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

Canada is a large nation with breathtaking natural scenery. Numerous national parks have been created in order to preserve these natural areas as well as the plants and animals that call them home. These protected areas have two purposes: they draw tourists and aid in conservation. Visitors are drawn to Canada's national parks by their stunning scenery and untainted wilderness.

In addition, these parks provide visitors with an abundance of outdoor activities, ranging from leisurely boating, fishing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing to extreme adventure sports like scuba diving and mountain climbing.

Which Are the 10 Most Famous and Popular National Parks In Canada?

1. Banff National Park, Alberta

Photo: Winds of Jane
Photo: Winds of Jane

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

Visitors to the park are also drawn to the bluer-than-blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. If you want to take a photo with no one else in the frame, get to either lake early — but resist the urge to swim, as these glacier-fed lakes are freezing cold! If you really want to swim, go to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which is also in the park.

Do you want to go camping? There are plenty of options for that, ranging from rugged backcountry campsites to fully serviced campgrounds close to Banff, offering easy access to restaurants, shops, and even spas (did someone say glamping?)

There are numerous opportunities to see wildlife throughout the park, including bears (both black and grizzly), elk, wolves, and foxes. Keep your eyes peeled, and if you happen to spot an animal, give it plenty of room 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: Long Beach, Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail are all located along Vancouver Island's western shoreline.

What: The Pacific Rim represents the best of rugged, unspoiled Canadian wilderness, with lush temperate rainforests, spectacular coastal cliffs, and expansive soft-sand beaches. At Long Beach, you can surf some of the country's most dangerous waves, hike a coastal trail to see migrating humpback whales, or kayak in crystal clear waters past countless islands, inlets, and secluded bays.

Highlights: The park as a whole is a hiker's paradise, with miles of sandy beaches, thriving old-growth forests, and breathtaking coastal vistas. Take on the epic 47-mile West Coast Trail, or choose one of the many shorter circuits, such as the stunning Wild Pacific Trail along the Ucluelet peninsula.

3. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Photo: Vemaybay123
Photo: Vemaybay123

Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The world-famous Cabot Trail winds through the park, allowing you to enjoy the scenic views without ever leaving your car.

Of course, you'll want to stop every now and then to walk a few of the park's 26 hiking trails, which range from short and easy boardwalk loops to longer, more difficult hikes of up to 12 kilometers.

Put the Skyline trail at the top of your must-hike list: it's a bit longer (8.2 kilometers for the full loop) but relatively easy, leading you out to viewpoints over some extremely intimidating — but beautiful — cliffs overlooking the sea. It's also a popular moose-spotting hike, though you can see moose pretty much anywhere in the park.

4. Jasper National Park

Photo: Best HD Wallpaper
Photo: Best HD Wallpaper

Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada's second most visited national park, captivates visitors with its breathtaking landscapes. It covers an area of 11,000 square kilometers and contains mountains, glaciers, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, and forests. The park is a popular tourist destination due to its numerous scenic attractions.

Some of these attractions include Mount Edith Cavell, the Athabasca Glacier, Miette Hot Springs, Pyramid Lake, and the Tonquin Valley. Tourists can also enjoy rafting, kayaking, camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. In 2018-19, 2,445,991 people visited Jasper due to its natural beauty and attractions.

5. Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park


Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is Canada's third most visited national park, with 1,235,027 visitors in 2018-19. This protected area is located where the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay rivers meet as they flow into the sea.

The mixing of freshwater from rivers and saltwater from the sea creates an ideal environment for whales with a plentiful food supply. The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park is one of the best places in the world to see whales in their natural habitat. In these waters, many Beluga whales breed. Greenland sharks and other marine life can be found here as well.

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6. Kootenay National Park

Photo: Everything Everywhere
Photo: Everything Everywhere

This British Columbia national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans 1,406 square kilometers. This park includes the Park and Kootenay mountain ranges of the Canadian Rockies. The Vermilion River is the most important river in the area.

The park's elevation ranges from 918 m to 3,424 m. The Kootenay Mountains' rugged mountain peaks, alpine meadows, waterfalls, lakes, extensive karst cave systems, glaciers, and deep canyons make it a place of exceptional natural beauty. As a result, it attracts millions of visitors each year.

7. Mount Revelstoke National Park And Glacier National Park

Photo: PeakVisor
Photo: PeakVisor

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks are located in British Columbia, close to each other.

The former is only 260 square kilometers in size, while the latter is 1349 square kilometers in size. In 2018-19, these parks attracted a total of 776,919 visitors. These national parks, like most other natural areas in British Columbia, are known for their stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, which includes grizzly bears, black bears, woodland caribou, coyotes, mountain goats, moose, martens, and more.

. Many trails wind through Mount Revelstoke, allowing visitors to explore its enigmatic interiors. There are also 140 kilometers of established hiking trails in Glacier National Park. The more daring nature lovers enjoy backcountry camping.

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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 is home to the country's highest peak, the 5,959-meter Mount Logan, which is nestled deep within the park and is typically only hiked by experienced mountaineers.

But there's so much more to do in the park, from hiking the King's Throne to boating on Kathleen Lake to taking a flight over the vast icefields. This final activity, known as "flightseeing," allows you to board a plane or helicopter and get a close-up view of Mount Logan. There's even the option to camp overnight at the Icefield Discovery base camp, which is quite possibly the coolest camping experience in Canada in every way.

9. Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Photo: Rocky Mountaineer
Photo: Rocky Mountaineer

Yoho National Park is located on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies.

What: With some of North America's most pristine natural wilderness, this park is a veritable haven for outdoor enthusiasts, complete with breathtaking scenery and exceptional hiking. Witness how ice and water have sculpted vertical rock faces, soaring peaks, deep blue lakes, and thunderous waterfalls. On a guided tour of Mt Stephen and Mt Field, you'll learn about Yoho's fascinating geology and natural history while admiring the fossilized remains of some of the Earth's earliest life forms.

Highlights: Takkakaw Falls, a world-class site and one of Canada's highest waterfalls, is easily accessible from Highway 1. Follow the Iceline Trail from here, a 20-kilometer loop 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

From the iconic lighthouses to the red, sandy seashore, nearly every view from Prince Edward Island National Park is postcard-perfect. This national park is all about the ocean, with world-famous sandy beaches that will keep you entertained for hours. You can easily spend a day (or more) at PEI National Park, whether you're making a sand sculpture, swimming in the Atlantic, or walking the trail system.

While many of Canada's best national parks cater to those looking for epic adventures, Prince Edward Island National Park is ideal for families with young children. The majority of the trails are easy, with plenty of options for short walks that can be completed in under an hour. Playing on the beach is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and there are plenty of facilities (washrooms, picnic areas, etc.) at the parks that are open seasonally from late spring to early fall.

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