While cities offer convenience and amenities aplenty, there’s nothing quite like the wonders of nature to feel rejuvenated and whole. At BeWild! Adventures, we are all about taking folks out of the city and onto the trails. In the summer, we’re enjoying stunning mountain lakes and wildflower meadows; during the winter, we’re donning our snowshoes for a traipse towards a cascading waterfall. Any time of year, we are so lucky to have natural beauty right on our urban doorstep.
Where is that city with so many trails nearby, you might ask?
Well, we’re here to show you exactly why Vancouver is the best city in Canada for hiking. We have trail suggestions for other cities, too, but just keep reading to see the jaw-dropping variety all on Vancouver’s doorstep!
Best Hikes in Canada Near Big Cities
Hiking and big cities don’t often mix. But, in Canada, we’re so lucky to have protected land in abundance, which means there are plenty of places to enjoy our natural beauty! Even if you live in or are visiting a city, you can easily access some stunning hiking trails on a day trip or an overnight adventure.
Here are some top hiking trails near major cities in Canada…
Hikes Near Calgary and Edmonton
From Calgary, you can reach Banff National Park in just over two hours’ drive. With world-famous beautiful vistas at every turn, this destination is a nature-lover’s dream. Of course, if you plan to hike in Banff, you’ll want to check out the iconic Plain of Six Glaciers Trail and the Peyto Lake Trail for epic viewpoints. The Johnston Canyon Trail is another very popular hike.
In about a 4-hour drive from Calgary, you’ll reach Jasper National Park; it’s also only around a 3-hour drive from Edmonton. Designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper is definitely worth spending at least one overnight after a day of hiking! Check out the Skyline Trail for a real adventure.
Trails Near Winnipeg
From Winnipeg, you can drive to Riding Mountain National Park in around three hours. Once there, check out the beautiful Grey Owl Trail. Keep an eye out for the local grey wolves!
Hiking Trails Near Toronto
As Canada’s largest city, you may not associate Toronto with hiking! But you’ll actually find an impressive variety of options both in and near the city. The city highlights plenty of easier trails within Toronto to encourage urbanites to get outdoors.
Leaving the urban centre, you can reach Killarney Provincial Park in about a 4-hour drive from the city. The Granite Ridge Trail offers incredible views, reinforcing why the area was protected for its astounding natural beauty.
Another option is Algonquin Provincial Park, which is about a 3-hour drive from Toronto. The park is known for its beautiful autumnal colours, so you’ll want to head out from the city for a hike to bask in that beauty! With over 140km of backpacking trails inside the park, you’ll have ample choice for trail length and difficulty.
You can, alternatively, reach the Bruce Peninsula National Park in around 3.5 hours’ drive from Toronto. The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest marked hiking trail, covering a jaw-dropping 900km. But, don’t worry, you can opt to enjoy dramatically smaller sections at your leisure. Try the Lion’s Head Trail for beautiful views over Georgian Bay.
Hikes Near Quebec City, Montreal, and Ottawa
Exploring Mont-Tremblant National Park should be a requirement for anyone living in Quebec City, Montreal, or Ottawa. The Laurentian Mountains offer 18 different hiking trails to enjoy and endless breathtaking natural beauty to behold. From Quebec City, it’s about a 4-hour drive to the park; from Montreal, it should be just about 2 hours and from Ottawa around 3.
But of all the cities in Canada known for nearby hiking trails, Vancouver definitely takes the top spot.
Why is Vancouver a great city for hikers?
With its west coast location, Vancouver benefits from a milder climate than much of the rest of Canada. The city also enjoys easy access to both sea and mountains, which makes for a stunning holiday destination for visitors and a never-ending adventure for locals!
Vancouver is the best city in Canada for hikers and nature lovers. We, undoubtedly, are biased, but we truly just can’t get enough of the diversity of outdoor activities we can enjoy easily from our home city.
Don’t believe us? Check out the 5 best Vancouver hikes to see how easy it is to hit the trails without having to head into the wilderness.
Want some more suggestions? Let’s see what other hikes near Vancouver might appeal to you!
Our Favourite Hikes Near Vancouver
Did you know that British Columbia boasts around 1,000 parks, protected areas, and ecological reserves? From Vancouver, you can reach a great number of them on a day trip. If you’re able to spend a few days elsewhere, you are spoilt for choice hiking from Vancouver!
We’ve already shared our Local’s Guide to the Best Hikes in Whistler to offer you more details for some of these options. At just about 1.5 hours’ drive between Vancouver and Whistler Village, you can stop off to enjoy a plethora of trails and stunning scenery all along the way.
Here are some of our favourite hikes in and near the city that you can enjoy…
Hikes Between Vancouver & Whistler
- Black Tusk Trail
- Garibaldi Lake
- Elfin Lakes
- High Note Trail
- Wedgemount Lake
- Panorama Ridge
- Cheakamus Lake
- Train Wreck Trail
- Brandywine Falls
- Paradise Valley
- Sea to Sky Trail
- Stawamus Chief Trail
Vancouver Island Hikes
- Wild Pacific Trail
- The West Coast Trail
- Galloping Goose Trail
Hikes in Vancouver
- Eagle Ridge Bluffs
- St. Marks Summit
- Grouse Grind
- Kennedy Falls
Whether you’re a novice or an expert hiker, Vancouver is known to be an exceptional city for those who love to hit the trails.
If you’re a local, we’d love to have you join us for an outdoor adventure! We love fostering our community and encouraging more people to get outdoors for health and happiness.
If you’re visiting Vancouver soon, we offer a variety of hiking day trips from Vancouver so you can enjoy the journey and marvel at our incredible landscapes. Feel free to get in touch if you need some help choosing the right trail for you!