Hiking at Parks Canada
Explore some of the most beautiful trails in Canada ranging from family-friendly to accessible to multi-day backcountry expeditions! New to hiking? Check out our hiking tips for how to plan and prepare for a hike like a pro.
The best hikes in Canada
Discover some of the best hiking trails in each Canadian province and territory. Explore rugged mountains, boundless prairies, lush forests, marshes full of life and gorgeous coastal landscapes. From coast to coast to coast, kilometers of memories await.
Want to get active with your family? Whether you want to hike with a stroller and small children or challenge your teenagers, you're sure to find an awesome trail at Parks Canada!
Treat yourself to the ultimate adventure! Take a multi-day backpacking trip in Canada’s wilderness.
Explore some of the best accessible trails for visitors with varying degrees of mobility.
Discover the world's longest network of recreational trails and enjoy more than 27,000 km of beauty. The Trans Canada Trail winds through every province and territory in the country and connects visitors to Canada's spectacular natural and cultural heritage.
Nothing beats feeling the mist of cascading waters on your skin or hearing the roar of rushing water as it echoes all around you. It's time to get out and explore some natural wonders!
Say goodbye to stress and try forest bathing with these suggested trails.
How to prepare for a hike
What better way to get away from it all, recharge your batteries and enjoy the great outdoors than getting out in nature? In order to get the most out of your hike, you need to be prepared. Wondering where to start? Learn how to plan for a hike with these top tips!
Remember: you are responsible for your own safety. You need to be self-sufficient at all times, even in an emergency situation. Check the visitor safety section of Parks Canada’s website, and also of the place you are visiting to learn about emergency protocols.
1. Know your limits
Choose your hike based on the experience and physical ability of everyone in your group. Some trails are well-marked with little difficulty and elevation gain and some are more technical and require navigation. Check the trail rating: green = easy, blue = intermediate, and black = difficult.
Properly estimate the length of your hike before you leave. The average speed of travel on a nature trail is 2 to 2.5 km per hour for a beginner.
First time hiker? Opt for shorter trails with little elevation gain.
2. Check the trail conditions and map
Familiarize yourself with the trail map and bring it with you. This will help you find your way and avoid getting lost. Check the current trail conditions and weather forecast before heading out.
For backcountry hikes, bring navigation tools like a map, compass and GPS and make sure you know how to use them!
Cell service is limited in many places, so do not solely rely on your phone’s GPS!
3. Hike with others
Avoid hiking alone for safety reasons. Hiking solo should only be attempted by seasoned hikers or on easy, popular trails.
4. Always tell someone where you are going
Plan your route well and tell someone your trip plan with information including: location, when you expect to be back, and who to call if you don’t return on time. This will make it easier for emergency personnel to locate you should something go wrong.
5. Bring safety equipment
You are responsible for your own safety. Make sure you have the essentials; like a first aid kit and basic safety equipment such as a multi-tool, flashlight, fire starter kit, whistle, etc. Every hike has its own unique challenges, so find out what the conditions are before you go and adjust your packing list accordingly.
6. Wear appropriate shoes and clothing
Footwear: Wear proper footwear and try to keep your feet dry. Your footwear should provide support, grip, protection, and should be comfortable and appropriate for the trail you choose. Even on easy trails you might find yourself walking on slippery surfaces like roots, wet grass or rocks. Leave the flip flops for the beach!
Clothing: Choose lightweight, breathable items that keep you dry and can be easily packed in your bag. Bring several layers of clothing even if it's sunny and warm because the weather can change quickly. Don't forget your sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun!
7. Bring enough food and water
Hydration is essential: plan on drinking about half a liter of water per hour and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink up.
Bring nutritious, high energy snacks - you will be burning lots of calories! If you are going longer than a few hours, pack a more complete meal.
8. Dispose of garbage properly
Put your trash and recyclables in designated bins or take it home. Leave no trace of your visit!
9. Use the designated paths
Stay on marked trails. Going off trail not only disturbs wildlife but can also damage fragile vegetation. Learn more by consulting the ten golden rules in the complete guide to visiting Parks Canada.
10. Keep your distance from wildlife
Do not feed, touch, or approach wildlife. Stay at least 100 metres (10 buses) away from bears, bison, cougars and wolves, and at least 30 metres (3 buses) from other large animals such as moose, elk, deer, sheep, and goats.
Seeing wildlife on your hike is an awesome experience, but with this comes the responsibility to treat wildlife with the space they need to keep you, and them, safe. For more wildlife safety tips, check out our top tips to respect wildlife and stay safe.
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