5 Stunning Long-Distance Trails in Canada You Must Do

Canada is home to some of the most incredible hiking and backpacking trails in the world. If you love heading out into the wilderness for days on end, these trails might just be perfect for you. Here’s a look at five of the most popular long-distance trails in Canada to get you excited for your next adventure.

  1. West Coast Trail (British Columbia)

This 75-kilometer trail attracts more than 8,000 visitors each year, so you’ll be in good company if you decide to make the trek. The trail runs from Port Renfrew in the south to Bamfield in the north. It is best for experienced hikers as the terrain can often be rough. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with spectacular views of Canada’s West Coast, and you may even be able to spot whales frolicking out at sea. Expect to spend about a week to travel the entire trail.

Sunshine to Mount Assiniboine (Alberta)

If you love the mountains this trail is for you. It will take you through the Rocky Mountains to Canada’s most beautiful peak: the Matterhorn. You’ll reach an elevation of more than 3.5 kilometers if you make it to the top. Though, even if you don’t ascend the peak you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to see the region’s indigenous wildlife – including elk, deer, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The area is only accessible on foot or by helicopter, so you’ll enjoy plenty of peace and quiet away from the cars and crowds of the city.

Canol Heritage Trail (Northwest Territory)

For those seeking a trail less-traveled, the Canol Heritage Trail provides the remote experience you’re after. This is one of the most isolated trails in the country and also one of the most challenging, so it is only recommended for experienced hikers. You’ll need about 20 days to cover the entire trail, so be sure to start planning well in advance. Charter companies in the area can arrange food drops along the way to help you out. Bears are common sightings, so pack plenty of bear spray and be prepared to defend yourself if necessary.

Bruce Trail (Ontario)

Bruce Trail is one of the most well-known treks in Canada, and it is maintained throughout the year. This 900-kilometer trail crosses Southern Ontario from the Niagara Escarpment to Georgian Bay. You’ll find plenty of established campsites along the way, and there are frequent access points, making it easy to jump on and off the trail as you please. This also makes this trail the most suitable for amateur hikers, as you don’t need to complete the entire journey all at once. The route is clearly marked and you’ll need about a month to complete the full length.

East Coast Trail (Newfoundland)

As its name suggests, the East Coast Trail runs along Newfoundland’s East Coast from Cape St. Francis to Cappahayden. At the northern end of the trail, you may even get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the southernmost caribou herd in the world! You might also see puffins and whales, as well as sky-high cliffs, natural geysers and more. The 265-kilometer trail is marked and maintained, making it suitable for most hikers. Like the Bruce Trail, there are multiple access points, so you can choose specific sections of trail to complete if you aren’t yet ready for the full journey.

These are just a few highlights, as Canada has countless more hiking trails to offer. With any long-distance hike don’t forget to alert your friends and family as to your destination and expected completion time. Take your time in packing your backpack to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything, as you may not have access to aid on the trail. With the proper preparation a long-distance hike can give you a whole new perspective on the world, so get out there and start exploring!

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