6 spectacular hikes in Canada to do with your dog
Cottonwood Trail: Kluane National Park (Yukon)
My favorite Park in Canada! Its remote location, extension, low popularity and stratospheric beauty make it possible to enjoy a walk through the wildest nature during days in solitude. In four days I only crossed paths with a couple. If you like hiking do not hesitate to do a long route here, as this Park is a wonder. If you are going to spend the night in the Park, you need to go first to the Visitor Center, in Haines Junction. There they will give you a Wilderness Permit, a bear canister to store the food and a map of your route. It is also recommended to bring a bear spray.
I recommend the longest one, the Cottonwood Trail, an 85-kilometer loop that starts south of Haines Junction (you can start either at Kathleen Lake or at Mush Lake Road). It is a long one, but quite flat. It goes through mountain passes, dense forests, fields and valleys filled with flowers, sparkling lakes and raging rivers. Most of the route is well signposted, but there are some "conflictive" areas. Another element that adds difficulty is that there are no bridges and you will have to cross two or three rivers that could cover you up to your waist. The best thing is that all the trails are dogfriendly, to enjoy this unique place with your dog. Just be aware of the bears… This is one of the areas with the highest density of bears in all of Canada (there is Grizzly and Black Bear). There are also moose, Dall sheep, mountain goats, different species of birds (including ptarmigan)... You can read all the details about this trekking on the Parks of Canada website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/yt/kluane/activ/randonee-hiking/iv
Juan de Fuca Trail: Juan de Fuca Provincial Park (BC)
Many come to Port Renfrew for the "multi-day" West Coast Trail. Unfortunately, this path is forbidden to our quadruped friends... But there is gorgeous alternative for those who want to hike with their dogs around here. We are talking about the Juan de Fuca Trail.
The Juan de Fuca Trail crosses the Park with the same name, running parallel to the Juan de Fuca Strait. It is a real wonder. It begins (or ends) near Sooke, about 30 km to the west, and extends to Botanical Beach, on the edge of Port Renfrew. You can visit some of its beaches or forests by access roads, but if what you like is to walk here you have one of the coolest routes that I have done. The Juan de Fuca Trail is a 47 km hike parallel to the ocean - (just opposite the coast of Washington State - going through hidden wild coves, cliffs that offer magical views, waterfalls and powerful rivers, fairytale rainforests and more muddy areas (get ready to get muddy!). The possibilities of seeing fauna are very high, having seals, sea lions and a lot of intertidal life (mussels, anemones, stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, etc.)... Not to mention what you can find among the trees (beware of the bears... and even the jaguars!). Some of the beaches you will pass through are: China Beach, Chin Beach, Bear Beach, Botanical Beach. It is not a simple walk on the beach, as there are many hills (so you know what you are going to face). Most people do it in three days. There are areas for overnight (camping), with bear boxes to store food and not attract the bears. And as I already said: dogs are welcome to this route!
Rocky Mountains (BC & Alberta)
The most famous mountain range in all of Canada is something worth seeing. It extends between the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta from north to south (and continues through the States), with the majority of visitors focusing on the south-central part, where up to four National Parks converge - Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay - and also several Provincial Parks. There are thousands of tourists and travelers from all over the world who come every year to marvel at its rivers, lakes, forests, waterfalls, glaciers and wildlife. Or skiing in winter. There are thousands of places to see and hundreds of routes to do, without a doubt the paradise of nature lovers and trekking. And camping: dozens of beautiful camping areas await you there (the most beautiful campsites in the universe). In many long routes you can do wild camping. If you like hiking this is the place, with several long routes. Here I will not specify routes in particular. The best thing is that you inform yourself better before coming. Official website of Parks of Canada: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/recherche-parcs-parks-search
I also leave you a couple of interesting websites to see hiking trails:
Dogs are welcome on a large number of routes.
Les Monts Groulx (Quebec)
At km 335 or 340 of route 389 we have a natural jewel. The Manicouagan crater is one of the oldest and largest craters on the planet. It was caused by the impact of a big asteroid (5 km in diameter) approximately 215.5 million years ago, in the Upper Triassic. Today in that place there is a circular lake or reservoir 70 km in diameter around a plateau that has therefore been isolated. An impressive place that will leave you speechless, full of water and forests. In autumn it is spectacular. If you want to see from an amazing perspective the lake and the crater, it will not be enough to see it from the road. You will need to go all the way up to the neighboring Monts Groulx. Those who are into hiking are in luck, because this little-known and traveled place will welcome you with its powerful nature and will fill you with a unique sense of freedom. Be attentive to wildlife: caribou, snow ptarmigan, wolves, foxes, black bears... You can see on this website the 4 trails that lead to the plateaus of the Monts Groulx: https://www.lesmontsgroulx.com/les-sentiers-d-acces (only French)
I did the excursion "Le Sentier Veyrier", an exciting walk. It starts at km 335 on Route 389. The first thing you will have to do is cross a river, where the Refuge La Lyre rests. This refuge is wonderful: a free night for all hikers. In addition, there is a kind of open-air museum of carved wood (wood art). From here it starts a hard climb of about 4 hours through forests to the bare plateaus. On the way up you can stop at very cool places, like Lac Castor. Once up, the views will make you feel more alive than ever. From here you can see the circular shape of this lake formed by the collision of a meteorite. The trail continues through the alpine tundra full of puddles and small lagoons. And so, after 10 km you get to Lake Quintin, where there is a very primitive shelter (you'd better sleep in your tent!). The route continues through the mountains, but it is not marked and you must go well prepared. Most people go back the same way to the road (you can spend a night in the Refuge La Lyre and keep going the next day).).
Another hike you can do is "La Fin des Sentiers Balisés", a route of 36 or 52 km, depending on the way you decide to take. A minimum of 4 days is required to complete this route.
Dogs are super welcome in les Monts Groulx.
East Coast Trail (Newfoundland)
The most exciting hiking route on the island of Newfoundland is called East Coast Trail. 300 kilometers of adventure parallel to the Atlantic in which you will cross forests and more open parts such as meadows and bare areas. On the way you will see all this: exuberant vegetation, sharp cliffs, islets full of trees, rivers, small lakes, waterfalls... And even a sea geyser! Soon we will talk about this magical phenomenon. The chances of sighting wildlife are very high, especially birds, elk, caribou, bears, whales, seals... And in summer you may see some floating icebergs. There are primitive campsites every 20 km or so.
Obviously very few will want to make the full journey. For an excursion of one or two days I recommend one that leaves from the foothills of Bay Bulls in a northerly direction. On this route you will arrive, after about 12 kilometers to The Spout, the geyser. Not a geyser as such, as it is not hot water that gushes from the depths. But it seems, because it springs up from rocks with a lot of power! This is because these rocks must have a system of channels that cause the sea water to concentrate and exit through a single point with a lot of pressure.
Long Range & Northern Traverse: Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland)
The Western Brook Pond is an inner freshwater fjord, a phenomenon that is not seen every day... Due to geological movements this marine fjord was enclosed by land. It is very deep, with very inhospitable waters (few species live in them)... But, above all, it is incredibly beautiful. To get there you have to walk about 3 km from the parking lot, through wooden paths and platforms in the most swampy parts. This is the perfect habitat for moose, so be open your eyes to find them. Thus, you reach the banks of the fjord, from where the marked trail Snug Harbor starts. After crossing by swimming a river this route will take you through wonderful coves and forests to the top of the cliff, the north rim. From up here the unmarked Northern Traverse “Trail” starts, entering more and more into the fjord. You need to be well prepared and be an experienced hiker to complete this difficult 27 km trekking. It is not enough to follow the fjord, as there are areas full of lush vegetation... If you don't find yourself capable, you can just walk a few km before coming back to the beach. This amazing route hike through the wildest nature ends at the innermost point of the fjord, where a campsite awaits. There are several primitive campsites along this long hike anyway.
There is another way to get to this inner point of the fjord. It is through the Long Range Traverse, a 36 km trail, only suitable for the most adventurous and experienced souls, which starts near the town of Sally's Cove. In fact, you can link both routes if hiking is your thing.
For this routes is required a permit in advance, though. Dogs are welcome on both hikes. More information and maps about these routes in the Parks Canada website:
More amazing places in Canada on the posts of Vancouver Island, Southern British Columbia and Rocky Mountains, Northern British Columbia, the Yukon, Quebec and Labrador, and Newfoundland. Keep reading below!