Canada’s 150 best hikes. We tell you our favourites – you tell us yours

Canada’s 150 best hikes. We tell you our favourites – you tell us yours

ZENSEEKERS

Epic peaks, endless shorelines, tree-clad valleys, thundering waterfalls or silent and secluded alpine lakes. That’s what much of Canada is. There are thousands of trails we stroll, stride or scramble to find that moment that stops us in our tracks to say, “This is what I came for.” Standing on a peak or shoreline where the horizon never ends pulls everyone into a zen state of discovery.

At ZenSeekers we are all about discovery – be it a peak or something inside you that you find on your journey. We’ve compiled a few of our favourite hikes in Canada but want to hear from you to create a list of 150 Best Canadian Hikes. Let us know what trail speaks to you.

The West Coast Trail, B.C.

The granddaddy of them all is the 75 km long West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. Nobody said it would be easy and maybe that’s why we all take it on. For five to seven days you hike through the old growth forests, on boardwalks though bogs, along the shore, ford creeks, climb and descend countless ladders and play tag with the tides. And come away exhausted but with an unmatched sense of accomplishment. This is one trip you plan carefully for and due to its popularity, you have to reserve your time on the trail. Do you want to join the elite club of accomplished hikers who say, “Been there, hiked that?” More details can be found at the Parks Canada webpage. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activ6a

Hot Springs Cove

You have to be committed to find this trail. Just getting to the trailhead is an adventure. It all starts with a 1.5 hour boat ride from Tofino out on the choppy ocean to arrive at a lonely dock at the trailhead. The trail through the moist forest is lined with a boardwalk to keep erosion in check. Mack sure you take a good look at the boards, people have carved sayings and names for much of the 2.5 kilometres. Just like the same says, the water is hot and it cascades over a waterfall making for a wonderful open-air shower. Bring your swimsuits and enjoy. Plan the day to be at least 6-hours long including the boat ride/tour because if there is wildlife in the water or on the shores, nobody is in a rush. Check out Ocean Outfitters for transportation to the springs. https://www.oceanoutfitters.bc.ca/

Crypt Lake, Waterton National Park, Alberta

There is good reason why this 17.2 km (return) trail is ranked so high. It includes a boat transfer across the lake, hikes through rolling forests next to thundering waterfalls, slogs up scree slopes, a short climb up a ladder to crawl through a cave and then a cliff-hugging traverse before reaching a stunning mountain lake surrounded by mountains of Alberta and Montana. Toss down your backpack and pull out your lunch and watch the mountain goats scamper with ease along the lake shore. But don’t dally too long. The boat comes back at a designated time and the captain is diligent about staying on time. More information about Crypt Lake Trail and other activities for Waterton National Park can be found at https://mywaterton.ca/

Photographer
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Johnston Canyon and the Ink Pots in Banff National Park

When in Banff National Park, do like everyone else and start with some classic hikes. Johnston Canyon sees thousands of visitors all year long. So much so that the trail to the first waterfall is paved. But that makes it easier for newbies. The journey begins on those wide paths and onto canyon-clinging catwalks and bridges over the foaming creek. You’’ be so mesmerized by the high canyon walls and the rushing water, you won’t notice that first kilometre under your feet. Walk across the bridge and into the little cave for a refreshing view of the waterfall. (Refreshing as in prepare to get damp from the mist). Continue on up the trail to the Upper Falls and leave the crowds behind to continue a few more kilometres in the silent forest to the Ink Pots. These seven small “pots” are cold mineral springs bubbling to the surface in the meadows beside Johnston Creek. The colour of the water is worth the easy hike.

Peyto Lake and Bow Summit

Make sure you drive the Icefield Parkway but include a quick hike to look over Peyto Lake. It was named after one of the original guides in the Rockies and if I were a guide this would be the lake I’d want my name on too. You will park at the parking lot and walk the self-guided trail to the overlook. The creamy turquoise colour comes from the pulverized glacial rock called rock flour that stays suspended in the water, changing colour with the light and season. It has to be one of the most photographed lakes in Banff National Park because of the incredible vantage point that is so easy to get to. Add a few kilometres to your hike to ditch the crowds and go to the Bow Summit Lookout. https://www.banfflakelouise.com/hiking/icefields-parkway-trails

Bay of Fundy

 

ZenSeekers may be based on the west side of Canada but that doesn’t mean we ignore the east side. We went to New Brunswick and were gobsmacked. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world and that means it has the lowest tide too. That leaves a window every day to walk on the ocean floor at the Hopewell Rocks. Walk around and through rock formatons created by the waves or, kayak that same spot a few hours later. Not far from the Hopewell Rocks is Fundy National Park with trails you will love. A short but sweet trail is the Dickson Falls Trail near Alma (where the best lobster is). The trail takes you into a cool lush forest and follows the Dickson Brook on its trek to the ocean. It’s a quiet trail except for the sound of the water. Zen- like? Yes.

So…what’s your favourite hike?