One thing that can't be taken away from Canadians is the wonder of our beautiful outdoors. More than ever, people have been experiencing the joy of nature and taking advantage of its incredible benefits, both mentally and physically. It's important to appreciate the Earth, nature and Canada for everything it has to offer.
A great way to get a taste of the outdoors is through hiking. Every province and territory offers countless breathtaking trails that are waiting to be discovered, and in a time where many activities are closed and travel is restricted, it's an ideal way to explore your own backyard.
Before you head off, though, it's crucial to be prepared with the proper equipment, the most important of which is arguably your shoes. Your footwear can mean the difference between taking in the beauty of your province's towering mountains, turquoise lakes or serene forests and hobbling back to the car, feeling defeated.
If you've ever hiked before, you've probably seen seasoned hikers rocking traditional, rugged boots like these from Merrell. Sturdier boots can be necessary for longer hikes, multi-day backpacking, or anyone who just wants extra protection and stability.
Luckily for those looking for something a little more versatile, Merrell has extended their iconic boot into a new line of lighter, more flexible shoes that still offer all the grip and protection needed on the trail. Called the Moab Collection, these innovative designs invite more people to experience the outdoors and provide them with the comfort they'll need to embark on their journey.
If you're ready to embrace hiking, Canada has endless opportunities for you to unleash your inner adventurer — and these 13 hiking spots are a great place to start.
Sunshine Coast Trail In British Columbia
This 180-kilometre trail features stunning landscapes that'll leave you in awe. You'll find coastal shorelines, panoramic mountaintop views, old-growth forests and countless creeks and lakes.
Public huts are strategically placed along the route and are perfect for camping, lunchtime breaks or just meeting other hikers. There are 14 huts in total, making it "Canada's Longest Hut-To-Hut Hiking Trail" — all the way from Sarah Point in Desolation Sound to Saltery Bay.
Whether you're in search of a day trip or a multi-day hike, every level of hiker will find their feet on the Sunshine Coast Trail. Plus, dogs are welcome (as long as they're on a leash).
Plain Of Six Glaciers In Alberta
You can find the Plain of Six Glaciers trail in Banff National Park. Rated as moderate, this 14.6-kilometre trail is located near Lake Louise and boasts an incredible overview of Lake Louise Valley. Expect views of glaciers and high mountain peaks while making your way down the trail.
Along the route, you'll even come across a quaint tea house with seasonal lunch, tea, and dessert.
The Gem Lakes were formed during the last ice age when they were carved out by glaciers, making for one of the most interesting hiking trails in Canada. Since this trail isn't super long, it's perfect for testing out some new trail runners that provide good support and tons of grip.
This trail follows the seven crystal-clear lakes and can be completed in under two hours. With many peaceful stops along the way, there's a whole lot of nature to take in and appreciate.
Spirit Sands & Devil's Punchbowl In Manitoba
Though the name for this one might not suggest it, this hiking trail is actually quite lovely. Located in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, this spot is great for hiking and bringing the kids to play in the sand. This trail is a beautiful place to wander and take photos, especially during the summertime, when the wildflowers are in bloom.
You'll come across Manitoba's desert land on this path, filled with sand dunes. Since you'll be experiencing the heat of the desert, it's necessary to come prepared with essentials. Remember, keep your hike trace-free and make room for any plastic water bottles in your backpack until you can properly dispose of them.
Lion's Head Trail In Ontario
With two loops — one waterside and the other inland — the Lion's Head Trail is part of the Bruce Trail in the Bruce Peninsula and has spectacular views — including breathtaking blue waters — which is why it's so popular.
This is a great hike to take on with your friends or significant other, but it isn't recommended for children due to the lack of handrails. If you choose to tackle the entire 18-kilometre route, be sure to have rugged, sturdy footwear that gives you support, and plenty of water.
Since there are lots of sinkholes and nothing to hold onto, it's recommended to bring along trekking poles or similar to stabilize you, as this hike can get challenging at points.
Located in Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, the Acropole des Draveurs hike in Quebec (which opens May 22) twists its way up the Montagne des Érables (Maple Mountain). Being around the Malbaie River Gorge in the Laurentian Mountains, you definitely won't be let down by this view.
To enter the park, you'll have to pay a fee of about $8.50, which is nothing compared to the experience you'll have.
Since this hike is a little physically demanding – with a steep vertical climb and uneven walking surfaces – it's important to wear gear that gives you underfoot protection, as well as supports your feet and ankles
The 7-kilometre-long Skyline Trail can be found in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. This leisurely hike follows a boardwalk that wraps around the entire trail. While on your adventure, you'll witness some awe-inspiring views of the gulf, so have your camera ready.
Since the trail is smooth, it makes it easily accessible as well as wheelchair- and stroller-friendly. Add this to your to-do list if you're looking for a fun, light outdoorsy experience — and keep an eye out for moose!
It's important to note that, if you've ever visited the Skyline Trail before, your experience in 2021 may be a little different. You'll need to wear a mask in indoor spaces and respect recommended social distancing rules at all times.
Fundy Footpath In New Brunswick
This challenging wilderness trail can take up to five days to complete. Although tough, the Fundy Footpath was listed as one of the "50 Best Hikes in the World" by Explore Magazine. The trail, which opens its gates May 21, starts at Big Salmon River and goes along the coastline to the boundaries of Fundy National Park.
On this strenuous hike, you'll get to witness old-growth coastal Acadian forest, wildlife, geology and some beaches too. Safety is key when taking on this difficult trail, so don't come unprepared.
Greenwich Dunes Trail In Prince Edward Island
At 4.3 kilometres long, the Greenwich Dunes Trails is perfect for all skill levels and is often quiet. With this trail, you really get to see the beauty that Prince Edward Island has to offer.
While the 2021 hours of operation are yet to be announced (most Parks Canada parks open in mid-May), once the trails do open the dunes are absolutely magical to witness on your peaceful trek. The beach at the end also makes it a great family-friendly option for a summer day trip.
It's important to know that Greenwich contains an extensive and fragile coastal dune system and numerous rare plant species, so be sure to respect the wildlife and leave anything you might find, like rocks or flowers.
East Coast Trail In Newfoundland
There are 25 paths along the East Coast Trail, so you can consider your options to be wide open. Along these different paths, you'll discover the beautiful sights that Newfoundland has to offer. There's so much to experience, from towering cliffs and ecological reserves to lighthouses and wildlife; from small seabirds to humungous whales.
You can join a guided hike or venture off on your own. The choice is yours.
The King's Throne trail is located in Kluane National Park and makes for a great day hike. Between the surrounding valleys and Kathleen Lake, the landscape is quite majestic.
To get to the "seat" of the King's Throne and experience the best views, keep an eye out for a popular stop along the path filled with rocky ridges. After you've taken in the incredible scenery, you can use this spot as a turnaround point or a quick pit stop for lunch.
From this point, the trail is bound to get more challenging (so make sure you have a pair of protective, cushioned shoes on) but it will be well worth it once you get to the other side of the mountain.
The Apex Trail In Nunavut
The Apex Trail, which can be found in Iqaluit, Nunavut, is open between June and September, so be sure to explore it while you can. It's suitable for all physical levels and a lot of people choose to hike, walk and run on this versatile path.
Being fairly simple, the Apex Trail is a fantastic breath of fresh air. If you're visiting the region, this is a great way to experience the treeless tundra.
The pine-covered Ingraham Trail starts in Yellowknife and, after extending a staggering 70 kilometres, ends in Tibbitt Lake. Along this path, you'll have the opportunity to picnic, visit campgrounds and lakes, and witness boat launches.
There's so much to do along this lake-dotted trail, including hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing and bird watching. In the winter, you can even go skiing and snowmobiling.
The first step to conquering any of these trails is making sure you have footwear that can handle the journey. The protective ankle support, cushioned soles and lightweight material of Merrell's new Moab Speed and Moab Flight hiking and trail-running shoes will help you take on any trail.
Plus, with 100% recycled laces and a Vibram® Ecostep outsole made from a minimum of 30% recycled rubber, these vegan-friendly shoes can help you leave memory-making footprints while reducing your carbon footprint.
And to help new hikers find the confidence to get outside, Merrell is launching a six-month campaign called the Step Further Challenge; the goal is to help one million people around the world go the extra mile on the trail. To take part, you just have to sign up for one of their online pledges or unique interactive experiences.
Whether you're an adventurous person, an athlete or someone seeking new experiences, go explore the great outdoors!