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Virginia Falls
   Northwest Territories, Canada

This waterfall has been confirmed by the World Waterfall Database, has been mapped and its height has been approximated but exact measurements have not yet been confirmed.
Virginia Falls is a massive waterfall that slides down a long stretch of mighty rapids and short drops then splits around a massive 400 foot tall spire of lime stone known as Mason's Rock. The south segment of the falls drops 294 feet to the river below, while the north segment slides steeply down to a bend, then falls about 170 feet to rejoin the south segment in the river below. The falls are frequently cited as being 317 feet in height, but the NRCanada Topographical Maps are clear in their height figure, 294 feet. At any rate, the falls aren't compromised by a missing 23 feet of height. The falls are better than 800 feet in width and the face of the falls is spans nearly 4 acres in surface area.


  • Also Known as: Na'ili Cho, Mahoney Falls
  • Virginia Falls is the Official name of this waterfall

The name Na'ili Cho means "big water falling down" in the native language of the Dene, the indigenous inhabitants of the area. The name Virginia Falls is derived from Virginia Hunter, daughter of Fenley Hunter, who explored the region in 1928 for the Geological Survey of Canada. The name Mahoney Falls came from early settlers of the Yukon, but was never in common use to the best of our knowledge.

Our thoughts

The scale of this waterfall compares favorably with other giants of the waterfall world and the remoteness of this waterfall is the only reason Virginia Falls doesn't reside amongst the global giants in terms of notoriety. The World Waterfall Database isn't the only agency to regard these falls as globally important, the falls were recognized as one of the first four locations to be designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in the late 1970s.

Location and directions

The only feasible means of visiting the park is by chartering a flight from either Fort Simpson or Fort Liard on a float plane. There is a waterdrome just above the falls. From this point, the falls are a short hike south.

Virginia Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

Additional Nearby Waterfalls

Name of Waterfall Distance
Marengo Falls 2.28 mi / 3.65 km


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Photography tips

Virginia Falls is a massive waterfall that has a tremendous volume of water. The broad canyon is well lit and shots from both ground and air will capture this magnificent waterfall. The falls face southeast in a deep canyon. Early morning and late afternoon might be troublesome for shadows, but the falls should be evenly lit for most of the day.

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