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Hiking trails of Atlantic Canada

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Atlantic Canada is where it’s at when it comes to hiking trails—all year round! Check out our guide to the best hiking trails in Atlantic Canada.

Last summer I reconnected with my active side. Sunny post-graduation days brought with them a sense of carefreeness that inspired me to get active in some new ways. I started running again, saluting the sun with some Apple TV-assisted yoga and getting in touch with my 10-year-old inline skating self, but top of the list was hiking. It turns out “hiking” is actually just code for walking in nature.

Now I’m always on the lookout for a new hiking adventure, and if you are too, here are some of the best hiking trails in Atlantic Canada. Some I’ve done. Some are on my wish-list. These trails are suitable for snowshoeing, crisp walks or summer strolling. 

Duncan’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Barren terrain and beauty can go hand in hand. This is what I’ve learned hiking at Duncan’s Cove. At 8km to complete, it’s no cakewalk, but the gorgeous and overwhelming seaside views make it a true pleasure. As an added bonus, Duncan’s Cove is frequented by seals splashing around near shore. It’s a medium-level hike with some rocky terrain.

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia 

I’m sure we all know someone who’s posted a vacation pic at this immensely beautiful location. While it’s a jealousy-inducing spot to see online, it’s also one of the best hikes around. With 26 different routes, there’s a route for all experience levels. According to the shortest route takes 10 minutes, while the real highlight, The Skyline Trail, takes about three hours to finish.

Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

While the Fundy Circuit comprises 48km of seven different trails that can take days to hike, I have a special place in my heart for the 13.8km Coastal Trail. It’s one of the most classic views in Canada and totally breathtaking despite being a moderate trail to hike.

Winter River Trail, Prince Edward Island

It used to be Anne of Green Gables and an old-fashioned drive-in theatre that attracted me to PEI, but now I’d head to the island just for this trail. At 6km and home to a herd of rabbits, the Winter River Trail is a must-hike if you’re looking for an easy to moderate woodland adventure complete with scenic lookouts and lots of wildlife. It’s also an ideal site for snowshoeing. It doesn’t matter when you go, it’s just important that you go.

East Coast Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador

At a mind-blowing 300km with 26 paths to choose from, hikers can literally choose their own adventure on the East Coast Trail. This is a place I dream of seeing when I’m ready for a multi-day trip because it’s full of wildlife including whales, caribou and seabirds. However, if you don’t have much leisure time, the shortest path (Silver Mine Head) is 2.4km and takes around one to two hours to complete. 

There you have it, some of the best terrain you’ll ever walk in your life and it’s all within the Atlantic Canadian universe. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran hiking enthusiast there’s a trail for you. This is a beautiful part of the world, so let’s get out there and explore it. 

More inspiration: Now you’ve been inspired for a hiking adventure, check out this article on nutrition for hiking!

Author: Brandon Young is an occasional contributor to Optimyz and an avid outdoor enthusiast! He lives in Nova Scotia, Canada


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