Full of awe-inspiring landscape and bustling cities, Canada is an incredibly diverse nation. With its expansive coastlines, scenic valleys, majestic mountains and what seems like endless amounts of natural beauty, Canada offers a lot in the way of active outdoor adventures.
As you’d expect, there’s everything from easy to epic for the active boomer traveler. Canadian adventure expert and guest writer, Leigh McAdam from HikeBikeTravel, lets us in on her top five choices for Canadian outdoor adventures.
Cycle the Gulf Islands in British Columbia
If island hopping by ferry with your bike has appeal then you’ll love the Gulf Islands. For at least six months of the year, five of Canada’s largest Gulf Islands beckon the cyclist. The fun and the difficulty lies in choosing which island to cycle in the time you have available.
You need at least five days to visit all the islands but you could easily spend ten days if you like to dawdle—and by dawdling I mean checking out the beaches from a reclining position, sipping wine at one of Salt Spring Island’s two wineries, kayaking out of Pender Island, picnicking on Galiano or chatting up the friendly locals on Saturna.
Each island has its own vibe and personality. All have great places to stay from little B&B’s to five star properties. Most cycling is on quiet backroads, but cycling is surprisingly hilly and on summer weekends traffic can be an issue.
Check out the BC Ferries schedule and start planning your adventure. Consider a fall ferry trip in the southern Gulf Islands for an autumn cycling adventure.
Hike in the Lake O’Hara Area, Yoho National Park
Hiking doesn’t get much better than what you’ll find in the Lake O’Hara area of Yoho National Park. Classic alpine scenery featuring rugged mountains and turquoise colored lakes accessed via incredibly well-built trails is the payoff.
Nab a reservation at Lake O’Hara Lodge, the campground, Elizabeth Parker Hut or one of the other hotels in Yoho National Park. Once you have a reservation, you can book a seat on the bus for the 11 kilometer ride into the area.
From Lake O’Hara you have a range of options from easy hikes like the one to Lake Oesa through to the spectacular but challenging high alpine circuit that takes you along airy ledges with heart-stopping views. No matter what you choose, you will truly be awed by the beauty.
Kayak with Icebergs in Newfoundland
If you’ve ever wanted to kayak with icebergs then make your way to picturesque Twillingate, the staging area for kayaking in Newfoundland’s Iceberg Alley. It’s best to hire a guide as icebergs are unpredictable, rolling over on short notice or calving and sending a wave your way.
Fortunately, it’s safe to paddle around them as long as you keep a respectable distance away. And icebergs are magical, especially at eye level. They’re also incredibly beautiful, appearing in an infinite number of shapes and sizes.
The kayaking window is short with the peak time between mid-June though to early July. Plan your trip to Newfoundland so you can take advantage of seeing these frozen behemoths.
Cycle the backroads of Prince Edward County, Ontario
Located halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, Prince Edward County offers cyclists six routes. Ranging between 19 and 41 miles in length, you’ll cycle on very quiet backroads.
The routes cover the most scenic and interesting bits of Prince Edward County. Although much of it is farmland, the region is also home to historic towns graced with beautiful old buildings.
You’ll also discover 30 plus wineries, some of the world’s largest freshwater sand dunes. There’s also a wonderful Arts and Taste Trail, where you can visit artisans in their homes and galleries and check out some of the hottest artisanal food producers. There’s nary a chain hotel in sight; instead stay at one of the counties 95 B&B’s.
Hiking in Kluane National Park in the Yukon
If you’re driving on an Alaska Highway road trip, there’s a very good chance you’re only a short distance away from the wildly beautiful Kluane National Park. Together with its Alaskan neighbour, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, they are home to the world’s largest non-polar icefields.
Although much of the park is inaccessible, the 9.3 mile Auriol Trail, just minute’s from civilization, is able to provide a taste of grand alpine scenery. It’s an easy and well-marked hike, but it’s in bear country so be sure to take a can of bear spray with you.
Looking for Canadian Outdoor Adventures?
Leigh knows about Canadian outdoor adventures. And she writes about them in her book, Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures. We’re buying a copy for our boomer travel adventures in Canada.
Are you considering a Canadian travel adventure? Start at our Canada Travel Resources page.