osprey forest adventure hiking bridge outdoors lake
Credit: Dan Holz
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We all love sunrise hikes, day adventures, late afternoon mountain bike rides and evening picnics on a mountaintop, but some of us don’t want to return home when the sun goes down. Some of us want the adventure to continue overnight and onto the next day.

Luckily for those of us, there are plenty of options for long weekend adventures. From the coast of Vancouver Island to the border of Quebec and onto the coast of Nova Scotia, here are 8 of our favourites:

 

1. North Coast Trail

Vancouver Island, B.C.

North Coast TrailTim Gage, Flickr/timg_vancouver

  • Route Name: North Coast Trail
  • Launch/End points: Cape Scott Park to Shushartie Bay
  • Distance: 58 km
  • Duration: 5-7 days
  • Difficulty: Difficult (but worth it)
  • Where to sleep: There are six campsites along the way; camping fees are in effect April to October. Random wilderness camping is allowed; campers are encouraged to stay on the beach and to make use of food caches and pit toilets to preserve the natural environment.

north coast trail Nels BightTim Gage, Flickr/timg_vancouver

Take a human-propelled cable car across two rivers, watch for humpback whales breaking the ocean’s surface and meet Black-tailed deer along the trail. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Take this virtual tour and next thing you know, you’ll be packing your backpack. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

2. Paddling Broken Islands

Ucluelet, Vancouver Island B.C.

Paddling Broken Islands Ucluelet, Vancouver Island B.C.Peggy S, Flickr/heypeggy

  • Route Name: Broken Group Islands of Barkley Sound
  • Launch/End points: Launch from Secret Beach in Toquaht Bay.
  • Distance: 14 – 50 km, depending how many islands you travel to
  • Duration: 2-8 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Where to sleep: Seven of the islands have designated camping areas with fees. Equipped with solar composting outhouses. There is no freshwater or garbage disposal, so bring enough water and pack out what you pack in. In the summer months, be prepared to share the campsites with many other visitors.

Paddling Broken IslandsPeggy S, Flickr/heypeggy

Weave on water between over 100 tiny islands, camp on secluded white-sand beaches and breathe in the West Coast’s serene nature. Previous coastal rescue kayaking experience is necessary, unless you book with an operator. There are plenty of options for day trips and overnight tours.

 

3. Hike the Baden Powell Trail

Vancouver, B.C.

baden powellColin Knowles, Flickr/colink

  • Route Name: Baden Powell Trail
  • Launch/End points: Horseshoe Bay trailhead to Deep Cove (Indian Arm)
  • Distance: 48 km
  • Duration: 20 hours/2-3 days
  • Sections: Deep Cove to Lynn Valley, Lynn Valley to Grouse Mountain, Grouse Mountain to Cypress Mountain, and Cypress Mountain to Horseshoe Bay.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate-Difficult
  • Elevation gain/loss: Approximately 4,900 metres. Basically, you’re following the epic Knee Knacker race, which is (seriously) a run that scales Vancouver’s North Shore mountains.
  •  Where to sleep: As much of this trail is regularly accessed by hikers completing parts of it, you’re never far from civilization. However, there are no campsites directly on the trail. It’s a good idea to break the trail up into sections, return to the city at night and come back the following day to complete it.

lynn canyon bridgebill@ontheroadin, Flickr/74173384@N08

While sections near Lynn Canyon and Deep Cove are frequented, it is rare for hikers to attempt the entire trail, meaning you’ll most likely be alone. The entire trek takes you right across the Lower Mainland, from Horseshoe Bay all the way to the Indian Arm.

Need a pack? We think Osprey’s MANTA AG™ 36 ought to do the job. Why? This trail is long and you'll want to be at ease with your pack and stay hydrated. Anti-Gravity™ LightWire™ suspension means no wasted weight while a BioStretch™ shoulder harness and AG™ hipbelt distribute weight. No sore hip bones here. The pack also includes a 2.5L Hydraulics LT reservoir.

 

4. Iceline Trail

Yoho National Park, B.C.

Iceline Trail Yoho National Park, B.C.Juliane Schultz, Flickr/julis_travel_log

  • Route Name: Iceline via Little Yoho
  • Launch/End points: Takakkawa Falls parking lot
  • Distance: 20.8 km
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
  • Elevation: 210 meters
  • Where to sleep: There are four backcountry campgrounds accessible from the Takakkawa trailhead. Alternatively, you can cozy up in the family-friendly Stanley Mitchell Hut. Large enough to sleep 21 of your closest friends, it comes equipped with mattresses, a propane stove, lighting, extra propane and an outhouse.

After a steep climb, you will be greeted with spectacular glacial views. Descend into a meadow to camp and return past Laughing Falls.

Need a pack? We think Osprey’s KESTREL 48 is up for the challenge. With both male and female options to best suit body type, these packs have a separate zippered sleeping bag compartment and external sleeping bag straps necessary for overnight adventures.

 

5. Camp in the Valley of 1,000 Devils

Grasslands National Park, SK

Camp in the Valley of 1,000 Devils© Parks Canada / Kevin Hogarth

  • Route Name: Valley of 1,000 Devils
  •  Launch/End points: Check in at the East Block McGowan’s Visitor Centre at Rock Creek Campground.
  • Distance: It’s completely up to you how deep you venture into the Grasslands National Park. With 907 square kilometers, you could explore for days, providing you pack enough water. Bring a GPS and a map, as there isn’t a linear trail to follow.
  • Difficulty: The terrain isn’t particularly challenging, but the temperature is hot during summer. Uncomfortably hot. Come prepared to sweat and bring extra water!
  • Where to sleep: Wilderness camping near the water cache. There are no trees for shelter.

Wander amongst hoodoos in Saskatchewan’s backcountry. This valley is famous for its vast collection of dinosaur fossils. If you look carefully enough, you might find a bone or two yourself!

Need a pack? We think Osprey’s Atmos AG 50 would fit the bill. Why? The special drying ventilation of the pack will be your saving grace on this hot and dry trail. The Anti-Gravity suspension system keeps you feeling lifted and light on your trek.


Blogger’s who’ve done it:
Adventure Seekers

 

6. Cycling Petit-Temis Interprovincial Linear Park

Quebec/New Brunswick

osprey bikingDan Holz

  • Route Name: Petit-Temis Interprovincial Park (Trans Canada Trail)
  • Launch/End points: Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec to Edmundston, New Brunswick
  • Distance: 134 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Where to sleep: There is rustic camping and a café in the North Section, the 70-some km between Rivière-du-Loup and Cabano.

Coast along this former railroad, looking out over breathtaking views of the River Madawaska and Lake Temiscouta. Ride through forested areas and across wooden trestles. The most elevation you’ll have to climb is a 4% grade; there are rest stops along the way.

Need a pack? We’d recommend Osprey’s Raven 14 for a day trip on the trail. Made exclusively for female cyclists (though there are options for men, as well) this pack is designed to stay stable, even over bumps in the road.

 

7. Cycling Isle des Madeleine

Quebec

  • Route Name: Cap aux Meules Island
  • Launch/End points: Island loop - start and end anywhere along the trail
  • Distance: 30 km
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Biking path: 90% paved road, 10% path

This cycling circuit takes bikers through three historic villages around the island. Bring a camera and/or binoculars for the many viewpoints, beaches and picnic areas. If this coastal ride doesn’t suit your cycling style, there are plenty of other routes to choose from. 

Click here to read more about the Magdalen Islands

 

8. Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Highlands National Park Nova ScotiaAndrea Schaffer, Flickr/aschaf

  • Route Name: Fishing Cove Trail
  • Launch/End points: Southern trailhead at Cabot Trail on MacKenzie Mountain
  • Distance: 12 km return
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 355 metres
  • Where to sleep: There is wilderness camping next to the beach equipped with outhouses. No potable water on site.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park Nova ScotiaAndrea Schaffer, Flickr/aschaf

Explore the Acadian forest, swim in salt and fresh water and discover the small ocean cove that has made this spot so popular. Registration prior to overnight camping is required.

 


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