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.
5 National Parks to Explore Across Canada
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article was originally published on May 3, 2019 and was updated on June 4, 2020.