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Spectacular scenery in Auyuittuq National Park
Spectacular scenery in Auyuittuq National Park

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada

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Canada has its fair share of long distance and backpacking trails. I tend to think of Europe when I think of long distance hiking trails or walks. Maybe they’ve just done a better job of publicizing them. But in Canada there are long distance and backpacking trails in every province and territory. Several are a work in progress.

Described are 37 long distance and backpacking trails in Canada.

Some of the long distance trails are built only for hiking, while others are shared-use trails. Almost all of the national parks have extensive trail systems with many multi-day backpacking trips possible, though only a few of these ones are mentioned – at the end of the post. Many, but certainly not all of the trails are designed for adventurous folks with expert navigation and wilderness skills. Fortunately, there are still plenty of trails that are well-marked with multiple access points so they can be done in sections as you have the time. 

It always feels so good to get the boots off at the end of the day
It always feels so good to get the boots off at the end of the day

Check out this detailed packing list for a two week hiking – backpacking trip.

This list and brief description of many of Canada’s long distance hiking trails keeps growing as I hear of or try new trails.

Views from the Charlevoix Traverse in Quebec
Views from the Charlevoix Traverse in Quebec

British Columbia long distance hiking trails

The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail is one of the most popular long distance hiking trails in Canada with up to 8,000 people per season tackling the strenuous 75 km (45 mile) section of beach and rain forest between Bamfield in the north and Port Renfrew in the south. Allow 6-8 days.

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
The interminable ladders on the West Coast Trail
One of the beautiful beaches on the West Coast Trail
One of the beautiful beaches on the West Coast Trail

The Juan de Fuca Trail

The Juan de Fuca Trail, is a 47 km (29 mile) strenuous but well-marked trail that follows the coast from Port Renfrew to the small town of Jordan River.

It’s easier than its northern neighbour, the West Coast Trail, and perfect if you have three to four days. You can also hike it in sections because of its multiple access points.

Read: Juan de Fuca Trail: What You Need to Know

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
The Juan de Fuca Trail near Botanical beach
A beautiful beach section on the Juan de Fuca Trail
A beautiful beach section on the Juan de Fuca Trail

The North Coast Trail 

The North Coast Trail at the northern end of Vancouver Island offers 43 km (27 miles) of tough and often extremely muddy hiking. It runs from Nels Bight in Cape Scott Provincial Park to Shushartie Bay.

Add in another 15 km to get to the trailhead at San Josef River. You might see black bears, cougars, wolves and seals, sea lions and sea birds. 

Read: Muddy but Fabulous: The Cape Scott Trail

Pacific Ocean views from Cape Scott beach
Pacific Ocean views from Cape Scott beach – Photo credit: Gemma Taylor, Offtrack Travel

The Nootka Island Trail

The Nootka Island Trail takes you approximately 35 km (22 miles) from Louie Bay on the north side of the island to Friendly Cove on the south side – and for that you need to allow 5-7 days. This is another tough trail but it rewards with beautiful beaches and quintessential west coast scenery. 

Lots of creek crossings in the morning
Lots of creek crossings in the morning
Calvin Falls
Calvin Falls – and lots of fresh water

The Sunshine Coast Trail

The Sunshine Coast Trail in the Powell River area takes you 180 km (112 miles) from the Desolation Sound area in the north to Saltery Bay in the south. There are over twenty access points to choose from but if you do it in one go, allow at least 10 days. It offers free huts along its length but they cannot be reserved.

Read: Sunshine Coast Trail: What you Need to Know 

Admiring spectacularly large trees on the Sunshine Coast Trail
Admiring spectacularly large trees on the Sunshine Coast Trail
Manzanita Hut on the Sunshine Coast Trail
The free Manzanita Hut on the Sunshine Coast Trail

Stein Valley Trails

The Stein Valley trails in Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Provincial Park, east of Whistler, are notoriously arduous. The 52 kilometre (32 mile) hike from Blowdown Pass to the Stein trailhead near Lytton requires four to five days.

The scenery is reportedly excellent but the trails can be very tough going and you need excellent route finding skills.

The Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail

The 420 km (260 mile) Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail (also known as the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail) takes you from Bella Coola in central BC to Quesnel.

Allow three weeks though it’s possible to do the 80 km section through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in a week. This historic trail was used by the native people to transport fish grease to the interior for trading.

The Telegraph Trail follows an historic telegraph line for 100 km (62 miles) between Quesnel and Hazelton.

Alberta hiking trails

The Waskahegan Trail

The Waskahegan Trail offers a remote 309 km (192 mile) experience. The trail makes a loop, beginning south of Edmonton and heading to Wetaskiwin, then east to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, north to Elk Island National Park and west to Fort Saskatchewan. It’s often done as a series of day hikes.

Bison off in the distance in Elk Island National Park
Bison off in the distance in Elk Island National Park

The Great Divide Trail

The Great Divide Trail takes you 1,200 km (744 miles) from the US border north to Kakwa Provincial Park, north of Jasper National Park. Other than a 100 km section between Crowsnest Pass and Kananaskis Country, it’s an informal route but it’s becoming more popular with every passing year. There is an app you can download and get all the trails.

Lower Elk Lake after sunset
Lower Elk Lake after sunset – and one of the suggested campgrounds on the route

Multi-day hiking trips in the Rocky Mountain National Parks

For a look at a couple of backpacking trips in Banff, Jasper and Kootenay National Parks that are three to four days in length check out the following blogs.

On the way to Surprise Point Campground
On the way to Surprise Point Campground

Saskatchewan long distance hiking trails

The Boreal Trail

Saskatchewan offers lots of hiking in the provincial and national parks. They do have one long distance hiking trail – the 120 km Boreal Trail in the western part of the province. It offers a variety of starting and ending points. In 2019 the trail suffered some damage after a big storm so check in with the park before you go. Fortunately I did have a reader say she did the whole trail after the storm.

Read: Hiking the Boreal Trail in Saskatchewan 

Starting the Boreal Trail at its western end
Starting the Boreal Trail at its western end in Meadow Lake Provincial Park

Manitoba hiking trails

The Mantario Trail

The Mantario Trail traverses 66 km (41 miles) through the Canadian Shield and boreal forest, near the Manitoba – Ontario border. This trail is for experienced backpackers only who are prepared for tough conditions – at least according to the trip reports.

Ontario hiking trails

The Voyageur Trail

The Voyageur Trail is a work in progress. Eventually it will link Thunder Bay on the north shore of Lake Superior to Manitoulin Island.

There are four sections of some length that are finished now: Rossport to Terrace Bay (52 m), Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail (60 km), Lake Superior Provincial Park Coastal Trail (55 km) and Goulais River -Sault Ste. Marie – Thessalon – Elliot Lake (250 km).

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
Sections of easy flat walking on these rocks that you wish lasted forever

Also read about the Coastal Trail in Pukaskwa National Park. It’s a spectacular trail but plan a trip in late August or September as the bugs can be ferocious earlier in the summer.

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
A beautiful section of the Coast Trail in Pukaskwa National Park

The Ottawa – Temiskaming Highland Trail

Ottawa-Temiskaming Highland Trail is a rugged wilderness trail approximately 100 km in length. There are six access points via road so it’s possible to break the trail up into day trips.

The Bruce Trail

The Bruce Trail is an 800 km (496 mile) trail that follows the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. There are over 300 km of additional side trails. Numerous access points allow day long or weekend trips. It is Canada’s original long distance hiking trail.

The section through Bruce Peninsula National Park is spectacular – but surprisingly tough.

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
The Grotto – one of the highlights along the Bruce Trail in Bruce Peninsula National Park
View down the coast from the top of the cliff
View down the coast from the top of the cliff

Grand Valley Trail

The Grand Valley Trail takes you 275 km (171 miles) between Rock Point Provincial Park on Lake Erie and the town of Alton near Orangeville. Watch out for poison ivy and ticks.

Avon Trail

The Avon Trail stretches from St. Mary’s to Conestoga over 110 kilometres (68 miles). Hike across scenic farmland, occasionally along a country road and even through small towns. The trail links to the Thames Valley and Grand Valley Trails.

The Thames Valley Trail

The Thames Valley Trail is a 110 kilometre (68 mile) hiking trail along the Thames River Valley from London to St. Mary’s. Through London it follows multi-use trails.

The Oak Ridges Trail

The Oak Ridges Trail follows the Oak Ridge Moraine for over 160 kilometres (99 miles) just north of Toronto. There are over 100 km of side trails that link up with it including the Bruce Trail to the west.

Read: An Easy Hike on the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
An easy section of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail

Ganaraska Trail

The Ganaraska Trail connects Port Hope, Barrie, Orillia and the Bruce Trail over a distance of 500 km (310 miles). Some sections of the trail traverse remote wilderness. There are many sections that can be done over a number of weekends to complete the entire trail.

Walking around 6:30 PM worked to our advantage with the light
Walking around 6:30 PM worked to our advantage with the light

The Rideau Trail

The Rideau Trail is a 387 km hiking trail network between Ottawa and Kingston that takes hikers through two provincial parks, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve & a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Numerous access points make it an ideal trail for hikers completing it in sections but backpackers are through hiking the trail in increasing numbers as well.

The Rideau Canal where it meets the Ottawa River is the start/end point
The Rideau Canal where it meets the Ottawa River is the start/end point depending on what direction you hike it

Quebec long distance hiking trails

Quebec’s section of the National Hiking Trail will eventually be close to 1,500 km (930 miles) in length. The trail will run from the Ottawa/Gatineau Park area, head across the Laurentians and Charlevoix regions before crossing the St. Lawrence at Les Escoumins.

There will be a 160 km lower St. Lawrence section too, stretching all the way to the New Brunswick border. More than half the trail is completed now.

International Appalachian Trail

The Chic Choc Mountains boast 150 km (93 miles) of trail that are the northern part of the International Appalachian Trail. Stay in one of the approximately 20 backcountry huts and keep your eyes peeled for caribou, especially at the higher elevations. For a day hike that offers spectacular scenery you would do well to hike to the summit of Le Mont Albert.

The first views from the top of Le Mont Albert
The first views from the top of Le Mont Albert

Les Sentiers de l’Estrie

Les Sentiers de l’Estrie takes you 150 km from the Vermont border to Kingsbury and connects several peaks over 2,000 feet high. Membership is required to walk the trails.

The Sentier du Lac Kénogami

The Sentier du Lac Kénogami is a 45 km trail along the shores of Lake Kenogami. Allow four days. The trail begins near Hébertville and the east end is south of Chicoutimi.

The Traversé de Charlevoix

There’s a 105 km hut to hut hiking trail near Baie St. Paul called the Traversé de Charlevoix. It takes most people 6 – 7 days to do it. The first four days are the most scenic, with the last three mostly in the woods. In September fuel up with blueberries.

Read: Hut to Hut Hiking on the Charlevoix Traversé

37 Long Distance & Backpacking Trails in Canada
On the first day on the Traversee de Charlevoix there’s an option to do a summit hike with these kind of views
Blue Jay Hut - everyone's favourite
Blue Jay Hut – everyone’s favourite on the Charlevoix Traverse

New Brunswick hiking trails

The Fundy Footpath

The Fundy Footpath hike is a rugged 64.3 km (40 mi) trail that requires at least four days. It takes you along the Fundy shore from the Fundy Trail Parkway near Big Salmon River to Fundy National Park. Be prepared for slippery rocks and cliffs. Plan your hike around the tides. Enjoy superlative coastal views.

One of the access points from the Fundy Footpath
One of the access points from the Fundy Footpath
One of the beautiful beaches you can camp on along the Fundy Footpath
One of the beautiful beaches you can camp on along the Fundy Footpath

The Fundy Circuit

The Fundy Circuit is another possibility. It’s a 48 km backpacking circuit made up of seven linked hiking trails within Fundy National Park. Allow three to five days to hike it. Be sure to make backcountry reservations.

Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail

A millennia old Mi’gmaq migration route follows the winding Nepisiguit River from Mount Carleton Provincial Park to Bathurst on Chaleur Bay There’s an excellent account of the 5-day, 160 km hike along the Nepisiguit River in Canadian Geographic

Nova Scotia hiking trails

The Cape to Cape Trail is in the planning stages. Ultimately it will take you from Cape Chignecto to Cape George, a distance of about 400 km (248 miles).

Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail

The 51 km physically demanding Coastal Trail in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park requires three to four days. You can tent or book a hut. The hike offers beautiful coastal scenery, complete with numerous 200 m high red cliffs, sheltered coves and remnant old growth forest.

One of the best views along the Coastal Trail
One of the best views of the three days along the Coastal Trail
Never saw a boat on the Bay of Fundy
Never saw a boat on the Bay of Fundy while hiking the Cape Chignecto Trail

Prince Edward Island long distance hiking trails

The Confederation Trail

In PEI look for the Confederation Trail, a 250 km (155 miles) trail on old railway lines. It’s meant to be shared so assume you’ll run into cyclists. Wind your way through pretty villages, through hardwood groves and along many a river. It’s easy to follow and flat.

The latest addition to PEI is the Island Walk – a 700 km circumnavigation of the entire island over 32 sections.

Prince Edward Island by Bike
Confederation Trail makes for easy biking and hiking

Newfoundland hiking trails

The East Coast Trail

The East Coast Trail is a 540 km (335 mile) trail running along the eastern cliffs of the Avalon Peninsula. It’s broken into 18 sections and each section can be accessed for a day hike. I spent 11 days hiking 13 sections in summer 2022 and can say it’s a stunner of a trail to hike. Camp or stay in B&B’s.

The trail links 32 historic communities and features spectacular scenery including cliffs, sea stacks, fjords, lighthouses, icebergs and even a caribou herd.

Recommended reading: The Spurwink Island Path Hike in Newfoundland 

You can a sense of the ruggedness of the East Coast Trail very quickly
You can a sense of the ruggedness of the East Coast Trail very quickly
A colourful start heading north on the Stiles Cove Path
A colourful start heading north on the Stiles Cove Path

The Long Range Traverse

Gros Morne National Park boasts two wilderness backpacking routes – the North Rim Traverse and the Long Range Traverse. Both require solid navigational skills and prior experience OR go with a guide.

The Long Range Traverse typically takes four days to complete. Enjoy fjords, spectacular rugged mountains, many a small lake and numerous wildlife sightings including moose and caribou.

One of the great views you get on the Long Range Traverse
One of the great views you get on the Long Range Traverse
The waterfall is a great place for lunch
The waterfall is a great place for lunch on the Long Range Traverse

Yukon Territory hiking trail

The Chilkoot Trail

The Chilkoot Trail, a 53 km former gold rush trail, is the most famous one in Canada’s north. It’s a demanding four to six day hike that starts on tidewater in Alaska and ends in Bennett, BC. Campsites need to be booked well in advance. 

An easy section of the Chilkoot Trail near Bennett Lake
An easy section of the Chilkoot Trail near Bennett Lake

Northwest Territories hiking trail

The Canol Heritage Trail

The Canol Heritage Trail is an abandoned road that runs 350 km (217 miles) between MacMillan Pass and Norman Wells. The road was built during World War II to reach oil fields. Plan on hiking 20 days to traverse this spectacular country. It is a very remote wilderness experience.

Nunavut hiking trail

Akshayuk Pass

Akshayuk Pass in Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island is a 105 km (65 mile) hike that showcases a wild landscape with the world’s tallest rock cliffs – Mt. Thor. You’ll see hanging glaciers, shear-faced mountains and perhaps even a polar bear.

Read: A Backpacking Trip in Auyuittuq National Park

Spectacular scenery in Auyuittuq National Park
Spectacular scenery in Auyuittuq National Park
The view out our tent window at Summit Lake
The view out our tent window at Summit Lake

Do you have any long distance and backpacking trails in Canada to add to this list? What have I missed?

Things I take on most hikes

At lunch time I like something comfortable to sit on. I love my almost weightless inflatable seat cushion

I like using hiking poles, especially when a stream crossing is involved. Invest in a good pair that are collapsible and lightweight.

No matter how the day starts I always carry rain gear. I find a brim hat with a chin strap invaluable on rainy or hot, sunny days.

I always pack a buff, a multi-purpose piece of cloth yet it takes up almost no room and as a lot of uses like warming your neck, covering your nose if it’s dusty and pulling your hair back in the wind.

I always pack water purification tablets – because they take up almost no room and they’re perfect to use on a short stop.

For blister care I recommend the following.

Leukotape – This came highly recommended to me by a fellow who was hiking the whole of the Great Divide Trail in Alberta and BC. I met him near the end of the trail, and he still swore by the stuff.

KT Blister Tape – Several hikers I have chatted with recently have come to love this tape for blisters. I also recommend KT Tape – an athletic tape that I’ve used for foot support on long hikes.

Compeed – I discovered this Band Aid-like product when I was hiking the Cumbria Way in England and ended up with massive blisters after getting wet feet. I always pack it on multi-day hikes – and I find it speeds up the healing process too. It’s not inexpensive but it’s worth it.

More reading on long distance hikes in the world

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

37+ long distance hiking trails in Canada


  1. To read about my wonderful adventure thru-hiking the entire Bruce Trail, pick up a copy of the book “Bruce Trail – An Adventure Along the Niagara Escarpment.”

  2. What a great list of Canada’s long distance hiking trails you’ve pulled together! A couple of suggestions for Ontario Parks. The Western Uplands Trail is in Algonquin Park, the oldest park in Ontario’s provincial parks system.

    Killarney Provincial Park’s La Cloche Silhouette Trail is a 100km loop with a variety of terrain. Its pièce de résistance is Silver Peak which rises above Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. A spectacular trail for experienced hikers to try especially at the peak of fall colours. Members of the Group of Seven were instrumental in getting this park designated. Some of their famous sketches were painted plein air at Killarney. In 2012, the Ontario Society of Artists will celebrate their 140th anniversary in the park paddling, hiking and painting plein air. This Waddington’s site highlights traveling in the footsteps of the Group of Seven.

  3. @Boomergirl (Judy) Thank you for your thoughtful comment and great suggestions. I’ve canoed Killarney – many years ago – but had no idea about the Silhouette Loop. Great info.

  4. I scanned through because I wanted to see if we had one in Nova Scotia and wasn’t surprised to see we didn’t – yet. Although we have a lot of really nice day hikes.

    1. There are a few multi day hikes in Nova Scotia. I’ve done Cape Chignecto twice, there are cabins you can rent along the entire trail if you don’t want to bring a tent. I enjoy taking my time and hiking it over 4 days. The website only shows 1 cabin but there are 4, park staff are very helpful.

      There is a multi day hike at Kejimkujic, Liberty Lake Loop, with campsites.

      I’ve done an overnight on the wilderness bluff, there are no official campsites but many locations where you can pitch a tent.

  5. @Ayngelina One of my favourite day hikes in Nova Scotia is going out to Cape Split. And one day it sounds like there will be a long distance hike. I hope it happens.

  6. I’ve hiked along the Bruce Trail many times over the years when I lived in that part of Ontario and enjoyed the scenery. I have just started my own travel blog and I’m always looking for ideas. I particularly liked what you had to say about the Voyageur Trail as I live in Sudbury and I’d like to know if they will be extending this trail to Espanola as I might like to hike that part of it one day.

  7. Another long distanc Hiking trail in New Brunswick is the Intrnational Appalachian Trail which goes from Andover in the NB/Maine to Tide Head on the Quebec border. It is 274 km’s long. Meets up with the Quebec portion of the IAT.
    One think I’ve come to realize is that some long distance trails are really for day hikers and not (officially) for long distance backpacking. The Bruce or Ganaraska trails in S. Ontario come to mind.

  8. Great post and lots of good info. The Juan de Fuca Trail is great, but it looks like it is just the tip of the iceberg as far as long trails in Canada go.

  9. You missed a couple in Nova Scotia:

    The Liberty Trail in Kejimkujik Natinal Park and the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail

    Nice list though ! thanks

  10. How about the 85k or so La Cloche Silhouette trail at Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario?

  11. Grand Manan in New Brunswick has a great 41 km hike, mostly along the coast with some spectacular scenery. It took us 3 days to complete it in May,2013.

  12. @Genevieve Thanks for your info. I actually hiked Cape Chignecto this past June and stayed in the cabins – quite civilized especially as I did the backpacking trip solo. The other two hikes are new to me.

  13. I noticed that the kilarney trail is not on this list…having hiked both the kilarney trail and the west coast trail this summer I can say that the kilarney trail is more physically demanding .The west coast trail was hard ,and beautiful

  14. I just finished the La Cloche and was looking to do something similar.

    The La Cloche is an 85 km loop through the La Cloche ‘Mountains.’ They stand at about 350-400 m tall on the trail and are mostly sky-fields of brilliant white granite.

    I found the trial to be very well marked, so expert navigation skills are not truly mandatory (although it always helps!). The uphill sections, particularly in the so-called ‘Hansen Township Section’ of the trial are pretty challenging.

    Thanks for the site!

  15. The LaCloche Silouette trail in Killarney Provincial park. It is a 110 km loop of very rugged terrain and it is very remote. 7-10 days required and must carry all food and camping gear. Demanding hike, but outstanding scenery!

  16. Awesome list! Just found it. In Ontario, the Rideau Trail is offers 387km of marked trail providing a link between Ottawa, Kingston and many communities in between (fastest route is 323km). Check it out! The Cataraqui Trail is another trail around there that connects Strathcona (near Napanee) with Smiths Falls along an old rail line. Both trails cross sections of the Rideau Canal and through the Frontenac Arch UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

  17. Great list! A few to add to my list. A friend and I are planning a 100 km trek through a part of the Rideau Trail. It is a great one to do in sections from what I have read, but I have noticed while planning this multi day hike that camp spots are few and far between.

  18. Hey there, Im searching high and low for some help routing a backpacking trip from Quebec City to Newfoundland and am having a lot of trouble mapping it. If anyone with experience doing can provide any help id be extremely grateful!

    1. @Monica Are you trying to backpack via the roads – or the Trans-Canada Trail. I’d start by looking at what sections on the Trans-Canada trail could be used along the route. And buy some very detailed maps.

  19. A couple to add in Manitoba: the Epinette Creek trail system- about 40km in Spruce Woods Provincial Park and in Riding Mountain National Park you could easily hike for a week in the west part of the park and likely not see a soul. There are over 400 km of trails in the park and you can link up many of them, giving the possibility of 200km of trail solitude.

    I noticed you skipped over some of the more famous hikes in the mountain parks too- Skyline in Jasper and Rockwall in Kootenay. There are of course many more in Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, and Kananaskis.

    Thanks for the great info!

  20. @Josh Good points re the Manitoba trails. I have personally hiked the Rockwall and the Skyline Trail but didn’t include them in this list as they weren’t long enough – though they are two of my faves in all of Canada.Thanks so much for stopping by.

  21. You forgot La Traversée de Charlevoix in Québec! It can be hiked in summer and cross country skied in winter (I did the latter).

  22. Please consider adding the Celtic Shores Coastal trail to your list. 92km of easily accessible multi-use rails-to-trails along the spectacular west coast of Cape Breton Island.

  23. @Tasha The Trans-Canada Trail is great but it’s hardly one continuous trail – yet. They’re working hard to have more sections in place & finished by 2017 – Canada’s 150th anniversary.

  24. You have forgotten the gorgeous Cape Chignecto Loop in Nova Scotia. 52 kms of rugged coastal trail on the Bay of Fundy and beautiful rugged forest. Campsites and cabins available.

  25. Think Celtic Shores would be a great biking trail but not backpacking. The packed surface is hard on the feet and legs, and it travels through lots of flat, marshy areas. There is really only one day with scenic views along the coast, and when we did it, it was a day of gale force winds and driving rain. But we like wilderness and variety of landscape – each to their own preferences.

  26. British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley also offers the 67Km long High-Rim + Highland trail(s). These conjoining routes take one from Vernon in the north, down to Chute Lake (Naramata) in the south.

    Andrew Drouin

  27. Another multi (4-5) day coastal hike in BC is the Hesquiat Trail. It is 98% coastal hiking with a lot of variation. Not technically hard but arduous 9 kms of boulders and some water shortages. Less traveled that most coastal hikes as it in a fly in fly out hike. I have done all the coastal hikes and this is one of my favorites, no mud or log crossings.

  28. @Laurie I certainly know of the area from a kayaking perspective but had no idea there was a trail. Sounds like a very interesting – and probably not very well used hike – or did you run into a lot of people?

  29. I’m not sure what your cut off is to be considered a long distance trail? Having said that, I’d like to put in a vote for the Rockwall Trail, located in Kootenay National Park. It’s 55km long, takes you up over 3 passes: Rockwall pass, Tumbling Pass, and Numa Pass; not to mention Tumbling Glacier, and with a side trip, Wolverine Pass. This trail has to be added to your list. Truly a treasure.

  30. @Jack I have written about the trail elsewhere on my blog and in fact included it in my book on 100 Outdoor Adventures in Canada. I fully concur that it’s a trail that delivers day after day. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  31. Hello, I’m in need of some advise. I plan to hike from southern okanagan up through bc up into the Yukon I would like to start near keremeos bc and end up in Dawson city. Does anyone know of a series of trails I could use for this? This will probably take me a few months I’m guessing. only done a few multi day hikes. Nothing this extensive. has anyone done a trip like this?

  32. Nothing yet in NS?

    Try Cape chignecto, 3-5 days of mostly coastal up and down with incredible scenery. I stopped taking pictures because people who didn’t make the effort did not appreciate nor deserve to see the incredible scenes in front of me that were only accessible by foot (or sea kayak). I thought clockwise was best. Pre read up on the history at rufegee cove and eatonville which are along the way.

    I would skip Keji national park, it’s 60k I think but flat and is serene and incredible by canoe instead.

    Kenomee Canyon is a 2 day back pack with waterfalls and small river crossings.

    Paulette’s Cove (if it’s still open) was kind of cool though a little flat on top. A two day venture.

    These were some of my favourites in NS. Any rail trail is a non starter for me so I promise some good scenery on these hikes. There are countless day hikes as well with the beauty of short driving distances between them.

    Happy hiking.

    1. @Steven I have done Cape Chignecto as a solo 3 day backpacking trip – almost 3 years ago. Such impressive scenery. Keji I agree is better for canoeing & kayaking but the other two you mention are new. Thanks for commenting.

  33. Well, you’ve certainly missed some absolutely stunning hikes in Alberta (hike to Mount Assiniboine for one).

    The La Cloche Silhouette Trail in Ontario is also one for the books.

    1. @Jennifer I have hiked Mt Assiniboine and agree it’s a great hike. The same goes for the La Cloche Trail – which someone else pointed out. I didn’t include Mt Assiniboine as then I’d have to include every amazing 3 day backpacking trip in Canada.

  34. Interesting list. It’s obvious there are many options all over Canada. I suppose the term ‘long distance’ can be misleading. For instance I do know that in Alberta you have omitted the two premier ‘long distance’ pursuits in Jasper National Park. The North and South boundaries. No a criticism but I am just curious, any reasons for that?

  35. Dan that’s a great project. There are many options down south but as you get north the trails become extremely remote to non existent. You would have to plan in great detail with contacts who can do remote food drops as there will be nowhere to buy food. You just couldn’t carry enough to get you the distances required. The other option is to follow the Stewart-Cassiar the Highway 37 or link up the Can-Alaska highway then follow the Klondike to Dawson City. I know these are highways but its the only way unless you want heli food drops and a few years. I know all this because I’ve solo hiked from St .Johns Nl to Victoria BC then up to Dawson City on the Trans Canada Trail which was 20,100kms. I’m not bragging but I’m the only one to do it and I have the worlds solo hiking record so I would like to think I know my stuff. Also I’m a Forest Technologist from Prince George so I know the north very well. I don’t want to discourage you but it will take far longer than a few months. Driving its 2860kms but if your networking trails part way you could easily add a few hundred kms. So even low balling it your looking at 3000kms. If you averaged 25kms every day it would take you 120 days that’s four months. However in my vast experience this is extremely difficult to achieve as you will find potential unexpected challenges along the way. I’ve been held up by forest fires, heavy rain causing flooding and land slides, flooding from beaver activity, heat waves, surprise blizzards at altitude, or often in remote areas the trail isn’t marked proper or has grown over so you either get lost awhile or you compass your way out which obviously slows you down often by days. Not to mention the strain on you food supplies. These things could also cause you to miss a food drop. Another thing to consider is during the long haul you will get epic blisters and sometimes have to stop and rest to let them heal as you don’t want blood poisoning. you’ll also get heat rash and moisture rash which causes much discomfort and can lead to broken skin and infection. Fatigue will also be a factor as you will find out so rest will be key but it also adds time. I would give yourself 6 months and if you complete it faster than that great, but you must be prepared for the unexpected.

    I’m really not trying to discourage you but tell it like it is. Most of the trip will be the most beautiful rewarding thing you will do besides marriage and children but you will have to earn it. I get emails from people from all over the world wanting to hike the Trans Canada Trail proper countless have tried and all have failed because they were ill prepared, unrealistic with their goals, and didn’t realise just how massive the commitment is.

    I hope you take the advice as I hope you follow the dream. Just so you know what I say is fact just google my name Dana Meise and you will see I have the World record hike was named Canadian Geographic expedition of the year and was named one of the top 100 greatest Canadian Explorers. Again not bragging I just want you to take me seriously and I hope you heed my advice. Best to ya…

    1. @Dana What great advice and what a treat to have someone of your calibre leave such a thoughtful comment. I wish you great luck on whatever your next long distance adventure happens to be.

  36. we are interested in having a “home base” that we can leave each day to go out hiking ( loop trail or out and back) and return each day. The next day we can have a different route to take and return to “home base” where we can cook our own meals after shopping locally. Eat out if the “spirit” moves us. Looking to relax, get away from it all and be active as well.

  37. Very good suggestions! I lived in Ontario for a year and a half and visited Algonquin park during my stay and I loved it!
    I noticed that you did not talk about Canada’s Great Trail which was unveiled recently and spans more than 24000km!

    I have written extensively about the Great Trail: how it crosses Canada, province by province, and how it could be improved. I have listed a few improvements that could be made to The Great Trail to make it even Greater, for example that it could include one of Canada’s most important park: Ivvavik National Park in Yukon.

  38. Jasper Park has the North Boundary Trail starting on the Athabasca River and ending in Mount Robson park.

    North of Jasper is Willmore Wilderness. This is an under used park, designated for horse use. I have done trips based out of the Rock Lake trailhead. There are two other trailheads — Berland River, and Grande Cache. The network of trails is large. This summer I did a 120 km hike in from Rock Lake through Jackknife pass. A route from Rock Lake to Grande Cache can be anywhere from 140 to 300 km. Terrain is rugged. Our walk had some 3000 meters of elevation change

    I have only once met people more than 1 day from the entrance in maybe 50 days total time in the park. That was a outfitter setting up for hunting later in the fall.

    Main trails (Mountain, Indian, Berland) are used well enough to be obvious, although at outfitters camps they can be confused by paths used to graze horses. Because much of the travel is by horse, trails can be rutted, wet, and brushy. This can be unpleasant when wet.

    Lesser used trails can be dodgy. At times I have followed trails of mushrooms from the decomposing horse crap of previous travelers.

    This is not ‘keep your feet dry’ country. Stream crossings are frequent. One notable section has 68 crossings in 5 km, and some of those were 50 meter sections of trail where the creek was the trail. But unless on a ridge or pass it is rare to not cross water at least once an hour.

    The real joy of this park is to get off the trails and onto the ridges. Wildhay ridge, north of the river of the same name puts you above treeline for about 20 km. To the south, the Persimmon Range can be traversed for over 30 km. This sort of use should be avoided in July and August due to frequent thunderstorms. Twice I’ve tried to take my nephew on Persimmon, and have been forced back by weather. I carry a 2 liter pop bottle per person for ridges and extended passes. This year we did the Wildhay ridge, and needed them, as temps were in the high 20s even at 7500 feet. Some years they stay empty in my pack. If you want to camp above grassline, you will need 2 bottles each.

    Of the parts of the park I’ve seen, most of it is block thrust ranges. South west side is almost always travelable as long as you have tough ankles. North east faces are bowls, cliffs, and scree slopes. Difficult travel, but tend to have water at higher elevations. Jackknife pass is an exception with some beautiful synclines.

    Snow can come at any time, but even into September it’s presence is fleeting, seldom lasting more than a day except on shaded north slopes. For fall trips, I always set a route that has an out with no extensive travel above timberline.

    The Jackpine and Sulfur rivers i flow to the north, and several fords are marked ‘dangerous crossing’

    The more spectacular vistas are along the southwest border. The Starlight range forms the boundary with Jasper Park. From Mountain Trail it looks to have a walkable ridge line. The map shows it as ranging between 8000 and 9000 feet. Further along, the park abuts B.C. Some routes that weave in and out of the boundary look possible. Someday…

    MEC sells a reprint of the black and white trail map originally printed in the last century. There are NTS maps too of course. NEITHER set is complete or correct. I have found missing trails not marked on the map, and marked trails that either no longer exist, or never did exist. GPS strongly recommended. If you can, load the GPS with satellite photos of the terrain. The Willmore map has a 500 foot contour, NTS has 100 foot contours. The forest overprint for NTS is largely fictional.

    Wildlife: Bears of multiple persuasions and hue are common. There is enough hunting they tend to be shy of people, but tracks are common. I’ve also seen wolf and cougar tracks. Moose or elk tracks are common in the lower shrubby meadows.

    I took my dog, Radar, with me. He’s a 60 pound border collie cross something clumsy. Normally he likes to run point, about 25 to 50 meters in front. Twice on this trip, once on the trail for about a kilometer, and one evening in camp, he was spooked by something, and was very attentive, and very close. On our previous trip, he showed no concern.

    1. @Sherwood Now this is what I call a great comment. Thank you so much for all that great information. An in depth trip to the Willmore Wilderness area is still very much on my radar and great to get the low-down on maps.

  39. I appreciate your sharing. I must say that your shared information is very useful to me as well as other visitors. I also have a plan to go there in coming up days to enjoy my favourite activity.

  40. In Quebec le sentier des Navigateurs, le sentier des Outaouais, le sentier des Sanctuaires, le Tour de l’Ile d’Orleans, le chemin des Vignobles, le chemin du lac Rémi. These are wonderful long distance walking experiences that are not publicized outside of Québec… but that are the best. They offer a similar experience as what is offers in Europe for long distance walking.

  41. The walk: This out-and-back hike towards the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak (3,9 Mt Robson) is a stunner: gaining nearly 8 in m, it traverses the Valley of a Thousand Falls – via reflective pools, suspension bridges and squeaking marmots – to Berg Lake, where ice-chunks from massive Berg Glacier calve into the aquamarine water. Doable as a long day-hike, there are campgrounds en route for those who want to linger; for even better hiking, use the camp at the lake as a base for forays into the surrounding wilds.

  42. Great article but missing an epic multi-day hike! We completed last year, an epic 150 km single track hiking trail following a beautiful River through pristine, unspoiled Acadian forest, from mountain to sea (Mount Carleton Provincial Park to Daly Point Nature Reserve in Bathurst N.B). It’s called the Sentier Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail, celebrating the reopening of an ancient path the Mi’gmaq First Nation people were using along the river to migrate from season to season. We have 5 group teepees set-up, camping plateforms and rope suspension bridges over streams. We produced a high quality tearproof/waterproof map, useful as much for canoeists as for hikers. We invite you to visit our website It would be our pleasure to provide you with additional information as needed.

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