Five Epic Hikes in Canada’s Appalachian Region

Trail hik­ing’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is grow­ing expo­nen­tial­ly in the Unit­ed States. Many expe­ri­enced hik­ers are look­ing north for a change of scenery. East Coast­ers should be hap­py to know that the Appalachi­an Moun­tains don’t end at the bor­der of Maine—Canada’s Appalachi­an region offers stun­ning scenery and plen­ty of epic hikes to explore.

View from the top of Mont AlbertMont Albert
Mont Albert is one of the more famous hikes on the Inter­na­tion­al Appalachi­an Trail. While strik­ing­ly devoid of veg­e­ta­tion near the top, the plateau boasts an impres­sive array of orange rocks dot­ting the land­scape. The rocky ter­rain makes it near­ly impos­si­ble for plants to grow, but pro­vide a great stomp­ing ground for cari­bou, which you’re bound to see along the way. The high ele­va­tion also makes it dif­fi­cult for snow to melt, so be pre­pared to trek through some of the white stuff even dur­ing the mid­dle of the sum­mer months.

Mont Nicol-Albert
Mont Nicol-Albert boasts a fair­ly mod­er­ate lev­el of dif­fi­cul­ty and is con­sid­ered by many to be one of the best hikes in Québec. Though only 12.4km long, trekkers will find the first half of the trail is more than meets the eye. Numer­ous hills rise up and down the side of the moun­tain to the point that once you’re halfway done, you’re still only a third of the way up the moun­tain. The lat­ter half is a steep climb requir­ing a good deal of scram­bling. Beau­ti­ful water­falls and excel­lent views are worth the effort, but the real prize is the stun­ning Le Bon­homme, a large rock mono­lith jut­ting out into the sky that over­looks the valley.

View from the Mont Jacques-CartierMont Jacques-Carti­er
Mont Jacques-Carti­er is the high­est moun­tain in south­ern Québec and lies in the Gaspésie Nation­al Park, on the Gaspésie Penin­su­la. At an ele­va­tion of 4167, it’s not uncom­mon to see snow glis­ten­ing on the moun­tain­top late into the spring, but the high alpine tun­dra also sees plen­ty of sun­light all year long. The climb up itself is only mod­er­ate­ly dif­fi­cult, with few switch­backs along the way. The lack of cov­er makes it prob­lem­at­ic dur­ing the sum­mer with high heat pos­ing a threat, but late spring and ear­ly fall offer spec­tac­u­lar views. Tack­le it from the east if you want a more var­ied expe­ri­ence, with a few lakes and trees nes­tled at the begin­ning of the trail. Just remem­ber to bring your snowshoes.

Vista at top of Gros Morne MountainLong Range Traverse
The Long Range Tra­vers is one of the north­ern­most por­tions of the Inter­na­tion­al Appalachi­an Trail locat­ed in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne Nation­al Park. The 35km-long trek is entire­ly off-trail and offers one of the most remote, back­coun­try expe­ri­ences along the entire stretch of the Appalachi­an Moun­tains. The unde­vel­oped hike fea­tures dozens of steep cliffs, breath­tak­ing panoram­ic views of alpine lakes, dense krummholz and a bevy of wildlife you like­ly won’t see any­where else, includ­ing moose and cari­bou. It requires an expe­ri­enced nav­i­ga­tor who knows their way around a com­pass and a lev­el of fit­ness many peo­ple won’t meet. Some of the high­lights of the hike include Piss­ing Mare Falls, West­ern Brook Pond, and the 807-meter Gros Morne Mountain.

Green Cliffs Overlooking Cabot TrailCape Bre­ton Highlands
Whether or not the Cape Bre­ton High­lands is actu­al­ly a part of the Appalachi­an Moun­tain range is a mat­ter of debate for some, but it’s gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered an exten­sion of the chain. Either way, it’s worth a trip for any­one in the region. The Franey Trail, locat­ed in the CP High­lands Nation­al Park, offers splen­did views of the Nova Sco­tia coast­line and a pret­ty mod­er­ate hike. Though only 7.4 kilo­me­ters long, hik­ers face a steep 335-meter gain in alti­tude along the way. You’ll pass through both Aca­di­an and bore­al forests, along with plen­ty of rocky out­crop­pings. Once you reach the top, you’re treat­ed to breath­tak­ing views of the Clyburn Brook Canyon and Ingo­nish Bay. The Jack Pine Coastal Loop and Sky­line Trails offer fan­tas­tic views of their own if you’re look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle less strenuous.