Canada is paradise for hikers, trekkers and adventurers.
A vast country with an abundance of national parks and untouched, beautiful landscapes, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking trails. And of course, there are also the great Canadian Rockies to explore.
If you’re planning to go hiking in Canada, make sure you have your travel money sorted. Get yourself a TransferWise debit Mastercard and there’s no need to carry cash around. You can use it to spend in Canadian dollars like a local¹ and take money out from thousands of ATMs – all at the real exchange rate and without any hidden fees.
Now, it’s time to talk hiking. Let’s take a look at some of the best hiking trails in Canada, with options for all abilities.
Canada is the world’s second-largest country², and much of its land is unpopulated. This means there are endless forests, mountains and wildernesses to explore.
Hikers have a huge choice of trails and terrains, from single-day walks in one of the country’s many national parks to multi-day expeditions into the Canadian Rockies.
However, the size of the country also means that some of the best hikes are a distance away from urban centres. If you want to see some of the most unforgettable sights (such as the panoramic views from the mountains), you’ll need to invest in a good tent as some multi-day treks are unavoidable.
That said, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking near Vancouver and other major cities. Head just an hour or two out of the city and you’ll stumble across stunning lakes and huge provincial parks.
Ready for adventure? Here’s our pick of the top hiking trails in Canada, from nature walks to seriously strenuous multi-day treks⁸,⁹,¹⁰.
- Parc National de Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
The network of trails in this popular National Park offers hiking opportunities of all kinds. Take a leisurely two-hour hike, or use one of the group huts to take on an overnight trek among the Laurentian Mountains.
- Esplanade Track, British Colombia
This is a four-day trek across the most famous and photographed part of the Canadian Rockies. It’s a tough hike, with elevations of 8000+ feet causing the air to thin considerably, and you may need a lift from a helicopter to access the start of the trail. But the truly spectacular views are absolutely worth it.
- Bruce Trail, Ontario
The Bruce Trail is a 600-mile long route stretching from Niagara at the U.S. border all the way to the Georgian Bay. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all! There are options to hop on and off the trail wherever you please. An interesting side note – the Bruce Trail is also one of the oldest marked paths in Canada.
- Yoho National Park, British Colombia
Known as the Iceline Trail, this is one of the most picturesque hikes in the Canadian Rockies. There are two circuits to choose from (18km and 21km). You’ll need to be physically fit to tackle this hike, but you’ll be rewarded with glaciers, mountain streams, snow fields and at the end – the 380m Takakkaw Falls.
- Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
If you fancy a relatively easy hike with amazing views, visit this UNESCO Work Heritage site in Newfoundland. There are lots of manageable hikes but if you’re up for a tougher challenge, you can also tackle the mountain trail.
- Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
One of the best reasons to take on multi-day hikes in Canada is the chance to camp under the stars and enjoy the scenery. In Kejimkujik National Park, you’ll enjoy one of the best spots in the whole country for stargazing. Take a trail to one of the many campsites and spend a special evening with your eyes glued to the heavens.
- Grey Owl Trail, Manitoba
On one of Canada’s hiking trails, the last thing you may expect to see is a beach. But sandy beaches are just what you’ll get on the Grey Owl Trail, which also promises glimpses of wildlife in the lush forests of Riding Mountain National Park.
- Banff National Park, Alberta
This is Canada’s oldest national park, and it offers a choice of hikes for all abilities. Popular hikes³ include Lake Louise and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Helen Lake with its alpine wildflowers, and Bow Lake with its vividly blue waters.
Of course, these trails offer just a snapshot of the limitless hiking available in Canada. There are hundreds if not thousands of other fantastic locations to try, all with breathtaking scenery virtually guaranteed.
One of the best ways to explore Canada’s forests, mountains and trails – without worrying about getting lost or encountering bears – is on a guided walking tour, There are many packages to choose from, with prices starting from around $1450 AUD⁴ for 4 days in Gros Morne National Park⁵ to $2585 AUD for a 6-day Canadian Rockies backpacking trip⁶.
Hiking in Canada is undoubtedly a very special experience, but it can also be dangerous. Hikers need to watch out for a changeable and often extremely cold climate, especially if trekking in the mountains. It’s always best to be prepared for the worst, with high-performance wet weather gear, lots of extra food and drink and plenty of warm layers.
The season can also affect some of Canada’s most popular hiking routes, with many passes inaccessible due to snow or poor conditions from October onwards. The best time for hiking is from early June to September⁵, when most trails will be open.
You’ll see some amazing wildlife when hiking in Canada, but not all of it is friendly. Hikers may need to watch out for bears and cougars, and insects such as mosquitos and ticks can also be problematic, depending on where you’re hiking and the time of year.
Remember that hiking in Canada’s wilderness can be very dangerous. It’s easy to get caught out – by the weather, altitude or simply the vastness of the area. Always take local advice, stick to trails you know you can handle and fully prepare for your hike.
If you’re up for an adventure, Canada is the perfect choice for your next hiking trip. Its landscape is as varied as it is enormous, so you’ll have your choice of scenic trails, challenging hikes and hard-earned mountaintop views. Be prepared, and you’ll have the trek of a lifetime.
- CAD Travel Card
- Canada Info
- Banff National Park
- Conversion Rate
- Guided Hikes
- More Guided Hikes
- When to Hike in Canada
- Hikes in Canada
- Best of BC
- Trekking in Canada
All sources accurate as of 08-March 2020.
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