Oh, Canada—how we might go on about your outdoorsy goodness. All nations supply their very own distinctive number of landscapes, however few can declare the assortment discovered within the Nice White North. It’s a rustic that encompasses the most effective of the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Rockies . . . should we proceed?
Because the second-largest nation on the earth by way of landmass with a inhabitants smaller than the state of California, Canada’s 38 national parks and 10 national park reserves can help you select your individual out of doors journey. Jaunt to Banff for its Rocky Mountain nature and see what all of the hype is about, or go off the grid at a nationwide park that frequently has lower than 30 yearly guests (shout-out to Tuktut Nogait National Park in Canada’s Arctic).
So whether or not you’re a surfer, hiker, wildlife lover, or the entire above—be ready to mud off that backpack and expertise what these seven unbelievable nationwide parks and reserves have in retailer.
1. Fundy Nationwide Park
Alma, New Brunswick
Take a stroll alongside the shores in New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park on the japanese aspect of Canada, and chances are you’ll discover that your path is totally underwater in your means again. That’s common on this park on the Bay of Fundy, which attracts the best tides—round 50 ft—on the earth.
You may get an exciting expertise of excessive tide on the Bay of Fundy by tidal bore rafting, which encompasses a bumpy experience on the standing waves that type as excessive tide enters the Shubenacadie River.
get to Fundy Nationwide Park
Whereas Larger Moncton Roméo LeBlanc Worldwide Airport is the closest airport to this a part of New Brunswick, Halifax is far more well-connected. From Halifax’s airport, lease a automobile and drive about 200 miles east to get to Fundy Nationwide Park.
2. Banff Nationwide Park
All through the 1870s, building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was underway to attach Canada’s east and west coasts. However an attention-grabbing bump occurred alongside the way in which when staff discovered several hot springs within the Bow Valley of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and thought the place would work higher as a spa than a railroad monitor. With so many individuals arguing over who had the correct to really found the springs, the Canadian authorities put issues into its personal arms in 1885—and Banff Nationwide Park was born.
The two,564-square-mile park is under no circumstances spoiled by the frequent slew of visitors. You may even see crowds admiring the shiny, turquoise waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake concurrently you, however there are many hikes or falls to veer off to in the summertime. When winter comes, stroll up Sulphur Mountain and take a dip within the historic springs that made Banff a park within the first place.
get to Banff Nationwide Park
If you happen to’re not driving into Banff, Calgary Worldwide Airport is just about 80 miles away and handles loads of direct flights from North America and Europe. After touchdown, you’ll must lease a automobile for the drive to the park through Trans-Canada 1 West.
Learn extra: A First-Timer’s Guide to Banff National Park
3. Jasper Nationwide Park
If you happen to assume Banff is all there’s to the Canadian Rockies, assume once more: When UNESCO declared the realm a World Heritage web site in 1984, it additionally included the parks of Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho. The largest of the 4—Jasper National Park—spans a whopping 4,300 sq. miles. With a 2021 yearly customer depend of 2.1 million folks (in comparison with Banff’s 3.6 million), Jasper’s lack of noisy crowds lends itself to extra Kodak moments with Rocky Mountain wildlife.
If you happen to do wish to journey to one of many park’s extra widespread points of interest, head to Maligne Lake, the most important pure lake within the Canadian Rockies. The vistas listed below are legendary because of the three glaciers you possibly can see all year long. Spirit Island—a tiny island that has been photographed to the purpose of being an iconic view—may also be accessed from this lake.
get to Jasper Nationwide Park
Edmonton’s airport is near Jasper and will get direct flights from loads of North American airports, together with Denver and San Francisco (and some European ones, too). When you fly in, be ready to buckle up and drive, as a result of the park remains to be 200 miles away. However in the event you’re even contemplating going to Banff Nationwide Park in the identical journey, driving Freeway 93—also called the Icefields Parkway—between them gives an exceptionally picturesque route, with views of historic glaciers, lakes, and different Rocky Mountain gems.
Learn extra: A Beginner’s Guide to Canada’s Jasper National Park
4. Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Highlands National Park in northern Nova Scotia gives lots to do throughout its mixture of highland and ocean landscapes. You possibly can get pleasure from a lot of the surroundings on this 360-square-mile park with out leaving the automobile, with the Route 30 loop (also called the Cabot Path) bracing the shores of the Atlantic on one aspect and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the opposite. Drive slowly, and never only for the coastal views that greet you at each mile—that is whale nation, and significantly fortunate guests could get a glimpse of a minke or pilot whale developing for air. You too can cycle a part of the 185-mile loop course or choose to hike a number of the park’s 26 scenic trails.
get to Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park
This a part of Nova Scotia is most simply accessed by means of Halifax airport, which connects on to many hubs on the continent and in Europe. From there, you’ll drive round 150 miles north to get to Cape Breton Island. Journey north one other 65 miles on Nova Scotia Freeway 105 and also you’ll attain Cabot Path. This final 50-mile leg to the park is about an hour-long drive.
5. Auyuittuq Nationwide Park
Heading to the Arctic is nothing wanting journey, and journey is what you’ll get at Auyuittuq National Park. Within the winter, this 8,300-square-mile park is usually rock and ice, making multiday treks extraordinarily troublesome to downright not possible. However come summer time, and you’ll spend all day and evening admiring the fjords, glaciers, and seemingly limitless fields of colourful wildflowers beneath the Midnight Solar. Absolutely grasp the wonder and drama of the tundra with a visit to its three most well-known mountains: Mount Odin, Mount Asgard, and Mount Thor—which, if the names are any indication, are the stuff of legend.
get to Auyuittuq Nationwide Park
As a lot as we love a very good street journey, attending to the Canadian Arctic isn’t attainable by automobile. As an alternative, you’ll must take a flight from both Toronto or Ottawa to Iqaluit, adopted by a brief flight to Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq. Each places can help you take a ship to trailheads throughout the park—Pangnirtung from the east and Qikiqtarjuaq from the west.
6. Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s 197 sq. miles of temperate rain forest showcase the magic that occurs while you mix the grandeur of the Pacific Coast with the lowland forests of Vancouver Island. Right here, sand dunes and towering bushes like sitka spruce preserve Pacific winds from bulldozing the inside, supporting an ever-so-delicate ecosystem residence to threatened species just like the little brown bat and dromedary jumping-slug.
The reserve is split into three components; every carries its personal distinctive attraction. Its northernmost part, referred to as Lengthy Seashore, is a haven for surfers year-round. For an expertise on calmer waters, head southeast to the Damaged Group islands, which quantity 100 and make for an excellent kayaking or wilderness tenting journey. However don’t ditch the mountaineering boots for the water simply but: Skilled hikers can benefit from the problem of taking per week traversing the West Coast Path. This hike will take you over greater than 100 ladders by means of its 47 miles as you navigate the coastal cliffs bracing the Pacific.
get to Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve
The western aspect of Vancouver Island is fairly distant, so your finest guess is to drive your automobile to both Nanaimo or Victoria’s ports. If you happen to’re coming from Victoria, drive north alongside Freeway 1 to succeed in Freeway 19 (round Nanaimo). Hold going north for 30 miles till you get to Freeway 4, which is able to take you all the way in which to the Lengthy Seashore part of the park.
7. Wapusk Nationwide Park
Wapusk is the Cree time period for polar bear, which is becoming contemplating that it’s the best national park to see the furry animals. Simply south of Churchill (the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world), this 4,400-square-mile space of boreal forest and Arctic tundra can also be the proper place for recognizing different Arctic wildlife like moose, wolves, Arctic foxes, and 200 totally different species of birds. At evening, search for—the placement and remoteness of this park make it probably the greatest locations to admire the northern lights.
get to Wapusk Nationwide Park
That is actually a wilderness park, which means you received’t discover any trails or roads interrupting the landscapes right here. You’ll want a tour operator to get across the park, so ebook forward of time, particularly when polar bear viewing season rolls round within the winter. Most excursions and guides for Wapusk Nationwide Park function out of Churchill; the city is reachable by means of a 1.5-hour flight or 2-night prepare from Winnipeg.