The Best 10 Canada National Parks Hikes
Canada is the perfect destination if you're an adventure enthusiast and love the great outdoors. Canada is renowned for its pristine natural landscapes, from majestic mountain ranges to glacial lakes, and vast forests to rugged coastlines, and there's no better way to experience them than by hiking through them.
Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting, Canada's national parks offer some of the best hiking trails in the world, catering to all levels of experience. Canada has something for every hiker from the rugged West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island to the stunning scenery of the Rockies.
So, are you ready for some adventure, eh? Grab your hiking boots and explore the best 10 hikes in Canada's National Parks. Whether you're looking for a challenging multi-day trek or a stroll through a picturesque valley, we've got you covered.
Get ready to be mesmerized by the beauty of Canada's landscapes, from the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in Banff National Park to the rugged coastline of Fundy National Park. And let me tell you, some of these hikes are a real hoot, offering unique experiences that you won't find anywhere else.
1. Plain of Six Glaciers, Banff National Park
The first hike on our list is the Plain of Six Glaciers trail in Banff National Park. This 14.6-kilometre hike is a must-do for any hiker visiting the park. The trail takes you on a scenic journey through alpine meadows and forests, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges and glaciers.
But the real highlight of this hike is the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, which is nestled at the base of the glacier. This historic teahouse has been serving hikers and visitors for over 100 years and is a popular destination for those completing the hike. And let me tell you, that teahouse is no Tim Hortons. You can indulge in some of the best scones and tea you'll ever have. The teahouse serves up delicious homemade soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, all made with fresh, local ingredients.
But be warned, the hike up to the tea house is not for the faint of heart. The trail is steep and can be challenging in places, but the stunning views and delicious treats make it well worth the effort. Just don't forget to bring your stretchy pants, because you'll want to eat everything in sight.
Once you reach the tea house, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of six glaciers and the surrounding mountains. This is the perfect spot to take a break, refuel, and soak in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Overall, the Plain of Six Glaciers trail is a must-do for any hiker visiting Banff National Park. It offers a unique experience that combines stunning scenery, delicious treats, and a bit of a challenge. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure you'll never forget.
2. West Coast Trail, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Hey, are you ready for a real adventure that will test your limits? Then gear up for the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve! But be warned, this trail is not for the faint of heart. It's a hardcore hike that will make you work harder than a beaver building a dam!
You'll hike through the most stunning and remote wilderness in Canada, but be ready to camp in the great outdoors with all the wildlife that comes with it. And by wildlife, I mean bears, wolves, and cougars, oh my! So make sure you know how to properly hang your food unless you want a visit from Yogi and his pals.
But despite the challenges, the West Coast Trail is incredibly rewarding. You'll feel like a true survivor, like Bear Grylls or that guy from Cast Away. And the stunning views of the coastline and the open sea will take your breath away if the hike hasn't already!
3. Skoki Valley, Banff National Park
Ah, the Skoki Valley hike in Banff National Park - a true gem of the Canadian Rockies! This hike is a real treat for the senses, with pristine alpine meadows, glittering lakes, and a cozy lodge to rest your weary feet.
As you make your way through the meadows, keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife. You might spot a majestic grizzly bear munching on some berries, a moose taking a dip in a nearby lake, or even a Sasquatch! Okay, okay, maybe not a Sasquatch, but you never know what you might see in these parts.
But the real highlight of this hike is the Skoki Lodge, where you can refuel with some delicious food and rest your head for the night. And let me tell you, this isn't your average hostel. The lodge is cozy, charming, and full of character - the perfect place to unwind after a day of hiking.
And if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can even explore some of the nearby peaks, like Mount Richardson or Ptarmigan Peak. Just be sure to bring your crampons and ice axe if you're going to attempt any serious mountaineering.
All in all, the Skoki Valley hike is a must-do for any hiker visiting Banff National Park. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready to be blown away by the stunning scenery and local wildlife. And who knows, maybe you'll even catch a glimpse of that elusive Sasquatch after all!
4. Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park
The Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park - a hike that will quite literally leave you feeling on top of the world! As you make your way through the subalpine forest, past gurgling waterfalls, and up to the ridge, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies that will take your breath away.
And let's not forget the wildlife - keep your eyes peeled for bears, moose, and even elusive mountain goats that call these rugged mountains home. But here's a little secret - the real fun starts on the way back down.
If you're feeling a bit daring, why not try to fly like a bald eagle? Okay, okay, maybe not fly, but you can always try glissading down the mountain on your bum! It's a surefire way to add some excitement to your descent and make memories that will last a lifetime.
But if you're not feeling quite so adventurous, don't worry - the hike down is just as breathtaking as the hike up. As you wind your way back through the subalpine forest and take in the stunning views, you'll be reminded of just how small we all are in this big, beautiful world.
So pack your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready for an adventure that will take you to new heights - both literally and figuratively. The Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park is not to be missed!
5. Fundy Trail Parkway, Fundy National Park
If you're looking for a hike that has it all, then the Fundy Trail Parkway in Fundy National Park is just the ticket! This stunning trail will take you on a journey through lush forests, along the rugged coastline, and up to breathtaking lookout points where you can soak up panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy.
As you make your way along the trail, keep your eyes peeled for some of the park's unique wildlife - you might spot everything from playful otters to majestic bald eagles soaring overhead. But perhaps the most exciting encounter you'll have on this hike is with the whales that call the Bay of Fundy home. Keep an eye out for their spouts and flukes as they breach and play in the cool waters.
And let's not forget about the ocean floor - during low tide, you'll have the rare opportunity to walk on the ocean floor and explore the park's stunning sea caves. It's a surreal experience that you won't soon forget. Just don't forget your snorkel - you never know what kind of marine life you might encounter!
But even if you don't feel like getting your feet wet, the Fundy Trail Parkway is still a must-do hike for anyone visiting Fundy National Park. With its stunning views, unique wildlife, and breathtaking natural features, it's a hike that truly has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure you'll never forget!
6. Gros Morne Mountain, Gros Morne National Park
If you're looking for a hike with stunning views that will leave you feeling on top of the world, then Gros Morne Mountain in Gros Morne National Park is a perfect choice. This hike takes you through varied terrain, from boreal forests to barren tundra, before reaching the summit of the second-highest peak in Newfoundland.
From there, you'll have panoramic views of the surrounding landscape that will take your breath away. And if you're feeling extra adventurous, you can even camp out on the summit and wake up to a view that is truly unbeatable. Just be sure to bring your warmest sleeping bag, because it can get downright chilly up there. But trust me, the experience of waking up on top of Gros Morne Mountain is one that you will never forget.
7. Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Alright, buckle up folks, because the next hike on our list is one for the adventurous and the brave-hearted. We're talking about the infamous Grouse Grind in Vancouver's North Shore Mountains. This hike is not for the faint of heart or weak of knees, as you'll be climbing up 2,830 stairs with an elevation gain of 853 meters. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch your breath and curse your decision to attempt this hike.
Once you've reached the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. And if you're feeling extra daring, you can take the Skyride gondola down, or you can do what most of us do and stumble down the mountain, legs shaking and muscles burning.
But the real highlight of this hike is the bragging rights you'll have once you've completed it. You can proudly tell all your friends that you conquered the Grouse Grind, and watch as they nod in awe and secretly wonder if you're crazy. So, put on your hiking shoes, bring a water bottle, and get ready for a workout that will make your thighs cry.
8. Crypt Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park
If you're looking for a thrilling adventure in Waterton Lakes National Park, then the Crypt Lake hike is definitely worth checking out. This hike takes you on a steep and narrow path up to Crypt Lake, where you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, as well as a stunning waterfall and a natural rock tunnel.
But be warned, this hike is no walk in the park. It's a challenging trek that takes about 6-7 hours round trip, with plenty of steep climbs and tricky footing along the way. So make sure you bring plenty of water, snacks, and a good pair of hiking shoes!
Despite the difficulty, many hikers consider the Crypt Lake hike to be one of the best hikes in the park. And once you reach the summit and take in the gorgeous views, it's easy to see why. Just be sure to pace yourself and take breaks when you need to.
Overall, the Crypt Lake hike is a must-do for any adventure seeker visiting Waterton Lakes National Park. So gather up your gear, grab some friends, and get ready for an unforgettable day on the trails.
9. Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park
Ahem, listen up folks! Lake O'Hara is where the party's at! Trust me, you won't want to miss this epic hike. Not only will you be surrounded by jaw-dropping alpine scenery, but you'll also get to brag to your friends about how you made it to one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada. Just don't forget to make a reservation for the shuttle bus because we don't want you to end up hiking an extra 20 km just to get to the trailhead unless you're looking for a bonus workout.
Now, the trail itself is not too shabby either. You'll stroll through flowery meadows, marvel at cascading waterfalls, and climb up to the shimmering waters of Lake O'Hara. And let's be honest, nothing beats the feeling of dipping your toes in crystal-clear water after a hike. Plus, you'll get to show off your cool hiking gear to all the other hikers, but don't forget to bring some snacks to share because nobody likes a hiking buddy who doesn't share their trail mix.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your boots, sunscreen, and a camera because you're in for a treat. And who knows, maybe you'll even spot a unicorn or a grizzly bear along the way, but hopefully not both at the same time.
10. Stanley Glacier Trail, Kootenay National Park
This hike is the perfect combination of nature's beauty and a solid workout. You'll be hiking through a subalpine forest, and if you're lucky, you might spot a few furry friends along the way. But don't worry, they're not the kind that will steal your picnic basket like Yogi Bear.
As you make your way up to the Stanley Glacier, you'll cross open meadows that are just begging to be twirled around like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. And once you reach the glacier, you'll be rewarded with some seriously stunning views that will make you feel like you're on top of the world.
But let's be real, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. This hike is a solid 8.4 km round-trip, which means you'll definitely feel it in your legs the next day. But hey, nothing a little ice cream and a hot bath can't fix, am I right?
And if you're like me and get a little hungry during hikes, make sure to pack some snacks. Trust me, a hangry hike is not a fun hike. So grab your hiking boots, a map, and some snacks, and get ready to tackle the Stanley Glacier Trail.
Now, before you lace up your boots and hit the trails in Canada's largest national park, parks or any other national parks, let's go over a few important things.
First and foremost, make sure you're fully equipped for the hike. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and proper clothing and footwear. Don't forget a map and compass, and make sure you know how to use them. Trust me, getting lost is not fun.
Secondly, be aware of the wildlife. Canada is home to some pretty impressive creatures, like bears, moose, and cougars. So, it's important to know how to react if you happen to come across one of these furry friends. Make sure you have bear spray, and always keep a safe distance.
Last but not least, be respectful of the environment. These national parks are home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet, and we want to keep them that way. Stick to designated trails, don't leave any trash behind, and leave the area better than you found it. Mother nature will thank you for it!
Now that you're all set, it's time to get your adventure on! Whether you're looking for a quick day hike or a week-long trek, Canada's best national parks have got you covered. So grab your sense of adventure and get ready for some unforgettable experiences. Who knows, maybe you'll even spot a Sasquatch along the way!