5 National Parks to Explore Across Canada

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This story was originally published in May 2019 and was updated in July 2021.

Explore Canada’s wildlife and natural beauty with a trip to one of the country’s national parks. Hop on a tundra buggy and spot polar bears in Manitoba. Go snorkeling and hike the Appalachian Mountains in Quebec. And take in views of ancient fjords and cliffs in Newfoundland and Labrador. Here a few things you may discover at five of our favourite Canadian national parks.

July 22, 2021
Iceberg on Navy Board Inlet off Borden Peninsula, Sirmilik National Park
Sirmilik National Park, Nunavut.   Photo: Parks Canada/L. Narraway
  1. Sirmilik National Park, Nunavut —

    Featuring one of the most isolated and distinctive landscapes in the country, Sirmilik National Park is located within the Arctic Cordillera. The area is known for its biodiversity, made possible by the glaciers that flow into nearby Eclipse Sound waterway. (Sirmilik means “place of glaciers” in Inuktitut.) Keep your eyes peeled for walrus, whales, snow geese and seabirds.

A person looks out over the railing of a bridge at Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park, British Columbia.   Photo: Parks Canada/Zoya Lynch
  1. Yoho National Park, British Columbia —

    Skip Banff and head to Yoho National Park for an equally impressive (and much less crowded) getaway in the Canadian Rockies. This UNESCO World Heritage Site might be the smallest of the Rocky Mountain national parks, but it is home to a wide variety of fauna, ranging from moose and lynx to hummingbirds and mountain goats. Get a peek at some of the oldest known fossils in the world by hiking alongside vertical rock walls and waterfalls to the Burgess Shale. Know before you go: as of July 2021, there is a fire ban in effect until further notice.

Aerial view of the pockets of water between the tundra terrain of Wapusk National Park
Wapusk National Park, Manitoba.   Photo: Parks Canada
  1. Wapusk National Park, Manitoba —

    Home to polar bears, caribou, Arctic foxes and wolves, this expansive national park is nestled at the intersection of the boreal forest and the Arctic tundra. With over 1,000 polar bears on‑site, Wapusk National Park comprises one of the largest maternity denning areas in the world. In order to better protect its wildlife, the park requires visitors to book guided tours. Reserve a tour with Frontiers North Adventures and hop aboard a tundra buggy (an all‑terrain vehicle specially designed for the northern landscape) for a chance to catch a glimpse of polar bears in the wild. 

Related: 7 of Canada’s Lesser Known National Parks Worth Visiting

Aerial view of L'Anse-Blanchette heritage site in Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park, Quebec.   Photo: Parks Canada/Louis Barnes
  1. Forillon National Park, Quebec —

    Established in 1970, this Gaspé gem was Quebec’s very first national park. Located at the eastern tip of the province, the area was once a traditional fishing ground for the Mi’kmaq and Haudenosaunee First Nations people, and interpretation sites help connect the dots between the past and the present of this fishing community. Whale‑watching expeditions, snorkelling and hiking the Appalachian Mountains are also popular in the summertime. 

Winterhouse Brook and Tablelands Mountains in Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador.   Photo: Parks Canada/Dale Wilson
  1. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador —

    A dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne National Park boasts ancient fjords and cliffs draped across Trout River Pond that create an impressive seaside hill range. Head to Western Brook Pond to spot caribou and moose, or hike to the Gros Morne Mountain summit for dizzying views of the eastern coastline.