Lately, you likely have staycation goals to get out and visit more parks within your own province, or maybe you have been itching all year to set out on a road trip. You might even be looking for interprovincial day trip ideas to take the family over the weekend. Whichever the case, if you have a hankering for Eastern Canada hike inspiration, you don't have to squint hard at the map to find beautiful trails with spectacular vistas.

Here are the 40 of the best Eastern Canada hikes from Ontario to Atlantic Canada, all the way up to Nunavut.

  

Ontario

photoTimothy Neesam Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Barron Canyon Trail Hiking Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park:

This loop trail is short and sweet with views overlooking a jagged rock and pine-speckled canyon. It is considered “easy” although uphill, and dogs are welcome on a leash. To get to it, you must drive 30 kilometres on a dirt road. Accessible year-round. Distance: 1.5 km // Elevation gain: 140 m

 

High Falls Cheater Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park:

If you are in the neighbourhood of Barron Canyon, you may want to try this one too. It is just a two-kilometre drive from the other trail and will lead to waterfalls. This out and back trail is classified as “moderate” but leans closer to “easy” and is considered kid friendly. Distance: 8.5 km // Elevation gain: 295 m

 

Robertson Cliffs via Ila's Loop:

This trail in the Algoma region leads to a cliff with spectacular views that look especially magical in autumn when the trees below are all sorts of warm shades. There is even a little waterfall near the beginning. Try to go on a day that isn't too wet as some steep inclines can get slippery. The loop is rated as moderate and going up in the white trail direction then returning in the yellow trail direction is optimal. Distance: 4.3 km // Elevation gain: 205 m

 

La Cloche Silhouette Loop, Killarney Provincial Park:

Looking for something a bit more intense? How about a week- (or two-) long hike? There are specific camp sites available for hikers on each night of the journey. You'll see Lumsden Lake, a waterfall, Acid Lake (which you can swim in), Cave Lake, Artist Lake, Topaz Lake and many more. Dogs are allowed. Best used from May to October. Also, it is named after a painting, so you know it looks good! Distance: 78 km // Elevation gain: 1,951 m

 

Mer Bleue Bog Trail:

Now for something a little more simple and serene. Even our capital has some good hiking options with lovely views. This shorter trail offers hikers a chance to see wildlife and unusual flora near the city. Plus, it's an important natural water filtration system. It is wheelchair-, kid- and stroller-friendly. No pups allowed but that's okay because there are so many birds. If you bring some bird seed, they will eat right out of your hand. Distance: 1.4 km // Elevation gain: 19 m

 

Mer Bleue Conservation Area Loop:

Another Ottawa option is this more “moderate” loop trail in the same Mer Bleue area. This one, however, has lake views. Leashed dogs are welcome! Distance: 7.1 km // Elevation gain: 100 m

 

Top of the Giant via Kebeyan Trail, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park:

If you're up for a challenge that rewards you with scenic lookouts, this one is for you. While marked as “moderate” there are some high, rocky drops overlooking the water which might be spooky for those scared of heights. It is a zig zag ascent to the top of the famous Sleeping Giant which will get your heart racing. Distance: 22.7 km // Elevation gain: 566 m

  

Quebec

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Parker Falls Trail, Mauricie National Park:

This is a nice little trail, great for family, and “easy.” It follows a hilly dirt road surrounded by trees along a lake, leading to a waterfall with a natural splash pad shape. You can walk right up to it. On a rainy day there can be a lot of mosquitoes so dress/spray accordingly! Distance: 1.7 km // Elevation gain: 138 m

 

Boucle du Sommet (Summit Loop), Mt. Royal Park: Another pretty simple one but it is right in the beautiful city, you can't experience Montreal without visiting Mount Royal. For best views, try this trail right up to the observation deck just before sunrise. Distance:  2.2 km // Elevation gain: 31 m

 

Ste. Ursule Falls, Parc des Chutes de Ste. Ursule:

There is a fee to trek to the falls, but it is an underrated beauty. There are seven waterfalls to see along the way, plus a lot of different textured paths: wood stairs, thick roots, rocks, shore and even a wide dirt road. Distance: 3 km // Elevation gain: 70 m

 

Voile du Mariee (Veil of the bride), Parc Regional des Sept Chutes:

This popularly named waterfall in Quebec is a short, one-hour “intermediate” hike just two hours outside of Montreal. As the name suggests, this hilly, rooted and lightly rocky trail follows a river that leads to a 60-metre waterfall that resembles a veil over a face in the cliff. Distance: 2 km // Elevation gain: 230 m

 

Tour de Trou du diable (Devil's hole trail, Shawinigan Falls):

This loop leads to waterfalls almost as tall as Niagara, as well as a legendary spot called Devil's Hole, just beneath one of the falls along the way. It is a dangerous whirlpool but don't worry, hikers don't need to go into the water. Categorized as “moderate,” this trail takes you through the woods and field by Saint Maurice River. In the winter, you can snowshoe here. Don't swim near the waterfall as people drown there regularly, hence the name. Distance: 4.98 km // Elevation gain: 145 m

 

Sentier de la Gorge (Gorge Canyon Trail), Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook:

This Park has over 19 kilometres of marked trails but the most popular is “Canyon,” which includes the longest suspended footbridge in North America at 169 metre long. Cross it if you dare. Canyon loop takes about 1.5 hours and is very easy. Leashed pets are allowed. If you go at night, the park offers a “fairy magic” Foresta Lumina experience, with suspended lights all around the trees among other art installations. Distance: 3.5 km // Elevation gain: 66.75 m

 

Carbide Willson Ruins, Gatineau Park:

This loop by Chelsea's Meech Lake is popular to photographers. It showcases ruins of a fertilizer plant built by Canadian inventor Thomas Leopold Willson in 1911. He was nicknamed Carbide for his discovery of a calcium carbide manufacturing process. You pass by the remnants of the foundation of the building, some walls still with windows. Distance: 3.25 km // Elevation gain: 163 m

 

Mont des Morios (Mount of Morios), Parc National des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivere-Malbaie:

You can enjoy this “difficult” long-distance loop trail that runs up the mountain and offers a 360-degree view of the Charlevoix mountains and river. Leashed pooches are allowed but it is steep and rocky! Distance: 25 km // Elevation gain: 628 m

  

Nunavut

photoCourtney Edgar

Apex Trail:

A portion of this trail is marked but the rest is something of a choose your own adventure. It runs from inside a cemetery near the centre of Nunavut's capital city, along a cliff that overlooks Frobisher Bay which is frozen for about nine months a year, all the way to the satellite town of Apex. The hike ends at old Hudson Bay Company buildings on an Apex beach. Distance: varies

 

Auyuittuq Traverse, Auyuittuq National Park:

This one is for the adventurous and those not afraid of the cold. You can backpack across Auyuittuq National Park near Pangnirtung in just under two weeks, stopping to camp with all-season tents each night. Tour operators, guides, and outfitters are available to help you on your journey as there are no marked trails. Visitors to the park must watch a video which includes what to do if you encounter a polar bear and how to not drown by the glaciers. You must be able to carry a 40-pound backpack for 8 to 18 kilometres each day, over about 10-12 days. Distance: 97 km // Elevation: N/A (Summit Lake elevation is 500 metres, and foot of Mount Thor is 1,200 metre cliff)

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

photoqFlickr Estefania Mera

Indian Lookout Trail, Gros Morne National Park:

This “moderate” loop trail leads up, up, up to superb views. Quite a steep incline but well worth the burn. Distance: 5.8 km // Elevation: 339 m

 

Centre Hill Wilderness Trail, Sunnyside:

A pretty difficult out-and-back trail that will require some climbing up the mountain. That is likely why it is rated “difficult” since the rest of the hike is easier to moderate. You will see a lake and waterfalls along the way and of course you can't forget the summit panorama. Distance: 10.1 km // Elevation: 457 m

 

Skerwink Trail, Trinity:

Want to see some sea stacks, whales, eagles and icebergs? Consider this “moderate” loop trail near Trinity, NL. Distance: 4.7 km // Elevation: 59 m

 

Tablelands Trail, Gros Morne National Park:

If you are looking for an easy trail with great views, definitely try this one which is family, senior and kid friendly. You walk along a boardwalk and can admire the mountains, flowers and rocks all around. Distance: 4.2 km // Elevation: 90.8 m

 

Nova Scotia

photoqAlison Karlene HodginsAlison Karlene Hodgins

Franey Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park:

A moderate loop trail with a lake and beautiful valley views. Bring your leashed pups. It is a pretty popular trail! Distance: 7.24 km // Elevation: 341 m

 

Gypsum Mine Lake, Cheticamp:

You might have seen this lake in travel magazines and on your Instagram feed. It is a short hike for such a lovely lake view. Some mountain and rocks dress it up even more. Distance: 2.6 km// Elevation: 48 m

 

Beulach Ban Falls and Aspy Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park:

This out-and-back trail will lead you to a pretty waterfall. It has a gradual incline which increases to be steeper near the end. It is considered “moderate.” Distance: 9.2 km // Elevation: 335 m

 

Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park:

If you like dramatic cliffs over the coast, look no further. Hikers must follow the boardwalk to avoid trampling delicate plants. You might see a moose, whales or bears here. Distance: 6.5 km return or 8.2 km as a loop // Elevation: 290–405 m

 

Cape Split Trail, Cape Split Provincial Park:

This popular out-and-back trail is heavily trafficked and that makes sense. It looks out to the gorgeous tides of the Bay of Fundy. Leashed pups are allowed. Distance: 6.5 km one way or 13 km back // Elevation: 423 m

 

Salmon Pools Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park:

A moderate and level trail that follows the Cheticamp River canyon, with 1,300 metre cliffs towering above you. It includes some short climbs, and you pass two pools. You can even bring a mountain bike up to the second pool. This should only take about 2.5 hours. Distance: 7.8 km // Elevation: 15-110 m

 

Middle Head Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park:

What's better than one bay? Two. This loop trail follows a long peninsula beside two ocean bays. There are many spots where the blue looks like it goes on forever. Should only take about one to two hours. Rated “moderate.” Distance: 3.8 km // Elevation: 45 m

 

Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, Cape Breton Island:

This hike is a little open-ended. This trail is enormous with many trailheads attached. Would rather bike than hike? No worries. This is a multi-use trail that runs along different fishing spots, several warm beaches you can swim in, and picnic spots, as well as other trails. Take your pick! Keep an eye out for pilot whales and eagles. Distance: 92 km total // Elevation: 1,132

 

Prince Edward Island

photiAlison Karlene Hodgins

Confederation Trail:

With over 1,600 geocache spots, this “walking museum” trail has a lot to show and teach. It is island-wide and with a variety of landscapes. The main trail runs from Tignish to Elmira and measures 273 kilometres. You can also do the PEI portion of the International Appalachian Trail which runs from Borden Carleton to Wood Islands ferry. Completing the entire trail is a multi-day endeavour. Distance: 449 km total // Elevation: varies

 

Cavendish Dunelands, Prince Edward Island National Park:

This out-and-back trail comprised of crushed rock and boardwalk offers a beautiful hike with ocean views that is also wheelchair accessible. Take the family and your pets or take a slow stroll to admire these fields, pond and sand dunes. Runs from Cavendish Beach to Oceanview. You'll want to add Oceanview to your hike to catch some of that red rock coast. Distance: 900 metres one way // Elevation: 6 m

 

Beck Trail (Blue Loop), John J. & Annie Beck Nature Reserve:

A good-looking trail on the eastern side of the island, this is one of two loops on the Beck Trail. You'll see boardwalks, bridges and old farm equipment. It is a multi-use trail that hikers will share with bikers. It is considered “intermediate to difficult.” Open all year! Distance: 6.9 km // Elevation: 127 m

 

New Brunswick

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Mount Carleton, Mount Carleton Provincial Park:

The highest point in New Brunswick will not disappoint. You will find particularly remarkable views from the mountain peak during the fall as the leaves start to change. This loop trail is rated as “strenuous.” Some rock climbing will be necessary as you head up the mount. You may want to stay over night at its campground after the long day. Distance: 9.3 km // Elevation: 412 m

 

Moosehorn-Laverty Loop, Fundy National Park:

This is a great one to do with the family and/or on a hot, sunny day. On the way to Laverty Falls, you pass a smaller waterfall with a splash pad shape, and little rock craters that form a perfect lagoon-like swimming hole. Distance: 6.8 km // Elevation: 233 m

 

Crooked Creek Falls, Hopewell Hill:

Another excellent family swimming trip is had at Crooked Creek. This one is a much shorter hike but quite steeper on the way down (and back up again). This leads to a more spacious stream with circles of rocky areas folks love to sit for a dip in. Don't be surprised by how popular it is on a hot day. People just chilling along the hills and rocks, admiring the waterfall is common. Distance: 450 m // Elevation: 80 m

 

Third Vault Falls, Fundy National Park:

This one will be a little more difficult. The out-and-back trail is made of crushed rock and well-forested. It will take you to the park's largest waterfall. Distance: 3.69 km one way // Elevation: 199 m

 

Walton Glen Gorge:

Now, a difficult one for the risk-takers who love a good climb. Shimmy down this beautiful, enormous gorge following the orange ribbons. You'll pass a couple different waterfalls, streams, pools and Little Salmon River. Wear some thick-soled wet shoes because your feet will get wet. You will end up by Fundy Footpath. Distance: 4 km // Elevation: 187 m

 

Dickson Falls, Fundy National Park:

As the name suggests, this one leads to a waterfall because we all know those are the best hikes. Luckily, this is the most accessible falls in the park. It is not only the most popular trail, but also the most photographed. Rated as moderate, you will go down into the rocky green valley, near Dickson Brook. Distance: 1.5 km // Elevation: 79 m

 

Fundy Footpath:

Multi-day hikers should try this one. Spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy will be waiting for you as you cross rivers and ravines. It is “difficult” though and best attempted by backcountry hikers experienced in multi-day hiking. This linear trail can be accessed from a variety of points, including connections from other hike trails. Distance: 41 km // Elevation: 3,048 m

 

Whale Cove to Whistle Lighthouse, Grand Manan Island:

How about a hike you have to boat to? Ferry out to Grand Manan to try some of New Brunswick's most unique hikes. This is one of the prettiest trails on the island, with waterfalls, cliffs and beaches. You can catch whales, seals and bird-watch along the way. Distance: 5.26 km // Elevation: 94 m

 

No matter your skill level, preferred province/territory, or if you hike solo, with family, friends, pets or babies on your back, Eastern Canada has an abundance of trail options to suit all your adventure needs.

The best part about these 40 hikes is they were all selected because they lead to spectacular views and mountainous, waterside, valley or waterfall views. Pack lots of water, tie up those boots and don't forget to bring your camera.

  

 

PS. Why 40? Because Explore Magazine is 40 Years Old!

In Spring of 1981, the first issue of Explore Magazine went up for sale on newsstands around Canada.

Forty years later, explore is still on newsstands coast-to-coast; we’ve expanded to create a unique subscription box, adventure-focused podcast and a trusted online magazine, drawing in readers from around the world.

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Don’t forget to pick up your free e-book copy of the Top 40 Hiking Trails in Canada.