Credit: Destination Canada
Canada is one of the best cycling destinations on Earth. From the mountainous terrain of the coast and the Rockies, to the open expanses of the Prairies, to the scenic townships of Ontario and Quebec to the far eastern shores—you're guaranteed to find a trip to satisfy.
Are you looking for bicycling inspiration?
Read on for Canada's top six trips for travelling cyclists:
Freeride the North Shore (Vancouver, BC) (pictured)
Interested in pedalling the birthplace of freeride mountain biking? Welcome to North Vancouver, British Columbia—freeride mecca. With user-operated trails clustered on Mount Fromme and Mount Seymour, MTB’ers could find a lifetime of entertainment in these misty woods. Word to the wise—and to use the bikers’ own parlance—this is gnarly stuff. It’s generally not for the beginner. Some trails don’t look walkable, let alone rideable. But if you have the skills, there is no place on Earth better to bike than Vancouver’s North Shore.
Cycle Icefields Parkway (Banff/Jasper, Alberta)
Bridging the 232-kilometre gap between Banff and Jasper, Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in the world. Flanked by Rocky Mountain scenery, rife with glaciers, totally preserved within national parks and following a gentle undulation, it’s no wonder so many choose to drive this scenic route. But you’re not going to drive—you’ll be pedalling. Contact a tour company to carry your gear in a support vehicle and arrange nightly hotel/hostel accommodation—or go self-supported, if you’re experienced. And enjoy life in the slow lane.
Ride Riding Mountain (Manitoba)
Manitoba may be one of our flattest provinces, but there is still some elevation to be found—in fact, Riding Mountain National Park reaches up to 756 metres above sea level. That’s why it has become such a desirable place to mountain bike. Along with the undulating trails, riders can enjoy the expansive view from atop the 65-million-year-old Manitoba Escarpment. Keep an eye out for moose and elk as you pedal, particularly during early morning or at dusk. Trail suggestions? An easy route is the Lakeshore Trail, or move on to the Wasagaming Bike Trail or the challenging Clear Lake Trail. Many more to discover!
Cycle the P’Tit Train du Nord (Laurentians, Quebec)
After the “Little Train of the North” (P’tit Train du Nord) ceased operations in the 1980s, its 200-kilometre-long track, extending into the Laurentians north of Montreal, was given new life. It re-opened in the mid-‘90s as an undulating bike path and has been attracting cyclists ever since. Some ride the full length over several days, others do day trips—but all enjoy the lush woodlands, calm lakes and charming towns along the way. Never steep and without motorized traffic, it’s a cyclist’s dream.
Cycle Cabot Trail (Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia)
Nova Scotia’s scenic Cabot Trail is a road ideal for a self-propelled pace. So grab your bike and set out on a six-day cycle tour through this diverse and culturally rich landscape—with a support vehicle packing your gear. Experience a dramatic coastal environment, which is particularly stunning in autumn; engage with vibrant Acadian culture. Hike secluded trails in a national park. View spouting whales and soaring eagles; golf at an oceanside course. Travel at a slower pace and connect with your environment in Canada’s Maritimes.
Cycle the Confederation Trail (PEI)
Once again, we see former industry turned to tourism with PEI’s Confederation Trail—a railway line converted into a cycling path. With typically flat topography, expect gentle cycles along any leg of this tip-to-tip island trail. More than 1,600 geocache sites are tucked along the route, which also passes through many towns for tastes of classic Maritime hospitality. Despite the 435-kilometre total length, it’s not an extreme cycle—more like a lovely ride that’s just about as long as you’d care to make it.