Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Ontario’s oldest and best known Provincial Park, Algonquin in heavily forested, dotted with 2,456 lakes, and home to abundant wildlife including moose, back bear and wolves. It’s known for several accessible day hikes just off Highway 60 which runs through the park, but there are actually 7,725 square kilometers of back country wilderness mostly accessible only by foot (or canoe). Great for multi-day hikes.
Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Some of the best scenic hiking in the Maritime provinces. Nineteen trails are maintained during the summer months but the best (and most challenging) has to be the James Callahan Gros Morne Trail which follows a 16 Kilometer trail to the summit of Gros Morne, the highest point in the park at 806 meters.
The Fundy Trail Parkway, New Brunswick. Great hiking opportunities, from short half-day hikes to the 48 kilometer Fundy Circuit, popular with backpackers, campers and wilderness enthusiasts, (It takes about three days). The trail follows stunning coastal scenery, with unrivaled views over rocky shorelines, plunging cliffs and pristine beaches.
West Coast Trail. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia. If you’re a hard core hiking enthusiast heading to the west of Canada, don’t miss trying out one of North America’s best-known and toughest hiking trails. Taking in some truly spectacular coastal scenery, the trail was originally an escape route for shipwreck survivors along the Pacific Coast. It passes through virgin forest, across cliff tops and along deserted beaches. One for experienced hikers only.
Chilkoot Trail, Yukon. For a hike with an historic twist, you can follow in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush pioneers. Along the 53 kilometer trail you can spot tools and supplies abandoned by the early gold diggers when it became too difficult to carry them any further. The most strenuous part of the trail is getting over the Chilkoot pass, but if you struggle, with your backpack full of supplies, think of those early gold seekers. The Mounties wouldn’t let anyone attempt the journey unless they had a year’s supplies with them. Needless to say they had to ascend the pass several times, with no guarantee that their supplies wouldn’t be stolen or covered with snow when they reached the top next time!
Banff National Park, Alberta. Best known as a winter sports destination, this area is transformed into an amazing scenic hiking area when the snow melts. Hiking against the backdrop of the spectacular Canadian Rockies is hard to beat and the scale of the park means you couldn’t hike all the trails even if you stayed in there all summer (and who could blame you?).
For more information on hiking opportunities all over the country visit www.canadatrails.ca/hiking.
Always check locally for information regarding permits, camping, and possible dangers involved in hiking the more challenging trails.