6 Weeklong Backpacking Hiking Trails in Canada

Are your ready for an adventure this summer?

A backpacking hiking trip is always my idea of fun. A trip like this will be tough, beautiful, and remarkable. Canada is a fabulous place full of outdoor adventure. Take a trip and experience this country in a different way, at a slower pace.

Here is six trails in Canada that are on my bucket list. These trails range from 75 to 180 kilometres (50 – 110 miles) long, perfect for a week-long adventure. The trails below are not loop trips but hiking from one end of a trail to the other end. You might have to schedule pick up and drop off. Sure, there are shorter (& longer) trails in this colorful country but who wouldn’t want to spend a good week conquering some serious distance on foot?  Now, tell your boss goodbye; it’s time to explore!

Before you head out for these trails, always research the trail. You might have to pay fees or reserve campsites in advance. Always check the weather and the trail conditions so you know exactly what to bring in your pack. These trails show the average amount of time it takes to complete. Remember, this is determined on pace. Be honest with yourself about your pace; you do not want to take more time than you expected.

1. The Telegraph Trail

Location: North Central British Columbia, between Quesnel and Hazelton
Distance: 100 km (62 miles)
Days: 6 days
Difficulty: Moderate walk
Info: This trail follows a historic telegraph line. The trail crosses through amazing wilderness. This trail does have campsites along the route. Below is the trail sign along the route.

Telegraph trail - Trail Marker

Start of Telegraph Trail. Photo: Mwoodbc, via Wikimedia Commons


2. Boreal Trail

Location: Meadow Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan
Distance: 130 km (75 miles)
Days: 7 days or less
Difficulty: Easy
Info: This trail is Saskatchewan’s long hiking trail. It is recommended to hike the trail from west to east. There is road access at several points and many camp spots along the route. The trail goes through Boreal forest and lakelands.

Cold Lake - Canada

Photo: By SSgt. Derrick C. Goode via Wikimedia Commons


3. Thames Valley Trail

Location: Southwestern Ontario, follows the Thames River, from London to St. Mary’s
Distance: 110 km (68 miles)
Days: roughly 6 days
Difficulty: Moderate
Info: This trail follows the Thames River. It passes through forests, meadows, farmland, parks, and the town of London. Below is a view of the Thames River near London.

thames river in Springbank Park

Thames River. Photo: abdallahh via Flickr


4. Akshayuk Pass

Location: Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island’s Cumberland Peninsula, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut, the largest political subdivision of Canada, North Pangnirtung Fiord to Overlord
Distance: 100 km (62 miles) – not quite 100 but still amazing all the same
Days: 5-8 days
Months to Visit: July and August
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult
Info: This trail follows a beautiful valley lined with tall and fascinating mountains and rock cliffs. The world’s tallest rock cliffs is seen from this trail, Mount Thor. If you are lucky, you could catch a glimpse of a polar bear. Enjoy the views of hanging glaciers and wildlife. The most difficult portion of the trail is the part between Thor Peak and Glacier Lake. Also, take extreme caution while crossing the rivers and streams. Scout out the best possible spot to cross. Below is a view of Mount Thor along the trail.

Mount Thor - Akshayuk Pass - Baffin Island

Mount Thor. Photo: Paul Gierszewski, via Wikimedia Commons


5. Sunshine Coast Trail

Location: Power River Area, British Columbia
Distance: 180 km (112 miles)
Days: 10-12 days depending on pace
Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Info: No need to even bring a tent on this trail! The path is Canada’s longest hut to hut hiking trail. The trail will reward you with views of the coast, mountains, and old-growth forest and lakes. The trail does go up and down and will be strenuous at some points. Most hikers hike 10-15 kilometers (6-9 miles) a day.

Sunshine Coast Trail Head

Photo: Adumbvoget, via Wikimedia Commons


6. West Coast Trail

Location: Southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia in Pacific Rim National Park
Distance: 75 km (47 mi)
Days: 5-7 days
Difficulty: Strenuous (recommended for intermediate to advanced hikers only)
Info: The trail is open from May 1st to September 30th. The best time to visit is during the drier months of July and August. However, do prepare for rain. The southern end is more strenuous than the northern end of the trail. Read more about backpacking west coast trail in bc25com’s trip report.
river crossing on west coast trail

These trails above are only opened during the summer months. However, you still could experience cold weather, rain, and even snow during that time. Carefully prepare for your hike, no matter how much distance you plan on covering. Most of the trails listed are relatively easy. You are sure to find a weeklong hiking adventure that caters to your experience.

Is there any weeklong hiking trails that you’ve enjoyed in Canada? Tell us about your adventure in the comments below.

Madison Dragna

Spencer Lindenberg
June 11, 2015

The Coastal Trail in Ontario’s Pukaskwa National Park definitely needs to be on this list.

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