National Parks of Canada. Photo: KnowInsiders
National Parks of Canada. Photo: KnowInsiders

Canada is a vast country with astounding natural landscapes. To protect these natural areas and the flora and fauna residing in such areas, several national parks have been established. These protected areas serve the dual function of conservation and attracting tourists. Canadian national parks allure tourists by their beauty and pristine wilderness.

These parks also offer tourists a plethora of outdoor activities that range from extreme adventure sports like scuba diving and mountain climbing, to leisurely recreational opportunities like fishing, boating, bird-watching, wildlife viewing, etc.

The List of 10 Most Famous National Parks In Canada

1. Banff National Park, Alberta

2. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia

3. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

4. Jasper National Park

5. Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

6. Kootenay National Park

7. Mount Revelstoke National Park And Glacier National Park

8. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory

9. Yoho National Park, British Columbia

10. Prince Edward Island National Park

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Which are the 10 Most Famous National Parks In Canada?

1. Banff National Park, Alberta

Photo: Winds of Jane
Photo: Winds of Jane

In the heart of the Rockies, the park's rugged mountains are undoubtedly the main attraction. There are plenty of ways to explore them, from a guided tour on horseback to a summer hiking trip (there are over 1,600 kilometers of trails!) to skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.

The bluer-than-blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake also tend to draw the attention of park visitors. Head to either lake early if you're hoping to snap a pic with no one else in the frame — but resist the urge to take a dip, as these glacier-fed lakes are freezing cold! If you really want to take a swim, check out the Banff Upper Hot Springs instead, also located in the park.

Interested in camping? There are plenty of options for that, from rugged campsites in the backcountry to fully serviced campgrounds close to the town of Banff, offering easy access to restaurants, shops, and even spas (did somebody say glamping?)

There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings throughout the park, including bears (black and grizzly), elk, wolves, and foxes. Keep your eyes open — and if you are lucky enough to spot an animal, be sure to give it plenty of space by observing from a distance.

Fun fact: Canada's most popular national park was also the very first national park in the country. Banff is an iconic national park that is on almost every world traveler's bucket list — and for a good reason.

2. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia

Photo: Explore BC Rentals
Photo: Explore BC Rentals

Where: Situated along Vancouver Island’s western shoreline and encompassing three distinct units: Long Beach, Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail.

What: The Pacific Rim embodies rugged, unspoilt Canadian wilderness at its very best, harbouring lush temperate rainforests, spectacular coastal cliffs and expansive soft-sand beaches. Brave some of the country’s wildest surf at Long Beach, spot migrating humpback whales whilst hiking a coastal trail, or make your way to the spectacular Barkley Sound where you can kayak in crystal clear waters past countless islands, inlets and secluded bays.

Highlights: The entire park is a hiker’s paradise, filled with miles of sandy beaches, thriving old-growth forests and jaw-dropping coastal vistas. Tackle the epic 47-mile West Coast Trail, or opt for any number of shorter circuits, such as the spectacular Wild Pacific Trail along the Ucluelet peninsula.

3. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Photo: Vemaybay123
Photo: Vemaybay123

Surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Highlands National Park features some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll find in the entire country. The world-famous Cabot Trail winds through the park, so you can experience the rolling vistas without ever leaving your car.

Of course, you'll want to pull over every so often to walk a few of the park's 26 hiking trails, which range from short and easy boardwalk loops to more challenging hikes up to 12 kilometers long.

Be sure to put the Skyline trail at the top of your must-hike list: this trail is on the longer side (8.2 kilometers for the full loop) but is relatively easy, leading you out to viewpoints over some extremely daunting — but beautiful — cliffs overlooking the sea. It's also a popular hike for moose-spotting, although you have a chance of spotting moose just about anywhere in the park.

4. Jasper National Park

Photo: Best HD Wallpaper
Photo: Best HD Wallpaper

Canada’s second most popular national park, Jasper National Park in Alberta, enthrals all with its astounding landscapes. It encompasses a massive area of 11,000 square km that includes mountains, glaciers, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, and forests within its limits. There are numerous scenic attractions in the park that make it a popular tourist destination.

Mount Edith Cavell, Athabasca Glacier, Miette Hot Springs, Pyramid Lake, and the Tonquin Valley are some such attractions. Numerous outdoor activities can also be enjoyed by tourists like rafting, kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking, etc. Given its beauty and natural attractions, Jasper was visited by 2,445,991 visitors in 2018-19.

5. Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

Photo: planetofhotels.com
Photo: planetofhotels.com

With 1,235,027 visitors in 2018-19, Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is the third most visited national park in Canada. This protected area is located at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saguenay River as they drain into the sea.

The mixing of the freshwater of the rivers with the saltwater of the sea leads to the creation of an ideal environment for whales with rich food supply. The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is one of the world’s top spots to watch whales in their natural environment. Many Beluga whales breed in these waters. Greenland sharks and other marine fauna are also found here.

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6. Kootenay National Park

Photo: Everything Everywhere
Photo: Everything Everywhere

This British Columbian national park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and covers an area of 1,406 square km. The Park and Kootenay mountain ranges of the Canadian Rockies is part of this park. The Vermilion River is its most important river.

The elevation of the park ranges from 918 m to 3,424 m. The rugged mountain peaks, alpine meadows, waterfalls, lakes, extensive karst cave systems, glaciers and deep canyons of the Kootenay makes it a place of exceptional natural beauty. Thus, it attracts millions of visitors annually.

7. Mount Revelstoke National Park And Glacier National Park

Photo: PeakVisor
Photo: PeakVisor

The Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are located near each other in the province of British Columbia. The former occupies an area of only 260 square km while the latter is larger with an area of 1349 square km. Together, these parks attracted 776,919 visitors in 2018-19. Like most other natural areas of British Columbia, these national parks are also famous for their stunning sceneries and diverse wildlife which includes grizzly bears, black bears, woodland caribou, coyotes, mountain goats, moose, martens, and more. Many trails lead through Mount Revelstoke allowing tourists to explore its mysterious interiors. The Glacier National Park also has 140 km of established hiking trails. Backcountry camping is enjoyed by the more adventurous nature lovers.

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8. Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory

Photo: Let's Travel Mag
Photo: Let's Travel Mag

Kluane National Park's claim to fame is that it's home to the highest peak in the entire country — that would be the 5,959-meter Mount Logan, nestled deep into the park and typically only hiked by experienced mountaineers.

But there's so much more to the park, from hiking the King's Throne to boating on Kathleen Lake to catching a flight to see the vast icefields from above. This last activity, known as "flightseeing," lets you hop aboard a plane or helicopter to see Mount Logan up close and personal. There's even the opportunity to camp overnight at the Icefield Discovery base camp — which is, quite possibly, the coolest camping experience in Canada in every sense of the word.

9. Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Photo: Rocky Mountaineer
Photo: Rocky Mountaineer

Where: Yoho National Park graces the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

What: Boasting some of North America’s most untarnished natural wilderness, this park is a veritable haven for outdoor lovers, brimming with breathing scenery and exceptional hiking. Witness the dramatic effects of ice and water which have sculpted vertical rock faces, soaring peaks, deep blue lakes and pounding waterfalls. Get to grips with Yoho’s fascinating geology and natural history on a guided tour of Mt Stephen and Mt Field where you’ll admire fossilised remains of some of the earliest life forms on Earth.

Highlights: Easily accessible from Highway 1 is the mesmerising Takkakaw Falls, a world-class site and one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. From here, follow the Iceline Trail, a 20-kilometre circuit that takes in some of the park’s most spectacular glaciers and mountain scenery.

10. Prince Edward Island National Park

Photo: Rob Faucher's Blog
Photo: Rob Faucher's Blog

Just about every view from Prince Edward Island National Park is postcard perfect, from the iconic lighthouses to the red, sandy seashore. This national park is all about the ocean, with world-famous sandy beaches that provide endless hours of entertainment. Whether you're building a sand sculpture, swimming in the Atlantic, or walking the trail system, you'll find it easy to fill a day (or more) at PEI National Park.

While many of Canada's best national parks are geared towards those seeking epic adventures, Prince Edward Island National park is well-suited to families with young kids. Most of the trails are easy, with plenty of options for shorts walks that can be done in less than an hour. Playing on the beach is one of those activities that can be enjoyed by all ages, and there are plenty of facilities at the parks (washrooms, picnic areas, etc.) that are open seasonally from late spring until early fall.

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