Here’s one great Canadian adventure to try in every province and territory.
Backpack the Tombstone Mountains, situated south of the Arctic Circle by two degrees latitude. Black granite peaks, alpine lakes and subarctic tundra are the attractions, plus fantastic flora and fauna. Mid to late August seems to be the best time to go – amazing colours, northern lights and fewer bugs.
Raft or canoe one of Canada’s most famous rivers – the Nahanni River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s been called the greatest river trip in the world and has seen the like of prime ministers, princes and princesses. The 600 kms of river travels through true wilderness – pristine forests, canyon country and mountains soaring up to 2,000 metres (6,000 feet). Check out Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara Falls. There are lots of outfitters and an assortment of itineraries for the beginner to advanced paddler. Visit Canadian River Expeditions or Black Feather.
Photo credit: Nike Beauregard on Flickr
Try a two week backpacking traverse of Ellsmere Island. It’s an ice free corridor less than 700 kms from the North Pole. Follow caribou and musk oxen trails from tidewater on the west to fjords on the east. Twenty four hour daylight, glaciers, incredible vistas and wonderful birdlife are the hallmarks of this trip.
Sea kayak the southern end of the Queen Charlotte Islands known as Haida Gwaii, the Haida name for Moresby Island. The islands making up the archipelago are off the northwest coast of BC and offer a remote, wilderness experience. A visit to the ancient Haida Indian village – SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), a UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee can be included in the tour. Plan your own tour if you’re an experienced kayaker or join one of the many companies operating in the area.
Hike or backpack the beautiful Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwestern corner of Alberta. It borders Glacier National Park in Montana and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Crypt Lake Trail is considered one of Canada’s best trails to hike. Hike in a group or go as part of a tour because this is serious grizzly bear country. Visit Tamarack Outdoor Outfitters.
Saskatchewan doesn’t come to mind when I think of adventure and yet it’s covered in lakes to the north. Try a paddle on the Churchill River, which is actually a series of lakes linked by rapids or falls. The Voyageurs passed through this area and it’s still in pristine condition. You can drink the water right from the river, just like the Voyageurs!
A trip to Churchill is on the list of polar bear fans in the fall but it is also a very worthwhile summer adventure. Kayak or snorkel with the 60,000 beluga whales that visit Churchill every summer and if that doesn’t sound like a thrill head out on a Huck Finn style camping trip and follow the paths of early explorers. Lazy Bear Lodge offers all of the above experiences plus it was included in National Geographic’s great places to stay listing of 2009.
Photo credit: Paul Mannix on Flickr
Kayak around the 30,000 islands that are found in the Georgian Bay, just a few hours north of Toronto. You can enjoy fantastic lake swimming, and the iconic glacier smoothed granite and white pines that have been the subject of many a painting. Try White Squall Paddling Centre or Voyageur Quest.
Visit the Gaspe Peninsula, the third most beautiful destination in the world according to the powers that be at National Geographic headquarters. The 885 kilometre loop road takes you past gorgeous fishing villages with picturesque sea and coastline views. In the interior the highest mountains of southern Quebec can be seen. The ChicChocs are known for their excellent hiking and caribou herds.
Head to the Bay of Fundy. This is great kayaking country so join one of the local outfitters to get a taste of the area. The highest tides in the world, sea caves and hidden beaches await discovery. Contact Fresh Air Adventure for the details.
Do a circle loop by car or by bike around the northern end of Cape Breton Island. The island has received accolades over the years from the heavyweights in the travel industry. It has been called “the most beautiful island” and a visit is “amongst the most friendly people” so you can’t go wrong. Stunning vistas, Gaelic culture, fresh lobster and blueberry pie, local crafts people, fantastic fishing and world class biking combine to make this an ideal destination for at least a week. For bike trips try Freewheeling or Atlantic Canada Cycling.
Prince Edward Island
Ride the 279 kilometre Confederation Trail from one end of the island to the other. This easy trail takes you past small towns with lots of accommodation options so it’s an easy ride to do on your own. Take side trips off the trail so you can enjoy the famous red sand beaches. MacQueens can help with shuttles or be your guide too.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Hike a section of the East Coast Trail, located along the east coast of Canada. 220 kms of the trail are presently fully signed and are at the world class level and another 320 kms are under development. This trail can be hiked in small sections or linked with the help of stays in B&B’s. Highlights of the trail include iceberg and whale sightings, bird life, historic communities, lighthouses, ecological reserves and many National Historic Sites. The Newfoundland hospitality is legendary too. Trail Connections can help with all the planning.
If you could choose one of these adventures which one would it be??