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    Canada To much of the world Canada is synonymous with wilderness and you won't be disappointed by the trails which will take you into the spectacular backcountry. In the east you can hike the ruggedly beautiful East Coast Trail or the exceptional Fundy Footpath, while the Pacific Coast in British Columbia is accessible to backpackers along the Juan de Fuca and West Coast Trails. Of course the Canadian Rockies are one of the world's finest destinations for backpackers with thousands of kilometres of hiking trails branching out from Banff and Jasper which include dozens of wilderness campgrounds waiting for you at the end of the day. Ontario has a surprising number of long distance trails, including some of the finest hikes in the east, such as the La Cloche Silhoutte Trail in Killarney Provincial Park and the Voyageur Trail in Pukaskwa National Park. Quebec is well represented as well with the Laurentians Trail, the Long Randonee and the recently developed long distance International Appalachian Trail which it shares with New Brunswick.  
 

Alberta

Banff National Park - 1,600 km, Intermediate-Expert

The parks trail system takes you into the parks spectacular backcountry providing access to over 50 backcountry campgrounds. In addtion there are shelters (reservations) and a number of backcountry huts maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada. You can connect into the trail systems of the other Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Robson, Hamber Provincial Park and Mount Assiniboine.

Jasper National Park - 1000km, Intermediate-Expert

Jasper is perhaps Canada's finest backpacking destination with dozens of interconnecting trails through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The network of trails allows you to customize your iternerary and for those who want a long distance hike you can connect into the trail systems of the other Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Robson, Hamber Provincial Park and Mount Assiniboine.

Waterton Lakes National Park - 200km, Intermediate-Expert

Often overlooked due to the world renown reputation of it's sisters Banff and Jasper, Waterton gives up nothing to its siblings as far as its trail system and scenery are concerned. Of course the lesser known park has the added advantage of being a lot less crowded. There are 9 wilderness camping areas in the park which can be reached on foot. A permit is required and reservations can be made in advance for an additional fee. The parks main backpacking trail is the Tamarack Trail which travels from Akamina Parkway to Red Rock Canyon a distance of 32km and what is usually a two day trip. The park butts up against Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park in British Columbia and Glacier National Park (the parks are known collectively as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) in Montana which has an additional 700 miles of hiking and backpacking trails. Canada's National Parks

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British Columbia

Chilkoot Trail - 33km, Expert

The trail to the Klondike is rich with history and a beautiful but challenging backpacking trail which takes from three to five days to complete for most backpackers. Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon - Canadian National Parks and Historic Sites

Mount Robson Provincial Park

The park is a hidden treasure, often overlooked due to its proximity to its neighbors, Jasper and Banff. It’s certainly no less spectacular. There are five backpacking routes in the park ranging from easy access overnight hikes to difficult multi-day trails such as the Moose River Route.

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail - 47km, Vancouver Island

The trail provided a spectacular hike along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island just west of Victoria. Often considered as an alternate to the West Coast Trail which runs just to the north, it has a key advantage in that there are a number of access points along route allowing you to shorten your journey if you're time contstrained. The trail move from beach to cliff and back as well as into the fabulous coastal forests. You'll have a chance to camp in shaded sites as well as on the beach.

Sea to Sky Trail - 150km

This is a work in progress, and what a piece of work it is. Winding its way through some of the worlds most breathtaking scenery the trail is spectacular. With plans to go from south of Squamish, through Whistler, Pemberton and then on to D'Arcy it covers the best of the Sea to Sky area. The section from Squamish past Whistler is already open and the rest will be completed shortly. You can access this multiuse trail in several area for short hikes or you can attempt the whole 150kms. Note: Sections of the trail may see heavy mountain bike usage.

Sunshine Coast Trail - 180km, Expert

The trail works its way down the Sunshine Coast across the Gwendoline Hills and Tin Hat Mountains from north of Lund at Sarah Point, passed Powell River to Saltery Bay. Rustic campsites are available along route. This is a an exceptional hike in a spectacular area and it's gaining a well deserved reputation. It's recommended to hike the trail from north to south. The trail head is just outside Powell River at Sarah Point which is only accessible by water. A water taxi will take you and your gear to the starting point for a fee. The southern section of the trail may have snow well into the hiking season so make a point of checking conditions before you book. Have a look at the trail's website for more information. From Vancouver take the Lion's Gate Bridge to West Vancouver and follow Tyler Way to the Upper Levels Highway and head towards Squamish. Exit at Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry to Gibson's Landing on the Sunshine Coast. From Gibsons the 101 will take you up the coast to Earl's Cove where you catch a second ferry Saltry Bay. Continuing on the 101 north will take you to Powell River.

West Coast Trail - 75 km, Expert Canada's National Parks

This is one of Canada's classic backpacking trails and you had better book early to get one of the limited slots available. This is a difficult and spectacular hike along the coast of south eastern Vancouver Island through Pacific Rim National Park Canada's National Parks

Yoho National Park

The park has six areas set aside for backpackers to camp in the backcountry with a almost 50 sites available. The access is dependant on the area and you should consult with the park regarding the level of difficulty. The park also has several random camping areas. The parks trail network connects into the trail systems of the other Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Robson, Hamber Provincial Park and Mount Assiniboine. The parks backpacking and hiking is considered by many as the most scenic in Canada. Canada's National Parks

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New Brunswick

Dobson Trail - 58km

A long distance footpath that streaches from just outside Moncton to Fundy National Park on the Bay of Fundy.

The Fundy Footpath - 41km, Expert

A rugged and particularly beautiful backpacking trail, that runs 41km from Big Salmon River to Fundy National Park along the cliff faces and beaches of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. While it's a short trail as far as distance goes, the hiking is difficult and it usually takes 3-5 days to complete.

The Fundy Circuit (Fundy National Park) - 45 km

Fundy has over 100km of hiking and backpacking trails of various levels of difficulty. A set of trails which link together have been designate as the Fundy Circuit which is set out as a three to five day backpacking circuit with wilderness and front country camp sites located along route. The parks trail network connects into the Dobson Trail (which heads up to Riverview across the river from Moncton) in the northeast and the spectacular Fundy Footpath in the southwest. Canada's National Parks

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Newfoundland & Labrador

East Coast Trail - 200km, Intermediate/Expert

Located on the Avalon Peninsula in south eastern Newfound, the trail streaches 200km (on completion it will be 520 km in length) from St. John's to Cappahayden. The trail follows the rugged Atlantic coastline moving from ridges to beaches through boreal forest and into a sucession of fascinating fishing villages. Whales are often sighted and in the early part of the season you just might get a glimpse of a passing iceberg. Located in a rugged and beautiful area, this is one of Canada's finest backpacking and hiking trails.

Plans are now in the works to continue the trail up the spectacular west coast of Newfoundland. The International Appalachian Trail Labrador and Newfoundland.

Have a look at the 1,100km mainland sections that run from Maine, through New Brunswick, across the Gaspesie Peninsula to Forillon National Park. International Appalachian Trail

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Northwest Territories/Nunavut

Canol Heritage Trail - 370km, Extreme

This is one of the world's most isolated trails, the trail's extreme rating comes in great part from the trails isolation but bears, river crossings, lack of shelter are all part of the equation. The trail runs from Macmillan Pass in the Yukon through a number of mountain ranges to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. Norman Wells

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Ontario

Abes and Essen Trail

The trail consists of three overlapping loops. The loops from shortest to longest take about 1.5, 4 and 7hrs to complete and provide a great weekend getaway or a single overnight trip. There is an excellent lookout above Essen Lake providing a nice panoramic view. All of the campsites are lake side, a pleasant setting for a weary backpacker which of course also offers the possibility of a refreshing swim. *For more information contact Bon Echo Provincial Park or the Friends of Bon Echo through their web site. - Ontario East

Beausoleil Island Trial - 24km, Novice/Intermediate

Georgian Bay Islands National Park The park is in a spectacular setting in Georgian Bay, just off shore. The backpacking trail is on Beausoleil Island, which is only accessible by water. Beausoleil is the parks main island and consists of lightly wooded areas mixed with rocky shores and sand. The trails are most secluded on the back side of the island which also unfortunately provides the longest stretch without a campsite. There is 24 km of trail and there are 15 camp areas along the way. If you want an extended outting.head south from Cedar Springs campground Beausoleil Point campsite along the Huron Trail. The next day head north along the islands west coast on the Georgian Trail where you can connect with either the Rockview or Massassauga Trail and head for one of several campsite in the north of the park. You can return to your kick off point by following the Huron Trail (branch off on the Treasure if you want another route) back to Cedar Springs. This is only one of several routes you can stitch together on the island which can range from an overnight to several days.The island is only accessible by water so if you don't have access to a boat you can hire a water taxi in honey harbour. Contact the park for campsite reservations and fees. Canada's National Parks

Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail - Novice, Intermediate

Out-There's Algonquin Park - A set of loops located in the parks eastern section, outside of the main corridor its accessible from Hwy 17. This is a great place to bring novices since the trail provides camping not far from the trail head. There are other options that are more challenging for the more experienced. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*

Highland Backpacking Trail - 33km, Intermediate, Loop

Out-There's Algonquin Park - Intermediate, Loop. Located in the center of the park's main corridor off highway 60. The trail consists of two loops with a total length of about 33km. The shorter most accessible loop circles Provoking Lake. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*

Long Distance Trails

Bruce Trail - 800km, Novice - Expert

This is Ontario's premier hiking and backpacking trail extending almost 800km in length. The trail starts in the south near the falls at Niagara and heads north to the Bruce Peninsula, terminating in the beautiful little town of Tobermory. There are dozens of campsites on route and a wide variety of access points allowing you to customize your trip to match your fitness level or time schedule. Bruce Trail Conservancy

La Cloche SilhouetteTrial - Out-There's Killarney Provincial Park - Located in Killarney Provincial Park, the La Cloche Silhouette loop is a seven to ten day hike approximately 100 km in length. The trail takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ontario. It includes forested sections, as well as ridge hiking along the La Cloche Mountains. Many of the camp sites along the way are located lakeside and are shared by canoeists. This is a tough backpack and you should be in shape if you intend to complete the whole thing. A trail map can be purchased from the Friends of Killarney Park. *For more information contact the Friends or Killarney Provincial Park through their web site.* - Ontario North

Ganaraska Trail - 500+km, Novice - Expert

The Ganaraska starts on the shores of Lake Ontario at Port Hope, less than an hour from Toronto. From there it wends its way north before veering to the west above Lake Simcoe, then passes Barrie on the way to Wasaga Beach on the shores of Georgian Bay before connecting with the Bruce. The section above Moore Falls north of Port Hope is considered the most difficult and only suitable for seasoned hikers. Once the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail is complete you will be able to combine it with the Bruce and the Ganaraska creating a mammoth long distance loop. South to North Description - The Pine Ridge section starts at the cairn opposite the Town hall in Port Hope, beside the Ganaraska River and within sight of Lake Ontario. The wilderness section above this starts in Moore Falls, where highway 35 meets the Black Lake Cottage road. The Peterborough section is almost entirely in Victoria County. The Orillia section starts in Sadowa and ends after 68 kilometers at the Sugarbush Estate, south of Horseshoe Valley Road, about 10 km east of highway 400. This section of the trail is mostly flat and suitable for novices. The Mad River section is named after the Mad River, which it parallels for some distance. It has a length of 55 kilometers and ends at the end-of-trail cairn. The Midland section splits off from the main trail in the Copeland Forest, about three kilometers east of Craighurst. It swings through Copeland Forest and then heads north toward Midland along country paths and forests. The Wasaga section of the trail winds through the sand hills of beautiful Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.

Grand Valley Trail Association - 250km, Novice/Intermediate

Is a marked footpath stretching more than 250 km between Rock Point Provincial Park on Lake Erie to the town of Alton in Southwestern Ontario. The trail passes through several urban areas which alternate with woods and fields. On route you'll visit Brantford, Paris, Cabridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Elora and Fergus.

Oak Ridges Moraine Trail

A Work in Progress - The completed sections include Uxbridge, King, and Scugog and the association is working to develop the Aurora, Caledon, Whitchurch and Ganaraska areas. Why not give them a hand, go to their website to see how you can help. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.* - South Central Region

Voyageur Trail

This is a very ambitious project which takes advantage of a number of the trails already in place. Traveling along the shores of Lake Superior, the North Channel of Georgian Bay then through the rugged beauty of Manitoulin island, this will be a spectacular and very difficult trail when it's completed. For the truly ambitious, you can connect to the Bruce Trail by using the South Bay to Tobermory ferry to continue hiking down to Niagara Falls. The trail will run from South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island to Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario a total of 1,100km. To date, over 600km have been completed including established sections in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park along the spectacular north shore of Superior. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.* - Ontario North

Western Uplands Trail

Out-There's Algonquin Park - Intermediate-Expert, Multiple Loops. Access is off Hwy 60 near the west gate but you can also access it from the other end off of route 11, through Kearney. This is an excellent backpacking area which is often over shadowed by the parks canoe reputation. There are over 100km (includes loop sections) of trail with dozens of campsites along route, many or which are lakeside. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*

The Waterfront Trail - 350km+, Novice

Not a wilderness and some might say not a backpacking trail at all. This most interesting of trails, travels a distance of 350km from Stoney Creek on the western shore of Lake Ontario to Quinte West in the east (sounds funny doesn't it). There are ample campgrounds along route in Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks. One big advantage to being close to (it runs right through the city of Toronto) urban areas is the reduced need to carry a lot of food. Don't think this is a concrete foot path, even though it does need to use the roads at times, it passes through some of the nicest natural settings on Lake Ontario's north shore. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.* - South Central, Toronto & Southwestern Regions of Ontario

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Quebec

Le Canadianne/Fleur de Lys Trail - 13km, Intermediate+, Laurentians

This is a linear, 13km, trail that connects Saint Adolphe d'Howard to the Parc des Campeur in Sainte Agathe. The trail has a hut along the way for over nighting or you can do some wilderness camping. More Laurentians

Devils Mountain - Intermediate/Advanced, Laurentians

There are 30km of trails and two separate campsites on the mountain.The mountain is the second highest peak in the Laurentians at 783 m... More Laurentians

Mont Megantic Park - (Sherbrooke, Notre-Dame-des-Bois), Beginner-Intermediate, Eastern Townships

You'll find 70km of trials winding throughout the park, with huts, and camp sites with platforms available for an over night stay. There are three separate camping areas in the park... More Eastern Townships

Mont-Orford Park (Magog) - Intermediate/Expert, Eastern Townships

Back country camping is available along the Sentier de l'Estrie, which cuts through the park allowing you to hike an out and back and make a weekend of it... More Eastern Townships

Parc d'Environnement natural de Sutton - Intermediate/Expert

The park has 77km of trails, with huts as well as backcountry campsites... More Eastern Townships

 

Long Distance Trails

Longue Randonee Pedestre - Mont Tremblant Park - 74km, Intermediate, Laurentians

The park has an extended hike in the form of the Longue Randonee Pedestre. This 74km trail includes a loop in the Lac Monroe section, then a long linear section leading to the Saint Donat entrance... More 2-2.5hr north, Laurentians

National Trail - Intermediate/Expert, Laurentians

While often confused with the Trans Canada Trail, this is an older initiative, dedicated to backpackers, hikers, cross country/backcountry skiers and the newly emerging snowshoe set... More Laurentians

P'tit Train du Nord/Aerobic Corridor 200km+, Novice, Laurentians

The two trails are being interconnected to provide a loop from the St. Sauveur/Morin Heights area to St. Jovite. These are certainly not traditional hiking trails (they're main use is for cycling in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter - the trail is a converted rail bed) but never-the-less, you do see backpackers on route... More Laurentians

Les Sentiers de l'Estrie - Expert, 160km, Eastern Townships

This extended linear trial winds through the Townships and crosses some of it's major peaks. The trail runs from Kingsbury in the northeast, south to Mont Orford Park and across Orford, over Mont Chagnon then into the Bolton area... More 2hrs south east, Eastern Townships

Sentiers Frontaliers (Frontier Trail) - Intermediate/Expert, Eastern Townships

Expert, 82km of linear trail and an additional 26km of side trails. The trail stretches from Mont Megantic Park in the north to the U.S. border in the south, where it dances along the Maine border for a good distance, then heads into ZEC Louise Gosford... More Eastern Townships

International Appalachian Trail - 1,100km, Expert, Gaspesie, Maine & New Brunswick

This exceptional trail winds its way from the terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Baxter State Park in Maine, through New Brunswick, crossing the highest peak in the province, Mount Carleton. It continues into Quebec through the beautiful Matapedia Valley before climbing into the "sea of mountains" surrounding the Chic-Choc range in Gaspesie Park. The trail continues out to the coastal cliffs where if follows the ocean into Forllion National Park. Plans are now in the works to continue the trail up the spectacular west coast of Newfoundland. The International Appalachian Trail Labrador and Newfoundland.

The Laurentian Trail - 75km, Expert, Mauricie

The trail skirts the northern edge of the La Mauricie National Park above Trois-Riviere (Three Rivers) running through the beautiful Laurentian Mountains. The park only allows through hikes so be sure you have the experience, stamina and equipment to complete the whole thing. You must reserve and you're best to do it early since the trail is becoming more and more popular. La Mauricie National Park

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Yukon

Canol Heritage Trail - 370km, Extreme

This is one of the world's most isolated trails, the trail's extreme rating comes in great part from the trails isolation but bears, river crossings, lack of shelter are all part of the equation. The trail runs from Macmillan Pass in the Yukon through a number of mountain ranges to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. Norman Wells

Chilkoot Trail - 33km, Expert

The trail to the Klondike is rich with history and a beautiful but challenging backpacking trail which takes from three to five days to complete for most backpackers. Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon - Canadian National Parks and Historic Sites

 

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Backpacking & Hiking - International

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Clubs and Associations - Canada

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Clubs and Associations - International

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How To/Techiques

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Magazines

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Online Stores and Mail Order

  • Altrec - USA
  • Backcountry Gear Limited - Backpacking, Camping, Clothing, Moutaineering / Marmot, Gregory, Garuda, Integral Designs, Western Mountaineering, Moonstone, PUR, Walrus.
  • LL Bean - Outdoor Gear
    Mountain Equipment Co-op - Canadian Outdoor Store
  • Moletracks - Day packs, backpacks, fanny packs, compression bags and other accessories for camping, hiking, mountaineering.
  • REI - Outdoor Gear, USA
  • Search Gear - Search and Rescue Gear

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Maps and Map Sources

  • MapBlast - For road maps, go to Canadian Maps and type in a City and Province.
  • Topos sur le Web - Geographical Locator and Topographical Maps (French). Quebec
  • Canadian Hydrographic Service - Official Marine Navigation Charts and Nautical Publications including tide tables along with a dealer list.
  • Canada's national topographic mapping agency - topographic information for the Canadian landmass.
  • Chrismar Mapping
  • Dog Ears - Maps, Books, Canada
  • Dun-Map - Multimedia Mapping, Canada
  • Gem Trek Publishing - Specializes in producing detailed maps of the Canadian Rockies
  • National Atlas of Canada - Canadian Map Services, National Resources Canada
  • Pathfinder Maps - Topographic Maps, Nautical Charts for Canada and the United States, Canadian Aeronautical Charts.
  • World of Maps - Topographical Maps
  • Trailmonkey - Free Hiking & Mt. Biking, Maps and Trails site. USA

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Backpacking & Hiking Manufacturers

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Mountain Huts

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Parks - Backpacking

National Parks

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Backpacking Provincial Parks

Alberta

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Resources

 

Links of Interest

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