Top 10 most beautiful hiking trails in Canada

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Updated: December 19, 2018

Canada is a big place. It seems obvious, but it bears repeating. Because of its sheer size, there’s a staggering amount of scenery to take in, whether on foot or from behind the wheel.

If road trips are more your speed, the All-New Volvo V60 can help make your trip something to remember. A voice-command navigation system will help you keep your eyes on the road while reaching your destination, and the ample cargo space will make sure you have everything you need once you get there.

But to see the best Canada has to offer, you’re going to have to go on foot. Don’t worry; these breathtaking Canadian hiking trails are worth the effort. 

The Pukaskwa Coastal Trail

For this one, you’ll need to take advantage of the Volvo V60’s spacious storage and pack some camping gear. A recommended week-long, 60km hike, this trek through Thunder Bay’s Pukaskwa National Park will wear you down in parts, but the extra exertion pays off. You’ll see gorgeous gorges and waterfalls, cobblestone beaches, weathered granite, and sandy coves.

The Newfoundland Tablelands

A desert? In Canada? And in Newfoundland, no less? The east coast’s Tablelands are a geological marvel, the result of tectonic shifts that have left the land barren but beautiful. Billed as a hike two billion years in the making, this hike along the Earth’s mantle will expose you to beautiful peridotite rock and vegetation that could only exist under such unique circumstances.

Hike the Hamilton Falls

We often think of Hamilton, Ontario, as an industrial town, but it’s actually filled with incredible stretches of nature. Claimed by some to be the waterfall capital of the world, Hamilton has more than 100 waterfalls in its city limits, and their proximity to one another along the rocky Niagara Escarpment means you can see more than a handful of them in a day. We’d start with the Iroquoia Walk, a short 3.7-kilometre hike that takes you past seven beautiful waterfalls.

The Pesuta Shipwreck Trail

December 1928. 90 years.

That’s how long the Pesuta has sat shipwrecked on the shores of the Haida Gwaii. And because it’s centred on the edge of British Columbia’s Naikoon Provincial Park, going on a hike is the only way to see it. Luckily, the hike offers more than just the rare experience of seeing the old ship; at about two hours both ways, this incredible trek will take you through the rainforest and along the scenic Tlell River.

Grey Owl Trail, Manitoba

Not even the controversy surrounding conservationist Archibald Belaney (who took the name Grey Owl after fraudulently assuming an aboriginal identity) can taint the beauty of this Manitoban trail. Culminating in the cabin he lived in with his pet beavers, it’s clear to see that Belaney’s efforts were in good faith: this 17km hike is filled with prospering animal life.

Opal Hills Hike

This Jasper, Alberta, hike will take your breath away, but not just because of how strenuous it can get. Early on, the Opal Hills Hike will challenge you with steep, kilometre-long climbs, but it won’t be long before you’re rewarded with wildflower-filled meadows and breathtaking views of Maligne Lake. This hike is so beautiful that even the picturesque drive to it comes highly recommended.

Lake Agnes Teahouse, Lake Louise

The only hike on this list that ends with a nice cup of tea, this Alberta hike stretches from Lake Louise to Mirror Lake to Lake Agnes, and it rightly centres itself on the quaint tea house found on its mountainous shores. But the journey’s worth talking about, too, because the 8km hike features elevated views of crystal clear lakes—three of them.

Killarney Provincial Park

The trails of Georgian Bay’s Killarney Provincial Park are art. Literally. The park is protected because members of the iconic Group of Seven fought to preserve its beauty, and it’s been the subject of more than a few of their classic paintings. It doesn’t take a week-long hike to see that—though if you’re looking for a challenge, the park’s La Cloche Silhouette Trail can offer it. Hikers looking for a shorter but still satisfying trek should experience “The Crack,” a slice in the quartz cliff with a view you’ll need to see to believe.

Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland

Gros Morne’s Long Range Traverse might be the most scenic hike in Atlantic Canada. A backpacking hike that will take you at least six days, it’s also one of the more challenging ones. But as with the Pukaskwa Coastal Trail, the experience, not to mention sights, are more than worth the effort. Along the way to Gros Morne’s peaks, you’ll spot foggy fjords, arctic plants and unbothered moose.

The Valley of 1000 Devils

This remote Saskatchewan hike isn’t as menacing as it sounds, but it does have its challenges. Dry, hot, and with no drinkable water, this is a hike you’ll need to come prepared for, but if you do, you’ll be treated to one of the more unique trails in the country. It’s here that the first dinosaur bones were discovered in Canada, and it’s not out of the question that you’ll stumble upon a fossil or two on your trek. If not, you’ll still likely be blown away by the red-clay hoodoos strewn across the land.