These wild places, located in every province and territory, range from mountains and plains, to boreal forests and tundra, to lakes and glaciers, and much more. National parks protect the habitats, wildlife and ecosystem diversity representative of — and sometime unique to — the natural region.
1.Pacific Rim Park Reserve, British Columbia
The Pacific Rim embodies rugged, unspoilt Canadian wilderness at its very best, harbouring lush temperate rainforests, spectacular coastal cliffs and expansive soft-sand beaches. Brave some of the country’s wildest surf at Long Beach, spot migrating humpback whales whilst hiking a coastal trail.
The Broken Islands are a big draw for kayakers.
Paddle along endless stretches of wild coastline, narrow channels and impressive headlands, then come ashore to explore remote white sand beaches and lush old-growth rainforest.
For most activities at Long Beach, visit between June and Labour Day (the first Monday in September). Book ahead for accommodation during this time. For storm-watching and advanced surfing, the winter is best—fearsome winter gales can rip this coastline, conjuring waves 26 feet high, and dropping up to 19 of rain in a single day
2. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Waterton Lakes National Park is internationally known as one of the most beautiful destinations in the Canadian Rockies. And for good reason. Waterton is where the rolling prairies of Alberta meet the stunning Rocky Mountains and is filled with diverse wildlife, dozens of different wildflowers and some of the best hiking in North America.
The town of Waterton Lakes National Park is the perfect destination if you're looking for adventure, fun and relaxation no matter what season it may be.
As the park's name suggests, there are plenty of lakes in Waterton Lakes National Park begging to be enjoyed, whether on a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. If you're feeling brave, you can jump in for a swim — but the water is pretty chilly, even in the summer. Whether you prefer placid lakes or million-mile views from the tops of mountains, Waterton has a trail to get you there.
3. Jasper National Park, Alberta
The largest park in the Canadian Rockies, with more than 11,000 square kilometers of peaks, lakes, alpine meadows, and lush forest. It’s also home to glaciers in the Columbia Icefield as well as hot springs and waterfalls, which make it an excellent hiking destination for all ages and abilities.
The park is busier in the summer, but there are countless trails to hike or bike, campsites to visit, and rivers and lakes to play in. It can get cold — very cold — in the winter, but you can warm up quickly by exploring the park on snowshoes, cross-country skis, ice skates, or even ice cleats for a one-of-a-kind tour of a frozen ice canyon.
The mountain town of Jasper serves as a great home base for all of your outdoor adventures, or you can choose to set up camp at one of the many front-country or backcountry campsites in the park. If you're planning on camping in the summer, it's wise to reserve a campsite ahead of time.
4. Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff is a scenic sight even during the summer, it becomes a winter wonderland offering the best outdoor activities during cold months. Every winter sport here is bucket-list worthy, especially skiing. Skiers at Banff are spoilt for choice as it hosts three of Canada’s best ski resorts – Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Mt Norquay.
Not a skier? Banff is home to numerous other outdoor activities including sleighing, ice diving, and ice walking.
Even those who aren’t into winter sports will find interesting things to do in Banff in winter. For example, take the sightseeing gondola to watch the Canadian Rockies from the top, go hiking or relax in one of the many hot springs found across the glacial mountains of the park.
5.Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
There's lots more to explore in Gros Morne; for instance, thanks to the park's unique geology, the Tablelands offer the rare opportunity to hike right along the Earth's mantle.
There are also hikes that will take you down the water's edge or up to the highest point in the park on Gros Morne Mountain.
Make sure to hike into Tablelands where you’ll get to witness the Earth’s mantle.
Prefer sea views? Take a kayak tour of the park’s fjord in Bonne Bay or relax on the sandy beach at Shallow Bay. There are camping areas scattered throughout the park.