Canada is a backpacker’s paradise. Due to the extreme northern location, please consider going backpacking in Canada the perfect summer months. Snowstorms and harsh weather make it otherwise near impossible to backpack through this country. Canada is home to several mountain chains, tons of lakes, the world’s longest coastline. It also has more wilderness than you could ever imagine possible to explore. The country is vast and offers hikers and backpackers endless exploration opportunities throughout and some of the most astounding scenery you will ever see in your lifetime. To start your journey, many people fly or drive to either Toronto or Vancouver. These are the major hubs of activity and have accommodations, dining options, places to get supplies, water, and fuel if needed. Hike through Canada’s regions to see the rainforest, mountains, coastal cliffs, green valleys surrounded by blue lakes and abundant wildlife within four different provinces.
This west-coast region is big enough to fit the states of Oregon, Washington, and California combined within it. With that said, the backpacking opportunities available in this area are seemingly endless. Glaciers and countless mountain peaks and ranges offer views for days. Some of the best hiking trails lie within this area, including trails like the Al’s Habrich Ridge trail, the Elfin Lakes trail, and the Stawamus Chief trail. There are varying difficulty levels from easy to strenuous or advanced, and all the views are stunning. They do not call it “Beautiful British Columbia” for nothing!
Known for its waterways and canoe activities, Saskatchewan is also home to quiet and peaceful prairie lands. Consider hiking the Boreal Trail, a favored trail that covers 120 km with some amazing scenery along the way. There are multiple start and end points along this path so you can customize it to your travel desires. There is a system of marked trails to follow. Many of these trails lead through the boreal forest and into backcountry areas many people do not ever get to see. Watch for moose, bear, deer, wolves and many other woodland creatures that call the area home. There are several front-country campgrounds available. There are also GPS tracks of the trail that can be downloaded to help guide you. Camp on your own or in a campsite and enjoy the lovely Saskatchewan area.
Welcome to the province of lakes! Here bodies of lake water are strewn about, and you cannot backpack through the area without seeing at least a few. There are lots of park in Ontario, both in the southern and northern parts of the province. The Bruce Trail is a 500-mile trail that runs through a few parks and by scenic cliffs, vistas, and the shoreline. The National Trail is a 1800 mile walk through the southern region. You will also find accommodations and campgrounds along the way for a convenient hike. The trail passes through several parks, including the famous Algonquin Provincial Park. The trail will eventually cover a total of 6000 miles across the vast country, proving the ultimate backpacking experience.
Newfoundland is found in eastern Canada and is home to Gros Morne National Park and the Green Gardens Loop that follows serpentine barrens to a rugged volcanic sea coast that has views similar to that of Hawaii. Gros Morne offers excellent trails and views and is a visitor and backpacker favorite to hike. Backpackers can also whale watch, kayak among icebergs in the Twillingate area. You can also backpack the Long Range Traverse, the Alexander Murray Trail, and the Skerwink Trail. There are also incredible fishing opportunities too! Prepare for beautiful coastal views as the mountains rise out to the water and follow the path as it leads you up to fantastic views.
Best Season to Visit?
Canada is always a little expensive, so be prepared. Rates go down a little bit from September to November as the cold season approaches. The bulk of the activities, tours, and tourists happen in the warmer spring and summer months. Winter months can be busy too for winter sports and activities. Budget a higher amount for your trip than expected, mainly to cover the currency exchange as well as anything that might happen or come up unexpectedly. Choose your gear and pack carefully to save some money. The biggest costs will be your flights if you are flying to Canada, car (if you rent one) and accommodations. Many areas have hostels, and some come very highly rated and have good amenities and clean places to stay that are low cost. Plan in a particular amount of food every day, accommodations everyday and tour money or event money.
Easy Work for Money or Accommodations
Backpackers often take on a small job to help supplement a bit of income. Consider participating in WWOOF or Help Exchange, where you work or volunteer in exchange for a place to sleep. Bartending, waitressing, cleaning staff, farm hand can all be done for a short period for some extra money so you can continue with your backpacking journey.
Canada offers quite some options to get around, like trains, backpacker buses, tourist buses, and rental car options. They also offer Greyhound buses, VIA Rail, West Jet Airlines and Air Canada Jazz airlines. These are all highly used and popular options. Buses are less expensive, and railway tickets can get you to different regions or provinces if you want to visit more than one area within your timeframe. Renting a car and sharing the fuel costs with other backpackers in your group will help keep the cost down and then you have the freedom to come and go as you wish.
Have Fun Exploring Amazing Wilderness Areas
With thousands of miles of pristine wilderness available, backpacking in Canada is a favorite activity. Pick up a guidebook which many of the hostels have and learn about the country and the best places to go. ATMs, credit cards, and debit cards are all taken and used in Canada. The winters in Canada are cold and snowy. But you can backpack with the right gear and equipment as well as the correct clothing and itinerary.
Many backpackers arrive in Canada to explore the virtually untouched wilderness and see the beauty of a rugged landscape. Be prepared to see people from many different ethnic groups from all walks of life. You may make some new friends or learn some great tips and tricks for backpacking in Canada while you are there. Don’t miss out on some beautiful parks and trails and miles of wilderness to hike through in the ultimate backpacking destination.