West Coast Trail
Photo by cwexpeditions.net

The best coastal hikes in Canada

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Tired of your usual cottage-country rambles? Looking for a great long-distance trail adventure? Strap on your multiday pack and tackle one of these bucket listers.

East Coast Trail

Photo courtesy of J. van Houwelingen

The east coast of Newfoundland, along the Atlantic Ocean
Length: 265 km (plus 275 km “undeveloped”)
Slog-o-meter: Varies by section
Known for: Icebergs, whales, and lighthouses (oh my!)
Cool feature: Cape Spear, on the Avalon Peninsula, is the easternmost point in Canada
More info: eastcoasttrail.ca

Great Lakes Seaway Trail

The shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River
Length: 830 km
Slog-o-meter: Easy
Known for: Grapes, both wine and table; the Lake Erie area is the largest Concord grape region in the world.
Cool feature: History alert! The area along the trail was a key front in the War of 1812
More info: seawaytrail.com

Coastal Hiking Trail

Photo courtesy of www.adventure.com

The Lake Superior shore, in Pukaskwa National Park
Length: 60 km
Slog-o-meter: Moderately hard
Known for: Beautiful vistas of the world’s largest freshwater lake
Cool feature: Pukaskwa park staff set out recorders in spring and summer to capture birdsong; they have recorded 47 species so far, including two species at risk
More info: pc.gc.ca/pukaskwa

West Coast Trail

The southwestern edge of Vancouver Island, in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Length: 75 km
Slog-o-meter: Tough
Known for: Its “hiking Holy Grail” status; oh, and rain (it’s the Pacific Northwest)
Cool feature: The Graveyard of the Pacific, site of some of the most famous shipwrecks in Canada
More info: pc.gc.ca/pacificrim