With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year, it’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in the True North. In honor of this milestone, Parks Canada is giving out free 2017 Discovery Passes and Canadians have the chance to discover the parks and historic sites that our country has to offer. Whether you’re a West Coast local or Maritimer, there are a number of trails, beaches and mountains waiting to be explored. Read on for some of our must-see Canadian parks to visit this spring.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, BC
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve runs from just south of Tofino to Port Renfrew. It is broken into three parts: the West Coast Trail, Broken Group Islands, and Long Beach. The park is a haven for hikers, kayakers and relaxing on the white sandy beaches. It’s proximity to the ocean makes it a prime sport for a whale watching. Each year approximately 20,000 grey whales pass through the Pacific Rim. Spanning over 500 square kilometres, there is no shortage of trails, marine life and rocky shores to discover.
Photo: rawmeyn from Instagram
Jasper National Park, AB
With over 10,000 square kilometers of mountain wilderness, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. It’s a popular destination for hiking, skiing and year-round camping. Visitors can tough it out in tents or enjoy the comfort of a cabin in the woods. This time of year is perfect for blazing the trails. The park is also ideal for animal lovers, as it boasts some of North America’s rarest animals, which range from healthy populations of grizzly bears to caribou.
Algonquin Park, ON
Established in 1893 to create a wildlife sanctuary and protect the Park’s rivers, Algonquin Park has become a popular destination for Ontarians. Since it was the first provincial park in the province, Algonquin preserves a variety of natural and cultural values. Its vast interior of maple hills, ridges and lakes is best explored on foot or by canoe. Encompassing the waters of seven major rivers, the park is the perfect retreat for portaging, swimming and fishing. When winter rolls around, grab your snowshoes and explore the trails.
Photo: parcsnbparks from Instagram
Fundy National Park, NB
This East Coast gem combines land, sea and sky, boasting over 120 kilometres of park to explore. Home to what is said to be some of the world’s highest tides and hidden waterfalls, Fundy National Park is an aquatic wonderland. There are also a number of hiking trails and campgrounds for land dwellers, with activities such as golf, tennis and lawn bowling for families to enjoy. Venture inland into the Acadian forest, where there are hundreds of plant species, including the rare bird’s-eye primrose which is found only at Fundy National Park.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NS
While the West Coast is popular for its mountains, Cape Breton Highlands National Park proves the Maritimes are not to be underestimated. Here, the mountains meet the sea for a uniquely Nova Scotian experience. From the world-famous Cabot Trail coastline, to the rust-coloured cliffs, the park offers an enchanting destination. The combination of the cool East Coast climate and rugged landscape of the park allows for a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats, plants and animals. With 26 trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to more challenging climbs, hiking is one of the best ways to explore the park and soak up its picturesque views.