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9 Scenic Canadian Hiking Trails to Add to Your Bucket List

From glaciers in B.C. to Ontario’s beach trails, discover our favourite hikes in the country whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro.

Difficulty level: Easy

Middlebrun Bay, Ontario

Photo: Ontario Parks

Middlebrun Bay, Ontario

For the beach bum

Itching to get outside but short on time? This flat four-kilometre trail can be completed in under an hour, including some time for wildlife tracking. (Try spotting bear claw marks on the surround spruce trees.) Turn your excursion into a day trip, and soak up the sun on the secluded sandy beach nestled at the end of the trail on the banks of Lake Superior. The glacial shallow waters of Middlebrun Bay warm up on hot summer days, perfect for a refreshing dip.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, 807-977-2526, ontariotrails.on.ca/trails/view/middlebrun-bay-trail

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatchewan

Photo: Tourism Saskatchewan - Hans-Gerhard Pfaff

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatchewan

For the First Nations history buff

This easy-access trail network is part nature walk, part cultural education. Follow the informative Trail of the People – a four-kilometre path filled with interpretative signs that give visitors insight into the lives of the area’s Cree and Dene people. For a shorter stroll, try the Trail of the Buffalo for views of the South Saskatchewan River or the Trail of Discovery for an archeology fix, where you might run into an archeologist from the University of Saskatchewan working on-site.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, 306-931-6767, tourismsaskatchewan.com/listings/1683/wanuskewin-heritage-park-trails

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Photo: Kevin Snair - Creative Imagery

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

For the wildlife aficionado

Skip the crowds at the 14-metre-high rock formations, and head for the walking trails instead. Connecting several lookout points, they offer scenic views and ample opportunities to spot wildlife. Step onto the ocean floor; at low tide, it’s a 15-minute walk from the visitor centre to the beach. Then trek to Demoiselle Beach, a sandy cove that borders extensive salt marshes, where you are likely to spot waterfowl, deer, moose, red foxes, coyotes and even black bears.

131 Discovery Rd., Hopewell Cape, 877-734-3429, thehopewellrocks.ca

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Berg Lake, B.C.

Photo: Stephanie Mercier Voyer

Berg Lake, B.C.

For the Instagram obsessed

Passing through the Valley of a Thousand Falls, the challenging 42-kilometre round trip to Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park is awash with photo opportunities. Fed by three glaciers, Berg Lake itself is worth a thousand pictures, but put down your camera and play spot the iceberg; the lake gets its name from the small icebergs that dot its bright turquoise water. Pro tip: Book your campground well in advance. This backcountry escape is one of the most popular trails in the Canadian Rockies.

Mount Robson Provincial Park, 800-689-9025, env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/berg.html

Mantario, Manitoba

For the aspiring pro

Hard-core marathon runners might complete this trail over the course of 18 hours in October, but for most hikers, Mantario in Whiteshell Provincial Park is a three- to four-day, 60-kilometre adventure. The route is surrounded by boreal forest, where steep ascents up granite ridges meet descents into gullies and ravines, streams and peat bogs. This scenic route is a good primer for longer and more challenging hikes.

Whiteshell Provincial Park, naturemanitoba.ca/mantario-hiking-trail

Stawamus Chief, B.C.

Photo: courtesy of BC Parks

Stawamus Chief, B.C.

For the peak addict

A 45-minute drive from Vancouver, this local favourite is an arduous (though not technical) hike that heads straight up a huge stone monolith. The Chief has three peaks that can be reached following the main trail. Start by ascending the second and largest peak for views of Howe Sound and the neighbouring Garibaldi Provincial Park. From this point, pass over the North Gully, a 60-metre gap between the second and third summit, before continuing to Third Peak. Expect chains and ladders on some of the more challenging parts of the hike.

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Squamish, env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/stawamus

Difficulty level: Advanced

Gros Morne Mountain, Newfoundland

Photo: Parks Canada

Gros Morne Mountain, Newfoundland

For the height seeker

Stretching 16 kilometres to the second-highest peak in Newfoundland, this eight-hour trek offers a rare chance to explore the Arctic tundra without venturing further north. Keep your eyes peeled for caribou, Arctic hares and rock ptarmigans amid the stunted flora characteristic of this zone, like lichen and alpine bearberry. If you aren’t an experienced hiker, simply enjoy the first four kilometres of the trail, which gradually ascend toward a viewing platform at the base of the mountain. Past this point, experienced hikers should prepare for rapid temperature changes, gusting wind and harsh sunlight as the trail rapidly gains 500 metres of elevation and follows a steep boulder gully.

Gros Morne National Park, 709-458-2417, pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/activ/experiences/randonnee-hiking/mgm-gmm

Itijjagiaq, Nunavut

For the explorer

The fastest way to travel over land between Iqaluit and Kimmirut, Itijjagiaq Trail is a historic Inuit route that spans the south of Baffin Island. Added to the Trans Canada Trail in 2016, this 120-kilometre trail has a few warming huts and almost no markers. Visitors are required to carry a GPS and need to register at the Katannilik Territorial Park visitor centre. Bonus: This multiday journey will give you the right to brag about having set foot on million-year-old boulders.

Katannilik Territorial Park, Baffin Island, nunavuttourism.com/things-to-see-do/parks-special-places/katannilik-territorial-park

Vimy Peak, Alberta

Photo: Parks Canada

Vimy Peak, Alberta

For the history enthusiast

The first challenge in hiking Vimy Peak is just getting there. It’s a six-kilometre walk, bike or horseback ride just to access the trailhead of this 22-kilometre round-trip journey. But the scramble to the peak, named after the Canadian World War I victory at Vimy Ridge in France, is the most challenging part of the hike. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with views of Crypt Falls, Waterton Lake and the terrain’s transition from prairie to mountains. Pro tip: Pack bear spray and make noise while hiking; grizzlies are common in this area of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Waterton Lakes National Park, 403-859-5133, pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/activ/experiences/randonee-hiking

Tags

ALBERTA     BRITISH COLUMBIA     CANADA     MANITOBA     NORTHWEST TERRITORIES     NOVA SCOTIA     ONTARIO     PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND     QUEBEC