“33 Classic Fall Hikes” (Explore, Fall 2013)



“33 Classic Fall Hikes” (Explore, Fall 2013)
10:25 AM
33 ClassiC
Fall Hikes
33 ClassiC Fall Hikes
is there a better time fOr hiking than fall? fOliage is in full vibranCy, trails
are dry, Creeks are lOW, bugs are dOWn — fOr Canadian hikers, it’s the best
time Of year. this autumn, taCkle One Of Canada’s ClassiC fall hikes — here is
exPlOre’s 2013 fall hiking rOunduP
by ed buChanan
tourism bc/dAve heAth
The Iceline Trail.
the iceLine traiL
Yoho National Park (Kootenay-Rockies)
L E ng t h: 18 or 21 km
dIf fIcuLt y: Intermediate-Advanced
BE s t for : Those searching for classic
Rocky Mountain alpine environs;
waterfall hunters.
for mor E Infor m at Ion: pc.gc.ca/yoho
This may just be British Columbia’s most picturesque Rocky Mountain hike. With two lengthy circuits
(Little Yoho, 18 km and Celeste Lake, 21 km; trailheads located four kilometres east of Field, BC)
and nearly 700 metres of elevation gain, day-hikers wishing to tackle this route should be in stout
physical condition. So-named as the path follows the lower edge of a series of glaciers, expect scree
slopes, babbling mountain streams, glaciers, snow fields, the occasional meltwater lake and tearinducing Rocky Mountain environs throughout. The hike culminates with an unobstructed photo-op
at 380-metre-tall Takakkaw Falls. If you’d like to take more time to ponder the environment in quiet
contemplation, stay overnight on this trail at the Little Yoho Campground, about 10 km into the trail,
or at the Stanley Mitchell ACC Hut (reservations required), about 11 km from the trailhead.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 explore 4 5
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Black Tusk.
Garibaldi Provincial Park: 3 Essential Hikes
Location: Vancouver Coast & Mountains Get There: Located alongside Highway 99 (Sea to Sky Highway), between Squamish
and Whistler; five access points along the highway. For More Info: env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks
E a sy-In t e r me di at e : Elfin Lakes
L e ng t h: 22 km
In t e r me di at e : Singing Pass
L e ng t h: 23 km
A dva nce d: Black Tusk (Garibaldi Lake)
L e ng t h: 32 km
Accessed from the popular Diamond Head
Area, via Mamquam Road, Elfin Lakes is an
excellent introduction to Garibaldi’s alpine
trails. After trudging through a heavily forested wide-track for the first three kilometres,
you’ll reach Red Heather Meadows (lessenergetic hikers use this as a turn-around
point) and enjoy alpine environments and
flatter terrain with some wide-open vistas
from here to the backcountry campsite at
Elfin Lakes. A first-come, first-serve alpine
hut, along with 14 tent platforms (per-person
backcountry fees apply; $10 for tents; $15
for hut), pit toilets and food storage are
available. In late summer/early fall, cool
down with a dip in the lake. The campsite is
a great staging point for a multitude of dayhikes, or a destination in itself.
Accessed right from Whistler Village (follow
the signs from the base of Whistler Mountain, near the bus loop), this hike challenges
with 1,000 metres of elevation gain but
rewards with arresting views of Cheakamus
Lake and flowery alpine meadows. The
trail starts alongside Fitzsimmons Creek
before reaching Singing Pass. From there,
you can either return to the village for a
civilized dinner, or camp at Russet Lake,
where you’ll find a small hut and pit toilets.
Another, slightly easier, access route is via
the Whistler Mountain Gondola — ride up
(ticket fee applies), then hike the 21 km
downslope, past the musical bowls (Piccolo,
Flute, Oboe), to Singing Pass then back to
the village some eight or nine hours from
whence you began.
The skeleton of an ancient volcano, Black
Tusk is the most recognizable prominence in
Garibaldi Park. See it up close via a multi-day
wilderness trek accessed from the Black
Tusk/Garibaldi Lake Area, 40 km north of
Squamish. The route to Garibaldi Lake is
nine kilometres of picturesque, moderately
challenging switchbacks; at the lake, you’ll
find 50 tent sites, four cooking shelters
and pit toilets. Pitch a tent here and fuel
up before tackling the seven-kilometre trek
(850 metres of elevation gain) to the base
of Black Tusk. It is possible to climb The
Tusk, but only skilled mountaineers should
attempt this. Camp overnight at Garibaldi
Lake and return to your car in the morning,
or stay several days and explore the region’s
copious trails.
4 6 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
Arran Yates
Offering arguably the West Coast’s most scenic and wild-yet-accessible hiking trails, Garibaldi Provincial Park
is a near 200,000-hectare expanse of jagged mountains, cerulean lakes and old-growth evergreens less than two
hours’ drive from downtown Vancouver. With limited options considered “easy,” expect lung-busting elevation
gains and very limited facilities — as well as alpine landscapes to weaken the knees.
Judge’s Route
Mount Arrowsmith Regional
Park (Vancouver Island)
L e ng t h: 6 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
One of central Vancouver
Island’s most popular hikes/
scrambles, Mount Arrowsmith’s
Judge’s Route is at its best in
September — thanks to dry
weather, reduced crowds and
very little snowpack (or none at
all). Access the route via a rough
dirt road off Highway 4, at the
top of The Hump en route to Port
Alberni. Most vehicles capable
of a little dirt-driving can get
to the trailhead; a four-wheeldrive helps. The well-marked
route carves through scrubby
evergreens, passing dramatic
Beaufort Range views from
The Saddle before entering the
alpine, at which time it becomes
a scramble — three points of
contact may be necessary as
you traverse The Knuckles.
Some choose to turn around at
this point, others summit the
mountain via this moderately
technical rock-route, culminating
at The Nose. Enjoy a sweeping
overlook of the Strait of Georgia
and Strathcona Provincial Park
before heading down; you’ll be
back at your car five to six hours
after you started. (Pack lots of
water — you won’t find any on
the route.)
Buckley Lake to
Mowdade Lake
Mount Edziza Provincial Park
(Northern BC)
L e ng t h: 75 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
There’s not much time left in
2013 to tackle the route through
270,000-hectare Mount Edziza
Provincial Park, in BC’s northwest — local weather starts
to get very dodgy by the end of
September. Accessed via foot,
hoof or, preferably, floatplane
from Telegraph Creek (Highway
37), Edziza is characterized by
otherworldly, volcanic terrain
— lava flows, basalt plateaus,
cinder fields, pumice rock and
2,787-metre Mount Edziza, a
dormant volcano surrounded by
barren, 1,300-year-old cinder
cones. This multi-day route —
the only marked trek in the park
— requires total self-sufficiency;
at times, even water is scarce.
The pack-in-pack-out, north-tosouth Buckley Lake to Mowdade
Lake route will take you about
seven days.
Be s t For : Highly experienced
trekkers looking for challenging and unique terrain with zero
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Wells Gray
Trophy Mountain
Alpine Meadows
Wells Gray Provincial Park
(Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast)
L e ng t h: 12 km
Dif ficult y: Easy-Intermediate
Sprawling Wells Gray Provincial
Park is one of BC’s Thompson
Region gems — offering thick
evergreen forest, azure lakes
(including Murtle, the world’s
largest canoe-only lake), robust
Helmcken Falls and hikes galore.
The Trophy Mountain area, a
6,900-hectare portion of the
park, is accessed via Bear Creek
Correctional Centre Road (gravel),
north of the town of Clearwater.
Within an hour of setting out,
you’ll be in flowery sub-alpine
meadow, followed by alpine
spruce and fir trees and even
more meadow as you meander
to Sheila Lake. A light scramble
from there leads you to the broad
views of Skyline Ridge, about
three hours after you started.
Enjoy the mountain air and surrounding 2,500-plus-metre peaks
before retracing your path to
your car. In fall, weather patterns
change quickly; bring layers of
clothing and emergency supplies.
Be s t For : Day-hikers looking for
breathtaking alpine vistas and
(near) instant gratification.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Be s t For : Intermediate-level
day-hikers looking to experience scrambling.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
tourism bc (2x)
Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
FA L L 2 0 1 3 explore 4 7
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Waterton Lakes
National Park:
3 Essential Hikes
Despite being the smallest
(505 sq-km) and least-visited
of Alberta’s Big Three Rocky
Mountain parks, Waterton
is often considered the
most beautiful. Craggy
peaks stab out of windswept prairie grasslands;
it’s home to the Canadian
Rockies’ deepest lake; and
the Prince of Wales Hotel,
on the shores of Lake Waterton, is iconic Canadiana. Like Banff and Jasper,
Waterton offers a multitude of hikes, ranging from
stroller-worthy walks to
multi-day epics through its
unique Crown of the Continent environment.
E a s y-In t e r me di at e : Snowshoe
L e ng t h: 16 km
While still a lengthy jaunt, the
Snowshoe Trail to Twin Lakes
features only about 150 metres
of elevation gain, so while it’ll
take the better part of a day,
most hikers should be able to
manage. Accessed from the
Red Rock Canyon trailhead, this
route also offers a multitude
of short side-trails, giving up
vistas of Sage Pass and South
Kootenay Pass. If you’d like to
overnight along the trail, two
backcountry campsites are up
for grabs — Goat Lake and Lost
Lake ($9.80 per person). Enjoy
high-alpine views before heading
back down through the Blakiston
In t e r me di at e : Vimy Peak
L e ng t h: 18 or 25 km
A dva nce d: Crypt Lake
L e ng t h: 17 km
Pack some energy bars and a
couple of litres of water before
tackling this high-elevation
climb. Topping out at 2,363
metres, Vimy Peak offers sensational views of Waterton Lake
from its summit. There are two
access points for this hike —
the first is to paddle (or charter
a boat) across the lake and start
right from the shoreline (18 km
return); the second is via the
Wishbone Trail (25 km return),
accessed from the Chief Mountain Highway trailhead. Vimy
Peak starts as a well-maintained
wooded route, and then culminates in a moderate scramble to
the summit. Enjoy the view and
head right back down, or wander
along the ridgeline to extend
your hiking pleasure.
Often considered Waterton
National Park’s “classic” hike,
Crypt Lake — accessed from the
Crypt Landing trailhead — begins
with a short boat-ride across the
lake, then ascends 700 metres
en route to Crypt Lake, an alpine
waterbody just a hair north of the
US border. (You’ll pass two waterfalls along the way.) Lace up
sturdy boots and maintain your
balance — the route features
a narrow cliffside section and
even shoots through a tunnel. A
bear bell or “talking partner” is
also a good idea; Waterton has a
healthy population of grizzly and
black bears.
* Note, due to extreme spring
floods, some trails/roads in
Waterton may be closed or in
poor condition for 2013. Check
“Important Bulletins” at pc.gc.ca/
waterton for today’s information.
travel alberta
Location: Alberta Rockies
Get There: Accessed via
Highways 6 (West), 5 (east) & 22
For More Info: pc.gc.ca/waterton
Waterton Lakes
National Park.
4 8 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
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33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Elk Island National Park (Edmonton)
L e ng t h: 10 km
Dif ficult y: Easy
Located 45 minutes east of Edmonton on
Highway 16, this is Canada’s largest fullyfenced national park, at nearly 200-sq-km.
With mildly undulating terrain consisting of
parkland, boreal forest, wetland and grasslands, the hiking in this park is really “nature
walking.” Where it shines is in the wildlife
it holds. Set out on the relatively flat 10-km
Hayburger Trail at first light (or towards the
evening) and you’re likely to see some furry
critters and sure to see vibrant fall foliage. Elk
Island is home to North America’s largest and
smallest land mammals, the wood bison and
pygmy shrew, respectively — also keep on the
lookout for the slightly-smaller plains bison,
elk, moose, coyotes, mule and white-tailed
deer and more than 250 species of birds.
Bison stick together, so if you miss them on
the Hayburger Trail, you’ll surely find them
elsewhere in the park (there are 11 marked
hikes, ranging from 300 metres to 16 km).
Be s t For : Wildlife photographers.
For Mor e Infor m at ion: pc.gc.ca/elk
Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass
Banff National Park (Alberta Rockies)
L e ng t h: 12 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
The Rocky Mountain’s larch trees are the
most spectacular of all Canada’s fall foliage — as their needles turn from green to
gold (the only conifer to do so) they seem to
glow like Christmas lights. Combine this with
postcard Rockies’ scenery and it’s no wonder
Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass is one of Banff’s
most sought-after day-hikes. Stretching for
12 km from the parking lot on Morraine Lake
Road, don’t let the hike’s popularity fool you
Be s t For : Mountain hikers looking to
tackle a Canadian classic route; fall foliage aficionados.
For Mor e Infor m at ion: pc.gc.ca/banff
Tonquin Valley Trail
Jasper National Park (Alberta Rockies)
L e ng t h: 43 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
Jasper never fails to impress, no matter
how many times one has visited, no matter how daunting the crowds, no matter
how familiar the scenery. And the multiday classic backcountry route through
the Tonquin Valley is Jasper at its most
resplendent. This high-elevation hike wanders above the treeline; gaining and losing
more than 1,000 metres, and topping out
at 2,500 metres, it takes hikers through
alpine meadows and along ridgelines
above the Astoria River and Mccarib Pass.
Due to its length and challenge, crowds
are rarely a problem; a welcome fact
considering this is one of Canada’s most
popular parks. Along with backcountry
camping ($9.80 per person), there are two
wilderness lodges available for booking.
Dogs and fires are prohibited; use your
bear sense, this is grizzly country. Summer
conditions can be muddy — September
is ideal for fall foliage and dry conditions,
but keep in mind it can snow year-round.
Access the trailhead from Maligne Road,
less than 10 km from Jasper townsite.
Be s t For : Experienced multi-day hikers
looking for one last blast before winter.
For Mor e Infor m at ion: pc.gc.ca/jasper
Eaton Falls
Willmore Wilderness Park
(Alberta Rockies)
L e ng t h: 6 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
Sitting atop Jasper National Park, Willmore
Wilderness Park enjoys less stature but
more ruggedness than the trio of worldrenowned Rocky Mountain parks to its
north. With no facilities within the park,
just 750 km of hiking trails, it offers some
of the finest backcountry mountain hiking
in the province. Most excursions are done
over several days, but a good introduction
is the six-kilometre route from the Sulphur
Gates staging area, accessed from the
town of Grande Cache, to Eaton Falls.
Relatively easy, horseback riders and even
some hardy XC mountain bikers also use
this trail. Veer right at the first fork and
follow the sound of the waterfall. Stop
for lunch, pull out a Willmore Wilderness
map and plan next year’s full summer of
virtually-unknown hikes.
Be s t For : Backcountry hikers looking for
an introduction to the Alberta Rockies’
“forgotten” park.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Tonquin Valley Trail.
5 0 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
canadian tourism commission/julian apse
Hayburger Trail
into thinking it’s a cakewalk. Grizzlies are
known to roam the area, and it has an elevation gain of more than 700 metres. The
trail starts alongside glacial Morraine Lake,
before giving up views of the famous Valley
of the Ten Peaks. Chase after 3,500-metre
Mount Temple for a few hours and you’ll
reach Sentinel Pass and a panoramic of
Paradise Valley. Beat the crowds — hit it on
a weekday.
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
National Park.
70 Mile Butte
Grasslands National Park
(Southern Saskatchewan)
L e ng t h: 5 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
The Boreal Trail
looking to spend a week in
Meadow Lake Provincial Park
(Northern Saskatchewan)
L e ng t h: 120 km
Dif ficult y: Easy-Intermediate
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Opened only two years ago,
the 120-km Boreal Trail is
Saskatchewan Parks’ only officially designated backpacking
trail. Meandering through lush
Meadow Lake Provincial Park,
a 1,600-sq-km beauty in the
province’s northwest, hikers can
choose to embark on a multi-day
tour of this east-west route —
spending days beneath poplar,
jack pine and spruce trees and
falling asleep to a loon’s call at
one of the plentiful back- and
front-country campsites — or
tackle it in smaller stages for
easy day-hikes. Keep your
camera ready for moose, beaver
and wolf sightings and always
be Bear Aware; this is big-time
bruin country. Terrain is gentle
with minimal elevation gains
— the challenge comes in the
distance. Some front-country
campsites feature stores for resupplying and hot showers. Saskatchewan Parks recommends
registering two weeks prior to
hiking the trail if you wish to
overnight in the backcountry.
Grey Owl’s Cabin
5 2 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
Prince Albert National Park
(Northern Saskatchewan)
L e ng t h: 40 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
Grey Owl — a.k.a. Englishman
Archibald Stansfeld Belaney —
may be one of Canada’s strangest historical figures; however,
his message of conservation, as
our country’s first naturalist, still
rings true. If you’d like to pay
homage, take a hike to his cabin
in Prince Albert National Park.
Accessed via Kingsmere Road,
33 km from the town of Waskesiu, intrepid hikers can make
their way to his cabin and burial
site on the shores of Ajawaan
Lake. The route follows the
eastern shoreline of Kingsmere
Lake, and has three campsites
en route plus one at either end.
This is all-backcountry — packin, pack-out — though bear
caches, firewood and pit-toilets
are available at the campsites.
Park-use fees and a backcoun-
try camping permit ($9.80
per person) apply. The path is
typical Canadian Shield terrain
and should take less than six
hours each way. For a quicker
way to find the cabin, a threehour paddle across Kingsmere
Lake, plus a 600-metre portage
to Ajawaan Lake, bypasses the
hiking route.
unique history.
Be s t For : Those looking for big
skies and the way the prairies
once were.
Be s t For : Hikers in search of
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Grey Owl’s
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
tourism saskatchewan (2X)
Be s t For : Easy-walking hikers
Canada’s only national prairie
park, located on the Saskatchewan-Montana border, is a
throwback to the turn-of-the-lastcentury — when native grasses
like gamma, spear and fescue
covered the prairies and the
bison roamed freely. The most
accessible front-country hiking
is found in the west block of the
park, with 70 Mile Butte being
a favourite. A surprisingly challenging hike, this trail passes
cacti and buffalo berry and
offers sightings of roaming bison
herds and bounding pronghorn
antelope as well as dive-bombing
peregrine falcons and other birdlife. Look for centuries-old tipi
rings; there are some 12,000 in
the park. In fact, Grasslands is
an archeological and paleontological showcase: Sitting
Bull sought refuge here after
the battle of Little Bighorn and
Canada’s first fossil was found in
the area. As you hike, watch for
rattlesnakes, and keep in mind
there is no drinkable water in
the park — even purified, it may
be brackish. The hike takes you
to a 100-metre-tall hilltop and
a lookout over the French River
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Pisew Falls.
Pisew Falls to
Kwasitchewan Falls
Paint Lake & Pisew Falls Provincial Parks
(Northeast Manitoba)
L e ng t h: 22 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate-Advanced
Whiteshell Provincial Park
(Eastern Manitoba)
L e ng t h: 66 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
Spirit Sands & The Devil’s
Spruce Woods Provincial Park (Western
L e ng t h: 6 to 11 km
Dif ficult y: Easy
Whether you choose to tackle the three- or
four-day end-to-end route of Manitoba’s
classic backpacking route or knock-off a
day-trip segment, the Mantario Trail delivers
a hard-hiking challenge only two-and-a-half
hours’ drive east of Winnipeg. Despite
being reasonably well-known and relatively
close to the province’s largest city, it’s far
from crowded. Expect heaving Precambrian
Shield terrain, granite cliffs, beaver dams,
fallen timber, peat bogs, steep gullies and
jack pines and maple trees. There are 10
primitive campsites along the route, with fire
pits and food storage boxes and, maybe, a
picnic table or two. The trail is well-marked,
and water can be accessed at many points
throughout. Parking is at the north and
south trailhead — keep in mind this is not a
loop; you’ll have to arrange return transport.
The Mantario Trail is best in fall, as spring’s
floods can be troublesome and summer’s
bugs are brutal.
You’ll come face-to-face with 30-metre sand
dunes, but this is no desert — 400 mm of
annual rainfall sees to that. Nevertheless,
the Sahara-like terrain of Spirit Sands, located in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, about
two hours west of Winnipeg (27 km south
of Carberry), offers two- to 3.5-hour hiking
routes with a spectacular payoff. From the
trailhead at Seton Bridge, take either a
three- or 5.5-km trail (one-way) through shifting sands, ever encroached on by forest and
rich with cacti, en route to the Devil’s Punch
Bowl, a 45-metre depression containing an
ethereal blue-green pool; a visible segment
of one of the many underground rivers.
Drinking water and washrooms are available
along the well-marked trail. Fall is the best
time to tackle this easy jaunt, as summer’s
heat can be oppressive. Beware of the
abundant poison ivy!
Be s t For : Multi-day hikers looking for an
urban parks.
unexpected challenge.
For Mor e Infor m at ion: mantario.com
5 4 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
Be s t For : Newbie hikers branching out from
For Mor e Infor m at ion: gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks
Be s t For : Waterfall hunters embarking on
an inaugural overnight hike.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Spirit Sands &
The Devil’s
travel manitoba (2X)
The Mantario Trail
The eight hours it’ll take you to drive to Pisew
Falls Provincial Park from Winnipeg (via Highway 6) has a way of thinning out the crowds,
as does the 22 km of backcountry trails between the province’s two highest waterfalls.
The trailhead starts at 13-metre-high Pisew
Falls, proof there are elevation changes in
this pancake province, before winding through
22 km of marked forest trail en route to the
14-metre-high Kwasitchewan Falls. Camp
overnight at one of the free backcountry
campsites here; though industrious trekkers
have knocked this route off in a day. Packin, pack-out; pit toilets are available at the
campsite. This hike follows the Grass River, a
famous 1700s-era fur-trader route.
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33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Algonquin Provincial Park:
3 Essential Hikes
Location: Central Ontario
Get There: Accessed via Highways 17 (north),
11 (west) & 60 (east)
For More Info: ontarioparks.com
One of Canada’s iconic parks, and perhaps best-known as a world-class canoe
destination, Algonquin Park is a hiker’s
paradise. Fall brings about the vibrancy
this region is known for, along with
dry weather and nights cool enough
to keep bugs down — as well as prime
opportunities for moose-watching and
wolf-howling, two of the park’s signature wildlife experiences. Algonquin
is characterized by its vast Canadian
Shield rocks, innumerable lakes and
mixed-wood forests — and the fact that
the only way to explore the interior of
this 7,300-sq-km wilderness is via foot,
paddle, bike or hoof.
E a sy: Bat Lake Trail
L e ng t h: 6 km
If you’re looking for an introduction to Algonquin
Provincial Park, you’ll find it along the Bat Lake Trail.
A family-friendly afternoon loop, it is accessed from
Highway 60, at KM 30. Watch for moose in the
trailside bogs as you climb through eastern hemlock
forest towards the lookout overtop Bat Lake. Some
sections are made up of wooden boardwalk. Though
short, this route takes you through a wide variety of
ecological features, and will whet your appetite to
explore more of Algonquin.
5 6 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
In t e r me di at e : Mizzy Lake Trail
L e ng t h: 12 km
Accessed off Highway 60, at KM 15,
Mizzy Lake Trail offers some of the
best locations for wildlife spotting in
the park. Look for signs on the highway
to find the trailhead. The well-marked
path winds past nine ponds and lakes,
all rife with beaver activity, and is rocky
and root-filled throughout — so watch
your step. It’s a relatively flat trail and
some sections consist of wooden
boardwalk as it passes over sensitive
wetland. Despite relative popularity,
solitude and the sounds of nature are
easily found within the pristine forests
through which you’ll pass.
A dva nce d: Highland Backpacking Trail
L e ng t h: 19 or 35 km
Offering two loops, 19 and 35 km, this
is a challenging multi-day backpacking
route. The trailhead begins near the
well-serviced Mew Lake Campground
(near the Bat Lake trailhead). Expect
several steep climbs and technical
sections throughout; keep your camera
ready for various birdlife, including
owls, hiding in the dense trees. You can
loop back after camping at Provoking
Lake (19 km return trip) or continue
on for the full loop, which takes you
past Head and Harness Lakes (35 km
return). Expect plenty of viewpoints and
several waterfalls; an Interior Camping
Permit ($11.87 per person) is required
to overnight on the route.
travel ontario (2X)
Ski Touring, Mt. Shuksan © Grant Gunderson
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Wilderness Writing, and Photography Workshops in Banff,
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Coastal Trail.
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
the same inspiration that fueled
the Group of Seven.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Killarney Provincial Park
(Central Ontario)
L e ng t h: 100 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
If you can’t find a week-off this
fall, you can day-hike sections of
La Cloche Silhouette Trail from
the George Lake Campground,
but it’s worth the vacation
time to tackle this classic trek.
Starting in the west, the route
rambles through forested hills
toward Acid and Lumsden lakes.
You may have to cross a few
streams; excellent wildlife watching abounds. Soon, you’ll be
enjoying views of Georgian Bay
as you hike over two-billion-yearold pink granite. In the eastern
section, the trail ascends —
culminating at The Crack, a
strenuous day-long leg of this
100-km trek. The sparkling white
quartzite cliffs are worth the
sweat; this area was once taller
than the Rocky Mountains. There
are 54 campsites along the trail
(permit required, $11.25 per
person). Fall is the best time to
tackle La Cloche, if only due to
the vivid red foliage and nightly
Lake Superior Provincial Park
(Central Ontario)
L e ng t h: 60 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
Be s t For : Experienced, in-shape
multi-day trekkers looking for
La Cloche
Silhouette Trail.
Coastal Trail
One of Ontario’s most scenic
hikes, the Coastal Trail follows the
rocky shores of Lake Superior for
just over 60 km, treating trekkers
to expansive vistas, secluded
cobblestone or sandy beaches,
dizzying lookouts and challenging
terrain. Access the Coastal Trail at
Agawa Bay if you’d like to hike the
whole route, or day-hikes can be
done from points along the route,
such as Sinclair Cove, Katherine
Cove or Agawa, but you’ll have to
retrace your steps; there are no
loops. The trail is well-marked by
blue-diamond signs; it generally
follows the coastline if you get
sidetracked. Almost all of the
backcountry campsites feature
sunset views; bald eagles are
particularly abundant along the
trail. Warp and Gargantua Bays
are especially worthy of exploration; set up camp here and enjoy
a day’s worth of side trips, if you
can spare the time.
Be s t For : Lovers of The Lake;
those in search of solitude and
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Top of the Giant
(Kabeyun Trail)
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
(Thunder Bay)
L e ng t h: 22 km
Dif ficult y: IntermediateAdvanced
This is the signature hike of
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
Located near Thunder Bay, on
Highway 587, ensure you’ve
packed plenty of water and your
cardio is up to snuff before
tackling this heavy-duty hike —
the reward is a panorama of
Lake Superior from one of
the highest points in Ontario.
Featuring 300 metres of elevation gain, this hike starts at the
South Kabeyun trailhead, which
meanders alongside the lake
until Tee Harbour; but don’t be
fooled by the relatively easy
start. After this seven-kilometre
jaunt, you’ll hit the Talus Lake
Trail, and the route will begin to
slope decidedly upwards. The
next section is a steep, zigzagging route, followed by a slightly
less intense cool-down path
to the lookout. Eat your picnic
lunch next to the 200-metre
cliffs and stand in awe of colossal, deep-blue Lake Superior.
Return the way you came. Note:
if you want to expedite your
trek, mountain bike along the
Kabeyun Trail, then hike from
Tee Harbour onward.
Be s t For : Ontario hikers looking
to get high.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Cape Dundas Loop
(Bruce Trail)
Bruce Peninsula (Southern
L e ng t h: 6 km
Dif ficult y: Easy-Intermediate
Located north of Owen Sound
and accessed off Highway 6 on
Bruce Road 9 (near Lion’s Head,
parking lot is located near Scenic Caves Road), this leg of the
Bruce Trail is only a few years
old. This mid-length route starts
along the Pease Side Trail for
just over half-a-kilometre before
joining the main White Blazes of
the Bruce. From there, the hike
heads north into glacially affected rocky shoreline terraces,
passes huge boulders and overlooks the lake from an elevated
shoreline along Georgian Bay.
The shore is worth exploring as
a side-trip or as a picnic spot
before looping back towards the
parking lot for the return trip.
If you have some more energy,
Jackson’s Cove Side Trail presents a nice two-kilometre addition, with a viewpoint reward,
before backtracking to Cape
Dundas Loop.
Be s t For : Bruce Trail enthusi-
asts looking to tackle all 800
km, leg by leg… by leg.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
5 8 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
travel ontario (2X)
La Cloche
Silhouette Trail
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Fishing Cove Trail
& Quebec
Fishing Cove Trail
Cape Breton Highlands National
Park, Nova Scotia
L e ng t h: 6 to 18 km
Dif ficult y: Easy-Intermediate
tourism nova scotia; newfoundland & Labrador tourism
From the top of 355-metre
Mackenzie Mountain, this trail
winds through mixed-woods forest alongside the Fishing Cove
River en route to Cape Breton
Highlands National Park’s only
designated wilderness campsite
($9.80 per person). On a clearing
next to a serene ocean cove and
pebble beach, set up your tent
for a pleasant overnight while you
explore the beaches and inlets of
the Cape Breton coastline. You’ll
need to pack in your own water,
as well as a camp stove, as fires
are not permitted. Pit toilets are
available. There are effectively
three options for tackling this
trail: a six- or 12-km trail, both returning the way they came, or an
18-km route, but this will require
two vehicles (one parked at each
lot), as it isn’t a full loop.
Be s t For : Coastal campers
looking for a restful wilderness
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Green Gardens Trail
Deux-Criques Trail
Gros Morne National Park,
Newfoundland & Labrador
L e ng t h: 9 or 16 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
La Mauricie National Park,
L e ng t h: 17 km
Dif ficult y: Advanced
Green Gardens Trail may just
offer the best overview of Gros
Morne National Park’s dramatic
and varied terrain. There are
two options, the more popular
Long Pond Trail (nine kilometres
return) or the more challenging — you will have to make
two stream crossings — Wallace Brook Trail (16 km return).
Green Gardens opens with the
barren Tablelands before winding
through boreal forest en route to
the volcanically-shaped coastline
Gros Morne is famous for. Sea
stacks and jagged cliffs border
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as do
fields of wildflowers with the
occasional grazing sheep, shepherded by local farmers. There
are three backcountry campsites
($9.80 per person) on the coastline, with pit toilets and picnic
tables. Fires are permitted on
the beach. Explore the coastline
for a day before trudging back
through the all-uphill return trail.
Come autumn, Quebec’s La
Mauricie National Park, near
Shawinigan, is an explosion of vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and
gold — and Deux-Criques (Two
Creeks) Trail could offer up some
of the best views in all the Laurentians. A challenging day-hike
suitable for trekkers with strong
cardio and a willingness to climb,
the trailhead is located near Riviere a la Peche Campground and
will take you on an uphill march
for the next 8.5 km. Expect
some well-maintained stairs and
scramble-worthy rock sections
and you’ll have to ford a creek
(which is at its lowest in fall) —
but the payoff is multiple lookout
points (many with platforms or
benches), including Ruisseau
de Fou Falls. The campground
at the trailhead offers secluded
sites (some with electricity),
kitchen shelters, drinking water,
flush toilets and showers.
tackle a National Parks classic.
Be s t For : In-shape hikers
looking for Canada’s finest fall
Be s t For : Hikers looking to
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
FA L L 2 0 1 3 explore 5 9
33 Classic
Fall Hikes
Grey Mountain.
The North
Ingraham Trail Hikes
Whitehorse, Yukon
L e ng t h: 6 or 12 km
Dif ficult y: Intermediate
Yellowknife, Northwest
L e ng t h: 0.7 to 3 km
Dif ficult y: Easy
Noted for being the closest
alpine hike to Whitehorse, Grey
Mountain offers visitors to The
Wilderness City a chance to
escape for a day, enjoy some
classic Yukon terrain and challenge themselves with some
steep climbs and ridgeline
trekking before returning to
their comfy hotel or campsite
at day’s end. A four-wheel-drive
is not essential for reaching
the trailhead, but it isn’t a bad
idea — it is located about 10
km outside of the city, on Grey
Mountain Road. The path starts
on a steep, decommissioned
road before opening up on the
ridge-hike to the summit. If
you want to keep going, a third
peak about three kilometres
past the summit offers views
of downtown Whitehorse. The
trail can be difficult to discern
at times and remember, this is
bear country.
Be s t For : Hikers who like
to bag summits; northern
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Rather than a single route, this
is a series of hikes found on
Ingraham Trail — an all-season
road leading east from Yellowknife. The highway, covering
a length of 70 km (each way)
is home to true northern
wilderness — more than a
dozen lakes, plus picnic spots,
campgrounds, canoe routes and
hiking trails. Ranney Hill-Martin
Lake Trail, seven kilometres
from Yellowknife, will work up
a sweat with its 2.5-km route
that finishes with a short climb
to the summit of a pink-granite
dome. Prelude Lake Nature Trail,
located 30 km east of Yellowknife, is a three-kilometre jaunt
through Canadian Shield granite
and vibrant woodlands. Reid
Lake Trail is near the terminus
of Ingraham Trail and is less
than one kilometre in length,
but the glacial-scarred rocks
and serene lake are worth the
interlude; a campsite is located
here. Beyond this, the road ends
— and, in winter, the famous
Ice Road begins. The area also
offers multi-day canoe routes for
all skill levels.
Be s t For : Road-trippers wishing
to squeeze a lot of sightseeing
into a day.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
6 0 explore FA L L 2 0 1 3
Tuktut Nogait
National Park
Paulatuk, Northwest Territories
L e ng t h: N/A
Dif ficult y: Advanced
Welcome to the frontier —
16,340-sq-km of utterly
untouched wilderness accessed
via 40 km flight or boat ride from
the already-remote village of Paulatuk, which in itself is accessed
via 463-km charter flight from
Inuvik, a town located at the end
of the Dempster Highway just
past 68 degrees north. So yeah,
it’s “off-the-beaten-path.” This
is raw Earth: there are no visitor
services, marked trails or designated campsites. You will require
total self-sufficiency, but the
rewards are staggering. Follow
river valleys to imposing canyons
and roaring waterfalls; see the
Arctic in its full fall vibrancy in
August and September; marvel
at a sky full of migrating birdlife
in late summer or visit in June to
watch the caribou migration. The
sun doesn’t set from mid-June
to late-July, the wind always
seems to blow and the average
temperature is about five degrees Celsius — in midsummer.
You are free to wander as you
see fit, roaming the tundra and
canyons — use rivers, eskers,
lakes and rock formations as
makeshift trail markers and keep
an eye out for some of the 360
culturally significant archaeological sites. But time is running out
— by mid-September, weather
patterns change for the worse.
Be s t For : Those who feel the
Chilkoot Trail is for wannabes.
For Mor e Infor m at ion:
Tuktut Nogait
National Park
travel yukon; parks canada
Grey Mountain