National Parks Canada
National Parks Canada protects the natural environment and represents Canada’s natural heritage. These special places are getaways to nature, solitude, and adventure and are the highlight of any trip to Canada.
Banff National Park
Banff National Park in Alberta is Canada’s oldest and most visited national park. It is a must for every first-time visitor to Canada. The park is located in the Rocky Mountains, 111 km east of Calgary, next to Jasper national park in the north. Towering mountains, glaciers and icefields, alpine meadows, and natural hot springs make it one of Canada’s most amazing recreational areas.
Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park is located less than an hour away from Edmonton. Elk Island is home to some of Canada’s most endangered species and you will see free-roaming plains bison, wood bison, moose, deer, and elk. The park is also known for the huge number of different birds and is a bird watcher’s paradise.
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. Jasper is the wildest of the mountain parks with superb backcountry trails as well as the world-famous Columbia Icefields, one of the only Icefields in the world accessible by road. It is home to a healthy population of grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and wolves.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park is the smallest of our Rocky Mountain parks and pretty free of crowds. The park offers a spectacular setting with rolling prairie hills soaring to icy peaks nearly 3,000 metres high. The three Waterton Lakes are nestled between two mountain ranges.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo is one of the biggest parks on the planet with a total size of 44,840 square km, located in Alberta’s far north. It is home to incredible numbers of free-ranging buffalo. Hop a plane in Edmonton or Fort McMurray and head up to Fort Smith or Fort Chipewyan, the gateways to Wood Buffalo.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in south-eastern British Columbia. Explore Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, steep mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. The park was carved from the rugged Selkirk and Purcell Mountains by glaciers.
Gwaii Haanas National Park
Gwaii Haanas National Park is located in the southern Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, a wild and remote place of haunting beauty.
Gwaii Haanas is a word in the Haida language and means “Islands of wonder and beauty”. Gwaii Haanas is surrounded by over 1,700 km of shoreline.
This wilderness archipelago consists of 138 islands and is located 60 km north of Vancouver. The park protects the legacy of Haida culture, as well as features some species of plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world.
Mount Revelstoke National Park
Mount Revelstoke National Park is located near the community of Revelstoke. It is a beautiful park with the ability to hike to the top of the mountain five minutes from your vehicle. Due to easy accessibility to the top of the mountain, you may encounter large crowds of tourists.
Kootenay National Park
The Kootenay National Park is centred on a tree-covered valley shadowed by cold, grey peaks. Kootenay has a more moderate climate than the other Rocky Mountain parks. It’s the only national park in Canada that contains both glaciers and cacti. You can do a driving loop via Kootenay and Yoho National Park.
- Check out the 500 m Fireweed Trail or take the 2 km loop through the surrounding forest at the north end of Hwy 93.
- 7 km further stop at Marble Canyon at a pounding creek flowing through the forest
- The Paint Post is another short hike with panels describing the mining history and its importance to Aboriginal people.
- More information about the park is at the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint. Olive Lake just 3 km south makes a good picnic or rest stop.
Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park is located in the Rocky Mountains along the western slope of the Continental Divide, bordering Banff National Park. The park was named after a Cree expression meaning awe and wonder which refers to the spectacular landscapes of steep slopes, flat valleys, alpine peaks, and an incredibly diverse mix of plants and animals.
The park boasts many of Canada’s most scenic locations such as Lake O’Hara, Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Natural Bridge, and much more.
Pacific Rim National Park
Pacific Rim National Park is located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and consists of three sections:
- Long Beach, located between the villages of Ucluelet and Tofino, named after the 16 km sandy beach of Wickaninnish Bay
- The Broken Group Islands, an archipelago of more than one hundred islands and rocks scattered throughout Barkley Sound, only accessible by boat
- The West Coast Trail is a 75 km backpacking trail along rain forest, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, caves, and beaches.
The park has mild temperatures and heavy rains year-round and is home to dense coastal rainforests.
Riding Mountain National Park
Most of Manitoba‘s Riding Mountain National Park is a wilderness area with a developed area around Clear Lake. The village is supposed to be very touristy with lots of little shops to explore. To be away from tourist crowds you may want to go there in September, when you can enjoy the peace and the magnificent colours of the autumn leaves, and when you have the trails for yourself.
Wapusk National Park
Wapusk National Park is located in northern Manitoba and protects one of the world’s largest known polar bear maternity denning areas. Wapusk is a Cree word for ‘white bear’. Churchill is the gateway community to Wapusk National Park. The southern portion of the park can also be accessed via the town of Gillam. There is no road access to Churchill.
Check out Destination Churchill for more information and for other ways how to get there.
Grasslands National Park
Grasslands National Park is located between Val Marie and Killdeer, south of Swift Current and west of Assiniboia, and protects unique flora and fauna. The park gives a final glimpse of what the prairies once were. It’s not the flat prairie that you may expect, but rather a dramatic landscape of buttes and hills. In 2006 bison were introduced to the park. You may get to see black-tailed prairie dogs, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, and some rare reptiles.
Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park is located 200 km north of Saskatoon in central Saskatchewan and protects part of the northern coniferous forests. The park is home to elk, moose, deer, wolves, and caribou as well as a free-ranging herd of plains bison. It features many amazing natural wonders and cultural treasures. The park protects Canada’s second-largest white pelican nesting colony at Lavallee Lake.
Aulavik National Park
Aulavik National Park, located in the Northwest Territories is the northernmost park, reaching across the pristine, wide-open lowlands of Banks Island. It’s famous for the Thomsen River and Muskoxen. The Thomsen, calm and crystal-clear, slides through this Arctic paradise carrying paddlers on guided and independent expeditions. The muskoxen are everywhere, in numbers found nowhere else on Earth. Also watch out for caribou, white fox, snowy owls, and gyrfalcons.
Nahanni National Park Reserve
Nahanni, the best-known NWT park protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region offering the adventurous visitor a wilderness experience. A key feature of the park is the Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River). Four great canyons line this spectacular whitewater river. At Nailicho (Virginia Falls) the river plunges in a thunderous plume. The park’s sulphur hot springs, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests are home to many species of birds, fish, and mammals. It’s a day-long flight trip from Fort Simpson.
Naats’ihch’oh National Park Reserve
Nááts’ihch’oh, named for a sacred mountain in its midst, is the newest park. Tucked against the Yukon border, it guards the headwaters of both the Nahanni and the Natla/ Keele river systems. Paddlers can traverse the South Nahanni’s “rock garden,” featuring 50 km of continuous rapids, or try the less technical Broken Skull River, or put in on O’Grady Lake to descend the Natla/Keele. Wildlife includes grizzlies, mountain goats, and the northernmost Dall’s sheep in Canada.
Tuktut Nogait National Park
Tuktut Nogait, meaning “young caribou,” is one of Canada’s least visited parks, protecting the calving grounds of the 68,000-strong Bluenose caribou herd near the shores of the Northwest Passage. Most visitors experience the park while paddling the canyon-framed Hornaday River. Birdlife – peregrine falcons, tundra swans, and jaegers – abound, as do ancient Inuit archaeological sites.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo, bigger than Switzerland, is Canada’s largest park and maybe the most intriguing. Founded to protect the rare wood bison, the park is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories.
On hikes, drives, paddling trips, or flightseeing tours you will see black bears, wolves, the world’s only naturally nesting flock of the endangered whooping cranes, and of course bison. The park is accessible year-round from friendly Fort Smith.
Thaidene Nene Proposed National Park
Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve is a proposed National Park Reserve located on the northern edge of the boreal forest in the Northwest Territories. The park will protect 14,000 square kilometres of Great Slave Lake’s fabled East Arm, plus surrounding stretches of boreal forest and Barrenlands.
The region is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the Northwest Territories. Towering cliffs and jagged islands dot the East Arm, whose waters are the deepest in North America.
Here too are the canyons of the Lockhart River, as well as Tyrrell Falls and Pike’s Portage – the traditional passage from the Great Slave to the Barrenlands.
Anglers arrive each summer by the hundreds, staying at the region’s lodges and trolling for giant trout. Sightseeing flights cruise over the area’s rugged mesas, while paddlers camp on lonesome islands, sharing the region with barren-ground caribou, black bears, grizzlies, and moose.
Ivvavik National Park
Access is provided by charter aircraft from Inuvik. After being dropped off in the park for multi-day trips, you are on your own until the plane returns to pick you up. The park offers high mountains, river valleys, endless tundra, and the Arctic seacoast.
Kluane National Park and Reserve
Kluane National Park and Reserve are located in the extreme southwestern corner of the Yukon. This wilderness destination offers you sweeping landscapes of mountain valleys carved by glaciers and sprinkled with alpine wildflowers.
The vast wilderness park is home to grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, and mountain goats. Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan (5,959 m), is a massive presence in the heart of Kluane National Park and Reserve.
Vuntut National Park
Vuntut National Park is bordered to the north by Ivvavik National Park and to the west by Alaska. Access to the park is limited, by aircraft from the village of Old Crow or by canoe.
Vuntut National Park is an undeveloped wilderness park visited by few people. The park has thousands of lakes and ponds and is visited by half a million waterfowl each fall. It is also on the migration route of a porcupine caribou herd each spring.
For information on experiencing the Vuntut National Park of Canada, visit the Official Parks Canada website.
Fundy National Park
Fundy National Park is home to the world’s highest tides and more than 25 waterfalls. The park is located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma. The rugged coastline is rising up to the Acadian Highlands and the park has spectacular panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy, coastal cliffs, and rolling forested hills.
Kouchibouguac National Park
Kouchibouguac National Park is situated on New Brunswick’s central-eastern shores and boasts the warmest saltwater north of Virginia.
The park offers a blend of sand dunes, salt marshes, rivers, forests, and fields and is a great place to pitch a tent and enjoy endless stretches of beaches and trails.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park is the second-largest National Park in eastern Canada. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in western Newfoundland and is part of the towering Long Ranch Mountains. Encircled by tiny seaside communities, forests, freshwater fjords, barren lowlands, cliffs, and shorelines, a place you don’t want to miss.
Terra Nova National Park
Terra Nova National Park is located on the east coast of Newfoundland. It is a place where you can kayak or canoe in sheltered bays and amazing coastlines among seabirds, whales, and icebergs. Icebergs can be seen offshore from May to August. This is a place to spot a moose, lynx, beaver, or a rare bird flying above the forest.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is known for its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery.
One-third of the Cabot Trail, a world-famous scenic highway runs through the national park along the coasts and over the highlands. The land is blessed with abundant wildlife and old history that goes back to the last Ice Age.
Kejimkujik National Park
Kejimkujik National Park has abundant lakes and rivers which make it ideal for canoeing. You will find historic canoe routes and many beautiful hiking trails in the park.
The park features many hiking trails from short strolls to long-distance hiking trails to remote regions of the park with wilderness campsites. Something for everyone!
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park is situated on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This spectacular park consists of limestone cliffs, caves and underground streams, and ancient forests with some of the oldest trees in Canada.
Fathom Five National Marine Park
Fathom Five National Marine Park is located off the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. It is the oldest national marine park in Canada. The Park consists of 22 islands and has some of the oldest forests in eastern Canada. There are 22 historic shipwrecks and several historic light stations protected in the area.
Fathom Five offers some of the best freshwater diving opportunities in the world.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
This tiny park of a total size of 25.6 square km is composed of 59 islands. The park stretches 50 km along the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay and is one of the most picturesque vacation wonderlands.
Entirely water-based, it plays host to a variety of wildlife species, such as the Massasauga Rattlesnake. This snake lives on Beausoleil Island and is the only venomous snake in eastern Canada.
Point Pelee National Park
Point Pelee National Park is located on the southern tip of Canada. It is one of Canada’s smallest national parks but is heavily visited and is known as Canada’s best bird-watching spot with over 300 species recorded.
The park is also famous for the migratory population of Monarch butterflies, which is quite a sight to see them gathering.
Pukaskwa National Park
Pukaskwa National Park is located south of the town of Marathon, in the Thunder Bay District of northern Ontario. It’s a wilderness area of boreal forests and home to wildlife such as moose, black bears, woodland caribou, and wolves.
The park is famous for its incredible vistas of Lake Superior, which you don’t want to miss.
Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands National Park has a size of 9 square km and is Canada’s smallest National Park. The Park consists of 21 islands plus many smaller islets, two properties on the mainland, and a visitor centre at Mallorytown.
Much of the park is only accessible by boat. There are picnic and camping facilities on several islands and at Mallorytown Landing.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Prince Edward Island National Park
This is one of Canada’s smallest national parks, offering 40 km of some of the best salt-water beaches in Canada and 50 km of hiking and cycling trails. Sand dunes, red sandstone cliffs historic sites, and cultural resources made this park a popular one.
Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park is located on the northeastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula and offers a spectacular coastline made out of limestone cliffs, pebble beaches, and rocks. Covered by boreal forest, the park is home to moose, deer, and black bears. If you go offshore you may see whales and seals.
La Mauricie National Park
La Mauricie National Park is located 220 km northeast of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains. The Park offers access to 150 lakes, many of them still pristine with sandy beaches, mixed forest vegetation, and rivers, accounting for the beauty of the park.
No wonder thousands of outdoor enthusiasts come to the park every year to paddle a canoe, or a kayak, to camp and fish. Numerous canoe routes and hiking trails are here to explore.
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is famous for the largest concentration of erosion monoliths in Canada. The park is situated just off the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The unique paradise consists of close to a thousand islands and islets and you will be amazed by its monoliths, flora, and birdlife.
The National Parks Canada will introduce you to the wild side of Canada and the Parks are here to be enjoyed by all.
For more information on experiencing any of the National Parks of Canada visit the Park Canada official Website.
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