The second biggest country in the world, after Russia, Canada is a vast expanse of mountains, lakes, islands, forests and rivers. Major cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver are close to the border with the US, while Montreal and Edmonton are a little further north.
Most people live within a couple of hundred miles from the border with America, but Canada has huge northern areas that stretch way beyond the Arctic Circle and with settlements inhabited mainly by the native Inuit people.
Canada has all the luxuries one might expect from a Western country, but it is also a paradise for those who love the great outdoors – and Canada has more great outdoors than practically any other nation! Trekking is a major vacation activity for visitors, as well as for Canadians and it’s hardly surprising given the stunning natural sights to be seen. The country is also easy to get to, with Air Transat flying in from many different countries and airports.
Although trekking doesn’t just mean hiking and backpacking – travelers can take canoe and kayak trips as part of a trek – hiking is an inexpensive way to get to see nature close up, sometimes red in tooth and claw. Scenery is spectacular, from cascading waterfalls to raging white water through gorges, snow-tipped mountain peaks and deep, dark forests. The Rocky Mountains are the setting for vacation hotspots Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff, ideal places to set off on a Canadian trek.
Trekkers should expect the unexpected, and while heading off into the wilderness without a guide can be an incredible adventure, there are many tours with experienced guides who know where all the best sights and activities can be found. Extensive trails fan out from the three tourist areas, and trekkers might expect to turn their hand to whitewater rafting, kayaking on a peaceful lake, or fishing for rainbow trout.
Almost around every corner there is another spectacular sight, perhaps a steep valley plunging to a gorge below, or layers of ice field to explore, and all around are the sensational views that are such an important part of the trekking experience.
Wildlife can be experienced at any time; the Rocky Mountains hosting a mixture of fascinating creatures. Most famous is the fearsome grizzly bear, and trekkers may come across black bears, elks (or wapiti, and not the same as moose), caribou – perhaps better know to many as reindeer – mountain goats, marmots and bighorn sheep. In the skies above may be seen eagles, geese and other wildfowl making their way to or from their feeding grounds.
Resting places for the weary
When the day’s trekking is done having the right place to rest is essential. Serious trekkers will head out for several days and stay in well-appointed campsites to be close to nature.
These vacation areas can also provide the height of luxurious accommodations, with fine food and a relaxing atmosphere providing a real chance to unwind. The smaller local inns also offer a warm welcome, and self-catering lodges and cabins are also a popular alternative with many trekkers.