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10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Canada is filled with beautiful landscapes and serious adventure. Here are ten awesome trips that prove it.
10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Summer is the perfect time to get out of town — especially if you want to explore the best of what Canada has to offer. Whether you go on a gorgeous road trip along Vancouver's Sea to Sky Highway, take a float plane in the Northwest Territories, or hike historic fjords in Eastern Quebec, these epic Canadian journeys are stunning examples of our country's diverse landscape and natural beauty. Read on for our top ten must-do trips, and start planning.

10 Canadian Journeys

Sea to Sky Highway, Highway 99, British Columbia
The Sea to Sky Highway, also known as Highway 99, stretches from Vancouver to Pemberton and is famous for its scenic stops (seriously, the entire thing is Instagram-worthy). The prettiest section falls between Vancouver and Whistler — pick up Highway 99 just outside the city centre, then drive along the shore of Howe Sound, through the Coast Mountains and end in Whistler village, which is 675 metres above sea level. You can make the trip in a couple of hours, but there’s so much to do that it’s easy to turn it into a decent weekend roadtrip. Our favourite stops include boat-watching at Horseshoe Bay and windsurfing in Squamish, which has been dubbed the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.”

(Photo, @rebeccayoungnz/Instagram)

A photo of Vancouver's Sea to Sky Highway, one of our top 10 epic Canadian journeys.

Rabbitkettle Hot Springs and Tufa Mounds (Naha Dehe), Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories
If you’re feeling extra adventurous this summer, try making the trek to the gorgeous hot springs at Nahanni National Park Reserve. We’re not kidding about calling it a trek — almost all visitors arrive at the park via chartered floatplane (the rest hike in). Once you’ve arrived, you may embark on a canoe trip to Rabbitkettle Lake. It will take between 7 and 14 days, depending on your start point, which means when you finally arrive, you’ll have more than earned that adventurer title. Just remember to plan carefully: the best time to visit is between late June, post-spring floods, and mid-August, when fall weather starts to set in. And remember to get the proper permits ahead of time!

(Photo, @vincykp/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list
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Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park to Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park, Quebec 
If you’re headed to Eastern Quebec, considering embarking on a park-to-park journey. Start off by doing some whale watching and kayaking around the waterbed of Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park, then take a 30-minute drive west to hike around Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park. The best way to catch a glimpse of the historic fjords is to try one of the park’s via ferrata circuits. Via ferratas are protected climbing routes that allow novice climbers the chance to scale some serious rock faces — a professional guide will take you through a route marked by iron rungs, which you can use as foot- and handholds, and you only need a helmet, harness and carabiner. Try booking La Passerelle, a three-hour hike that features an 85-metre suspension bridge.

(Photo, @tourismequebec/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Day trip to the Arctic Circle from Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut.
Though it’s remote, Auyuittuq National Park is the most accessible of Nunavut’s national parks and offers many attractions for the adventurous, including fjords to explore and the Akshayuk Pass. (The 97-km pass is a traditional Inuit route that has become the park’s most popular hike.) But if you really want to make your visit special, considering booking a guided snow machine trip across the Arctic Circle, where there’s roughly 24 hours of daylight in the summer and 24 hours of darkness come winter.

(Photo, @terraultima_voyages/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Expedition from St. John’s to Sable Island National Park Reserve – Nova Scotia
A remote, crescent-shaped island famous for its pony population, this relatively new national park (it was only established in 2013) isn’t easy to get to, but it’s well-worth the visit. Only accessible by privately-hired plane or boat, we’d opt for sea travel to really appreciate the Maritime scenery. This is another journey that requires serious preparation; visitors must register with Parks Canada beforehand and attend orientation upon arrival. And don’t plan on staying overnight. Camping isn’t allowed, so your best bet is booking a day-long excursion with a licensed tour operator. Consider choosing one that includes Zodiac cruising — you may even spot the biggest breeding colony of grey seals in the world, which lives on Sable’s coastline.

(Photo, @parks.canada/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list
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Reeve’s Ravine Trail, Manitoba Escarpment, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
Made up of 65 million year old rocks that are almost the height of Toronto’s CN Tower, the Manitoba Escarpment offers the perfect view of the lush forest surrounding Riding Mountain National Park. Located about three hours away from Winnipeg, the park is great for mountain biking, especially the 11.5-km Reeve’s Ravine Trail, a rugged and steep route perfect for avid cyclers. (For a more low-key route, try the Central, Baldy Lake or Strathclair trails, which are all of the “gently rolling hill” variety.)

(Photo, @k3vq/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Toronto to Vancouver Train, Via Rail 
If you’re less interested in extreme adventures, consider booking a spot on Via Rail’s Toronto to Vancouver train. The three day, four night trip is like a crash course in Canadian vistas, from urban landscapes to soaring mountain peaks to glacial lakes to big sky prairies. Book a Sleeper Plus cabin for two to enjoy the ride in a domed park car — there’s definitely no better way to take in views of city skylines (including Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Jasper), the Rockies or BC’s Pyramid Falls.

(Photo, @viarailcanada/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Terra Nova National Park from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
A beautiful three-hour drive from Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city, Terra Nova National Park boasts 11 hiking trails, including one that is stroller-accessible. (That would be the Sandy Pond, a trail that circles around a boreal forest.) Adventurous types should try sea kayaking — there’s over 200 kilometres of coastline to explore, featuring everything from long fjords to sheltered coves and inlets.

(Photo, @parcs.canada/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list
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Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
Sure, the west coast’s got the Sea to Sky Highway. But on the east coast? It’s all about the Cabot Trail. This scenic drive is a three- to five-day experience with stunning views of rocky cliffs, ocean vistas and lush forests. Make sure to take a break between driving through all of that beauty to visit Cape Breton’s charming fishing villages — and to enjoy the fresh seafood that’s found in many of the local restaurants around the trail.

(Photo, @mitchserbu/Instagram)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

Horseback Riding on the Cavalier Trail, St-Basile-de-Portneuf, Quebec 
The Great Trail, a 24,000-kilometre network of individual trails that spans the entire country, features plenty of hiking, biking, snowshoeing and paddling routes — but our favourite way to check out this outdoorsy attraction might be atop horseback. Try the Cavalier Trail, a multi-use route in St-Basile-de-Portneuf, a quaint town located an hour west of Quebec City. A committed group of Great Trail volunteers have been working on this trail for years, doing everything from making expansion plans to clearing paths to building new horse-accessible stretches. Not a rider? Not to worry. You can also snowmobile, hike, ski or cycle it.

(Photo, Cheval Quebec)

10 epic Canadian journeys to add to your travel wish list

This post is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country. You can find out more right here.

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