You Can Now Walk Coast to Coast in Canada

Columbia River, Radium Hot Springs, Canada | ©  Jürgen Regel, Mariam... / WikiCommons
Columbia River, Radium Hot Springs, Canada | © Jürgen Regel, Mariam... / WikiCommons
Photo of Emily Paskevics
6 September 2017

Canada is now home to the longest recreational trail in the world, stretching over 22,000 kilometers (over 14,000 miles) across the country. The Great Trail took around 25 years to plan, coordinate, and connect, and now it links all 13 of the country’s provinces and territories. The trail is composed of a network of cycling, hiking, and canoeing routes that together make up the ultimate scenic tour of Canada.

The Great Divide Trail, Canada | Stevin Tuchiwsky, from Wanderlust © Gestalten 2017

The Great Trail, formerly called the Trans-Canada Trail, has come to be through the hard work of almost 500 provincial, local, and volunteer organizations across the country. The trail also incorporates sections of highways and other roads, boardwalks, rail trails, and more. In the winter, people can even go snowmobiling and cross-country skiing on parts of the trail.

Mountaineering in Canada | © Jonathan Fox/ Fickr

Here are some quick facts about the Great Trail:

22,000 kilometers (13,670 mi): The length of trail spanning Canada from coast to coast, which comprises roads and highways, hiking and biking trails, and rivers. Approximately 25% of the trail is water, with 75% of it being over land.

15,000 communities: The number of communities across Canada that organizers say the trail now connects.

2,185 meters (7,168.6 ft): The highest point of elevation along the Great Trail, through Kananaskis Country in Alberta.

1,659.5 kilometers (1,031.1 mi): The length of the trail’s longest water route, which flows from the Northwest Territories through the Yukon.

477 groups: The approximate number of trail-building groups and organizations at the local or provincial level who have helped build the trail, connecting 432 distinct sections, since 1992.

Kananaskis country in Alberta, Canada | © davebloggs007/ Flickr

The completion of the project has coincided with the same year that Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a country. It is still a work in progress, however. Signs must go up, and funding must be raised for maintenance. Of course, people must come out and make use of it as well.

Along the Trans Canada Highway in rural Ontario | © Pavels / Shutterstock

You can check out the interactive map of the trail in order to get a better sense of its full extent and to plan the endless possibilities of your trip—whether you’ve got a cross-country goal in mind or just want to access the part of the Great Trail closest to you for an outdoorsy day trip. There’s also an app that gives users the opportunity to interact.

Torngat Mountains and Nachvak Fjord, Labrador | © Paul Gierszewski/ WikiCommons