The Great Trail, previously known as the Trans Canada Trail, stretches across the country, covering all ten provinces and three territories. It measures 27,000 kilometers in length, not only making it the longest trail in Canada, but also the longest recreational trail in the world. Kilometer 0’ begins at the most eastern point of Canada — Cape Spear in Newfoundland. Although some sections of the Great Trail already existed, large portions are made up of re-purposed rail lines, donated to the Government of Canada by the Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific. 

From coast to coast and along the diverse landscape, experience sections suitable to walk, bike, hike, paddle, cross-country ski, or even snowmobile. No matter your skill level or desire, there is an experience and landmark for just about anyone on the Great Trail.

Witness Breathtaking Views at the Fundy Trail Parkway

The Bay of Fundy lies between the Province of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, with a portion of it also adjacent to the U.S. state of Maine. 10-kilometers of trail here are part of the Great Trail and are both steep and winding for an exhilarating experience through nature. Many outlooks afford visitors and locals to witness stunning views including the world’s highest tides at the Bay of Fundy. If you are looking to get out onto the water, try paddling, kayaking, or a boat tour. Walking the beach with its fossil-rich red sand is also a must-try – just be sure look out for the sunbathing seals along the way.

Stop at One of Many Sites Along the P’tit Train du Nord in Quebec

The P’tit Train du Nord is a multi-use recreational trail, part of the Great Trail, located in Quebec through the Rivière du Nord Valley. The path was originally a railway line operated by Canadian Pacific Railway. The rail route lost money every year since its inception in the late 1800s. Today, the trail runs 200-kilometers between Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Laurier with many significant stops along the way from rural to urban landscape, local restaurants, picnic areas, and plenty of serene views. The trail is popular for cyclists in the warmer months and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Cycle Along the Trent River and More in Ontario

The Great Trail passes by many significant Ontario landmarks, including Niagara wine spots and historical sites of Thunder Bay. In Northumberland County, east of Toronto is a calm and scenic portion of the Great Trail. Between the communities of Hastings and Campbellford, visitors and locals can cycle along the Trent River, where it is possible to see farms and other wetlands. Get hungry? There are many local eateries to choose from along the way. Go high above the water and cycle the section that crosses the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, connecting riders (or walkers) to other trails in Ferris Provincial Park. If you are looking for a relaxed bike route that is both scenic and flat, the Great Trail in Northumberland County is perfect for you.

Visit Cottage Country near Winnipeg in Manitoba

The Great Trail covers approximately 1,600 kilometers of combined land and water in the province of Manitoba. Located about 100 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg is the small hamlet of Pinawa, part of Manitoba’s cottage country. Here, visitors and locals will find the Pinawa Trail, a well-maintained path that passes through grasslands, granite shields, and boreal forest. 

Pinawa Dam was developed in pre-war years to deliver power to both residential and commercial properties, crucial to the rapid growth of Winnipeg and its surrounding areas. The station began producing electricity in 1906 and stopped operations in 1951. Today, the abandoned townsite and dam structure are must-see spots along the Pinawa Trail. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring the sites and the thirteen interpretive signs that further explain the history of the dam and the process for generating electricity from water.

Be Adventure Ready at Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan

Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park is located nearby Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Known for its sand dunes, some as tall as five story’s high, it is also a great spot for fishing, swimming, and other beach-related activities like volleyball. The Great Trail winds the entire length of the park. Visitors can choose to hike some or all the 18-kilometer stretch beginning at Recreation Hall. In the winter months, this part of the trail is ideal for skiing and snowmobiling. Along the journey, keep an eye out for foxes, coyotes, moose, deer, water birds, and more.

Immerse Yourself Amongst the Canadian Rockies on the Banff Legacy Trail in Alberta

The Banff Legacy Trail was built in 2010 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Banff National Park. This 22-kilometer paved trail takes its visitors from Canmore to Banff (and vice versa). It can be conquered by foot, bike, or even rollerblades. Just eight kilometers into the trip is an extensive picnic area, perfect for viewing the Three Sisters’ — a trio of mountain peaks that overlook the town of Canmore. Throughout the walk or ride, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding Canadian Rockies. Be on the lookout for wildlife that can include bighorn sheep, moose, elk, and even bears.

Paddle Along the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories

The Mackenzie River begins in Great Slave Lake near Fort Providence and flows 1738 kilometers through the wilderness to the Mackenzie Delta and the Arctic Ocean. Its length makes it the second-longest river in North America and the longest portion of the Great Trail. This river was originally used by Aboriginal people for generations and was also explored by Alexander Mackenzie in 1789. Fur traders, European adventurers, and missionaries also explored this waterway for their work and leisure purposes. This adventure on the Great Trail is recommended for experienced paddlers only. Along the way, keep an eye out for grizzly bears and even beluga whales popping out of the depths of the water.

Travel the Historically Significant Kettle Valley Rail Trail in British Columbia

Stretching 401-kilometers between the Town of Brookmere and the Village of Midway is the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, part of the Great Trail, in British Columbia. This trail is built on a historic route once used by locomotives to transport silver ore from the mountains to the coast. Today, visitors and locals can walk, bike, or horseback the route in warmer months, and ski or snowmobile in the winter. Though the trail is quite long, the most notable section is a 12-kilometer stretch where you will find the Myra Canyon — a historic site with gorgeous canyon views from several trestles.

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