Discover 8 of Canada’s Most Scenic Hiking Trails

Located in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Skyline Trail is a looping, hiking trail of over four miles

Canada is a hiker’s paradise, with breathtaking trails that offer stunning views. From the Canadian Rockies to the coastlines, the country is home to an almost never-ending list of walkways, many of them rugged and remote and filled with plentiful wildlife. Here we outline eight of the best hikes, so put your best foot forward and come explore the Great White North with us.

1. Western Brook Pond Trail: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

The Western Brook Pond Trail in Gros Morne National Park is filled with ancient cliffs, and lush forests. The view from the summit is particularly stunning and provides a mesmerising panorama of the fjord and surrounding mountains.

The Western Brook Pond Trail is home to some of Canada’s most scenic panoramas, the hike leading to Western Brook Pond

The trail leads to Western Brook Pond, the crown jewel of the park. You can also combine the hike with a boat tour of the pond, as did our founder, Sandra Potter, on her recent visit to the Happy Province.  Watch the video here and mirror Sandra’s route on our 14-night Lodges and Escapes of Newfoundland fly-drive, or ask our specialists to create a holiday tailored to your individual interests.

2. Berg Lake Trail: Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia

Located in British Columbia’s Mount Robson Provincial Park, this challenging multi-day hike rewards you with awe-inspiring views of pristine glaciers, turquoise lakes, and the majestic Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

The trail starts off in a temperate rainforest before climbing higher into the alpine, where you will find a stunning blue glacier-fed lake. Of course, the star of the show is the Berg Glacier, which runs down the slope of Mount Robson and toward the lake itself.

3. Plain of Six Glaciers Trail: Banff National Park, Alberta

The Plain of Six Glaciers hike in Banff National Park offers stunning vistas of glaciers, snow-covered peaks, and glacially-fed lakes. Bound to take your breath away, the trail culminates at a tea house where you can enjoy refreshments while taking in the breathtaking panoramic views.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is a fabulous alpine walk that leads up from the famous Lake Louise (c) Chris Rees

One of our favourite hikes in the Lake Louise area, the journey begins on the lake’s shorline before taking you up into some sublime mountain scenery. This is a rare opportunity to see these huge Lake glaciers up close, and if you listen carefully, you might even hear the sound of the ice cracking as the glaciers continually shift.

4. Skyline Trail: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Located on Cape Breton Island in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Skyline Trail showcases some fabulous scenery. As you hike along the trail’s ridgeline, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, rolling hills, and rugged coastline.

Rangers offer daily guided sunset hikes along the popular Skyline Trail (c) George Simhoni

This is a great addition to a road trip along the famous Cabot Trail, and for a truly unforgettable hike, we suggest hitting the Skyline Trail just before sunset. That way you can beat the crowds and have the stunning views all to yourself. Try an early morning hike for the best chance of spotting the local wildlife including moose, bears, coyotes and eagles.

5. West Coast Trail​: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

For more experienced hikers, the challenging West Coast Trail, which runs across a roughly 46-mile stretch of coastline on Vancouver Island, provides incredible views of dramatic seascapes, ancient rainforests and secluded beaches. If you are looking for a remote and rugged wilderness adventure, this is the ideal choice.

On the West Coast Trail there are hundreds of ladders, some of them 30 feet high, that hikers must ascend or descend

Considered to be one of the most scenic trails in North America, yet also one of the most difficult, this trek shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. The pathway crosses through three indigenous Canadian communities (Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht, and Pacheedaht), and it is guarded by 12 First Nations members who work to help maintain the trail and share their history and culture.

6. Johnston Canyon: Banff National Park, Alberta

Located in the heart of Banff National Park, the Johnston Canyon hike is family-friendly, with the trail leading you through an impressively narrow canyon containing stunning waterfalls.

Being easy to reach and accessible to all abilities, the hike is incredibly popular, but the sheer number of waterfall vistas continues to be the main reason behind its overwhelming allure. The trail can be hiked in any season, allowing you to contrast a Frozen-esque winter wonderland with the frothy white roaring falls of summer, the water tumbling down into turquoise pools. For more intimate, detailed close-ups of the canyon, catwalks and platforms are suspended in the canyon walls. June is one of our favourite times to visit, with the spring snow melt (runoff) leading to a heavy mist and spray.

A couple stop to admire the view while hiking in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park (c) Parks Canada

While it’s a more strenuous trail, once you reach the Upper Falls, it’s worth heading onward and hiking to the Ink Pots to take in the pretty mountain views and admire the mesmerising blue-green bubbling pools of spring water.

 7. Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

Located in Nova Scotia’s Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, the roughly 34-mile coastal loop that is the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail provides stunning vistas of steep cliffs, wild beaches, and the Bay of Fundy—home to the highest tides in the world. The ever-changing diverse landscapes in this isolated wilderness setting range from lush boreal forest to dramatic rock formations.

Couple on the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail – the challenging, but stunningly scenic hike taking you along the Bay of Fundy  (c) Wally Hayes

The challenging and difficult multi-day hike can take up to three days, and it is described as a “real knee breaker,” so you should prepare for steep changes in elevation. For example, between the trailhead and Refugee Cove—a distance of around seven and a half miles—the trail drops to sea level and then climbs to around 800 feet three times over.

8. Crypt Lake Trail: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Named the Indiana Jones Adventure of the Canadian Rockies, rated in the top 20 most thrilling hikes in the world by National Geographic, and considered to be one of the best hikes in Canada, Alberta’s Crypt Lake Trail is located in Waterton Lakes National Park.

As you might have guessed by the name, this challenging yet rewarding 10-and-a-half-mile route takes you to Crypt Lake. On the final ascent, prepare to left in awe as you will be treated to incredible views of the surrounding mountains, falls, and its crystal-clear blue waters. A boat ride and a short ladder climb add to the adventure; in fact, to reach the trailhead itself, you’ll need to climb into a boat boarded at Waterton’s dock.

Backpackers hiking the Crypt Lake Trail – the 10 mile stretch rated as one of the top 20 most thrilling hikes in the world by National Geographic (c)

Along the gradual climb of 2,300 feet, you will encounter several geological wonders, from a 600-foot cascading waterfall to a natural tunnel. And, if you’re lucky, you might even catch sight of some of the park’s wildlife, including mountain goats and bears, with this trail located right in the heart of Canada’s prime bear country.

Whichever trail you decide to take, remember to check trail conditions, prepare adequately, and follow safety precautions when embarking on any hike. And, of course, enjoy exploring Canada’s diverse landscapes and the astonishing views they have to offer! We can promise every trail will have you coming back for more…

Contact our team of specialists and we will help you plan the walking holiday of a lifetime in Canada, with the option to travel independently on a tailor-made itinerary or on an escorted tour.

For more information on the holidays we offer at Frontier Canada, and to book, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.