13 Best Hikes in Canada | PlanetWare (2022)

Written by Magee Walker
Mar 6, 2020

It's no secret that Canada is home to some pretty incredible landscapes, from majestic mountains to pristine lakes to forests dense with towering trees. While you can access some great spots by car, many of Canada's best places can only be reached by foot. In other words, you won't want to miss out on the best hikes in Canada that we've listed below.

From the rugged east coast of Newfoundland to the wild west coast of Vancouver Island to the colossal peaks of the Yukon, here are our favorite excuses to lace up our hiking boots. Whether you prefer something short and easy or are up for a challenge, you'll find a trail that's just right for you with this list of the best hikes in Canada.

1. West Coast Trail, British Columbia

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Pack your backpack, grab your hiking poles, and strap on your gaiters: if you're thinking about hiking the 75-kilometer West Coast Trail, you're in for a wild ride.

Situated in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on British Columbia's Vancouver Island, the West Coast Trail features the best of the rugged coast. Hiking along the ocean, you'll plod along sandy beaches, over giant boulders, and past spectacular caves. Inland, you'll climb up and down rickety wooden ladders (over 100 of them!), cross fallen logs, ride cable cars across rivers, and accumulate an awful lot of mud on your hiking boots (hence the need for the aforementioned gaiters).

You'll spend nights sleeping on beaches under the stars, you'll catch a glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper, and you'll likely experience some infamous West Coast rain – but no matter what, it will be a journey you'll never forget.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts on Vancouver Island

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  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails on Vancouver Island, BC

2. Skyline Trail, Nova Scotia

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Cape Breton's Highlands National Park is considered by many to be one of Canada's best national parks, largely because the views from just about everywhere in the park are insanely beautiful: think rolling hills, seaside cliffs, boggy marshlands, and the vast ocean that goes on forever.

One of the most popular hikes in the park is the Skyline Trail, which offers one of the best lookout points in the entire park. The hike can either be done as a 6.5-kilometer out-and-back hike or hikers can add on a little extra for an 8.2-kilometer loop.

The hike is short enough to tackle in just a few hours, but long enough to fully immerse you in Nova Scotia's breathtaking scenery. It is a relatively easy footpath; the most challenging element of the trail is a section of stairs.

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Besides amazing views over the Atlantic, Skyline Trail offers lots of wildlife-viewing opportunities: keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, whales, bears, and – perhaps the animal that the park is best known for – moose!

  • Read More:
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on Cape Breton Island

3. Plain of the Six Glaciers, Alberta

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Situated in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, the Plain of the Six Glaciers is a popular trail that really shows off the beauty of the Rockies. Considered a moderate hike, the out-and-back trail totals 13.8 kilometers.

The trail starts at the popular (but stunning) Lake Louise, then climbs 587 meters gradually by way of switchbacks, offering sublime views of the turquoise lake down below. As you make your way towards the end of the hike, the trail opens up to a meadow. It looks – and feels – like you're in the middle of nowhere. Surprise! There's a rustic teahouse nestled in the alpine meadow, open for business seasonally (cash only).

Unless you're prepared for winter conditions, this trail is best hiked in the mid-summer months – otherwise, expect to encounter ice and snow. Given the nature of the Rockies, it's a good idea to pack layers year-round, as weather can change rapidly, especially as you climb to higher elevations.

4. East Coast Trail, Newfoundland

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Up for an epic challenge? The 336-kilometer East Coast Trail winds through Newfoundland's eastern coastline, with some sections hugging the seriously wild coast and others meandering through quaint communities.

Rather than trekking the entire trail, most people opt to check out smaller sections of the East Coast Trail. There's something for just about everyone, from super easy walks to strenuous hikes that will challenge experienced adventurers.

For an easy option, try the Silver Mine Head Path, a seven-kilometer (out-and-back) trail along a sandy beach, into the woods, and over a river. For a true challenge, check out the White Horse Path, a steep 18.2-kilometer (one way) hike featuring amazing views over the coast.

5. Grizzly Lake Trail, Yukon

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The Yukon's Tombstone Territorial Park offers one of the most unique landscapes in the entire country. With the Dempster Highway passing right through it and rugged peaks as far as the eye can see, the park offers a choose-your-own-adventure hiking experience. There are few formal, marked trails – your best bet is to visit the information center for tips on where to wander.

If you prefer a designated trail, check out the hike to Grizzly Lake. At 11 kilometers (one way) and with 797 meters in elevation gain, most hikers prefer to camp overnight by the lake, but you'll need a permit to do so, and the number of permits granted is limited. If you don't have time to spare or aren't lucky enough to nab a permit, it is still well worth doing the first four kilometers of the trail as an out-and-back hike.

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The hike takes you through alpine meadows and through the springy tundra, requiring you to maneuver your way along rocky talus slopes along exposed ridges as you work your way towards the lake. By the time you get to Grizzly Lake, you'll understand what all the fuss is about. Jagged mountain peaks jut up into the sky, looming over the lake like Dracula's castle.

6. Fundy Footpath, New Brunswick

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Stretching 47.5 kilometers along the Bay of Fundy – home to the world's highest tides — the Fundy Footpath is not a hike for the faint of heart. It's hard work, with the trail constantly climbing up and dropping down, for a total elevation gain of over 2,750 meters. By the end of the hike, your legs will be feeling it big-time – but you won't be able to wipe the smile off your face.

This is a point-to-point trail that features a mix of forested sections and beach walks, taking most hikers around four days to complete. There are wilderness campsites located at several points along the trail.

Waterproof hiking boots are your friend on the Fundy Footpath: the hike features river crossings and passes along waterfalls. You'll also have to be mindful of the tides, which can slow things down – a tidal chart is a must-have in your gear kit. It's hard work, but you'll be rewarded with exceptional lookouts that you'd never be able to access otherwise.

  • Read More:
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on the Bay of Fundy

7. Grey Owl Trail, Manitoba

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You've got to check out the forests of Riding Mountain National Park – and there's no better way to do so than by hiking the beautiful Grey Owl Trail. At 14.2 kilometers (return), this trail winds through the woods and is, for the most part, in the shade. Keep a lookout for signs of wildlife, like tracks in the dirt or claw marks on the trees. After all, Riding Mountain is known for its gray wolf population.

In the summer, the trail features plenty of pops of color among the brown earth and green trees, with butterflies fluttering by and bright wildflowers in full bloom. In the winter, the trail is blanketed in snow and can be accessed by snowshoe or on skis.

Whatever time you choose to hike it, you'll encounter Grey Owl's rustic log cabin at the halfway mark. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or a thermos of hot tea before making the trip back to the trailhead.

  • Read More:
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Manitoba

8. Lion's Head Trail, Ontario

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For incredible views of Georgian Bay, head to the Bruce Peninsula to explore the Lion's Head Trail, part of the 890-kilometer Bruce Trail.

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Totaling approximately 15 kilometers (though the hike can be made slightly shorter or longer), this trail starts in the shaded forest, eventually leading to teetering 60-meter limestone cliffs overlooking the bay. The views of the water are simply breathtaking.

There are no guardrails, so mind your step! It's also worth mentioning that much of the trail follows rocky terrain, so be sure to bring sturdy footwear.

9. Garibaldi Lake Hike, British Columbia

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To visit Garibaldi Lake – one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the entire country – head north of Vancouver towards Whistler and park your car at Rubble Creek. From there, it's a solid nine kilometer (one-way) climb to the pristine waters of Garibaldi Lake.

The trail starts with a long stretch through switchbacks under an endless forest of imposing trees. The hike up is gradual but steady, climbing 820 meters. You'll be instantly rewarded when the trail pops out into alpine meadows, dotted with funky wildflowers and leading to the glacier-fed Garibaldi Lake.

You can camp at the lake, but be sure to reserve your campsite ahead of time through Garibaldi Provincial Park. This is a busy trail in the summer, particularly on weekends or holidays. Nonetheless, it is a challenging workout, and the views make it well worth the effort.

  • Read More:
  • Top-Rated Hikes near Whistler, B.C.

10. The Crack Trail, Ontario

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There's a reason renowned Canadian artists and Group of Seven members A.Y. Jackson, A.J. Casson, and Franklin Carmichael were drawn to Killarney Provincial Park. Overlooking Georgian Bay, the park has few amenities – instead, it offers the rare opportunity to immerse yourself in true wilderness.

One of the best ways to experience the solitude is to hike the Crack Trail, a moderately difficult six-kilometer out-and-back trail that offers exceptional lake views. The trail starts off fairly uneventfully, following an old logging road until meeting up with La Cloche Silhouette trail. You'll pass the scenic Kakakise Lake, then when the trail starts to climb, you'll know you're getting close to the Crack.

What, exactly, is the Crack? As the name suggests, it's a large fissure between a quartzite wall, and you'll have to navigate the narrow passageway if you want to continue the hike. The trail here is rocky with unstable footing, so tread carefully. On the opposite side of the crack, views onto Killarney Lake will reveal themselves – a great prize for your efforts.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Ontario

(Video) My Favourite Day-Hike In Canada! Hiking "The Crack", LaCloche Mountains - Killarney Provincial Park.

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11. Joffre Lakes, British Columbia

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North of Whistler and Pemberton, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is home to a series of three impossibly turquoise lakes, accessible by a 7.7-kilometer (return) hiking trail.

The trail to the first lake is relatively easy, while getting to the second and third lakes involves a steeper climb that will get your heart pounding. There's a short side trip en route to the third lake that accesses a waterfall – consider it a bonus for putting in a little extra work.

In the summer, Joffre Lakes can be a bit of a zoo, making it especially important to hike responsibly to avoid damaging the area's fragile ecology. Though the lakes are beautiful, they are fed by the surrounding glaciers and are very cold year-round. Going for a dip is not recommended.

12. King's Throne Trail, Yukon

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Kluane National Park is home to the highest peak in Canada (that would be Mount Logan). While most hikers will never get the chance to summit Logan, there's another hike in Kluane that is much more accessible: the King's Throne Peak Trail.

The trail totals 12.9 kilometers (return) and gains 1,372 meters over that distance. You do the math: it's a hard trail, particularly once you've made your way through the switchbacks and past the plateau (called the seat of the King's Throne). Many people call it a day here; others continue on to the summit.

Be warned: this part is tricky and exposed, with winds that can blow fiercely. If conditions cooperate, the views down to Lake Kathleen below will make the hard work well worth it.

13. Centennial Ridges Trail, Ontario

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Algonquin Provincial Park is a popular place for nature lovers hoping to get away from it all. While the park is a true mecca for canoeing, it's also a great place for a peaceful hike. Centennial Ridges is one of many great options: the trail takes hikers through a pair of high ridges, providing top-notch views over the park.

Centennial Ridges Trail is 10.4 kilometers in length, and since it's a loop trail, you won't have to retrace your steps. With 460 meters in elevation gain, it is considered fairly difficult, partly due to the rocks and roots on the trail, but a person in decent physical condition can generally complete the trail in under four hours.

The ridges are towards the end of the hike, but there are other nice viewpoints along the way, including a couple of beaver ponds that are worth a peek. There's no better place to clear your head and enjoy Mother Nature's finest work.

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Accommodation: Best Resorts in Muskoka

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FAQs

Where is the most beautiful place to hike? ›

  1. Grand Canyon National Park. There's nowhere else on earth like the Grand Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Park is the heart of this 277-mile long geological phenomenon. ...
  2. The Alps. ...
  3. Colorado Rockies. ...
  4. Peru. ...
  5. Washington State. ...
  6. Nepal. ...
  7. Yosemite National Park. ...
  8. Iceland.
16 May 2021

Is there good hiking in Canada? ›

The West Coast Trail, British Columbia

Known as one of the best multi-day hikes in Canada, the iconic West Coast Trail is a must for any avid hiker. Spanning over 75km inside the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island, the adventure takes about seven days but is well worth taking the time off to do so.

What is the biggest hike in the world? ›

The world's longest trail is actually further north though, in Canada. The Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans Canada Trail, runs for a rather daunting 14,912 miles (or 24,000km) and is currently the longest hiking trail in the world.

Who is most popular women's hiker? ›

Meet the trailblazing thru-hiker who walked 8,000 miles in a year. With 28,000 miles to her name, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Heather Anderson has made history on America's most iconic trails.

How many hiking trails are in Canada? ›

Best Trails in Canada

AllTrails has 23,052 hiking trails, mountain biking routes, backpacking trips and more.

How long does Crypt Lake hike take? ›

Crypt Lake Hike Duration

The average time for the journey up to Crypt Lake is three hours plus or minus a half hour. We were able to complete the trail around Crypt Lake and back down to Hell-Roaring Canyon in around three hours — however, we ran many sections up and downhill.

What is the longest hiking trail in North America? ›

The longest hiking-only trail in North America is the Appalachian Trail, spanning 2,200 miles. The longest trail, hiking, biking, etc., is the American Discovery Trail, a 5,057 mile system of trails and roads crossing the continental United States.

What is the best rock to climb? ›

Granite, sandstone, and limestone are the three most commonly climbed rocks in the world. On average, granite is the best rock for trad climbing of the three. Sandstone is the best rock for top roping, bouldering, and low grade sport climbing. Limestone is the best rock for difficult overhanging sport climbs.

Where can I rock climb in BC? ›

Chek Canyon

Just 15 minutes north of Squamish is one of the top sport climbing areas in all of BC. This area is home to some of Canada's hardest sport climbs but also has enough moderate grades to make it a worthy visit for any climber.

How many people have fallen off Devil's Bridge? ›

Accidents and Deaths

Only two deaths have been recorded online from falls on this hike, and (surprisingly?) only one involved a fall from the actual bridge. Both incidents occurred in 2014. This case was a 53 year-old woman in April of that year – she fell over 70 feet.

What is the longest walking trail in the world? ›

The world's longest designated hiking trail is the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs for 4,260 km (2,650 miles) along the West Coast of the USA between the Mexican and Canadian borders.

What is the hardest mountain to climb? ›

At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...

What are the 10 benefits in hiking? ›

Top 10 benefits of hiking
  • Get fit. Looking for a way to stay active that doesn't involve going to the gym? ...
  • Exercise on your own terms. ...
  • Lower your blood pressure and sugar levels. ...
  • Develop lean legs. ...
  • Strengthen your core. ...
  • Protect your bone density. ...
  • Commune with nature. ...
  • Boost your brain.

What is the oldest hiking trail in the world? ›

1. Bright Angel & North Kaibab Trails: Arizona, USA. The Grand Canyon cuts an almighty dash through the Colorado Plateau, is 446km long, up to 29km wide, more than 1.6km deep and just shy of two billion years old.

What is the longest National Scenic Trail? ›

The North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest in the National Trails System, stretching 4,800 miles across eight states from North Dakota to Vermont, traversing forests and farmlands, remote terrain and nearby communities.

What is a good hike? ›

A 15% to 20% hike seems to be the norm for a new job. “If every other aspiration of an employee is met and salary increment is more than 15% to 20%, then the employee should make the change,” adds Muninder Anand, director, information solutions, Mercer.

How do you become a full time hiker? ›

GET PAID TO HIKE: TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. Start a Hiking/Travel Blog.
  2. Become a Park Ranger.
  3. Write a Book About Your Adventure.
  4. Lead Guided Hiking Trips.
  5. Become a Wildland Firefighter.
  6. Get Sponsored by a Gear Company.
  7. Start a YouTube Channel.
  8. Write for a Hiking Publication.
27 Dec 2021

Who is the oldest person to hike the Continental Divide trail? ›

Victor Kubilius or Pappy as he's called on the trails became the oldest triple crowner completing the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Devide Trail at 71.

Who was the first woman to hike the AT? ›

Emma Gatewood had a tough life, so one day, at age 67, she decided to go for a nice long walk... and she became the first woman to through-hike the Appalachian Trail solo! She wore a pair of Keds sneakers and carried almost nothing with her, relying on her foraging skills and on the help of residents near the trail.

What is the hardest hike in Ontario? ›

Some say the 8 km of Kabeyun Trail between Clavet Bay and Hoorigan Bay are the most difficult. This section is less traveled than others, but those who hike it say the views are incredible. Many day-hikers head to Tee Harbour. There is a nice picnic area here and a beautiful sandy beach.

Is the Bruce trail hard? ›

Explore this 20.4-mile out-and-back trail near Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 7 h 52 min to complete.

How many steps are on the Grouse Grind? ›

The Grouse Grind is a 2.5-km (1.55-mile) ascent, with an elevation gain of 800 metres (2,624 feet). How many steps are there? 2,830.

How long does Crypt Lake hike take? ›

Crypt Lake Hike Duration

The average time for the journey up to Crypt Lake is three hours plus or minus a half hour. We were able to complete the trail around Crypt Lake and back down to Hell-Roaring Canyon in around three hours — however, we ran many sections up and downhill.

What is the highest point in Ontario? ›

Ishpatina Ridge is the highest point of land in Ontario, at an estimated 693 m (2,274') above sea level. It rises approximately 300 m (984') above the immediate area.

What is a challenging hike? ›

Strenuous. Numerical Rating: 150-200. Strenuous hikes will challenge most hikers. The hike will generally be longer and steeper, but may be deemed "Strenuous" because of the elevation gain. Generally 7 to 10 miles.

Is Ontario Good for hiking? ›

Ontario has some of the most varied landscapes in Canada. From the hard granite of the Canadian shield to the mossy ferns of Canada's southernmost tip, this province is an outdoor-lovers paradise. And when trying to narrow down the most beautiful hikes in Ontario, there is a huge swath of territory to consider.

How far can you hike in a day? ›

At a pace of 2 mph (slower than average), you can comfortably hike 10 miles in a day. For through-hikes, the distance varies but hikers can cover anywhere from 10-20 miles a day, with experienced hikers reaching distances of 30 miles a day.

Can you sleep on the Bruce Trail? ›

Please camp only in designated campgrounds. Camping elsewhere is considered trespassing. The Bruce Trail runs through land that is owned by over 1000 different landowners, thanks to generous agreements with those landowners.

How long would it take to hike the entire Bruce Trail? ›

Hike took 37 days, taking them from Niagara to Tobermory

Natalie Schott and Chris Wilson saw more of Ontario in five weeks than many of us will see in a lifetime. They took a walk down the Bruce Trail, all 900 kilometres — Niagara all the way to Tobermory. It began as a joke and ended with a surprise.

Can a beginner do the Grouse Grind? ›

The Grouse Grind can be very challenging, especially for unseasoned hikers. If you bike, play sports, go to the gym, or do any sort of physical activity, you'll likely be more than fine. For those that are still a little worried, however, it wouldn't hurt to try an easier hike first.

How difficult is the Grouse Grind? ›

There's no doubt that the Grind is challenging, with an elevation gain of 2,800 feet in only 2.9 kilomteres of mostly vertical trail. Most hikers take about 90 minutes to finish the hike, with the fittest hikers making it to the top in under 30 minutes. The overall record for the fastest climb is 23:48.

Are there bears on Grouse Mountain? ›

meet the wildlife

Grouse Mountain is home to orphaned Grizzly bears, owls, and more. Learn more interesting facts about our resident Grizzly bears Grinder and Coola here.

Do you need a passport to hike Crypt Lake? ›

Six hours is time to hike, lunch and return for the boat. If you like to really take pics and stop to talk and enjoy the scenery, the later boat is recommended. We skipped the Hell Roaring Canyon to be sure of the 4:00 water taxi crossing. No passports required for this quick crossing.

Is Crypt Lake Trail hard? ›

More than Just a Hike

At roughly 17 km (10.5 mi) with an elevation gain of 700 m (2,297 ft), Crypt Lake Trail is no walk in the park. But it's not that difficult if you are reasonably fit and looking for bragging rights.

Can you swim in Crypt Lake? ›

It's a great place to relax and take a refreshing (and re-FREEZING) swim. We enjoyed our packed lunch and then lounged for a while before making the journey back. The one-way hike to Crypt Lake is about 8 kilometres, the out and back is around 16 km. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach Crypt Lake.

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