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Backpacking in Canada: 7 Destinations Worth the Trip

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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (photo: Gerry Thomasen)

For every place you visit in Canada, you’ll likely hear about two more destinations that are worthy of exploring.

Simply put, backpacking in Canada is a dream for international adventure seekers.

From the Rockies to the coast, all you need is a backpack and a thirst for wonder to experience all the Canadian outdoors have to offer.

It was a tough call, but we’ve narrowed down seven amazing spots that will make your trip to Canada complete.

1. West Coast Trail, British Columbia

Located inside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, this trail single-handedly gives Canada its reputation as a backpacker’s paradise.

It’s 75 km of nothing but scenic vistas, thrilling obstacles, and plenty of one-on-one time with nature.

Despite its beauty and reputation, this trail isn’t for the faint of heart.

Backpack-laden hikers can expect to climb ladders, trudge through mud, cross chilly waters, and battle the elements over three to five days of strenuous trekking.

Conquer this trail and earn bragging rights for life.

2. Tonquin Trail, British Columbia

While you’re in BC, you’ll want to experience the shorter yet ever scenic Tonquin Trail.

The total length clocks in under 3 km and takes you directly to Tonquin Beach and views of Vancouver Island.

Though short, the hike isn’t exactly easy. There are a few steep passes and stairs that travelers must conquer, but the views at the end are well worth the effort.

It’s the perfect distance for a short day hike that leaves you time to experience other natural wonders in British Columbia.

Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada
Bruce Trail (photo: Kevin M Klerks)

3. Bruce Trail, Ontario

This multi-day challenge is the ultimate backpacking adventure for international backpackers.

The Bruce Trail spans over 890 km and takes a full 30 days or longer to complete end to end.

The trail is divided into nine smaller sections that make it easy to tackle a shorter backpacking trip without sacrificing the thrill of traveling on Bruce Trail.

This trail is nothing short of fun, with unique challenges and the potential to earn badges for completing specific tasks or sections.

4. Skoki Lodge, Alberta

The hike to Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park is truly one for the books.

International travelers will get an authentic taste of the Canadian wilderness as they travel to this remote lodge that’s only accessible by foot.

Start your journey at Lake Louise Ski Area, where you can check into the lodge and catch a van to the trailhead. 

From there, just seven miles stand between you and a luxurious stay at the scenic backcountry lodge.

Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park
Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park (photo: santoshsurneni)

5. The Rockwall Trail, British Columbia

Located inside the Kootenay National Park, this hike through the Rockies is one of the most challenging hikes in Canada. 

Named for its iconic rock wall, this 54 km trail is chock full of the natural elements and wildlife that adventure seekers expect.

Waterfalls, creeks, lakes, and glaciers are in abundance along this trail. 

It’s home to grizzly bears and other wildlife, especially since the massive fire of 2003 has reshaped the land and ecology of the area.

Many hiking guides recommend starting at the Paint Pots trailhead and heading south to the Floe Lake trailhead. 

The hike spans three to four days and offers several campsites with panoramic views.

6. East Coast Trail, Labrador, and Newfoundland

Canada’s east coast has views that are as stunning as its west coast counterpart. 

The East Coast Trail is comprised of 26 smaller paths that combine some of Canada’s beautiful wilderness with charming, historic towns.

The trail is one of the most scenic in the country, taking travelers along cliffs and flatlands, past fjords and the iconic geyser called The Spout. 

Lighthouses, icebergs, bridges, historical sites, and whale sightings are common scenes along this thoroughfare.

Taking a guided hike is perfect for international backpackers. You’ll see all the best sights of the trail and get an insider’s perspective about your destination.

7. Chilkoot Trail, Yukon

Tucked inside the Klondike Gold Rush National Park, this 33-mile trail spans two countries and is steeped in over 150 years of history. 

Over 10,000 hikers, runners, and backpackers can be found on the trail each day, making it one of the most popular trails on Canada’s west coast.

This former gold rush thoroughfare is still dotted with remnants of the old gold craze, touted as the world’s longest history museum.

The trail offers nine campgrounds along its length, which takes three to five days to traverse fully. 

The trailhead is located about 10 miles outside of Skagway, and you can purchase shuttle service to take you there. 

During June through the first week of September, you’ll need a permit for staying on the trail overnight, even if you’re not crossing into the U.S.

Bonus Travel Tip for Backpacking in Canada

Even careful planning and packing aren’t enough to prevent things like medical emergencies, trip delays, or travel interruptions.

It’s in your interest to weigh the best travel insurance options to protect every step of your journey and maximize your experience, especially if you’re traversing some of these longer and more challenging trails.

The only question left is which backpacking trail will you explore first?

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This story was brought to you in partnership with Best Quote Travel Insurance.

 


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