Oh, Canada. You maple-leafed mistress of the North. You poutine-loving, Tim Horton’s Coffee-drinking beauty. I have to admit, I’ve got a crush on you. But, what’s not to love about the land up north which has bestowed upon us such treasures as Ryan Gosling, Avril Lavigne and the Trailer Park Boys. As a proud American, whose Québécoise blood runs thick, this love letter is long overdue.
Kluane National Park is over 21,000 square kilometres of mountain vistas, massive icefields and enchanting valleys. The park is also home to Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak.
Or do you prefer twilight and the northern lights at Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories? Nahanni National Park is charged with protecting a part of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region, which provides visitors with the opportunity to embark on a truly adventurous wilderness experience. A prominent park feature is the Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River). What makes this river so spectacular are the four massive canyons that line it, creating an exhilarating whitewater rapids playground. The park is also home to sulphur hot springs, alpine tundra, spruce and aspen forests and stunning mountain ranges.
A visit to Prince Albert National Park in fall will basically allow you to enjoy Lake Waskesiu, pretty much all to yourself. This is the low tourist season, which makes it a perfect time for some prime leaf-peeping and a kayak around the lake.
For the extreme roadtripper...
Rushing rapids. Ukkusiksalik National Park, Nunavut. Explore the wild, untamed tundra of Ukkusiksalik National Park in search of polar beards, one of the hundreds of archaeological wonders, or the park's unique reversing waterfall.
Don't miss: Upper cascades of Baker's Brook Falls in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador. Travelers looking for one of the most spectacular views in New Foundland's Gros Morne National Park need look no further than the stunning white mists of Baker's Brook Falls. Nestled in the middle of rocky coastlines and lush forests, the falls provide a beautiful and relaxing backdrop for hikers, campers, and even those who just need a half hour break from the daily grind.
Must-see natural wonder: Mary Ann Falls in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Mary Ann Falls is a simply 5-10 minute walk and a bit off the beaten path, but it's a perfect spot for photos. Afterwards enjoy a 6.5km walk around the park, which will make you think you're hiking around the Scottish highlands rather than a Canadian national park.
The lighthouse nestled in the sand dunes of Dalvey in Prince Edward Island National Park... Built in 1967, the Covehead Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Covehead Bay, inside Prince Edward Island National Park. It's easy to find this beautiful lighthouse just by driving along the shore road. Take a hike along the path across the dune to the beach and enjoy a leisurely afternoon by the sea.
For the coastal roadtripper...The Bay of Fundy is a geological wonder, with massive rocks that tower at 40-70 feet high. They're called the Hopewell Rocks, or Flowerpot Rocks and they were formed by years and years of tidal erosion. You can kayak around them during high tide, or hike down to see them during low tide. Though this isn't a National Park, it's a fitting contribution and worthy of a road trip stop on your Canadian adventure.
La Mauricie National Park is located in the Laurentian mountain range and is one of Canada's most important natural and cultural treasures. At 207 square miles it's a mammoth park which is the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
Pukaskwa National Park on the northern shore of Lake Superior in Ontario provides some of the most breathtaking views of Lake Superior. This is Ontario's only wilderness national park and features a rugged and ancient boreal forest.
With over 250 miles of hiking trails, Riding Mountain has a little something for everyone. You can take a self-guided trail, a day hike to Grey Owl's Cabin, or a trip up to Moon Lake. There's also an incredible backcountry to explore, if you're planning on spending multiple days.
Another glacial lake that enchants visitors is Peyto Lake, named after WWI-veteran, 19th century trapper and 20th century trail guide, Bill Peyto. When you visit you'll find the best view from Bow Summit, which is the highest point along the Icefields Parkway.
For the adventurous roadtripper...The Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park are the highlights of this park. The turquoise blue water looks surreal, particularly when basked in autumn's twilight hour. There are hiking trails around each lake, which gets its vibrant, ethereal color from glacial silt ("rockflour").
Of course, any time of year is the perfect time of year for a Canadian holiday. But, there’s something extra special about visiting in the Fall, when the leaves are changing color, and the maple trees make their big autumn statement, when its foliage erupts in fiery reds and aggressive orange tones.