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7 Breathtaking Stops Along The Trans Canada Trail You Have To See Once In Your Life

Cue "Seven Wonders" by Fleetwood Mac.

Contributing writer
7 Breathtaking Stops Along The Trans Canada Trail You Have To See Once In Your Life

Canada is a country with remarkable natural beauty, and the Trans Canada Trail — which weaves through every province and territory — is one of the best ways to explore it.

As the longest multi-use recreational trail network in the world, the Trans Canada Trail (previously called "The Great Trail of Canada") stretches more than 27,000 kilometres from coast to coast to coast and connects over 15,000 communities. If that's hard to imagine, consider this: 80% of Canadians live within 30 minutes of a section of the trail.

It's managed by local trail groups, partners and volunteers who work to keep different sections safe and maintained. Thanks to donors, the national Trail is protected and enhanced, ensuring it's accessible for all.

Whether you're looking for a place to hike, bike, paddle, horseback ride, cross-country ski or just simply relax and enjoy nature, you can bet there'll be an experience for you along the Trans Canada Trail.

If you're not sure where to start, consider adding these seven noteworthy sections of the trail to your Trans Canada Trail bucket list.

Kawartha Trans Canada Trail

Price: Free

Location: From Peterborough to Durham, ON

Why You Need To Go: Experience the Kawartha Lakes on this 54-kilometre trail and discover nearby woodlands, farmlands, wetlands and communities as you go. In the summer, this section of the Trans Canada Trail is great for walking, hiking, cycling or horseback riding. In the winter, you can jump on a snowmobile or cross-country ski through this slice of Ontario.

You'll find many benches, bike racks and picnic shelters along the way if you're looking for a rest stop.


Confederation Trail

Price: Free

Location: From Tignish to Elmira, PEI

Why You Need To Go: Say hello to the vast 449-kilometre rolled-stone path that makes up the Confederation Trail. Travellers of all fitness levels can enjoy this flat section of the Trans Canada Trail. Whether you choose to walk, jog or cycle along this route, you'll get to witness unique scenery that'll leave you in awe.

If you're into geocaching, you're in luck — the Confederation Trail has more than 1,600 geocache sites along the way.


Salish Sea Marine Trail

Price: Free

Location: From Victoria to Jericho Beach, BC

Why You Need To Go: The Salish Sea Marine Trail is a paddling section of the Trans Canada Trail that connects mainland B.C. with Vancouver Island. You'll have to be an expert paddler to conquer the whole trail, which takes around two weeks to complete.

The trail itself is divided into four legs, which novice adventurers can take on without having to commit to a week at sea. You can even make use of the local ferries to drop you at a convenient location so that you can launch your kayak from a nearby beach.


Le P’tit Train du Nord

Price: From $7

Location: From Mont-Laurier to Bois-des-Filion, QC

Why You Need To Go: This 232-kilometre trail takes its name from the retired railway line that connected Mont-Laurier to Bois-des-Filion in the early 1900s. Snaking its way through the Laurentians, Le P'tit Train du Nord is popular among cyclists and cross-country skiers because it's mostly flat with long, gentle declines that are perfect for coasting.

Many of the information centres along the route are built in the old train stations, and there are charming villages to stop at for a bite to eat. Whether you hike, bike, rollerblade or snowmobile, this well-serviced section of the Trans Canada Trail is worth a visit.


Fundy Footpath

Price: $10 for adults

Location: From Big Salmon River to Fundy National Park, NB

Why You Need To Go: There's a reason the 41-kilometre Fundy Footpath is one of Explore Magazine's 50 Best Hikes in the World. Experienced hikers can enjoy the serenity of this secluded path that cuts between the sea and forest.

This section of the Trans Canada Trail is known to be physically demanding, so make sure you're well prepared before setting out. Allow yourself four to five days to complete the Fundy Footpath, which will give you ample time to cover the distance and enjoy the view.


East Coast Trail

Price: Free

Location: From Topsail Beach to Cappahayden, NL

Why You Need To Go: Made up of 25 connected wilderness paths, the East Coast Trail starts in Topsail Beach and follows the coastline of Conception Bay around to St. John's before continuing down the Avalon Peninsula.

This moderate-to-challenging route passes through 30 communities and is a great opportunity to discover the history and culture of this 336-kilometre section of the Trans Canada Trail. If you're an experienced hiker, you might like to go it alone, or you can make use of an expert guide who knows the trail like the back of their hand.


Quaite Creek Trail

Price: Free

Location: From Heart Creek Provincial Recreation Area to Jewell Pass, AB

Why You Need To Go: The Quaite Creek Trail is a well-maintained path that takes you 5.7 kilometres into Bow Valley Provincial Park to the Quaite Creek Backcountry Campground. From there, it joins the next section of the Trans Canada Trail, Jewell Pass.

Leashed dogs are allowed along this quick and easy section of the Trans Canada Trail. If you choose to camp, sites are $12 with firepits, storage lockers and pit toilets available.


Whether you choose to hike, bike, walk or paddle, the Trans Canada Trail is an amazing way to get out and explore Canada's great outdoors.

It's your chance to reap all the physical and mental health benefits of connecting with nature — so get out there (safely and responsibly) and enjoy it.

To learn more about the Trans Canada Trail, check out their new video Ode to the Trail or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.