SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – March 2012

Backpacking Canada, the Big Empty

Empty of people, that is. Because the 3,000 miles of wilderness that stretch from Newfoundland's fjordlike coastal cliffs to British Columbia's rainforest and skyscraping peaks are brimming with every type of mountain, water, and wildlife adventure a card-carrying backpacker could want—crowds not included. Our Rocky Mountain Field Editor spent two months exploring places we've never covered to assemble our most extensive guide to Canadian backcountry yet.

by: Steve Howe

A glacial meltwater tarn in Glacier National Park, British Columbia (Steve Howe)
A glacial meltwater tarn in Glacier National Park, British Columbia (Steve Howe)

Forget immunizations, visas, phrase books, and 12-hour flights. For an epic international adventure, just head north. Canada’s cred? The world’s longest coastline, 10 major mountain chains, more lakes than any other country, and five Alaskas worth of world-class wilderness. 
 
We’ve scouted eight challenging trips in four provinces, all easy to reach and close enough to major American cities that you won’t blow your budget just getting there. Or going back for more.
 
British Columbia
This west-coast province is larger than Washington, Oregon, and California combined. You could spend lifetimes exploring B.C.’s 81 mountain ranges, but first try this sweet trio of routes, including an ultra-wild high-mountain trek, a pair of gorgeous huts, and historic glacier mountaineering.

Drinnon Pass to Gimli Col, Valhalla Provincial Park
Routefind across precipitous ridges to an ice-filled lake.

Woodbury to Silver Spray Huts, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
Link two gorgeous cabins by scrambling through craggy alpine country.

Asulkan Valley, Glacier National Park
Hit four technical summits in the birthplace of North American mountaineering.  


Saskatchewan
This Texas-size province north of Montana and North Dakota is known for its prairies, but more than half of it is actually a forested canoe kingdom (think Boundary Waters on steroids). Canoes are to Canada as covered wagons were to America, and they remain one of the best ways to experience Saskatchewan’s wild country.

Churchill River Canoe Route 
Escape time as you glide through an endless chain of connected lakes.


Ontario
Canada’s most populous province is a land of lakes—Great ones. For an untamed taste of the world’s largest stretch of freshwater, check out Superior’s North Shore, where Ice Age glaciers and storm-tossed waves have sculpted the granite coastline into a wilderness of steep hills and deep gorges with a sprinkling of stunted evergreens. 

Coastal Hiking Trail, Pukaskwa National Park
Hug pebbly beaches and cliffs along Superior shores.

White River Canoe Route
Paddle and portage fish-filled waters past wild cascades to the greatest of lakes.

Newfoundland
So far east it’s got its own time zone, this island is home to Gros Morne National Park, a world heritage site. We’ve scouted the best long and short options. 

Long Range Traverse, Gros Morne National Park
Bushwhack up a glacier-carved fjord to a lake-spangled subarctic plateau.

Green Gardens Loop
Follow serpentine barrens and stair-steep tracks to a rugged volcanic sea coast.




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

NLOL
Mar 01, 2012

Nice places indeed - but no suggestions for the east side of James Bay (Quebec), or the far northern areas of Yukon, NWT, or Nunavut? The really wild wilderness areas in Canada are OUTSIDE the National and Provincial Parks. Few rivers bear no float trippers; but backpacking in much of the north is no-trails-exist, in about any direction you choose, for as far as you can hike in a full summer.

granite pete
Feb 26, 2012

The descriptions and comments sure makes me start planning on visiting places West and East in the beautiful lands to the North!

Abby
Feb 23, 2012

I am a Canadian reader who loves backpacker and it's nice to see some Canadian content. If you were too be less budget friendly hikers, the Torngat Mountains in Labrador are stunning, and there are several parks in Nunavut that are to die for. Access is a little bit trickier but they are once in a lifetime trips! Just sayin'!

Alberta
Feb 23, 2012

Ummm, you completely missed one of Canada's best provinces?!?!

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Anybody going to watch Bear Grylls tonight?
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: desert dweller
Mid-Atlantic
Quebec Run Wild Area BAckpack -TR
Posted On: Jul 29, 2014
Submitted By: vdeal
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions