Exploring the great wide outdoors right here in Canada is something we never take for granted. At any time of the year we can take in all the gorgeous scenery but winter is especially beautiful! The trees and trails blanketed with fluffy snow and the crispness in the air — guaranteed natural energy and mood boosts! Chase away the winter blahs and get outside! The Trans Canada Trail offers us many great reasons to bundle up and go!
Did you know? The Trans Canada Trail is the longest multi-use recreational trail in the world, spanning over 28,000 kilometres. The trail links our three oceans – the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic – and connects 15,000 rural, urban and Indigenous communities. It’s a thread that connects Canada’s diverse landscapes, seasons, people and experiences.
We count ourselves lucky as we get out to walk, run, cross-country ski, snowshoe, explore, forage and even dance. Did you know that 80% of us Canadians are only 30 minutes away from a section of the Trans Canada Trail? And there is something for all ages and activity interests! And something we’ve learned, 85% of Canadians have been exploring trails since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; and trail use has increased 40% in 2021 (according to a recent Trans Canada Trail Léger survey).
Here is a list of top 10 trails across Canada that have beautiful vistas AND that can be explored this winter (or any time of the year). While you’re out, you may want to check out the Trans Canada Trail #Blahs2Ahhhs Contest to win some fun prizes from Columbia Sportswear and Trans Canada Trail! For details, link here.
East Coast Trail, Newfoundland:
Make your way along the East Coast Trail on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula and enjoy incredible views from towering cliffs, sea stacks, coves and deep fjords. Stop and explore picturesque bayside communities and charming fishing towns like Quidi Vidi, Petty Harbour and Renews. Remember to keep your eyes peeled – there’s a very real possibility of whale, puffin, moose or iceberg sightings.
Take the trail from Port Hastings to the Town of Inverness on the west coast of the spectacular Cape Breton Island. Great for off-road cycling or long distance trekking, the easy, flat trail meanders along the coastline, through picturesque wilderness, skirts streams, and connects several communities and attractions. Along the way you will find active fishing harbours, warm-water beaches in Port Hood, West Mabou, and Inverness, the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique and five other museums, Glenora Distillery, the Cabot Links Golf Course, and the not-to-be-missed Red Shoe Pub in Mabou.
The Bay of Fundy is renowned for the world’s highest tides. The Fundy Trail Parkway offers magnificent views of sparkling water, rocky crags, a five-tiered waterfall and a white-sand beach where seals sunbathe. On a clear day, you can see across the bay to Nova Scotia. This trail is designed to preserve the fragile ecosystem of the Fundy Escarpment while making its unique beauty available to all. The journey on foot or bicycle is strenuous as the route winds and undulates, hugging the cliff edge, then curving inland to cross gorges and ravines. Parallel to the trail is a road that runs mostly out of sight. The Trail links eight access points and offers shortcuts and wheelchair access to many of the lookouts. Visit the Big Salmon River Interpretive Centre and Suspension Bridge.
The Confederation Trail runs tip-to-tip across Prince Edward Island and is best explored on foot or bicycle. Built on the decommissioned railway line, the main trail is 273 kilometres from west to east – Tignish to Elmira. Branch trails run through small towns and communities including the heart of Charlottetown. The gradients along this rolled stone dust trail never exceed two per cent making it suitable for all fitness levels.
Take a day to explore the forest and discover le Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix ’s cross-country and 22 km snowshoe trails. Take in stunning river and mountains views where trails take you through ancient forests offering riverside views of Isle-aux-Coudres and the Montmagny Archipelago.
Oak Ridges Moraine is a 160 km long ridge of hilly terrain created by retreating glaciers depositing large quantities of sand and gravel sediments. The moraine is a primary source for many river systems in this part of southern Ontario. The nearby Palgrave Moraine intersects the Oak Ridges Moraine, and ultimately merges with it to the east, at the western boundary of King Township. The Humber River flows west of Palgrave. Several creeks and swampy ponds are found in the area and a former mill pond lies to the northwest. Mount Wolfe, one of the highest hills in the area, is located east of the town.
Experience the pristine wilderness and diverse wildlife on one of Manitoba’s finest trails, Pinawa Trail. This 28-kilometre Trail section connects the community of Seven Sisters Falls with the Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park, passing through mixed forest and granite ridges. Spend the weekend and discover the area’s fascinating Trail sections, as well as its incredible flora and fauna.
Named after the late Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas, this provincial park is situated on the southeast end of Lake Diefenbaker. Featuring a sandy shoreline, large wooded campsites and massive inland sand dunes (accessed via hiking trail), the park offers unique opportunities for visitors of all ages. It has interpretive hiking trails, great fishing, water opportunities and nearby 18-hole championship golf course.
The West Bragg Creek Trail (WBCT) is an important link for the TCT providing access between the communities of Calgary, Cochrane, Redwood Meadows and Bragg Creek as it carries on to Canmore and Banff. This scenic section of trail leaves the prairies and winds through the foothills as it enters the front range of the Rocky Mountains. It’s considered the gateway to Kananaskis. It’s about a 45 min drive southwest of Calgary, Alberta and ~10 km west of the charming hamlet of Bragg Creek. There are 166 km of multi-use trails in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The terrain is mostly gentle and rolling and the forest is a mix of aspen and evergreens which has been logged in places, opening up many lovely vistas. Creeks, springs and wetlands add variety to the landscape.
The Elk Valley Trail connects the Elk Lakes/ High Rockies Trail to the Cranbrook/Wardner Trail. It is the gateway to British Columbia from the east. The EVT traverses over mountainsides and through the Elk River Valley while providing a combination of single-track, backcountry roads and existing community trails to create an impressive 130 kilometre, signed route.
You can explore more of Trans Canada Trail here at www.tctrail.ca