10 of Canada’s excellent lesser-known national parks

To mark its 150 th anniversary, Canada is offering free entry to its impressive national parks. But which to pick? We select 10 lesser-known wildernesses

Canada has immense swathes of unspoiled sort, from coasts to mountains to tundra and solidify Arctic deserts. While some of these spectacular landscapes are in famous national parks, such as the Rocky Mountains Banff and Jasper, the Pacific seashores Gwaii Haanas and the remote whitewater paddling heaven of the Northwest Field Nahanni, a multitude of less famed masterpieces await the adventurous.

Canada national parks

This year, to celebrate Canadas 150 th anniversary, visitors can gain free admission to the ballparks with a special pass which must be pre-ordered. Camping places fill up early, so bookings are recommended. Its also is right to take advice on bear and panther security. For much of the accommodation mentioned, its worth chase for online deals.

Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

Lake Huron in Fathom Five national marine park. Image: Ethan Meleg/ Getty Images

The startling turquoise oceans of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron give way to engulf cliffs and thick stands of cedar and other ancient trees in this park, a four-hour drive north-west from Toronto. Its the beginning of this 550 -mile trek along the Bruce Trail, which weaves from the park to the vineyards of the Niagara area further south. There are currently shorter cliffside goes along the lake, and paddling or kayaking across smaller lagoon. Tourists can rent a canoe from Thorncrest Outfitters in Tobermory, test their nerve by boulder-climbing in more remote blots, or scramble through caves along the lakeshores. Another wonderful thing to do is to take a ferry from Tobermory to Fathom Five national marine park and swim to one of the many underwater shipwrecks. Some of the shallow ones is near shore and easy-going to read while snorkelling. For deeper ruins further from shoring, ships and scuba gear can be hired from Divers Den in Tobermory( diversden.ca) or G& S Watersports. B& Bs, inns, inn and campsites are in Tobermory, the most significant town, at a variety of tolls. Try the Blue Bay Motel for 74 pn.

: Instead of driving, take a ParkBus from Toronto to Bruce Peninsula park( adult 54 yield ).

Pacific Rim, British Columbia

Photograph: Paola Moschitto-Assenmacher/ Getty Images/ EyeEm

Endless beaches, fog-shrouded rainforests and rugged routes alongside the merciless open waters of the Pacific Ocean make up this 500 sq km coastal park on the countries of the south side of Vancouver Island, a five-hour drive from Victoria. Whale-watching primarily grey-haireds but, at certain times of the year, humpbacks and killer whales as well is a time-honoured recreation here, and can be done from the beach. Dawdling along Long Beach, south of Tofino, exploring wealths in tidal pools can easily suck days. But defying the breathtaking 45 -mile West Coast Trail, following tracks of ancient First Nation sellers, will take discipline it is not for rookies, and requires map and tide-table reading knowledge for some stretches. Bookings are indispensable as numerals are restraint during the season. There are only three access and departures, but a two- or three-day hike can be started at the midpoint of Nitinat, avoiding the most difficult portions. The path “re starting” Pachena Bay and dissolves at Gordon River six gruelling weeks later. Limited camping is available in the common, but the cities of Tofino and Ucluelet, also offer B& Bs, cabins, inns, useds and dining at a range of rates. Try Jamies Rainforest Inn in Tofino( from 80, area simply ).

: The good possibility of viewing whales is in May, June, September and October.

Waterton Lakes, Alberta

Photograph: Clarke Wiebe/ Getty Images/ Perspectives

The heights of the Rocky mountains convene the flat prairies in this park. Aspen groves and wildflower meadows pepper the landscape. The woods are home to grizzlies, pitch-black allows, panthers, wolves and coyotes, so its important to keep to the 191 miles of routes in the park which range in difficulty from short strolls to engulf treks of a few days period and to make a noise while moving to scare off any bears. The common nestles in the unusually diverse Crown of the Continent ecosystem, which includes the headwaters of creeks running across North America to the Pacific and Atlantic, and northern to Hudsons Bay.

Often seen as an antidote to the commotion of Banff and Jasper, Waterton Lakes is a three-hour car errand south of Calgary. Guests can drive to three campsites in the common, including information in the Waterton Lakes Townsite, or hike to nine others in all areas of the backcountry, such as the one at Goat Lake ). Hotels include Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort( doublings from 80 room simply ).

: A small flock of bison pasturing the grasslands in the ballparks northern objective can be seen for free from the Bison Paddock Loop Road, but make sure to stay in the car.

Grasslands, Saskatchewan

Photograph: Robert Postma/ Getty Images

Scoured long ago by retreating glaciers, such regions is so flat and treeless that old-timers say if a puppy runs away, its still possible to see it three days later. Golden knee-high grasses sway in high winds. Bison roam, white-rumped pronghorn antelope sprint past in swift-footed flocks, and black-tailed prairie bird-dogs poke curious fronts out of the ground.

In the south-west corner of Saskatchewan, the common is a four-hour drive from county capital Regina, or seven hours from Calgary to the town of Val Marie at the commons western entryway. Seasoned hikers can thoughts to the Valley of the 1,000 Devils, with its hoodoo rock-and-roll shapings and fossil fogies. Camping is let anywhere, but check with the visitor centre at Rock Creek campground for safety information. Theres lots of organised camping on flat ranges of the park for RVs and tents, plus tipis for hire. Tent-cabins sleeping up to six rate 55 a night in Frenchman Valley campsite, slopes 10, reservations required.

: Grasslands is one of Canadas darkest and larger pitch-dark sky continues, perfect for stargazing. Some fossil-digging contests are planned each year.

Point Pelee, Ontario

Photograph: Hemera Engineering/ Getty Images

Its birds, fowls, chicks at this tiny park, a four-hour drive south-west from Toronto. Point Pelee, a marshy spitting jutting into Lake Erie, is an international mecca for birdwatchers. The song-filled northward movement in mid-May was transformed into a famous birder gala. Among the rareties: ivory gull, sharp-tailed sandpiper, lark sparrow and warblers from every corner of the western hemisphere. Check for accommodation at all prices at tourismleamington.com. Typical is the Days Inn at 80 B& B. Or start a bit further for the delights of the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region, staying at the Colonel Butler Inn from 110 B& B.

Tip : Paddle the marshes in a 10 -person canoe on a guided tour through the bulrushes for about 12 for a family of four( see national park website ).

La Mauricie, Quebec


Breathtaking Laurentian woodlands of evergreens and hardwoods and 150 crystal-clear lakes make this the quintessential Canadian park know-how. Theres snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing in wintertime, and canoeing, hiking, float, fishing and mountain biking when the snowfall fades. Its a two-hour drive from either Montreal or Quebec City. Three campsites present more than 500 pitches for tents, tent-trailers and RVs at less than 18 a night. All-year tent-cabins sleeping five are 70 a night.

A brilliant lieu for autumn quality.

Prince Edward Island

Point Prim Lighthouse, 1845, the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Photo: Darlyne A Murawski/ Getty Images/ National Geographic Creative

Feel the salt gust and marvel at the sculpted crimson sand dunes, while lounging on one of the 7 beaches that make up this strip of common along the north margin of Prince Edward Island. Two of the more popular beaches are Brackley and Stanhope. The park is about half an hours drive from the provinces historic uppercase, Charlottetown, where Canadas Confederation was born 150 years ago. A family-friendly, leisurely stay can include strolling boardwalks, easy-going hiking and spotting off-color herons in the ocean.

The park has two campsites, Stanhope and Cavendish, with pitchings from 12 a nighttime, and the historic Dalvay-by-the-Sea hotel, once an lubricant financiers summer home, with 25 antiques-filled chambers and huts from 120 room only.

Toward the countries of the western purpose of the common is Green Gables Heritage Place, inspiration for Lucy Maud Montgomerys classic tales.

Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

Photograph: Dave G Houser/ Getty Images

Forested highland hills meet steep cliffs rising from the atlantic provinces in this island gem. Far-famed Cape Breton hospitality, sensational ocean landscapes, and access to the fabled Cabot Trail make it tough to note a more congenial recognize in Canada. A five-hour drive from Halifax, this is the home of the Acadians, offsprings of French pioneers. Guests can learn how to boil a lobster( 26 pp) at La Bloc in Chticamp, then drive down the iconic switchback road along the coast whenever there is six campsites next to the road and one in the backcountry. A tent-cabin for six payments 60 a night. Some campsites in this ballpark come already furnished with tents; all you need is a sleeping bag, a reservation and 40 a darknes( up to six parties ).

Tips : Hook a mackerel and fry it for dinner simply off the Cabot Trail, and hear to prepare Acadian potato pancakes for $22 pp while savouring the culture mythology of Cape Breton. For appointments and details, appreciate cbisland.com. Or has become a lumberjack for the working day with macrocosm endorse Darren Hudson, who runs Wild Axe cliques teaching skills like logrolling, tree climbing and axe throwing( adults $90, youths $25 – $50 ).

Gros Morne, Newfoundland

Photograph: Barrett& MacKay/ Getty Images

Jagged mountain faces, cataracts, fjords and canyons make this one of the most geologically exciting parks in Canada. A Unesco world heritage site, the common caters a rare chance to see deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earths mantle disclosed. A special plow is a guided daylight hike to the top of the Western Brook Pond gorge, to where ponds on the plateau feed cataracts that replenish the pond( from 35 young adults with Bontours. From the summit, hikers gaze across a luxuriant green hollow patrolled by towering cliffs. A seven-hour drive from the capital, St Johns, or half an hour from international airports in Deer Lake, the park has moose and caribou, midget trees, marshes, glacial lakes, tundra and heath all in the same world-class site.

There are more than 200 conventional campsites, most with energy, and four primitive ones, with wooden tent pads, bear-proof meat cupboards or poles, and pit lavatories. Four areas offer tent-cabins for five at 70 a night, firewood included. The less hardy can stay in compartments, hotels and B& Bs such as Bottom Brook Cottages, 76 a nighttime for a two-bedroom cottage.

Take a guided tour to the Lobster Cove Head lighthouse and learn how its beacon resulted sailors dwelling, then intent the working day with an outdoor flame halo and the best sunset on the island.

Auyuittuq, Nunavut

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