If you’ve ever gone for a hike in one of Canada’s 44 national parks or to see any of our 168 national historic sites, you may agree that these trails are likely the country’s best-kept secrets. From St. John’s to Vancouver, the officials at Parks Canada say they are making the trails accessible to all Canadians, so the most challenging part of your trip this summer might only be the choice of which park or historic site gets crossed off your bucket list first.  hiker

For example, the historic Chilkoot Trail – one of North America’s most fabled treks – traverses rocky, very steep, and sometimes challenging terrain. It takes no stretch of the imagination to think of those thousands of gold-hungry prospectors who followed this very route; there is history to be found at every step.

Parks Canada also points out that you don’t need to be a hardened adventurer to experience the joy and discovery that awaits you along our country’s vast array of trails. Taking a hike is all about the journey and there are no fewer than 6,500 kilometres of trails where you will be able to connect with nature around every bend and at every look-out point.

Do you prefer to hike where few have hiked before? Parks Canada’s trail expert, Mark Schmidt offers some suggestions: “For hiking enthusiasts, Pukaskwa National Park’s Coastal Hiking Trail in Northern Ontario is a hidden gem in our trail system. Or you can head west like the early pioneers and hike into Canada’s premier alpine region along Jasper National Park’s Fryatt Valley Trail. You can even spend the night in a historic alpine hut.”

If you’re searching for a different kind of hiking experience, perhaps a culinary reward at the end of your hike is just what you’re looking for. Framed by a quaint European style tea house, the Lake Agnes hike in Banff National Park is the most “civilized” way to see the Rockies. You can sit back, relax and sip tea as you take in the view of Lake Louise from high above.

What’s new for 2015? Rent a hand-held Explora, says Schmidt, to explore the original town ruins at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and end your day at the Hôtel de la Marine to swirl a savoury 18th century rum punch and celebrate the return of rum within the fortress’ stone walls.

No matter what your hiking appetite, there is a trail waiting for you where you can embark on your very own epic adventure, one step at a time. Start your planning at www.pc.gc.ca.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.