Hiking In Canada – 9 Best Hikes In Canada (Expert Guide)

Updated: April 16, 2023

Canada has an abundance of spectacular landscapes to explore and hiking trails that offer a truly immersive wilderness experience.

Hikers from around the globe head here to experience the natural beauty of its landscapes, mountain ranges and stunning lakes. Not to mention the exceptional Canadian wildlife and remote wilderness areas to explore.

Canada was one of the first countries I ever went hiking in, so you're in for a treat of a list. Here is a preview of the best hikes in Canada, not in any particular order:

  1. Consolation Lakes Hike
  2. Johnston Canyon Trail
  3. The Fundy Trail
  4. The Skyline Trail
  5. The Grey Owl Trail
  6. Kinney Lake Trail
  7. The Great Divide Trail
  8. West Coast Trail
  9. Plain of Six Glaciers Trail

Best Hikes In Canada

1. Consolation Lakes Hike

  • Distance: 6.3 km (4 miles)
  • Time to trek: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Best time to hike: June to September
  • Trailhead: Moraine Lake Parking Lot (near the Rockpile)

This is one of the most popular hiking trails in Banff. Hiking to the Consolation Lakes beneath Lake Louise, begins at Lake Moraine. Beginning at the Lake Moraine parking lot you will head along a well-marked path towards a bridge that crosses over a small brook.

Heading up the stone steps from here will lead you to the Rockpile before descending into a rocky field that sits below the Tower of Babel, which is a tall quartzite monolith. The trail then moves through a beautiful forest area following the Babel Creek and then passing through a wetland area leading to the scree that surrounds the Consolation Lakes.

The hike is fairly easy and it’s a 6km roundtrip, making this a wonderful family hike. However, please do not hike alone as you can potentially encounter bears along the trail.

Reaching the Consolation Lakes you are confronted with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Due to its popularity, we suggest heading out early in the morning to avoid crowds. 

2. Johnston Canyon Hike

  • Distance: 5 km (3.3 miles)
  • Time to trek: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Best time to hike: May to October
  • Trailhead: Johnston Canyon

Looking for a canyon adventure? The Johnston Canyon Hike is a popular trail located near Lake Louise. The hike is 6km long and begins at Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalow. From here you head into the forest and then onto catwalks that are secured to the canyon cliffs!

The trail will take you to Lower Canyon Falls that you can view from a bridge crossing over the stream, or there is a tunnel to explore for a closer look! The trail then takes you to Upper Canyon Falls which offers epic views of the forest, creeks and waterfalls!

You will end up at a junction where you have the choice to either follow the path to the Waterfall Lookout, or the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls. The Waterfall Lookout leads to a viewpoint close to the top of the falls which makes for a stunning rest spot.

If you have chosen the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls path, you will walk along a catwalk situated at the bottom of the Upper Falls for an epic view of the waterfall from below.

If you are feeling strong, you can continue the hike to the Ink Pots, however, this is a difficult path, or you can head back down to the parking lot completing your hike. 

3. The Fundy Trail


Photo by Linda Dee

  • Distance: 16 km (9.9 miles)
  • Time to trek: 5-6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best time to hike: May to October
  • Trailhead: Big Salmon River Interpretive Centre

This is one place that deserves the name ‘a hidden gem’. In Southern New Brunswick lies one of North America’s last remaining coastal wilderness areas.

This unspoiled area remained hidden for many years but it is now open for hikers and outdoor lovers to explore. Easily one of the top trails in Canada, the Fundy Trail can be found just outside of St. Martins.

It’s a 16km hike along winding trails that offer stunning seaside views, dramatic cliff drops and beautiful flowing waterfalls.

You will also experience fascinating views of the Bay of Fundy’s famous tides which have been claimed as the worlds highest! You may even spot a whale. 

4. The Skyline Trail


Photo by Tony Webster

  • Distance: 44 km (27 miles)
  • Time to trek: 2-4 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best time to hike: July to September
  • Trailhead: Signal Mountain or Maligne Lake

Easily one of the most popular hikes in Canada, the Skyline Trail is located in Jasper National Park and is quite a challenge for hiking enthusiasts.

It’s a 44 km multi-day hiking trail that can take anywhere between 2 to 4 days to complete. The trail begins at signal mountain trailhead, but you can also begin at Maligne Lake which sits at a higher elevation making it easier to hike. The views along the trail are all ahead of you making for an impressive hiking experience.

There are multiple campsites along the way and the trail is well signposted. We recommend spending a night at either the Curator or the Tekarra campsites, they are by far the best on the trail! The campsites are set in the most beautiful scenery making it the perfect resting point.

5. The Grey Owl Trail


Photo by The Waterbird

  • Distance: 20 km (12.2 miles)
  • Time to trek: 10-12 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best time to hike: May to October
  • Trailhead: Kingsmere Parking Lot

Named after the famous conservationist, Archie Belaney, fondly known as ‘Grey Owl’, this hiking trail in Manitoba is a nature lover's dream.

Set in the heart of Riding Mountain National Park, the Grey Owl Trail is almost 20 km long, which takes up to 12 hours to complete. You’ll journey through sandy beaches and beautiful pine forests. With a little luck and a light foot, you may come across some white-tailed deer, foxes, moose, coyotes and even beavers.

‘Grey Owl’ dedicated his life to preserving the natural beauty of the area and it is easy to understand why. The area is just breathtaking! The trail ends at Beaver Lake cabin, the place that Archie Belaney once called home. 

6. Kinney Lake Trail


Photo by Brian

  • Distance: 14 km (8.6 miles)
  • Time to trek: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Best time to hike: June to September
  • Trailhead: Mount Robson Provincial Park Visitor Centre

Mount Robson Provincial Park is the second oldest provincial park in British Columbia and is home to Mount Robson (3,954m), the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Hikers are drawn to the park to hike the Kinney Lake Trail and get a glimpse of this majestic mountain. 

The trail is 14 km and takes around 3-4 hours to complete, depending on your pace. 

Along the way you will have breathtaking lakeside and mountain views, and if you are lucky you’ll get to experience the incredible wildlife in the Rockies. From elk to bears and moose, the park is teaming with animals and plant species that call it their home. 

Tip: If trekking in winter, bring skis or hiking snowshoes. Note that the area can get avalanches. 

7. The Great Divide Trail

  • Distance: 1,200 km (745 miles)
  • Time to trek: 4-6 weeks
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Best time to hike: July to September
  • Trailhead: Southern terminus at the US-Canada border near Waterton Lakes National Park, northern terminus at Kakwa Lake Provincial Park

Situated in the Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful wilderness hiking trails in the world, The trail follows the crest of the Rocky Mountains and crosses the divide between British Columbia and Alberta over 30 times.

The Great Divide Trail begins in Waterton Lakes National Park and ends near the Kawka Provincial Park. The trail is not well marked, leaving you to explore the whopping 1,200-km hiking trail to your heart’s desire.

This is not for the faint of heart and is challenging for even the most experienced hikers. You pass through eight Provincial parks, and five National Parks. Be aware of bears and bobcats as well as wolves, this is their home. Emergency services are not readily on hand, and you will be hiking in complete solitude, so proper preparation and training is essential to completing this hike.

If you are a hiking enthusiast, there is no doubt that The Great Divide Trail should be on your bucket list. It is one of the most immersive hiking experiences you could find.

Spending two months in nature is not an easy task and there are only a few small towns along the trail where you are able to stock up, so plan your route and supplies carefully.

8. West Coast Trail

Pachena Bay West Coast Trail Hiking in Canada

Credit: Paul Green

  • Distance: 75 km (46.6 miles)
  • Time to trek: 1.5-2 weeks
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Best time to hike: May to September
  • Trailhead: Pachena Bay or Gordon River

A very massive undertaking, the West Coast Trail is one of Canada's most challenging hikes.

The trail is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island and takes you through a rugged landscape of old-growth forests, rocky beaches, and steep cliffs. All the gorgeous natural scenery that is! The trail is well-marked and maintained, but you'll need to be physically fit and mentally prepared for its challenges.

The trek can take up to two weeks to complete, and you'll need to carry all your gear and food. Now imagine how much you might need. And how this can wear you out. Still not put off? Read on.

Along the way, you may encounter dangerous animals like bears, cougars, and wolves, so it's essential to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions. And an icing on the cake: the hike includes many obstacles including ladders, cable cars, and suspension bridges that require a high level of fitness and agility.

Tips: Bring waterproof gear, hiking boots, and a first aid kit. Be aware of bears and other wildlife. Check weather conditions before embarking on the hike.

9. Plain of Six Glaciers Trail in Banff National Park

Lake Louise Banff National Park - Plain of Six Glaciers Trail

Credit: Jaime Reimer

  • Distance: 15 km (9 miles)
  • Time to trek: 4-5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best time to hike: June to September
  • Trailhead: Lake Louise

The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail trail is located in Banff National Park and starts from the iconic Lake Louise. The hike takes around 4-5 hours to complete, and you will trek through forests, rocky trails, and glacial moraines.

Along the way, you will be rewarded with stunning views of glaciers, waterfalls, and mountain peaks. The highlight of the trail is the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack while taking in the stunning views.

Tips: Bring warm clothing and sturdy hiking boots. Be prepared for changeable weather conditions. The trail can be busy during peak season, so arrive early to avoid crowds.

Important Notes


Photo by Jen

  • You will be camping and cooking in the vast natural surroundings for two months. The smell of cooking food can attract unwanted visitors such as bears and wolves. We highly recommend taking the necessary precautions and bringing along some bear spray. I mentioned a few bear safety tips in my Highline Trail, Colorado review
  • For some of the best resources on the trail, check out The Great Divide Trail Association’s site. They are dedicated to the protection and maintenance of the trail. They have some key tips from hikers who have completed the trail as well as the best information on planning your trip. 
  • You will need to be highly skilled at navigation, have experience hiking long distances and over rough terrain, and book your camping spots ahead of time. Check out the Great Divide Trail App by Atlas Guides to find your way.

Classified as one of the most spectacular and challenging hikes in the world, completing the trail is a true accomplishment for outdoor enthusiasts. There are few trails that offer such dramatic scenery and such an immersive experience. Hikers have described the experience as ‘life changing’. It is everything you could possibly want in an immersive hiking experience and a true re-connection with nature.

Best Time To Go Hiking In Canada


Photo by Bernd Thaller

Hiking in Canada is best during the months of June to September when the temperatures are warm and the conditions are pleasant. This is the summer months in Canada and its peak hiking season in the country meaning the hiking paths are open for business and glacier hikes will be possible. However, this also means that the more popular trails will be crowded. 

During the shoulder months the trails will not be as crowded, so if you are looking for a quieter hiking experience then head on the trails in early-June or late-September. Travel during these shoulder periods means that you will get cheaper prices on accommodation too! Keep in mind that the lakes will only be completely defrosted from around mid-June so if you are keen on a lake hike, then rather wait till the temperatures have risen later in the summer.

Some areas are different to others. While hiking from mid-July to mid-September is the best time to visit the Canadian Rockies, you will find June to August better for hiking in Banff National Park. Lake Louise is also best during July and August when you will be able to see the turquoise lake in all its glory. Whenever you decide to go hiking in Canada, you can be sure to have an unforgettable experience!

You may also like...


About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

We work with local guides to offer great value adventures at unbeatable prices.