hikes in Canada
Canada is perhaps the ultimate adventure holiday destination, with huge national parks, towering mountain ranges, crystal-clear alpine lakes, and lush forests. If you’re looking for a real experience in the Great Outdoors, Canada certainly won’t disappoint. The world’s second-largest country, Canada has enough awe-inspiring sights to satisfy even the most enthusiastic nature lovers!
Spreading across the top of North America, and extending all the way into the Arctic, Canada is home to an abundance of rare and wonderful wildlife. Travelers here must share the land with a whole host of creatures, including moose, bears, mountain lions, and wild Canadian geese, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of some of these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat. Indeed, it’s Canada’s wildness that attracts many visitors – it’s one of the only places in the world where you can really escape from it all and immerse yourself in nature.
Canada’s most popular regions for adventure travel are Alberta and British Columbia, home to the Canadian Rockies and some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Come here for hiking, backpacking, climbing, scrambling, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and much more! Whether you want to dip your toes in a crisp alpine lake or trek along some of the most exhilarating ridge walks in the Rockies, there’s something for everyone here.
Canada is so huge, and the possibilities for adventure travel so vast, it can be difficult to know where to start! To help you plan your journey, we’ve put together guides to all the best regions for adventure travel in Alberta and British Columbia. You’ll find activity guides, tour recommendations, and top tips for planning a trip – all you need to do is decide where to go first!
25 Greatest Hikes in Canada
Why not explore the diverse scenery of Nevada on a hiking adventure? With plenty of options to choose from, you can hike through the desert for some peace and tranquility on the Calico Loop Trail, or you can wander the snow capped mountains of Red Rock Canyon National Park.
- Plain of Six Glaciers: This hike remains a classic in Banff National Park, traversing around stunning Lake Louise, past the famed tea house and breathtaking glacier views.
- Golden Ears: Find this popular trail within Golden Ears Provincial Park, as you attempt this two-day long hike through some of the toughest terrain for rewarding views.
- Emerald Basin: This serene trail weaves around an iconic green lake, taking in glaciers, waterfalls and mountainous peaks.
- Opal Hills Hike: This underrated trail is a moderately challenging, but immensely rewarding climb. Follow the path as it undulates up and down through blooming meadows and craggy peaks. This remains one of the best hikes in all of Jasper.
- Peyto Lake: This azure blue lake often makes it to the top of every Rocky Mountain hiking trip itinerary. With stunning views over the entire lake, this family-friendly hike is one you won’t forget anytime soon.
- Crystal Falls: This gentle trail snakes around glistening Upper Coquitlam River for a picturesque hike. Continue through scenic and shaded woodlands before spotting stunning Crystal Falls waterfall off in the distance and canyon pools to cool-off in during the summer months.
- Moraine Lake Hike: Perfect for inexperienced hikers, this quick out and back trail offers lookout points over crystal clear Moraine Lake. Be forewarned though, this trail is incredibly popular so get here early to snag a parking spot!
- Burstall Pass: If you’re looking to hike in Alberta during the fall season, Burstall Pass is the perfect place to spot larches. Those experienced enough to scramble will enjoy the thrill of conquering Snow Peak!
- Paradise Valley Circuit: This is a local favourite hike in the Lake Louise area, where hikers venture past pristine lakes, flowing waterfalls and a challenging scree ascent.
- Kokanee Glacier Cabin: This epic hike makes for a great overnight trip with older children to experience the magic of the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Snuggle up in a cabin overnight, then spend the next day exploring the surrounding wildflower fields and wilderness.
- Toe of the Athabasca Glacier: If you’re looking to skip the expensive tours, traverse the Toe of Athabasca Glacier trail to get up close to the icy mammoth for free. The views are amazing and the trail is well-graded and family-friendly, offering fun for all!
- Panorama Ridge Hike: Making for an ideal long day or multi-day hike, this trail will provide ridge views you’ll never forget. Prepare for lots of switchbacks, wildflower fields and alpine meadows on this unforgettable adventure.
- Sarrail Ridge via Rawson Lake: We won’t lie, this hike is quite the challenge, but once you reach Sarrail Ridge, it will all be worth it to look out over the entirety of the Rocky Mountains. This summit should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
- Lake O'Hara All Souls Route: This is one of the standout hikes located directly in the Canadian Rocky Mountains! This circuit trail passes beautiful lakes and amazing views from the ridgeline, all kept pristine by the limited access to the trail.
- Stanley Glacier: Located in Kootenay National Park, there are plenty of pretty spectacular trails to be found, but Stanley Glacier is our favourite for its spectacular views, alpine picnic meadows, cascading waterfalls and of course, the glacier!
- Tent Ridge Horseshoe: One of the most popular hikes in the Kananaskis Country area, this is a can’t miss hike! With multiple peaks, this trail is perfect for hikers who love to scramble, offering rewarding views and even better pictures.
- Tunnel Bluffs: This scenic hike is relatively easy, but rewards with amazing views over Howe Sound and the surrounding islands. It also makes for an ideal spot for a sundowner picnic.
- Mount Loki: Prepare for an incredible challenging feat at Mount Loki, the highest peak seen from the highway between Nelson and Kaslo. This mountain is only to be hiked during the summer season and offers 360 degree views as far as the eye can see.
- Heart Mountain Horseshoe: Get your heart pumping on the aptly named Heart Mountain Horseshoe hike in Canmore. This circuit is not overly difficult, but it does require some technical skill and a bit of scrambling if that’s your thing!
- Upper Myra Falls: For an easy, but beautiful hike in Strathcona Park, check out Upper Myra Falls. With well-paved trails spanning through old growth forest, this stroller-friendly trail makes for a quick, but adventurous day spent in nature.
- Lineham Ridge: This out and back trail should be at the top of your bucket list, snaking through creeks, forests and meadows to bring you to a jaw dropping ridgeline with panoramic views of Rowe Valley, Rowe Lakes, and Lineham Lakes.
- Joffre Lakes: Tucked away just past Pemberton, you’ll find a hike winding past multiple stunning alpine lakes--Joffre Lakes. Find picturesque picnic spots and stunning views of the magnificent Matier Glacier in Whistler.
- Brandywine Falls: For an ideal day hike from Whistler Village, this easy, gentle hike is popular among trail runners and families alike all looking to spot the cascading waterfall.
- Garibaldi Lake: This is a favourite hike in Whistler for its colourful, kool-aid blue lake. With steady switchbacks for most of the trail, this will get your legs burning and heart pumping!
- Citadel Pass: While on a hiking holiday in Banff, the Sunshine Meadows to Citadel Pass trail is not to be missed. Pass by wildflower fields, scenic lakes and eventually panoramic views while enjoying some steep elevation gains.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Canada
Canada is a truly outstanding all-year-round destination with amazing hikes to enjoy regardless of season (yes, even in the winter!). While temperatures are more pleasant in the shoulder seasons, spring and fall, the winter season brings a whole new scenery with snow blanketing the trails. In the summer, hikers can enjoy plenty of lake dips to cool down on hot days and bursting wildflower fields, but trails can be busy and overrun with tourists.
Best Regions to Hike in Canada
There are countless stunning regions to hike in Canada, but we did our best to narrow it down to just a few of our favourites (though it’s always changing!). In Alberta, Banff National Park is a local favourite and for good reason, we never tire of the rockies. Jasper is a bucket list location, with its stunning landscape of lakes, mountains and glaciers. The Kananaskis Trail falls at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and is a lesser-known region, making it quieter and more serene. Castle Provincial Park is new, but growing in popularity for its fascinating archaeological and historically significant sites. And Waterton Lakes is tucked away where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains and home to a bit of everything.
Over in British Columbia, Kootenay National Park forms one of seven parks that connects the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Yoho National Park is often overlooked, but is an adventure enthusiasts dream with options for hiking, biking, or skiing. In Whistler, this iconic ski destination offers fantastic training trails and is just a quick drive from Vancouver. Strathcona Provincial Park is tucked away on Vancouver Island remains a bit of a hidden gem, we won’t tell if you won’t! Finally, Vancouver’s North Shore isn’t to be missed, with stunning beach fronts and challenging trails.
Other Activities in Canada
Canada is an adventure paradise, with plenty of activities to choose from, regardless of season or skill level! From XC skiing in Banff National Park, to testing your scrambling skills in Castle Provincial Park, to backpacking through Kootenay National Park, to snowshoeing in the hills of Kananaskis Country, there are plenty of chances to get outdoors and enjoy that crisp Canadian alpine air.
Canada's Adventure Tours
If you’d rather skip the headache of planning your own trip, why not let 10Adventures help? With our wide-range of tours in Canada, all you have to do is pack your bag—the rest is taken care of! From immersing yourself in the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains to paddling the waters of the Yukon, our 10Adventure tour options are guaranteed to be epic and worry-free.
How to Plan a Trip to Canada
Convinced you need to explore the natural beauty of Canada while hiking? We’ve got you covered with our complete guides on planning a trip to plenty of areas across Canada, outlining the best spots for food and a pint (or two), cozy hotels, and fun activities to fill your day. From Squamish, to The West Kootenays, to Kananaskis Country, to Strathcona Provincial Park, to Whistler, to Victoria, to Castle Provincial Park, to Waterton Lakes National Park, to Banff, to Jasper, to Kananaskis Country—we took out all the guesswork, leaving more time for daydreaming.Read More