Things To Do in Canada

Canada, the world's second-largest country, is a year-round paradise for extreme-sports lovers and casual outdoor enthusiasts alike. From Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to the cycle-friendly, rolling hills of Quebec to the remote coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada offers world-class outdoor activities for nearly everyone. (Pictured below: Whale Watching Boat Tour, British Columbia, Canada)
Things To Do in Canada

Hike the West Coast Trail

Vancouver Island's West Coast Trail, one of the most challenging treks in Canada, is not for the faint of heart--or foot! The 75-km (47-mile) trail is open between May 1 and Sept. 30 and requires an Overnight Use Permit, obtainable from Parks Canada. The trail traverses waterfalls, beaches, suspension bridges and old-growth forests, among other scenic wonders, as it wraps around the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island between Gordon River and Pachena Bay. The West Coast Trail is not a loop hike, so you must choose a trailhead (Gordon River or Pachena Bay) for the start of your trek and arrange for drop-off and pick-up transportation at the beginning and end of your journey. Yes, it's a remote hike, but your hard work is rewarded with varied terrain and unparalleled scenery. This 5- to 7-day trek is arduous and potentially dangerous due to its steep terrain and remote location and should only be attempted by seasoned backpackers.


Bike the Route Verte

Quebec, Canada's predominantly French-speaking province settled by French settlers and fur-traders in the 1600s and 1700s, boasts the Route Verte, or Green Route, a vast network of cycling trails exceeding over 4,000 km (2,485 miles). In 2007, National Geographic hailed the Route Verte as the best bicycle route in the world, and with good reason: Its terrain is so varied and vast that you can almost as easily plan a multiweek trip as you can an easy afternoon ride. Note that while most of the official Route Verte website is in French and English, as of 2009, parts are only available in French.

Kayak in Newfoundland and Labrador

With approximately 29,000 km (18,020 miles) of coastline, paddlers and sea kayakers shouldn't miss a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada's far-flung, easternmost province. According to Newfoundland and Labrador's official website, you can "dip your paddle metres from breaching wales," "get as close as safely possible to towering icebergs on their journey down the Atlantic from Greenland," and explore waterfalls, abandoned fishing villages, bird colonies and historical sites--all from the comfort of your canoe or kayak. Unfortunately, summer in Newfoundland and Labrador is short, and much of the coastline is exposed to the North Atlantic or Gulf or the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which means that the water is frigid. So seek a Paddle Canada certified instructor before exploring this aquatic wonderland.

Article Written By Susan Heller

Susan Heller is a Seattle-based freelance writer who has been writing outdoor-related articles for five years. Her work has appeared in "University Week," the "Ballard News-Tribune," and In 2004 she was named a Mary Gates Scholar, and in 2005 she received her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative History of Ideas and Comparative Religion from the University of Washington.

The Latest from the Community