Hiking through Canada’s rugged terrain is one of the best ways to appreciate nature while getting a good workout at the same time. With so many impressive mountain ranges, forests and freshwater lakes, you’ll be treated to scenic views throughout your journey. Summer is the best time to tackle backcountry hikes, but you can also challenge yourself by braving snow-filled trails.

    Your hiking excursion can be as short as an hour's wander through light woodland or as long as over a month of traversing through alpine fields, deep valleys and mountain peaks. Many of these trails have cabins and inexpensive lodgings along the way for you to rest your feet. Check out our guide to Canada’s best hiking trails for some inspiration and ideas.


    East Coast Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador

    Explore the scenic shores of the Avalon Peninsula

    The East Coast Trail is a 265-km-long coastal route in Newfoundland, running south from Cape St. Francis to Cappahayden. You'll travel past the rugged Atlantic coastline, where leviathan whales, caribou and seabird colonies are within sight.

    The trail also takes you past lighthouses, waterfalls, fjords, icebergs, and historic landmarks. A must-see is the abandoned town of La Manche, which has a 50-metre suspension bridge. You can also spot hundreds of wild animals at the Witless Bay Seabird Sanctuary, Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove Nature Conservancy Reserve, and Avalon Wilderness Area.


    Bruce Trail, Ontario

    Canada's oldest and longest footpath

    Bruce Trail’s main route covers nearly 900 km, along with over 440 km of side trails through southern Ontario. Known as the longest footpath in Canada, it starts from the Niagara Escarpment and ends at the tip of Georgian Bay. Hiking can take anything from 1 hour to over 1 week, depending on your chosen route.

    Along the way, you’ll pass by mixed-wood forests, waterfalls, lakeside cliffs and vineyards. It’s best to come prepared, especially if you’re planning to take on the trail’s entire length. The Bruce Trail Conservancy website provides detailed descriptions and maps for free.

    Location: Milton, ON L9T 7L6, Canada


    Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

    25 hiking trails overlooking the Bay of Fundy

    Fundy National Park’s most iconic landmark is the Bay of Fundy, which you can visit by taking on one of its many trails. The Fundy Footpath is a challenging 42-km-long trail that starts at the suspension bridge at Big Salmon River. You get to enjoy impressive vistas from atop 100-metre-tall sea cliffs, as well as great views of forests and remote beaches.

    An alternative trail is the Fundy Circuit, which spans 48 km of several different linked hiking routes. It takes between 3 to 5 days, passing through river valleys, past lakes, Acadian forests, and the scenic shoreline of Fundy National Park.

    Location: Alma, NB, Canada

    Phone: +1 506-887-6000


    photo by Dlanglois (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island

    Challenge yourself to a multi-day hike in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

    The West Coast Trail traverses through 75 km of coastal and forest paths, making it one of the more challenging trails on Vancouver Island. You need to have good stamina and experience in backcountry hiking, as it takes around 3 to 7 days to complete the journey.

    The West Coast Trail includes muddy pools, wooden surfaces, boulders, and rocky shorelines. While a large section of the route is on sandy beaches, you’ll also need to use cable cars and climb over 100 ladders. The best time to visit is from May to September, when you might be able to spot killer whales and sea lions out in the ocean, along with starfish, barnacles, and blue mussels in tide pools.

    Location: West Coast Trail, Port Renfrew, BC V0S, Canada


    Parc National de Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

    Over 11 trails of varying lengths to choose from

    Parc National de Mont-Tremblant is a provincial park around 19 km northeast of the expansive Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort in Quebec. Covering over 1,510 sq km, it has hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams, along with over 80 km of scenic trails. Many routes lead you to the highest summit of the Laurentian Mountains. Along the way, you might be able to spot wildlife like moose, white-tailed deer, and woodpeckers.

    The network also has 10 group huts that accommodate between 2 and 18 people. If you want to try winter hiking, there’s a trail that starts from the Discovery Centre and goes to Lac Lauzon. This 6-km roundtrip route passes the camping areas on the east shore of Lac Monroe.

    Location: Chemin du Lac Supérieur, Lac-Supérieur, QC J0T 1P0, Canada

    Phone: +1 819-688-2281


    photo by Samx Neuftrois (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Skyline Trail, Alberta

    Take on a multi-day trip in Jasper National Park

    Skyline Trail attracts experienced hikers looking for a challenging yet scenic journey in Alberta. Located in Jasper National Park, the trailhead is at Maligne Lake with over half of this 44-km-long route meandering above the treeline.

    While it’s one of the most popular trails in the Canadian Rockies, it’s a good idea to come prepared. There’s a chance of snowfall throughout the year, so consider the weather conditions and high altitudes when planning your trip. You can only hike the Skyline Trail in summer, usually from July to early October.


    Whistler Mountain Trails, Whistler

    Explore over 15 trails with excellent mountain views

    There are more than 15 Whistler Mountain Trails, all of which offer rewarding views of alpine meadows, glacial lakes, and mountain ranges. Whistler is within a 2-hour drive north of Vancouver, with most of its trails located near Garibaldi Lake.

    One of the area’s most popular routes is the High Note Trail, a 9.5-km route that starts at the top of Whistler Mountain and passes through Garibaldi Provincial Park’s wildflower meadows. A short hike from Whistler Mountain’s parking lot takes you to a platform overlooking Brandywine Falls, which drops around 70 metres into a cavern.

    Location: Whistler, BC V0N 1B2, Canada


    Grizzly Lake Trail, Yukon

    Enjoy a backpacking trip with views of Grizzly Lake and Mount Monolith

    Grizzly Lake Trail offers a moderate 11.4-km-long journey through Tombstone Territorial Park. The trailhead is just after the Grizzly Creek Reservoir, crossing talus slopes and beautiful alpine meadows along the way. After a rather short but steep hike, you’ll be rewarded with views of Mount Monolith and Grizzly Lake. Descend to the large meadow and you’ll reach a campground close to the lake.

    The best time to explore the trail is between June and September – you can stay the night by applying for a backpacking permit. You can register online or at the Tombstone Park Interpretive Center, located beside the campground.


    Sunshine Coast Trail, British Columbia

    Enjoy a backcountry hike near Powell River

    Sunshine Coast Trail is one of Canada’s longest backcountry hiking routes. The 180-km trail connects Sarah Point with Saltery Bay, offering amazing views of mountains, shorelines, creeks and lakes.

    Along the way, there are over a dozen huts and 20-odd campsites for you to stay the night and rest your feet. It’s a good idea to get an SCT Passport at Tourism Powell River to collect stamps for each hut – you'll receive a certificate of completion and enter a lucky draw to win prizes from local supporting businesses.

    Location: Powell River, BC V8A 4M4, Canada


    Akshayuk Pass, Nunavut

    A 97-km-long trek through Auyuittuq National Park

    Akshayuk Pass is one of the most popular hiking routes in Auyuittuq National Park. Located on Canada’s Baffin Island, the trail spans 97 km in length, which takes around 10 days to complete. You’ll pass through a glacial valley in the Baffin Mountains, as well as icebergs, marshlands and icefields.

    Auyuittuq National Park is also home to various Arctic wildlife – you might spot snow geese and Arctic foxes during your journey through Akshayuk Pass. When passing through the park’s fjords, narwhal and ringed seals can be seen from the water's surface.

    Location: Pangnirtung, NU X0A 0R0, Canada

    Phone: +1 867-473-2500

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top