Summer is short. And adventure awaits. From coast-to-coast, we’ve selected five essential hikes to help you make the most of Canada’s warm months. Lace up your boots, stuff your pack and get ready to tackle some of our most scenic trails.
Before you go
Boot guide: check your fit
When you lace up those boots, ensure they fit well. Look for these six features of trail-worthy footwear that fits well:
1. Overlord Trail to Decker Tarn
Blackcomb Mountain (Whistler, BC)
David WebbDavid Webb
Distance: 8 km
Season: June to October
Let the Excalibur Gondola ($52) do some of the grunt work on this trail—catch a lift to the alpine from Whistler Village and spend a day reveling in Coast Range majesty. Within minutes of setting out on Blackcomb’s Overlord Trail, well-placed natural curtains of rocks and trees block out the view of Rendezvous Lodge and the impressive Peak2Peak gondola. You’re free to focus on distant Overlord Glacier as you wander past Blackcomb Lake and toward the Garibaldi Provincial Park border. Serene Decker Tarn awaits on the far side of a ridgeline. Intrepid hikers often camp out in this area and hike further into Garibaldi the next morning, but even on a day-hike this trail offers world-class panoramas throughout.
2. Glacier Crest Trail
Glacier National Park, B.C.
Destination BC/David Gluns
Distance: 11 km
Set within the stunning environs of Glacier National Park, the aptly named Glacier Crest Trail is a sweaty uphill grind that offers expansive viewpoints as well as a stark ecological portent of climate change. Starting at the Illecillewaet Campground, you’ll gain more than 800 metres as you trek towards the summit, at 2,255 metres. Here, a vista of Mount Sir Donald weakens the knees—truly, one of the finest lookouts in the Canadian Rockies. But pay special attention to the Illecillewaet Glacier below. This icy mammoth has receded more than 1.5 kilometres in the past century; evidence of this dramatic recession is laid out in clear view below the trail peak.
3. Grey Owl’s Cabin
Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan
Distance: 40 km
Stock up in the town of Waskesiu, the economic centre of Prince Albert National Park, before heading out on this multi-day boreal trek. Your goal: Grey Owl’s Cabin, former home of one of the strangest, yet most influential, characters to occupy Canada’s backwoods. The trail meanders through Canadian Shield country for 20 kilometres from the Kingsmere parking lot, reaching Grey Owl’s (a.k.a Archie Belaney) Cabin and gravesite on the far side of Ajawaan Lake. Backcountry camping is available en route; tenting at Northend, near the cabin, is ideal for folks looking to make this lengthy trek in two days. (Note: canoeists can paddle across Kingsmere Lake and complete this trip in a single day.)
4. The Coastal Trail
Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Distance: 65 km
The best rewards come through the best efforts. Keep that in mind as you scramble across the rocky shoreline and high cliffs of the world’s largest freshwater lake for five to seven days on this classic Ontario trail. Running from Agawa Bay to Chalfant Cove, this linear hike is well marked with signage and rock cairns, and hugs the rugged coast for most of its length. Marvel at the sunsets from numerous backcountry campsites along the way and generally leave the world behind until you meet your pre-arranged shuttle at the trail’s end. It is one of the most demanding hikes in the province; however, you can make day-trip scouting missions at various access points before the full commit.
5. Alexander Murray Trail
King’s Point, Newfoundland & Labrador
Distance: 10 km
Central Newfoundland is a place of rich culture and friendly people. The town of King’s Point, set on a inlet about 90 minutes northwest of Deer Lake, typifies this sentiment. Stop by King’s Point Pottery and the Whale Pavilion before tackling the Alexander Murray Trail. This well-maintained path wanders up 2,200 wooden stairs—plus a worthy one-kilometre side trip to Corner Brook Falls—to the 305-metre-high Haypook Summit. Enjoy a vista atop the sprawling expanse of boreal forest and the North Atlantic beyond before continuing downslope along this this loop-trail and back to the parking lot. (Hit the trail on a Sunday, and you may even find a place to chow a post-hike Jiggs Dinner.)
More great content on Explore