There’s nothing more rejuvenating than a trip to the wilderness, and there are few family-bonding activities more exciting than exploring the natural world together. Nature’s serenity has a way of making difficult parent-child conversations easier, and it’s a wonderful way to stay in shape together. It’s easy to forget, in the cities and suburbs, just how much natural wonder exists in the country. Canada has some of the most magnificent and vast landscapes in all of North America. More incredibly, many of our rolling green hills, towering mountains, and pristine waters are accessible by foot.
Here are the best hiking spots to visit this Family Day.
Cathedral Grove, British Columbia
There’s something naturally cinematic about the west coast of British Columbia, and it’s been used accordingly. The Grove stood in for the third moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi, and more recently was featured in Jurassic World: Dominion. The enormous Douglas Fir, Western Red Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar trees populating the forest are known to be up to 800 years old, offering hikers a fairy tale-like journey. The park’s south side is said to have its oldest trees — one Douglas Fir has a nine-metre circumference!
Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia
If you’re taking the family for an overnight trip, look no further than one of Garibaldi Provincial Park’s five hiking trails. There are over 90 km of trails to cover, and the best of them take at least two days’ journeying. If your family is up for it, start from Cheakamus Lake and head to Garibaldi Lake. Shelter can be found at Elfin Lakes Campground for $15 per person, though families can bring their own tents as well.
Grey Owl Trail, Saskatchewan
As you teach your children about the wonders of nature, bird-watching can offer them fascinating insights. Grey Owl Trail is renowned for its avian population, including the Common Crane, White-backed Woodpecker, Snipe, Woodcock, Wryneck and more. Along the way, be sure to pay a visit to Gray Owl’s cabin — a simple, pristine structure once home to conservation activist Archibald Belaney, his partner Gertrude Bernard, and their two pet beavers.
Cup and Saucer Trail, Ontario
Manitoulin Island is famous for a lot of reasons — its rich history of Indigenous cultures, the visibility of the Northern Lights in August and October, and even legends of a treasure buried somewhere in the area. The Cup and Saucer Trail, named for the unique formation of rocks along the Niagara escarpment, is the ideal destination for families looking to hike. There are three main trails with varying degrees of difficulty, each full of educational information about the limestone and shale rock that began forming some 450 million years ago, as well as the four breath-taking, designated lookout spots. After the two-hour hike, your family may opt to take the Adventure Trail shortcut, a descending path that offers travelers access to wooden ladders.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer