Backcountry Hiking Trails – Multi-Day
Canada is a hikers paradise but has a much too short hiking season.
The biggest part of Canada is wilderness and many of the hiking trails take you far into the spectacular backcountry.
The world-famous Canadian Rocky Mountains are popular destinations for hikers and backpackers with thousands of kilometres of hiking trails. Most campgrounds are easily accessible. In the Rockies is also where you will find the most people on the trails.
Many other, less known areas offer spectacular hiking as well. where you might be the only one on the trail.
Before you venture out for a long-distance hiking trail, make sure you are prepared.
Maybe you’re not ready for a long-distance hike and you rather prefer a slower introduction to hiking? If this is the case, a Day-Hike is a better choice to start with.
Following is a list of some of the best-known hiking trails in Canada. It’s only an excerpt and there are so much more, less well-known but as spectacular as the ones mentioned here.
British Columbia Hiking Trails
The World Famous West Coast Trail, BC – 75 km
The West Coast Trail is part of the Pacific Rim National Park at the edge of Vancouver Island and is one of Canada’s most favourite long-distance hiking trails.
The 75 km trail takes up to 7 days to complete and is not for the faint of heart. Conditions can be wet and slippery and there are a few stairs and ladders to navigate. But yes, the reward you get hiking along beaches and through the rainforest is definitely worth it in the end – a one in a lifetime experience. For more information check the Park Canada Website.
Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC
Mount Robson Provincial Park is a hidden treasure, offering five backpacking routes in the park, from easy access overnight hikes to difficult multi-day trails such as the Moose River Route.
Berg Lake Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Rockies. The trail starts off at the parking area 2 km behind the Visitor Information Centre at the top of Mt. Robson Pass off the Yellowhead highway. Gas, camping and convenience store are located nearby.
Although Berg Lake can be hiked in one day, I suggest making a minimum of two days on it.
Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail, BC – 420 km
This trail is also known as the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail and takes you from Bella Coola in central BC to Quesnel.
This historic trail was used by the native people to transport fish grease to the interior for trading. Allow three weeks to do this trail, although it’s possible to do the 80 km through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in a week.
Alberta Hiking Trials
Sunshine to Mt. Assiniboine – 56 km
Visit the most beautiful peak in the Rockies, Canada’s Matterhorn (3618 m). For this popular 56 km trail, 6 days are recommended to complete.
Mt. Assiniboine is only accessible on foot or by helicopter. You will be rewarded with stunning views and the opportunity to see wildlife, including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, and deer. For more information go to the Park Canada Website.
Northwest Territories Hiking Trails
Trek the Canol – 355 km
The Canol Heritage Trail in the NWT is one of the world’s most isolated trail and is rated as extreme. This rating comes in great part from the isolation of the trail, but also because of possible bear encounters, icy river crossings, and lack of shelters.
The Trail follows the corridor of the Canol Road and Pipeline, built during the Second World War to supply petroleum from Norman Wells to the Alaskan Front.
It runs from Macmillan Pass in the Yukon through a few mountain ranges to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. Plan at least three weeks to hike the full trail.
Transport to the trailhead, along with food drops, can be arranged with Norman Wells charter companies. For those interested in a shorter stretch of the trail, NWT Outfitters offer guided hikes.
Yukon Hiking Trails
Chilkoot Trail – 53 km
The famous trail to the Klondike in the Yukon is rich with history and a beautiful but challenging backpacking trail. The Chilkoot should only be attempted by physically fit and experienced hikers and backpackers. The trail takes three to five days to complete.
A safe and enjoyable trip on the Chilkoot requires careful planning as the terrain is rough and the weather often extreme.
More information on Parks Canada website.
NUNAVUT HIKING TRAILS
Akshayuk Pass – 105 km
Akshayuk Pass in Auyuittunq National Park on Baffin Island in Nunavut is a 105 km hike that showcases a wild landscape with the world’s tallest rock cliff, Mt. Thor. You will experience hanging glaciers, sheer-faced mountains and perhaps even see a polar bear.
ONTARIO HIKING TRAILS
Bruce Trail – 800 km
This is Ontario’s best-known hiking and backpacking trail. The trail starts in the south near Niagara Falls and heads north to the Bruce Peninsula, finishing off in the beautiful little town of Tobermory.
There are dozens of campsites on the way and a wide variety of access points allowing you to customize your trip depending on your fitness level or time schedule. The trail offers an abundance of woodland, waterfalls, and woodland. Check out the Bruce Trail website to plan your hike.
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR HIKING TRAILS
East Coast Trail – 540 km
This amazing trail runs along the eastern cliffs of the Avalon Peninsula and stretches from St. Jon’s to Cappahayden. The trails are broken down into different sections and each section can be accessed for a day hike.
The path of the East Coast Trail takes you past towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, deep fjords and natural wave-driven geyser. It provides access to historic communities, lighthouses, seabird colonies, whales, icebergs, and world’s southernmost caribou herd.
The North Rim Traverse and the Long Range Traverse – Gros Morne National Park
Both of these Traverse through Gros Morne national park requires solid navigational skills and prior wilderness hiking experience. If you lack any of it, go with a guide.
The Laurentian Trail – 75 km
The trail skirts the northern edge of the La Mauricie National Park above Trois-Riviere (Three Rivers) winding through the beautiful Laurentian Mountains.
The park only allows through hikes, so if you choose this trail make sure you have the experience, strength, fitness and equipment to complete the whole trail. You must reserve and you’re best to do it early since the trail is becoming more and more popular.
This collection of hiking trails may get your wilderness spirit in action!
- Hiking Trails – day hikes
- Why I’m better off hiking alone and why you might be too
- Campfire Cooking
- National Parks Canada
- 8 Spectacular North Okanagan Hikes
- Top 12 Canadian Camping Apps
- Canadian Outhouse or Privy