Canada walking vacation guide


2 minute summary

Walking vacations in Canada take you through an outdoor wonderland of ever changing landscapes, with a healthy dose of adventure thrown into the mix. In the Canadian Rockies, snow capped peaks loom above emerald lakes and thick forests, rivers charge through alpine valleys and, come summertime, meadows burst with wildflowers. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of a diverse cast of wildlife characters, including moose, wolves and bears, both black and grizzly.
Over on the east coast, the wild and wonderfully varied landscape takes you from the deep red earth and gentle farmland of Prince Edward Island to the windswept headlands and rocky shores of Cape Breton National Park, from where pilot whales and harbour seals are often spotted. Our Canada walking vacations travel guide showcases the best of these trips, which also include rafting, biking and other heart pumping activities, as well as the opportunity to learn more about First Nations culture. Read on to find out more.

What do Canada walking vacations entail?


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Small group vacations


For most people trekking independently into the Rockies is out of the question, so joining a group of around 12-14 likeminded hikers takes the pressure off on the organisational front. Expert guides know all the secret spots and viewpoints, and will ensure everything runs as efficiently as possible. They’ll also give you an insight into local culture and nature, and know what to do if you run into a bear! You just need to turn up with your hiking boots.
Small group vacations also work well for families, as they’re a flexible option, with a mix of camping, hotel and cabin stays. Younger children will appreciate having kids of a similar age to play with, and teens will have a bit more independence from parents than on your average family vacation. Family vacation guides have plenty of experience working with kids of varying ages.

Accommodation


Sleeping under canvas is the best way to get out into the wilderness, and there’s a wide network of national park and private campgrounds in which to lay your head. You and your fellow trip mates will have to be prepared to pitch in and help the guide set up and take down the camp, but that’s all part of the bonding experience. You’ll also shop locally, cook group meals and wash up together, with occasional meals out at restaurants. If you prefer a few more creature comforts, some tours take a gentler pace, with stays in hotels, motels and cabins and most meals eaten out at local restaurants.

Watching wildlife


Not only will you get to explore some of the best walking trails the world has to offer, you’ll also get to see some of the wildlife that inhabits Canada’s national parks. The Rockies are home to black and grizzly bears, eagles, coyotes and bighorn sheep, to name a few. Head east and you’ll have the chance to watch whales and spot seals as well moose, lynx and other land mammals.

Keeping active


Testing out your boots on Canada’s most dramatic trails is the main activity on our walking tours, but there are dozens of other ways in which to work up a sweat. Optional extras on our small group tours include white water rafting, canoeing and biking, with the occasional optional hot-springs soak if it all gets a bit too much.

How tough are they?


On most Canada walking vacations a moderate level of fitness is required, with walks of up to 18km a day in the Rockies, often with steep elevation. Our east coast trips are slightly less challenging; and for those who want a slower pace, or for families traveling with young children, there are shorter, easy to moderate options available on both coasts.
Even if you’re on a camping vacation you won’t have to haul around your own gear. Luggage is stored in a trailer or in the van, allowing you to hit the trails with nothing more than a daypack, a bottle of water and the spirit of adventure.

Best time to go walking in Canada


Temperature & walking

Click on a location: Vancouver | Nova Scotia
The months of Jun-Sep are by far the best time to go walking in Canada. It’s peak tourist season so it’s the busiest time of year, but the wilderness areas are so vast that you’ll easily be able to escape the crowds. In the Rockies, Jun is a good time to spot bears, and wildflowers come into full bloom in Aug. Early Sep provides a chill as fresh snow returns to the mountainsides and the larch trees start turning gold. For pleasant temperatures, changing leaves and whale sightings, Sep is also a great time to visit Canada’s east coast.
Photo credits: [Topbox: Edna Winti] [Small group: daveynin] [Watching wildlife: LASZLO ILYES] [How tough: Jay Huang] [Tempchart: daveynin] [Helpdesk: Edna Winti]

Written by: Nana Luckham
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