longest hiking trail in canada

Hikers can explore routes from a few hours, to a full day, to a week or more—overnighting at the 12 huts and 20-odd campsites along the way. 25 trails that offer sublime views, wind through old growth forests & along wild shores. Read on to discover why Canada is the best country in the world for hiking—with 35 of Canada’s longest hiking trails! A 20-km loop at Grand Campement Bay and a 22-km loop on Rib Mountain near Friday Lake are two popular paths. Home / Topics / hiking, climbing / Canada Opens World’s Longest Hiking Trail From Coast to Coast. Step one: buy good boots. Elevation change: 1,800 metres. North Country Trail. It’s Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail, and the only free one—forged and maintained by the Powell River Parks & Wilderness Society. Though Auyuittuq is Inuktitut for “the land that never melts,” during the short summer season there is plenty of snow-free hiking to be found within Auyuittuq National Park’s 19,000-sq-km of Arctic terrain. Like I mentioned above, these are the longest trails in the world outside of the US. The longest recreational trail on the planet runs across one of the largest countries in size: Canada. Keep an eye out for offshore whales, and don’t forget some cash to buy a hamburger at Chez Monique, the beloved halfway respite. Start your hike near the Upper Salmon River, for easy vehicle access when you’re done. The Great Trail in Canada is aptly named – it’s now the longest hiking trail in the world at 14,864 miles. The route follows an old industry road, unmaintained since 1945, so expect the occasional rusting hulk and oil barrel along the way. The Mantario Trail is best in fall, as spring’s floods can be troublesome and summer’s bugs are brutal. We focused on individual routes and/or localized networks.). World’s Longest Hiking Trail The Great Trail – 24,000kms Canada The blade cut into the glass of the lake, creating only wake behind us. The Great Trail — previously known as the Trans Canada Trail — is a bit of a misnomer. The trail does go up and down and will be strenuous at some points. (Note: two explore contributors rode this route on mountain bikes in a record-setting eight days, sans food drops; an award-nominated story we covered in our Fall 2013 issue.). Trans Canada Trail (Canada) – 14,912 miles when completed (24,000 km) – The Trans Canada is a network of recreational trails that stretches from coast to coast. Comprised of scenic farmland, river valleys, wooded areas and occasional towns, this well-marked trail can be broken up into sections as little as a couple of kilometres—or much, much longer. The Chilkoot Trail, a 53 kilometre former gold rush trail, is the most famous one in Canada’s north. And the best way to fully experience this scenic Atlantic preserve is via the Coastal Loop. Cute lighthouses, fluttering puffins and, offshore, leviathan whales and maybe even icebergs are just a few highlights. Wildlife includes wolves, foxes, caribou and perhaps even polar bears. After twenty-five years, a few missteps and a lot of planning, Canada has officially opened the world's longest recreational trail. Expect creek crossings, especially during spring and early summer. Pyzote/Wikimedia Expect a workout: there is more than 1,500 metres of elevation difference between the highest and lowest points on the trail. This park has a similar terrain to Banff's but with one waterfront town instead of several large villages. (Watch for fallen trees and rockslides in some remote sections.) Running through 13 Canadian provinces and territories, the Great Trail of Canada — formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail — is more than 15,000 miles long. The United States is one country where hiking has been a popular recreational activity that is associated with camping, day hiking, and cross-country hikes. Suggested hiking time: 25 to 30 days. Flora includes dwarf birch, willow, Labrador tea, Arctic heather and grassland tundra. If you ever found the time to make it across the whole trail, you’d cover just about every type of terrain imaginable, from mountains, lakes and plains, to coastal islands, and even the dreaded frozen tundra. The trail extends over 24,000 kilometres; it is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world. Tucked away in Temagami, this backpacking network extends for days into rolling rocks, past sandy beaches, under old-growth pine and through peaceful northern serenity. This seven-day route from Buckley Lake to Mowdade Lake—the only marked trek in the park—requires total self-sufficiency; at times, even water is scarce. Running along the west coast in Naikoon Provincial Park, hikers will wander through evergreens, over gold-sand beaches and even past a haunting shipwreck. Since then … The trail incorporates new and already existing trails into one unified and inter-connected network. Side trips extend the network to more than 200 km. Also, unofficial side-trails extend the possible length to more than 900 km. Gentle, geometric ripples ran out, uninterrupted to the shore, whilst our eager faces acted as figureheads, pushing into a breeze that only we created. You may have to cross a few streams; excellent wildlife-watching abounds. amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; It is a huge feat. For the quintessential Keji experience, tackle the 64-km Liberty Lake Trail. Watch for wildlife—both au natural and domestic livestock—and revel in the rolling Alberta parkland. The trail will reward you with views of the coast, mountains, and old-growth forest and lakes. Join over 3,000 subscribers across North America when you sign up for explore magazine’s “Live the Adventure” Club. Canada is Home to World’s Longest Hiking Trail Stretching From Coast to Coast The World’s Longest Hiking Trail. This route through 270,000-hectare Mount Edziza Provincial Park, in BC’s northwest, is best done in mid-summer—local weather starts to get very dodgy by September. Soon, you’ll be enjoying views of Georgian Bay as you hike over billion-year-old pink granite. It stretches coast-to-coast, as Kenny Sharpe reports for The Globe and Mail. The World’s Longest Hiking Trail. https://www.flickr.com/photos/hubbleflow/. The Chilkoot Trail has a unique history of being the ‘gold rush trail’ back during the … Strap on your hiking boots and pack your backpack: The worl d’s longest hiking trail just opened in Canada, and it’s begging for a major trip.. Named the Great Trail and clocking in at 14,864 miles long, the pathway stretches from St. John’s on Canada’s east coast all … A lovely end (or intro) to a challenging endevour. Yes—it’s a renowned bicycle route. Find a wide… It was built over the last 25 years, snaking through 13 provinces and territories. The longest part of the trail wraps around the Great Lakes in Ontario, where there’s the most fresh water in the world. (It should be noted that much of the GDT is rugged and unmarked other than by GPS coordinates—at times, more of a “route” than an actual “trail.”). But mostly, it’s all taiga, tundra, mountains and moose. Most legs of this trail require total self-sufficiency and are suited only for experienced trekkers, but rewards come in the form of amazing vistas and high-altitude serenity. Make reservations at the backcountry campsites and set out on this three- to five-day hike that loops through the Acadian forests and scenic shoreline of Fundy National Park. Running from St. Marys to Conestgo, Ontario, the Avon Trail represents a cooperative effort between volunteers and landowners to create a network meant to inspire interest in hiking and conservation. Starting in the west, the linear route rambles through forested hills toward scenic lakes. Seven (or more) backcountry campsites dot the route—pack in, pack out, of course. (Editor’s note: ultimately, the Trans Canada Trail is our country’s longest trail at more than 18,000 km—but it comprises hundreds of trails and even includes sections of water travel. Final steps: prepare yourself physically and mentally to tackle Canada’s longest hikes. All Rights Reserved. The Great Divide Trail Association is always hard at work maintaining sections—their website is an excellent source of info for trekkers. The Rossburn Subdivision Trail may win the prize for least-inspiring name, but this easy-walking path that stretches from the town of Russell to Neepawa is worth checking out. Spanning the length of the country (and then some), The Great Trail is a staggering 14,864 miles composed of more than 400 individual trails snaking across all 10 provinces and three territories, with a few looping detours added in for good measure. It will give Canadians easy access to some of the country’s most breathtaking natural wonders. amzn_assoc_linkid = "b142e95a8d2d5b6a6c7733fe09ac76ac"; Highlights of this remote and challenging trek include the ecosystem fed by the Soper Heritage River, ancient geology, the high plateau of Meta Icongnita Peninsula and the glacier-scarred valleys beyond. Aside from wildlife and achingly beautiful vistas, occasional horse traffic will likely be your only companions on this linear trail. Expect Precambrian Shield terrain, granite cliffs, beaver dams, peat bogs, steep gullies and jack pines. The Sunshine Coast Trail showcases 180 scenic kilometres through the mountains, along the coastline and past the lakes of BC’s northern Sunshine Coast. Or for some great local park options, check out Grouse Mountain Park near British Columbia or Parc de la Gatineau near Quebec. If you have 10 to 12 days, try the whole route in one push! End point: Bella Coola, BC. Bonus: Keji is a Dark Sky Preserve, so the nighttime scenery rivals the daytime. Share Pin The rugged backcountry of  Oh Canada awaits! This trail begins in … Or do the whole thing, if you have a month to spare—the routes are well-marked throughout. Winding through rainforests, along beaches, through rivers, and up ladders, this infamous trail can take anywhere from five to seven days to successfully complete. https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelmattiphotography/. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; Fall is the best time to tackle La Cloche, for the vivid foliage and nightly wolf-howls. And it’s for experienced backpackers only. It’s said that this multi-day hike within Kootenay National Park is the pinnacle … The Trans Canada Trail, the longest hiking trail in the world. Chilkoot Trail. (Watch for great horned owls!) ), Northwest Territories/YukonLength: 350 km, While it isn’t the longest on our list, the Canol Heritage Trail may well be the most challenging. Lakeside views—particularly between Kelowna and Penticton—are stunning. So, if you’re looking for the adventure of a lifetime, look no further. The Great Divide Trail Garibaldi National Park gets its name from the glacier-ringed … Forged by First Nations, used extensively by fortune seekers during the Gold Rush and operated today as a reservation-managed multi-day hike, the Chilkoot Trail is a challenging slog that pays dividends in scenery, solitude and historical wonders. Over 25 percent of the trails are water “trails,” which require a kayak or canoe. Resupplying is possibly every four to nine days; the towns of Waterton, Blairmore and Jasper are popular jumping-off points. Rich with mixed-woods forests, Canadian shield lakes, historic sites, charming towns, vibrant birdlife and more, hikers can enjoy walks that range from an hour or two right up to an End-to-End epic, which takes about two weeks. Hike in July and August to see the vibrant Arctic blooms; truly an unforgettable experience in Canada’s far north. The path never exceeds a 2.2 per cent grade, which is why it’s popular with cyclists. And make sure to buy an SCT Passport to document your achievement—and to receive congratulatory goodies from local supporting businesses. Scenic Beginner Hiking Trails in America’s National Parks. There are 10 primitive campsites along the route, with fire pits and food storage boxes and, maybe, a picnic table or two. Set in Katannilik Territorial Park, the Itijjagiaq Trail follows a traditional pathway from Iqaluit to Kimmirut. There are no services along the route, so come prepared and with the requisite experience—and enjoy a hike through history on a former stagecoach road. This 75 kilometre (47 miles) trail, originally called the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, is an epic backpacking route that follows along the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island. While most the trail is found in the back-country, a good chuck still runs through urban areas in major cities such as: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton. From the editors of Explore Magazine, a subscription box filled with outdoor gear, adventure challenges and an amazing community. Camping near Tsusiat Falls and the vertigo-inducing ladders of the southern half are two notable aspects of this trail—but every day is memorable on the WCT. The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. Few (if any) hikers have traversed the entire length and, as a multi-use trail, it is at-times popular with snowmobilers and ATV’ers. Running right across The Rock, from St. John’s to Port Aux Basques, this former railway line cuts through 55 towns and crosses 150 bridges—totalling 3.5 km of bridgeway. You’re forgiven if you thought the Fundy Footpath would make the cut—we did too—but the Fundy Circuit, in Fundy National Park, actually bests the Footpath by six kilometres. It’s not really a wilderness trek—more like a lovely walk that’s just about as long as you’d like to make it. Leading from the Niagara Escarpment to Georgian Bay, expect everything from mixed-woods forests, to vineyards, to quaint townships, to lakeside cliffs, to pristine waterfalls and more. Canada Opens World's Longest Hiking Trail From Coast to Coast Another massive hiking route in Newfoundland, the East Coast trail runs south from Cape St. Francis, on the tip of the Avalon Peninsula, tracing the rugged Atlantic coastline for 265 well-marked and maintained kilometres to Cappahayden. Used for millennia by First Nations, and famously by Alexander Mackenzie, this epic trail is surely one of the country’s finest hikes. The full GDT runs for a staggering 1,200 km, roughly following the Continental Divide through BC and Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Beyond just the sheer length of the trail, this is no simple walk in the woods. You may even come across some tempting swimming holes. It’s a demanding four to six day hike that starts on tidewater in Alaska and ends in Bennett, BC. Typical legs range from a few kilometres to an overnight. Lengths range from five-kilometre jaunts to multi-day epics passing over several of the 18 vertigo-inducing trestles and through two historic tunnels. Bon voyage! amzn_assoc_title = "My Amazon Picks"; You’ll begin in popular Johnston Canyon, home to lovely waterfalls, but leave the crowds behind as you trek for a week into the backcountry. The path is Canada’s longest hut to hut hiking trail. So, yeah, we’ll call this one a “commitment.” Or, you could sample a highlight reel by hiking the five- to seven-day, 80-km section through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; Waskahegan Trail runs through private and public land, is maintained by volunteers and offers pleasant escapes into serene landscapes, often less than an hour from the Alberta capital. https://www.flickr.com/photos/23882980@N00/. The Great Trail was founded by Pierre Camu, Bill Pratt and Paul LaBarge. Typical for Banff National Park, this hike starts breathtakingly scenic and stays that way throughout. The views in and around these waters are absolutely stunning. And remember your passport—you cross the U.S./Canada border midway. After gaining 560 metres over 49 km of trail to Athabasca Pass, you’ll discover a National Historic Site Plaque, the provincial border marker for BC and Alberta and a view over the Continental Divide. Copyright © Explore Magazine. Expect to hit some of the nicest summits in the Appalachians along the way. Hikers can access the route from several points, and tackle a multitude of lengths rather than the whole route. Running along the west coast of Vancouver Island, in Pacific Rim National Park, the famous West Coast Trail attracts trekkers from around the globe. Alberta/BC Plans are in the works to extend the system by another 25 km or so; this is a trail you can visit year-after-year, always with something new. Meandering through Meadow Lake Provincial Park, hikers can choose to embark on a multi-day tour of this east-west route—spending days beneath poplar, jack pine and spruce trees and falling asleep to a loon’s call at one of the plentiful back- and front-country campsites—or tackle it in smaller stages for easy day-hikes. And though it’s about 15 km longer, the East Beach Trail is flatter and easier than the WCT—with more beach walks and much more solitude. For starters, it’s frankly long enough. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; With a short season—mid-June to early September—inclement weather (expect snow in July) and hardy sections like The Pass, you’ll want to be in top-shape and well-prepared. All Rights Reserved, When you purchase something via the links in our articles, we may earn a small affiliate commission. More than 1,600 geocache sites are tucked along the route, which also passes through many towns for tastes of classic Maritime hospitality. Whether you choose to tackle the three- or four-day end-to-end route of Manitoba’s classic backpacking route or knock-off a day-trip segment, the linear Mantario Trail delivers a hard-hiking challenge only two-and-a-half hours’ drive east of Winnipeg. A one-way hike, travellers boat to North Swallow and hike out for 10 days to the trailhead through the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe people. Expect a wonderful array of elevated viewpoints and idyllic picnic spots—the trail is marked and maintained. We've got 5,054 easy trails in Canada ranging from 0.6 to 194.9 miles and from -32 to 7,729 feet above sea level. The nearly 15,000-mile-long national treasure took a quarter century to build and has been called the largest volunteer effort in Canadian history. Accessed via foot, hoof or, preferably, floatplane from Telegraph Creek (Highway 37), Edziza is characterized by otherworldly, volcanic terrain—lava flows, basalt plateaus, cinder fields, pumice rock and 2,787-metre Mount Edziza, a dormant volcano surrounded by barren, 1,300-year-old cinder cones. A hike rich with natural wonders and human history, and set within Jasper National Park, Athabasca Pass is a challenging, weeklong mountain trek that follows a route once taken by explorer David Thompson. All manner of human power and some horsepower (snowmobiles) and actual horses, can literally travel from the Pacific Ocean, up to the rim of the Arctic, and down across to the Atlantic. Park. And definitely make a stop at one of the wineries along the route! Soon, the entire pathway will be marked and complete for a truly epic and truly wonderful multi-day backpacking route. Some front-country campsites feature stores and hot showers. There are 54 campsites along the route (permit required). The idea for the trail began in 1992, shortly after the Canada 125 celebrations. Garibaldi National Park, Whistler. Also, it comprises a 110-km leg of the International Appalachian Trail, so you may encounter some through-hikers en route. Motorized vehicles, for the most part, are forbidden on the trail, except for snowmobiles. Running from Squamish to D’Arcy, and punctuated by Brandywine Falls and the Calcheak Suspension Bridge, among other sites, the path follows traditional Squamish First Nations trade routes as it winds upward to Whistler and beyond. Set in Ontario’s largest national park—Pukaskwa—the Coastal Hiking Trail traces the wildest shore on all the Great Lakes for 58 memorable kilometres. The full GDT runs for a staggering 1,200 km, roughly following the... 2. But there’s no reason you can’t hoof it! Starting off as an easy front-country trek, be prepared to get serious after 12 km—watch your footing between Mill Brook and Refugee Cove, where the trail becomes a series of switchbacks, and onward to Big Bald Rock, where it runs along the steepest sea cliffs in the province. It also usually requires food drops, extreme self-sufficiency and bear spray (grizzlies and black bears). Rather than a single trail, The Great Trail is a network of hundreds of local trails and greenways that are all now connected by a single “thread.”. Also, it requires either a fly-in or fly-out, or both, if you sprain your ankle. Read more about our, 25 Incredible Hiking Trails in British Columbia. Campsites need to be booked well in advance. One reason I belive that it shouln't be near a highway is that it should be about nature and you shouldn't be able to hear cars or other vehichles. It is a National Scenic Trail.It reveals the beauty of the desert, unfolds the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada, travels deep forests, and provides commanding vistas of volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. Canada Opens World’s Longest Hiking Trail From Coast to Coast, Salmon Spawn in Upper Columbia River First Time in Over 80 Years, Court Kills Attempt to Mine Gold at Yellowstone National Park’s Entrance, Man-made Stuff Outweighs Earth’s Total Biomass for First Time, New Study Finds, Court Says No to Drilling for Oil in the Arctic, a Huge Win for Polar Bears, Maps Show How Dramatically Fertilizer is Choking the Great Lakes, Study: THC Removes Toxic Protein that Causes Alzheimer’s From the Brain, This 400-Year-Old Bonsai Tree Survived Hiroshima and Is Still Thriving Today, “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Goldman Sachs asks shareholders. When you purchase something via the links in our articles, we may earn a small affiliate commission. There are 11 options for backcountry camping along the trail; though three or four nights out is a good rule of thumb. Terrance J. Norman, Canadian Trails Study: A Comprehensive Analysis of Managed Trails and Trail Uses, National Trails coalition, December 2010 Hike Ontario Canada Trails - guide to bicycling, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and multi-use trails in Canada, including the Trans Canada Trail The sparkling white quartzite cliffs are worth the effort; this area was once higher than the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re starting in the East at St. John’s or starting in the West at Victoria, you’ll have over 400 individual trails to travel through. It was officially finished on August 26. With almost 10 million square kilometers of varying terrain, ecosystems, and wilderness to explore, it is no surprise that the world’s longest hiking trail can be found in Canada. Motorized transport aside—and some key sections are combustion-free—trekkers should be able to find solitude somewhere along this mammoth cross-province path. When exploring 404-sq-km Kejimkujik National Park—traditional home of the Mi’kmaq—where does one start? Not to be confused with the multi-use Trans Canada Trail, the NHT is for foot travel only and has been under development since … Travelling 100 km though some of Killarney Provincial Park’s hilliest terrain, the La Cloche Silhouette Trail is a stout challenge for experienced hikers. In the eastern section, the trail ascends towards The Crack. If you’re especially lucky, you may even spot the world’s southernmost caribou herd. Linking northern BC and Alaska, and an absolute classic for two countries, this 53-km trek has been a backpacker’s must-do for decades. Read more about our policy. Originally forged to offer shipwreck survivors a route to safety, today, it’s a reservation-managed three- to six-day bucket-list backcountry hike. Bruce Trail And if you’re adventurous, you can continue on the “under construction” portion, an additional 275 km that will one-day be as well marked as the inaugural half. Don’t be fooled by this “short” hike – the West Coast Trail is one of the biggest and most challenging experiences a hiker can have in Canada. Some are multi-use; others are most certainly hikers-only. If you’re aching to tackle multi-day routes, the trails runs through some public campsites and private “stopovers” en route. Lakes, babbling brooks, loons and moose will be your companions as you loop your way through mixed softwoods en route to Campsite 42—the most remote in the park. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jennyrotten/. About one-third of the trail is above the treeline—views abound—and you’ll gain a manageable 520 metres of elevation. Hike in the late summer—snow can interrupt your hike even into July. Starting near St. John’s Newfoundland, going through towns, across rivers, and over mountains, The Great Trail finishes on Vancouver Island. * Step two: break them in. Best news: unlike some of Nunavut’s other parks, Akshayuk Pass doesn’t require a charter flight. Buy a backcountry permit from the Parks Canada office in Jasper, then drive to the trailhead, accessed via Icefields Parkway about 30 km from town. Though lacks the overall length of other trails on this list, the Baden Powel Trail, on Vancouver’s North Shore, may just be the best wilderness experience close to a major city in Canada. The world's longest hiking trail spans 21,452km crossing all 13 provinces and territories that make up Canada. Most Tuesdays, members of the Avon Trail run organized hikes at various locations; support in the form of donations or guidebook purchases helps maintain this lovely path. (Local Ktunaxa people had already been using it for centuries.) Expect to crest three mountain passes, gaining a total of 2,175 metres; pause to catch your breath in the beautiful subalpine meadows along the way. Running from Deep Cove, North Vancouver, to Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, and well-marked throughout, the Baden Powel Trail leads over the 1,271-metre summit of Black Mountain, through old-growth evergreens, over the dizzying Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and more. *For these long treks, make sure you invest in proper backpacking boots, like these: Women's hiking boots and Men's hiking boots. Perhaps the most famous trail system in Canada, the... 3. This lengthy trail is hidden in plain sight—a network of some 40 routes, ranging from five to 15 km and totalling more than 300 km (and growing), that loops the city of Edmonton. 35 of Canada’s Longest Hiking Trails 1. Built in 1907 to rescue survivors of shi… The Trans Canada Trail, officially renamed The Great Trail in September 2016, is a cross-Canada system of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. Rockwall Trail.

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