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Backpacking Canada: 10 multi-day hikes for your bucket list

Canada is a wonderland for backpackers. Trails run through rain forests, rocky cliffs, marshlands, and a variety of other diverse landscapes.

Looking for your next adventure? Here are 10 multi-day hikes you don’t want to miss.

1. The West Coast Trail: British Columbia

The West Coast Trail is a 75 km hike along trading and paddling routes established by first nations. The trail is physically demanding. Hikers will climb more than 100 ladders, pass through rugged terrain, and trudge through deep mud and watery passes.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Expert

Days to hike: 6-8

 

2. Chilkoot Trail: British Columbia

The beautiful Chilkoot Trail runs between Bennet City, British Columbia, and Dyea, Alaska. It passes through lichen-coated woodlands, rain forest, and alpine. The trail runs 53 km, with the Canada and U.S. border lying roughly in the middle (26 km on the Canadian side).

Due to COVID-19 hikers are currently restricted to one side of the border.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Expert

Days to hike: 4-6 (full), 2-3 (Canadian length)

3. Waskahegan Trail: Alberta

The Waskahegan Trail travels through wetlands and badlands. The 309 km trail extends through Blackfoot Recreational Area and the Ministik Bird Sanctuary. Hikers can enjoy a guided excursion through one of the 8-12 km sections or take on an unguided multi-day hike.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Intermediate to expert

Days to hike: 14

4. The Boreal Trail: Saskatchewan

The Boreal Trail is a 135 km trail network with multiple entry points and camp stops. The trail brings hikers through the lush Boreal Forest and passes multiple lakes.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Beginner to intermediate

Days to hike: 2-3

 

5. The Mantario Trail: Manitoba

With a name like Mantario, it’s no surprise this trail rides the Manitoba and Ontario border. The trail offers a challenging 63 km along the Canadian Shield. Much of the hike is within Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Trail type: Multipurpose

Experience level: Expert

Days to hike: 2

6. The Bruce Trail: Ontario

The Bruce Trail is recognized as Canada’s longest-marked footpath. It runs 900 km from Niagara to Tobermory. Expect stunning views of the Niagara Escarpment. It’s not possible to hike the entirety of The Bruce Trail by camping alone.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Beginner to intermediate

Days to hike: 30

7. The Fundy Footpath: New Brunswick

The Fundy Footpath is a difficult hike across 64.3 km. The trek crosses Fundy shore, woods, cliffs, and rocky terrain. Fundy is best known for its unique coastline and tidal bore.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Intermediate to expert

Days to hike: 3-4

 

8. The Confederation Trail: Prince Edward Island

The Confederation Trail includes coastal views, farmland, forest trails, and local towns. The 435 km trail crosses the island, alternating in elevations of 2% up or down. A perfect journey for backpacking beginners.

Trail type: Multi-purpose

Experience level: Beginner

Days to hike: 32

9. The Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail: Nova Scotia

The Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail offers a 53 km excursion through rugged wilderness and coastal climbs. This is a physically demanding journey requiring appropriate survival and first aid equipment. Back country hikes require park check-in and travel plan prior to departure.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Intermediate to expert

Days to hike: 3-4

10. East Coast Trail: Newfoundland

The East Coast Trail is a diverse collection of 25 paths. Hikers pass sea stacks, cliffs, woodlands, and fjords. Lucky backpackers might glimpse icebergs and caribou. The 336 km hike also includes two archeological sites and a 50-metre suspension bridge.

Trail type: Hiking

Experience level: Intermediate to expert

Days to hike: 20

Before any multi-day hike, backpackers should create a travel plan and leave it with somebody you trust. Check weather conditions before leaving, and pack appropriately.

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