Beautiful National Parks in Canada

Exploring the wilderness and venturing into the unknown is every thrill-seeker’s dream. Blessed by natural wonders, Canada happens to be one of the best places to visit if you’re after scenic views, vast lakes, and majestic waterfalls complemented by diverse wildlife.

With 38 national parks and 10 national park reserves spanning the country’s wilderness, it might be a bit overwhelming to narrow down your selection to just one destination. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best national parks Canada has to offer. Each of them is special in its own way, and each of them is worth visiting

If you’re planning to visit Canada, you should definitely book a trip to one of the country’s most beautiful national parks and explore its rugged wilderness, diverse wildlife, and natural beauties. Since there are dozens of worthy destinations to choose from, we’ve helped narrow down your selection. Are you more interested in ancient glaciers or coastal cliffs? Perhaps, you just need to embark on a good long hike or visit a turquoise-water lake. Make the most out of your next journey!

Banff National Park

Rocky Mountain view at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / treisdorfphoto

Let’s start with Canada’s oldest national park and a prime destination for nature enthusiasts from all around the world. Banff National Park is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains just an hour and a half away from Alberta’s Calgary.

Since 1885, the park has been welcoming visitors with its glacier lakes, dense forests, snowcapped mountains, and alpine meadows. The trip to this national park comes with plenty of opportunities to engage in activities such as hiking, canoeing, and camping regardless of the season. Once tired of exploring, visitors can take a good long rest in the town of Banff and enjoy its many restaurants, breweries, and resorts.

Size: 2564 square miles / 6,641 square kilometers

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The beautiful scenery of a Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in Bamfield, Canada.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wirestock Creators

Nestled on Vancouver Island’s western shoreline, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to the Broken Group Islands and Long Beach as well as the world-famous West Coast Trail. As a well-known place for watching humpback whale migrations, the reserve offers epic views of coastal vistas and age-old forests.

If hiking sandy beaches is not challenging enough, you could try kayaking and explore this natural treasure’s many islands and bays.

Size: 197 square miles / 511 square kilometers

Yoho National Park

Bridge over Emerald Lake. Camping and coniferous forest. Yoho National Park, Canada.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / kavram

Trailing the western foothills of the Canadian Rockies is Yoho National Park which was fittingly named after ‘awe’ and ‘wonder.’ Thanks to its proximity to Banff National Park, travelers often choose to visit both parks in one trip.

Yoho National Park offers many wonders and is famous for its stunning 91-hectare Emerald Lake and the Takakkaw Falls which have a combined height of over 1,200 feet. While traversing rugged terrains and reveling in the beauty of deep blue lakes, you can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Burgess Shale Fossil Site. The fossil deposit features some of the oldest and most preserved fossils on the planet.

Size: 507 square miles / 1,313 square kilometers

Jasper National Park

Spirit Island in Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Elena_Suvorova

Another well-preserved gem gracing Alberta’s landscape is Jasper National Park, a mix of snowcapped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and challenging trails that can lead to elk, big horn sheep, and grizzly bear encounters.

If your feet take you to this stunning national park, you shouldn’t miss the Columbia Icefields, Maligne Lake, and Maligne Canyon. When darkness falls upon the land, you might find peace in exploring the night sky in this well-recognized dark-sky preserve or enjoy the amenities of the laidback town of Jasper. Feeling cold? Take a day off from hiking and pay a visit to Miette Hot Springs.

Size: 4,200 square miles / 10,878 square kilometers

Gros Morne National Park

Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland, Canada.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Curtis Watson

Thanks to its extraordinary geography, Gros Morne National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From towering fjords to scenic views of the coast, visitors can embark on the Coastal Trail or climb the Gros Morne Mountain for breathtaking sights.

Situated along Newfoundland and Labrador’s coastline, the park boasts plenty of activities such as boat tours, trips to the waterfalls, and visits to the picturesque villages on the shore. To better understand the geology at work in this magnificent place, you can schedule a guided trip to the Tablelands, a flat-topped mountain plateau teeming with rare rocks originating from the Earth’s crust.

Size: 697 square miles / 1,805 square kilometers

Kootenay National Park

Numa Falls at the Kootenay national park Canada
Image Credit: Shutterstock / r.classen

Whether you’re looking to unwind in hot springs or go wildlife watching you can’t go wrong by choosing British Columbia’s land of ice and fire – Kootenay National Park.

If hiking the trail to Stanley Glacier is not your thing, you might find fun in cross-country skiing or other winter sports offered at the park’s resorts. You will also have plenty of opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitat and explore the one and only Marble Canyon and its spectacular gorge.

Size: 543 square miles / 1,406 square kilometers

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada seen from the Bears Hump.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jason Patrick Ross

The smallest national park in the Canadian Rockies makes up for its size with impressive mountains, waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife. Nestled on the edge of southwestern Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park is best known for its grand views of Cameron Lake and Upper Waterton Lake.

Visitors should take on the trails leading to Bertha Falls and Cameron Falls while making sure they don’t miss a trip to the Red Rock Canyon. Getting tired yet? Spend the night at the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel or explore the restaurants and shops in the waterfront town of Waterton.

Size: 203 square miles / 525 square kilometers

Kluane National Park and Reserve

Kluane Lake Yukon Territories, Kluane National Park and Reserve.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / A. Michael Brown

If Yukon is calling you, don’t forget to visit the massive Kluane National Park and Reserve in the southwest of the territory. The park is home to over 2,000 glaciers including the famed Kaskawulsh Glacier and Donjek Glacier.

The park offers plenty of camping options at Kathleen Lake Campground and is a popular choice among backcountry camping enthusiasts. From short and easy hikes to epic trails across the rugged wilderness, be ready to witness 17 of Canada’s twenty tallest mountains and go rafting down the Alsek River. Since the park is scarcely visited, it is a perfect destination for those seeking to stay away from crowds.

Size: 8,499 square miles / 22,013 square kilometers

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Glorious autumn colours on the winding roads of Cape Breton's Cabot Trail.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / cworthy

Cape Breton Highlands National Park graces the northern tip of Nova Scotia and represents a tranquil place where the mountains meet the sea. Known for its diverse scenery and a mix of habitats, Cape Breton Highlands features 26 stunning trails that any hiker will appreciate. Among them are the world-famous Cabot Trail and Skyline Trail.

While exploring the towering coastal cliffs and lush forests, visitors can take on many side activities such as fishing, swimming, cycling, camping, and golfing.

Size: 366 square miles / 948 square kilometers

Riding Mountain National Park

Aerial of Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Russ Heinl

Nestled in Manitoba, this accessible national park boasts a rich history and diverse wildlife with hikers often encountering wolves, black bears, moose, and lynxes on their adventures. Covering 250 miles in length are the park’s many trails.

Riding Mountain is also home to over 1,900 lakes and is ideal for canoers and kayakers willing to explore the pristine waters. When not relaxing in the laidback town of Wasagaming, visit the park’s popular historic sites such as the Grey Owl Cabin, a residence previously inhabited by conservationist Archibald Belaney.

Size: 1,146 square miles / 2,969 square kilometers

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

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