately five months of the year. It freezes over in October and breaks up again in May.
  • This river system is named after a famous explorer Alexander Mackenzie.
  • It flows along a course from its headwaters in the Finlay River to its drainage into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
  • The basin of the river was used as an important trade route by European fur traders since late 18th century.      
  • It flows through a Boreal forest zone in the south, then into an extensive taiga vegetation zone in its middle.
  • It is the main stem of the Mississippi-Missouri River System which is the second largest in North America.
  • This river’s basin is one of the most sparsely populated, and pristine, habitats of North America.
  • The Mackenzie River Delta has many low-lying alluvial islands covered with black spruce, thinning northward.
  • Alluvial islands are those which are composed of river sediment.