Iconic Canadian Hikes To Put On Your To-Do List For 2022
With vast swaths of wilderness covering much of the country, it is no wonder Canada is one of the top places in the world for nature trekking. You’ll find scenic trails in every province and territory. Some, like the challenging multi-day West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island or the beautiful La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park, require experience and proper planning, but others can be enjoyed on a day trip.
Whether you enjoy an alpine climb or a coastal walk, there’s a Canadian day hike waiting for you. We’d like to present you with five iconic Canadian hikes that can be tackled in one day — each offers jaw-dropping scenery and a huge sense of accomplishment. Throw on your hiking shoes and let’s get moving!
Spend a Day with the Larches in Banff National Park
There is no shortage of hiking options in Alberta’s Banff National Park and you would be hard pressed to find a trail that doesn’t lead to stunning views and incredible vistas. So how do you choose which hike to do when visiting the national park? Choose a path that aligns with your comfort level — stick to easy hikes first if this is your first time heading out into mountainous terrain — and give yourself plenty of time to complete the journey. If you’re ready for a moderate hike, you can’t go wrong with a trek along the 4.7-km Larch Valley Trail and up the steep Sentinel Pass.
A popular time to visit is during September to catch the height of Larch season, when the deciduous pines turn a stunning golden colour, but this hike is a must-do in the summer as well. It offers everything you want from a Banff hike: blue-green lakes, panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, a variety of landscapes and enough steep sections to get the heart pumping.
Starting off at the glacier-fed Moraine Lake, the trail leads through a mossy forest and into a stunning patch of larch trees (thus the name, Larch Valley) before opening up to panoramic views of the Valley of Ten Peaks. The Larch Valley Trail ends at Minnestimma Lakes but continue along the Sentinel Pass (a steep pass between Pinnacle Mountain and Mount Temple) for even more spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. There and back the two trails combined are just a bit over 11 km.
Hike All Three Peaks at the Chief in BC
Residents of British Columbia are spoiled when it comes to hiking options. From coastal treks to mountain climbs, there’s beautiful vistas in every region just waiting to be explored. For an accessible day hike that showcases gorgeous BC scenery, try the Stawamus Chief hike near Squamish in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. This hike is very popular and for good reason — it is easily accessible and offers sweeping views of Squamish, Howe Sound and the Sea to Sky Highway. The 11-km (roundtrip) hike is a steep climb with some challenging section (think ladders and ropes) but the views are well worth the effort. The trails gives you access to three peaks and it is possible to climb all three in one day.
Other regions to consider: Among its many natural wonders, British Columbia is home to the largest tract of unspoiled temperate rainforest in the world. The Great Bear Rainforest sits on the north east coast of the province and offers some amazing opportunities for wilderness exploration. Check out our incredible excursions in BC’s Cariboo and Chilcotin Coast for guided hikes to this region or discover the rainforest on a visit to Vancouver Island. We have a few amazing experiences that include guided hikes in remote areas of these regions.
Climb to the Top of the Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay Ontario
Ontario may not have the mountainous terrain of Canada’s west coast, but it does have some beautiful hikes worthy of consideration. One of the best in the province is the Top of the Giant Trail in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park located on the shores of Lake Superior. Named after the rock formation that resembles a slumbering person, Sleeping Giant has 100 km of hiking trails but none more iconic than the Top of the Giant. From the parking lot, this is a 22-km roundtrip trek that starts along the Kabeyun Trail, connects to part of the Talus Lake Trail before getting to the start of the Top of the Giant. Once you arrive at the start of this trail, it is a heart-pumping 3.3-km climb to the top of the tallest cliff in Ontario with sweeping views over Lake Superior.
The hike is steep and challenging with massive drops along the way that can be dizzying but the effort is well worth the reward. Both the east and west sides of the Sibley Peninsula are visible from the top.
Follow a Trail at Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon
Located off the famous Dempster Highway, Tombstone Territorial Park is a 1.5 hour drive from Dawson City and about 7 hours from Whitehorse. While the remote location may ward off some, those who make the effort to visit here will be rewarded with some of the most spectacularly dramatic scenery in Canada. Read about Landsby’s visit to Dawson City, including a very cool flight over Tombstone.
If you’re looking for a multi-day challenge, the Grizzly Lake/Divide Lake/Talus Lake Trail is a spectacular 43-km hike in Tombstone, but there are also shorter day hikes that will give you a glimpse of the incredible mountainscapes. Goldensides Mountain Trail, for example, is an easy 3.7-km hike with two great viewpoints. Or hike the challenging 8.7-km Charcoal Ridge.
Related post: Hiking in Kluane National Park
A Coastal Walk in Newfoundland
Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park has 100 km of trails, ranging from family-friendly strolls to more strenuous day hikes. Whichever trail you choose, you can be guaranteed spectacular scenery. For a moderate trail that follows along the coastline, try the 9-km Green Garden Trail. You’ll cross through forests and barrens before reaching the shore of Old Man Cove and continuing along the coastal headlands. There is also the option to take the stairs to a beach with waterfalls and a sea cave!
A more challenging route is the Gros Morne Mountain Trail, a 17-km trek that follows the path to the park’s highest point at 806 metres. As you can imagine, the view is incredible over the Long Range Mountains and the Ten Mile Pond gorge.
This is a great hike to add during your Newfoundland Coast to Coast road trip.