I was actually born in Switzerland before moving to Australia when I was 4 and then had family spread out all over the world, so I was introduced to travel at an early age. All through school and growing up, I knew that I wanted to travel on my own or with friends as soon as I could. I think I caught the “travel bug” when I was about 8 or 9 years old.
When I met Dave, he hadn’t traveled much at all. Travel just wasn’t on his radar. Little did he know, that I would soon change that and we would be traveling to all sorts of places together before eventually moving to Canada.
Why Canada is Such an Epic Hiking Destination
In my opinion, Canada is one of the best adventure travel destinations in the world! It’s insanely gorgeous mountains, glacial lakes and waterfalls make for some epic adventures! We have been in Canada for around 1.5 years now and have been on a mission to see as much as possible. So far, we have explored a lot of British Columbia which is where we live, the Canadian Rockies and also Quebec.
It is amazing to see how different the landscapes are in different parts of the country. In BC, the mountains tend to be lusher with green forests and mossy rocks, lots of mud and roots. In the Rockies in and around Banff, the mountains are literally “Rocky Mountains.” When you hike to the summit of a mountain in the Rockies, the terrain becomes a lot more slippery, with lots of scree and slippery dusty dirt to navigate.
Quebec on the other hand, reminded me a bit more of the mountains back home. There are a lot more trees and it feels a lot less alpine. We visited Quebec in the Fall which was absolutely stunning. If you are ever looking for somewhere in Canada to see the Fall colors, Quebec is a great option!
Favorite Hike in Canada: Golden Ears Summit
We both have the same favorite hike in Canada (so far). It is a trail near Vancouver called Golden Ears Summit located in Golden Ears Provincial Park. It is a hike that can be done in a very long day or over 2 days, camping at one of the 2 campsites along the trail. The reason it is our favorite hike is because the campsite at the false summit has the best views that we have ever seen from a campsite. Standing on the tent platform at sunrise made us both feel like we were on top of the world!
Our 8 Best Hiking Experiences in Canada
- Golden Ears Summit: For all of the reasons we listed above. The tent platform situation is just on another level. Dave and I are obsessed with campsites with incredible views!
- Wedgemount Lake: Wedgemount Lake is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park, about a 2-hour drive from Vancouver and is the second hardest backpacking trip we have done so far (after Golden Ears). The moment you reach the top after the final climb, however, first you will spot the glacier and then, after you walk for another 200m or so, the turquoise lake comes into view. I actually cried a little when I first saw the view of the lake because it was just so beautiful after such a hard climb.
- Panorama Ridge: This is another Garibaldi Provincial Park hike and one of the most popular hikes in BC. The views from the top overlook Garibaldi Lake, a dark blue large glacial lake with a mountainous backdrop that looks so much like an oil painting that it could be fake!
- Mont Du Dome: Mont Du Dome is a great hike to see Fall colors located in Zec des Martres in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. From the top, you see a sea of yellows which is quite spectacular!
- Tent Ridge: Tent Ridge is located in Alberta near Banff. The majority of the hike takes you along a ridgeline, so there are views pretty much all of the way! This hike took us way longer than it should have because of the distracting views the entire way.
- Little Beehive Hike: The Little Beehive starts from the famous Lake Louise and takes you up through the forest, eventually popping out at a viewpoint where you can see Lake Louise from above. This is a great easy – moderate hike for anyone wanting to see how insanely blue Lake Louise is from above. It is still fairly steep, but less so than other hikes in Canada.
- Tunnel Bluffs: Tunnel Bluffs is a great beginners hike near Vancouver with amazing views at the end that look out towards Bowen Island and the Sea to Sky Highway! I can highly recommend watching the sunset from Tunnel Bluffs because it is magical!
- Saint Marks Summit: Saint Marks Summit is located in Cypress Provincial Park near Vancouver and has slightly similar views to Tunnel Bluffs but from a lot higher up. I felt such a rush when I first reached the Saint Marks Summit Viewpoint!
Canadian Towns to Base Yourself in for Hiking
For a lot of the BC hikes, Squamish is a great choice! It is a small town located in between Whistler and Vancouver, less touristy than Whistler but has some great breweries and cafes! Our favorite brewery in Squamish is Backcountry Brewing and we love going there for a beer after a big backpacking adventure!
For the Canadian Rockies, Banff or Canmore are great towns to base yourself in. Personally, I prefer Canmore as it is a bit less touristy but still has a great restaurant and shopping scene – and is super close to some incredible hikes.
Should You Hire a Car When Hiking in Canada?
When considering whether you need to hire a car in Canada, it really depends on where you want to go. For most places, public transportation will only get you so far. If you are wanting to get to lots of backcountry trailheads, most of these are located down long forest roads which you can only get down if you have your own vehicle.
Tips for Embarking on a Hiking Trip to Canada
Before you book a hiking trip to Canada, you should be prepared that the hikes in Canada are usually not that easy. For the best ones, you will be hiking up a mountain which means they will be extremely steep and exhausting. It might be a good idea to start hiking around your home town before coming to Canada just to get some practice in.
When hiking in Canada, you will also need to have bear spray on you at all times. In Canada, there are black bears, grizzly bears and cougars that you have to be aware of. You can purchase bear spray from most outdoor stores such as MEC or hire it from some of the visitors centers.
Make sure you are ready for hiking in Canada with all the right equipment such as good shoes or boots with good grip, sun protection, comfortable clothes to hike in and a good backpack.