The Great Trail in Canada is aptly named – it’s now the longest hiking trail in the world at 14,864 miles. It was built over the last 25 years, snaking through 13 provinces and territories. The trail, which is comprised of over 400 individual paths, just officially opened at the end of August.
Canada’s Great Trail winds from St. John’s in Newfoundland to Victoria in British Columbia, with a loop up through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Arctic Ocean. It’s not limited to hiking – explorers traversing the trail can snowmobile, bike, ride horses, or cross-country ski through some parts of the route. 26 percent actually crosses water, so a canoe or kayak is necessary to cross some portions. No cars are allowed. An estimated four out of five Canadians reside within 30 minutes of part of the trail.
Local areas maintain the smaller trails that come together to form The Great Trail, described as “truly a gift from Canadians to Canadians” by the nonprofit Trans Canada Trail, the organization that has overseen its development. The Great Trail has also been termed the largest volunteer project in the country’s history.
According to Trans Canada Trail, The Great Trail promotes conservation and healthy living, and it is expected to stimulate tourism and create jobs. The group calls it a national legacy for future generations.
Users will be treated to sweeping views of mountains, plains, frozen tundra, coastal islands, urban areas, and lakes throughout the country. The longest section of the trail, which passes right through major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, is in Ontario, where it rambles around the Great Lakes.