Best routes in Canada

Rugged and vast, Canada is a road-trippers dream. Driving gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace – pull over and drink in the scenery along the way or break up the journey with hiking and kayaking.

Whether you’re into mountains, beaches or urban heritage, here are five of our favourite routes.

 

1. The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail loops 298km around the north of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The route winds along the coast for much of its length with viewpoints overlooking the North Atlantic.

Locals tout fall as the best time to travel, but the dramatic landscapes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park look good throughout the year. Moose roam the park, where walking trails give you the opportunity to stretch your legs and breathe in the crisp sea air.

Islanders here are proud of their French-influenced Acadian heritage and Celtic ancestry, and love to celebrate it with loud live music in local pubs. Experience it in Chéticamp, a fishing village where you can tuck into locally landed lobster and seasonal seafood.

Be sure to park up in Pleasant Bay and join a cruise to spot whales and seals, and don’t miss the chance to kick off your shoes on the sand close to Ingonish.

 

2. The Icefields Parkway, Alberta

You can motor along the 232km route of the Icefields Parkway in just four hours, but that wouldn’t do justice to the magnificence of the woodland wilderness, waterfalls and jagged mountains either side of the highway.

This route runs between Banff and Jasper, cutting through the Rocky Mountains and skirting through two national treasures, Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. They are the home to the vast Columbia Icefield. Learn about the region’s geology during guided hikes on the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers.

Overnighting at one of Jasper National Park’s campsites means being able to stare at constellations in one of the world’s biggest dark sky reserves.

On sunny days, the sight of snow-capped mountains and blue skies reflecting on the surfaces of the Peyto and Waterfowl will have any keen photographer stopping every five minutes.