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The 10 Best Hikes in Canada

Lace up your hiking boots and get reacquainted with the greatest outdoors Canada has to offer.

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Best hikes in Canada - Wall Lake in AlbertaPhoto: Shutterstock

These are the best hikes in Canada

Following several months of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s never been a greater need to get reacquainted with the great outdoors. The good news? Canada boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking hiking trails, with options to suit every fitness level. From adrenaline-pumping mountainside adventures to peaceful sojourns, these are 10 of the best hikes in Canada. (Also, learn the benefits of walking for just 15 minutes.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Fundy Trail, New BrunswickPhoto: Shutterstock

Fundy Trail, New Brunswick

Southern New Brunswick nurtures a rare gem—one of North America’s last remaining coastal wilderness areas between Labrador and Florida. Hidden for many years, this unspoiled retreat is now open for hikers and cyclists to explore and easily ranks as one of the 10 best hikes in Canada. Situated just outside of St. Martins and less than an hour’s drive from Saint John, the Fundy Trail unlocks 16 kilometres of seaside beauty. The winding trails—perfect for hikers or cyclists —lead to less travelled paths and stairways that divulge sandy beaches, concealed waterfalls and vertigo-inducing cliffs. Get a unique perspective of the Bay of Fundy’s tides—the world’s highest—and keep your eyes peeled for right whales and sea birds. (Check out our tips for walking outside safely during the coronavirus pandemic.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Scenic Heritage Road, McKenna/Appin RoadsPhoto: Government of Prince Edward Island/Flickr

Appin Road, Prince Edward Island

Nothing whispers relaxation quite like a peaceful stroll under a lush canopy of leaves. Prince Edward Island’s Appin Road is the ideal setting for such a journey. Constructed in 1862, this clay lane near the Island’s south shore is peaceful and off the beaten track, winding through dense woodlands and farmers’ fields. If you’re looking for a reflective respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life and an alternative to PEI’s Confederation Trail, Appin Road is just the ticket. (Here are the hiking essentials to pack for your next adventure.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Kejimkujik National ParkPhoto: Shutterstock

Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s Kejimkujik National Park is truly one of a kind. With its rare old growth forests, abundant wildlife, Mi’kmaq legends, and geological treasures, Kejimkujik isn’t just one of the best hikes in Canada, but a National Historic Site as well. Boasting fifteen unique trails, the park gives visiting hikers the opportunity to get up close and personal with rare species of birds, slices of human history (including gold mines!), gigantic granite boulders and breathtaking foliage. (Check out the best walking workout for older people.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Killarney Provincial Park - Ontario ParksPhoto: Shutterstock

Killarney Park, Ontario

Touted as a “crown jewel” of Ontario’s park system, Killarney Park came into existence by the dedicated efforts of several famous Canadian artists. The Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, A.J. Casson and A.Y. Jackson were so enamored with this rugged landscape that they approached the government, demanding that the area be designated as protected parkland. Thanks to their efforts, Killarney’s jack pine ridges, clear lakes and quartz hills survive today. Four hiking trails including the picturesque Granite Ridge Trail give visitors unparalleled access to La Cloche Mountains, Georgian Bay and the spectacular beauty immortalized by the Group of Seven’s iconic paintings. (Before you set out for your journey, make sure you know these hiking tips.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Kinney Lake TrailPhoto: Shutterstock

Kinney Lake Trail, British Columbia

For breathtaking lakeside and mountain views, head to Mount Robson Provincial Park —the second oldest provincial park in British Columbia. Towering overhead at 3,954 metres is the snow-capped Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.  The sheer size of this majestic summit will have hikers spellbound as they wander along the 4.5 kilometre Kinney Lake Trail. Amidst the dense cedar and hemlock forest, eagle-eyed visitors may have the once in a lifetime chance to see many wildlife species including moose, black bears and elk. This gentle hike will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete. (Here’s what to wear on your hike.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Meewasin Trail SaskatoonPhoto: Shutterstock

Meewasin Valley Trail, Saskatchewan

In Cree, Meewasin means “beautiful,” and this trail hugging the South Saskatchewan River lives up to its name. Ideal for urbanites craving a brush with nature, the Meewasin Valley Trail rambles through the city of Saskatoon. Along the 60 kilometre path, hikers and leisurely walkers will encounter manicured parks, wild groves, expansive lookouts and historical landmarks. (Ready for a greater escape? Check out the top travel destinations of the year.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Galloping Goose recreational trail in BCPhoto: Shutterstock

Galloping Goose Regional Trails, British Columbia

Hikers, cyclists and horse riders all agree—Galloping Goose Regional Trailis one of the most beautiful paths for exploring Vancouver Island’s southern reaches, not to mention one of the best hikes in Canada. Stretching for 55 kilometres between Victoria and Sooke, this multi-use trail existed in the early 1900s as a railway line. A noisy gas-powered railway car called the Galloping Goose regularly crossed this path during the 1920s, shuttling mail and passengers between the two destinations. Today, the railway is a distant memory, but the glorious wilderness, rocky cliffs and farmland remain for all to enjoy. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a bald eagle on your travels. (Speaking of B.C., check out our guide to spending a weekend in Osoyoos.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Twillingate, NewfoundlandPhoto: Shutterstock

Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador

Welcome to Twillingate, the iceberg capital of the world! Whales, bald eagles, icebergs—you never know what adventure lurks around the corner on this picturesque North Atlantic island. Home to several invigorating hikes, Twillingate offers something special for trailblazers of all abilities. From the amazing rocky cliffs of Spiller’s Cove to the iconic Long Point Lighthouse and the 360-degree panoramic view atop the Twillingate trail, this engaging corner of Newfoundland and Labrador gives hikers plenty of postcard-worthy photo opps. Catch an iceberg floating by, pick wild blueberries along the hiking trails or spot a passing whale—just be sure to add a camera to your hiking necessities when you visit this east coast gem. (Before you go, check out these hiking snack ideas.)

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Most famous house in every province - Grey Owl's CabinPhoto: Tourism Saskatchewan

Grey Owl Trail, Manitoba

If you tread carefully along northern Manitoba’s Grey Owl Trail, you might be fortunate to spot white-tailed deer, beaver, foxes and maybe a moose or coyote. Deep in Riding Mountain National Park, this gentle trail takes hikers on a 17 km journey through sandy beaches, Jack pine forests and clusters of aspen, poplar and balsam trees. For six months in 1931, this untamed corner of the Canadian Shield was the home of Archie Belaney, a dedicated conservationist who became known as Grey Owl. Wandering along the path that bears his name, you’ll quickly understand why Grey Owl fought so hard to preserve the forests and fauna of this breathtaking area. The 5-hour hike concludes rather fittingly at the Beaver Lake cabin where Grey Owl lived and worked as the first naturalist of Canada’s park system. (Here’s what you need to go hiking this weekend.)

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Best hikes in Canada - Lake Louise HikePhoto: Shutterstock

Lake Louise Tea House Challenge, Alberta

Got a thirst for a six-hour adventure in the Canadian Rockies? Hike 3.5 kilometres uphill from Alberta’s legendary Lake Louise through a lush forest of spruce and fir trees to Lake Agnes—named after Lady Agnes Macdonald, the second wife of Canadian prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Upon your arrival, Lake Agnes Tea House will tempt you with a warm tea and a scrumptious slice of pie. Catch your breath as you gaze upon the glorious waterfall cascading nearby. Continue your quest by climbing up the Big Beehive for jaw-dropping views of the Bow Valley and Lake Louise. Using the Highline trail, join the 5 kilometre trek along the Plain of Six Glaciers trail and be mesmerized by Alberta’s soaring mountain peaks and the Victoria Glacier. Rest tired muscles and satisfy hunger pangs with a snack at the historic Plains of Six Glaciers Teahouse before completing the 5.5 kilometre loop back to Lake Louise.

Not into hiking? Check out how to spend a wellness weekend in Toronto.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada