10 of the Best Hiking Trails in Canada
Canada’s got a lot to be proud of, and as the summer months roll in, nowhere is our Northern pride more on display than in the great outdoors, where our parks and lakes reign supreme for both locals and the touring adventurists. We’ve narrowed the field to bring you 10 of the best parks and trails to hike in Canada. From the best hikes in Banff to the West Coast Trail, stock up on the bug spray, slip into some comfortable shoes and get outdoors!
Banff National Park, ABIn Banff, you'll find some of the most amazing Canadian camping spots. But, if you’re not looking to stay overnight in Canada’s oldest national park, why not try a day hike? The trail most popular with tourists is the Cory Pass Loop, which runs between Mount Edith and Mount Cory, opening up to Gargoyle Valley.
Best season to hike: June to early October to avoid snow on the paths.
Pro tip: The elevation gain here is 3,000 feet and runs for a total distance of 13km.
West Coast Trail, Vancouver IslandFor the more seasoned hikers, nothing says multi-day adventure like the West Coast Trail. Stretching out over 75km, this rough terrain will have you making your way across rivers, steadying your footing on slippery hills and testing your endurance on that uneven path.
Best season to hike: experienced hikers will tackle this 5-7 day trail from May to September.
Pro tip: This trail is ideal for seasoned hikers with lots of endurance, experienced in multi-day treks and comfortable with rough terrain.
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Prince Edward Island National Park, PEIExtreme winter storms and coastal erosion are contributors to Prince Edwards Island’s National Park being tagged in recent years as one of the most endangered of the national park circuit, but it’s not all bad news. Government-enforced protective measures have worked to keep the area’s many wetlands and sandy beaches safe from impact, which has in turn provided a haven for many of the animals who call this hiking region home.
Best season to hike: Summer, but for taking advantage of the spectacular trails and bike paths, opt for a spring visit.
Pro tip: This park is home to Green Gables – the very same one that inspired the internationally loved series of “Anne of Green Gables” books!
Killarney Provincial Park, ONWith 10 trails, awe-inspiring mountain views, 100km of dazzlingly white quartzite hills and crystal shorelines, it’s no wonder Kilarney National Park is loved worldwide for its unforgettable hiking.
Best season to hike: Generally summer months to early fall; so July to early October, but the end of April to late June is known as the least busy point of season for those hikers looking to avoid overcrowding on the trails.
Pro tip: Come prepared with a camera to take in the sights that famously inspired the Group of Seven.
Bruce Peninsula Park, ONOne of the largest protected regions in Southern Ontario, this park forms part of the Niagara Escarpment and offers outdoor enthusiasts at every level a chance to enjoy its grounds.
Best season to hike: The Bruce offers spectacular sights in every season, but to make the most of those water views and really see the grotto in all of its glory, plan this trip during the warmer months.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a rugged trek, the Bruce Trail is a good place to start, but if you’ve got little ones in tow, your best bet would be the smooth 5km walk around Cyprus Lake.
Whistler Mountain, BCFor an unforgettable experience, why not try alpine hiking in Whistler Mountain? By way of chairlifts and gondolas, you’ll be inspired by the stunning views of the glaciers and lakes that surround this volcanic setting.
Best season to hike: Peak-summer, where you’ll have access to over 50km of trails.
Pro tip: For the true experience, check out the High Note Trail; a 3-4 hour loop that runs 9.4km and will clock you in at elevations of 846ft.
Algonquin Park, ONThe oldest provincial park in Canada, Algonquin Park spans over 7600 square kilometres, with 19 trails for hikers that range from 1 to 11.7km. With its variety of options for hikers at all levels of experience and countless other outdoor activities to keep even the most discerning outdoor enthusiast happy year-round, it’s no wonder it takes the title of one of North America’s most popular park destinations.
Best season to hike: Late spring to early fall.
Pro tip: A park permit is required for all trail use and trail guide booklets are available from late spring to early fall at all trail heads.
Whiteshell Provincial Park, MBFlat ridges and plains of granite are one of the most distinct and unique features of Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park. Trails are offered in a wide range of distance and levels of difficulty; expect to find hiking opportunities from distances of 1.5km all the way up to 60km.
Best season to hike: Depending on your trail of preference, there are hiking options for every season.
Pro tip: If it’s a challenge you’re after, than you’ll want to check out the Mantario trail; a 3-6 day hike that takes you over 60km of rugged Shield country terrain.
La Mauricie National Park, QCWith countless ponds and 150 lakes to enjoy, this scenic park is also home to black bears, moose, beavers and other creatures who thrive in this lush environment. Camping and canoeing are popular here, but hikers haven’t been forgotten, with a variety of trails to satisfy those at any level of expertise.
Best season to hike: You’ll want to skip the snow if you’re after those picturesque lake views, so opt for the warmer months.
Pro tip: We recommend the Les Cascades Trail; an easy 2.1km loop that you can complete in under an hour and gives you a crash course in the many scenic landscapes of the area.
Kootenay National Park, BCThis park has plenty to offer, with some of its most popular tourist lures being Radium Hot Springs and Marble Canyon. Another draw to this park would be its easy accessibility for all. Being so small in width, many of the popular sights and activities are located near roadways, which allow for those in wheelchairs or with limitations in mobility the chance to enjoy the park as well.
Best season to hike: The park is open all year, but you’ll find most tourists come out to enjoy the area between June and September.
Pro tip: The park is named after the Kootenay River, which is one of two major rivers that run through the region (the other is the Vermillion River).