Canadian Outdoors Worth Exploring
Western Brook Pond fjord in Gros Morne National Park.
Canada is a land of vast, varying landscapes. From the jaw-dropping mountains of the west to the stunning shores of the Maritimes, there is something unique and beautiful about every province and territory. Our national parks reflect that, and exploring them is one of the greatest ways to see local nature and wildlife and ... get outdoors to Live Right Now!
Paddling lakes in La Mauricie National Park, Quebec; exploring ice fields in Auyuittuq National Park, Iqaluit; bird watching in Elk Island National Park, Alberta - these are just a few of the extraordinary activities you can do across the country. Here, Parks Canada profiles a national park in every province and territory, sharing highlights for each!
Newfoundland and Labrador
Gros Morne National Park is a world of spectacular landscapes: sharp ridges and huge cliffs, coastal bogs and highland tundra, dramatic ocean inlets and lakes. One of the few places on the globe where rocks from deep within the earth are exposed, Gros Morne was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique geology and exceptional beauty.
Kejimkujik's ancient cultural landscape attests to the presence of the Mi'kmaq and their ancestors since time immemorial. Petroglyphs, carvings in the slate rocks are among the ways that visitors can experience this rich connection to Kejimkujik's cultural heritage. A separate section from the main park, Kejimkujik Seaside, is an isolated stretch of Atlantic coastline which offers a peaceful escape for visitors who come to explore its glacier-carved headlands, expansive white sand beaches and secluded, rocky coves.
Prince Edward Island
Home to dunes, red sandstone cliffs, and endless beaches, the park is a dynamic system of shifting sand carried by wind and waves. The park's diverse habitats--sand dunes, beaches, ponds, salt marshes and forests support a variety of plants and animals. Great Blue Herons grace the wetlands and saltmarshes, and shorebirds feed along the water's edge. Several species at risk are protected in the Park, including the threatened Gulf of St. Lawrence aster and the endangered Piping Plover.
Encompassing a low-lying coastal area with barrier dune islands stretching twenty-five kilometres, Kouchibouguac National Park is a fascinating mosaic of salt marshes, tidal rivers, freshwater systems, sheltered lagoons, abandoned fields, tall forests, and cedar swamps - specialized forest wetlands with outstanding undergrowth of mosses, ferns and orchids. Visitor activities range from cycling, hiking, and kayaking to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tobogganing.
La Mauricie National Park is a land of rich, mixed-wood forests and 150 lakes set into the gently rolling Laurentian Hills. Vast areas of exposed bedrock are witness to the effects of the last ice age, which also left behind an extensive system of lakes, streams, waterfalls, and rivers. Among La Mauricie's abundant wildlife are several species at risk, including the wood turtle, peregrine falcon, and red-headed woodpecker. Visitors to the park have a chance to paddle across lakes and portage over the same trails once used by La Mauricie's Aboriginal inhabitants and the coureur des bois.
Point Pelee National Park has little of the rugged wilderness that characterizes most Canadian parks. At 42° N latitude, it lies in line with northern California and parts of the Mediterranean. Crickets chirp and hum past dusk, even in October, and the sycamore trees here drip with Virginia creeper. Grape vines twist through the trails, creating an exotic jungle esthetic.
Rising dramatically from the prairie landscape, the Manitoba Escarpment and rolling hills of Riding Mountain National Park are a legacy of the last ice age. Riding Mountain includes diverse expanses of forest, grasslands, marsh and wetlands that support a variety of plants and animals, including wolves, moose, black bear and hundreds of species of birds. Used for hunting and fishing by First Nations for thousands of years, Riding Mountain continues to welcome visitors to enjoy the resort community of Wasagaming, the crystal waters of Clear Lake and more than 400 km of trails.
Lying between two natural regions, Prince Albert National Park protects both northern coniferous forest and rare fescue grasslands. The park features a rich diversity of wildlife including timber wolf, woodland caribou, free-ranging plains bison, black bear and over 200 species of birds, including the only fully protected white pelican nesting colony in Canada. Historically used by local First Nations and Métis, Prince Albert continues to welcome visitors to explore the many trails, lakes, and beaches.
With herds of plains and wood bison housed in the park as part of Canada's recovery program for these species, Elk Island is a wildlife-watching paradise. In addition to bison, visitors may see moose, deer, elk and many smaller species in a serene setting of hills, meadows, woods and wetlands. Birders come to view over 250 species of birds, including the Trumpeter Swan, a Threatened species that is the largest waterfowl in North America. With a network of trails for hiking or skiing, a campground, picnic areas and even a family golf course, Elk Island offers a unique taste of Alberta's wild past less than an hour east of Edmonton.
Noted for spectacular mountains with summer wildflower displays on their summits, Mount Revelstoke National Park is home to a rainforest of hemlock and 1,000-year-old cedars - a forest type rapidly declining outside of protected areas. The Columbia Mountains and lush valley floors of Mount Revelstoke provide important habitat for grizzly and black bears, mountain goat, and wolverine and also protects a small herd of the threatened mountain caribou.
Where sweeping glaciers and polar sea ice meet jagged granite mountains, Auyuittuq National Park on southern Baffin Island takes its name from an Inuktitut word meaning "land that never melts". The glacier-scoured terrain protected by the Park includes the highest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, marine shorelines along coastal fiords, and Akshayuk Pass - traditional travel corridor used by the Inuit for thousands of years. Whether visitors wish to climb Auyuittuq's rugged peaks, ski on its pristine icefields, or hike the scenic Akshayuk Pass, this park offers unique opportunities to experience the beauty and majesty of the Arctic.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a park of superlatives, Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest park in North America at 44, 807 square kilometres and home to the world's largest free roaming wood bison herd, the last natural nesting site of the endangered whooping crane, and the Peace-Athabasca Delta - one of the world's largest inland freshwater deltas. The park features many unique natural and cultural resources, from diverse ecosystems and rare species to the traditional activities of Aboriginal residents who have inhabited the region for more than 8,000 years. Visitors have a wealth of options - from short strolls on secluded trails to rugged canoe trips on the wide meandering rivers of the boreal plains.
Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to Canada's highest peak and the world's largest, non-polar ice field. This land of high mountains, immense icefields, surging glaciers, and lush valleys features one of the most diverse varieties of plants and wildlife in northern Canada, including Dall sheep, grizzly and black bears. Part of a vast international preserve designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kluane is the homeland of the Champagne and Aishihik as well as the Kluane First Nations, who are cooperative managers of the park.