National Parks offer opportunities to visit some of Canada’s unique, varied, isolated and beautiful protected wilderness areas that have been designated by the federal government to preserve the country’s natural heritage. A great way to explore and appreciate Canada’s National Parks is by bike. Whether on the scenic paved roads that run through them or the trails that bring you even closer to nature. Here are some of the top national parks in Canada to ride your bike in:
1) Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia
Approximately one-third of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia. As one of the country’s most scenic roads, the parts of the Cabot Trail that pass through the park offer up stunning coastal views, challenging ascents, and riding the Cabot Trail should be on the bucket list of any avid cyclist interested in a stunning and challenging multi-day ride.
Recreational trails throughout the park like Freshwater Lake, Clyburn Valley, Branch Pond Look-off, Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge, Le chemin du Buttereau, Le Buttereau and Salmon Pools offer mountain bikers some family friendly opportunities for riding.
2) Banff National Park in Alberta
With over 190 km of mountain bike trails and numerous road riding options, cycling in Banff National Park is an excellent way to get in a nice and explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Trails of different difficulty levels allow mountain bikers of all levels to be challenged in the beautiful terrain. On the trails you can see the park’s beautiful and remote rugged peaks, broad river valleys, glaciers, alpine meadows and wildlife.
3) Riding National Park in Manitoba
This large national park’s backcountry trails are all suitable for riding and exploring the park on while some of the parks day-use trails is also allow cyclists. Located on the Manitoba Escarpment, Riding National Park is a forested wilderness parkland that contrasts with the surrounding prairie farmland. Explore the park’s grasslands, upland boreal and eastern deciduous forests by bike. Visitors can expect to see the abundant wildlife and the park is home to one of the largest populations of black bears in the country, so be prepared.
4) Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park in British Columbia
The climb up Mount Revelstoke is one for the mountain goats at 26 km and holding a 5.6 per cent average gradient. Perhaps Canada’s toughest climb it alone justifies the visit. With 15 hairpin turns, a distinct change in vegetation from rainforest to alpine meadows and wildflowers. It’s a beautiful climb out of the valley. Nearby Glacier National Park has road riding on the main route through the park that goes into Revelstoke. The road has a wide well-paved shoulder.For mountain bikers there are 10 km of trails at the base of Revelstoke while 15 km of trails in Glacier are waiting to be explored on two wheels.
5) La Mauricie National Park in Quebec
Located in the Laurentian Mountains, the park contains over 100 lakes. The dense boreal forest is a mix of conifers and deciduous trees. With mountain bike trails and a paved road that winds it’s way through the park, cyclists of various disciplines will want to check this area north of Shawinigan out. The parks mountain bike trails are of various difficulties and skirt the park’s many lakes. The paved road is beautiful tarmac with many rolling hills but no severe climbs.
6) Rouge National Urban Park in Ontario
This park’s close proximity to Toronto and the GTA make it unique among Canada’s national parks. It’s close proximity to the city makes it easier for urban dwellers to visit. The region has a rural feeling thanks to rolling farmland and forests. The roads that run through the park are busy on weekends with cyclists as group rides passing through the park and multi-use paths are also bicycle friendly. While not as remote, if you are in or around Toronto looking to ride it is a great place to head to.
7) Jasper National Park in Alberta
Jasper National Park is another of Canada’s amazing wilderness areas perfect for exploring on your bike. Whether on the road or in the extensive trails system enjoy the beautiful Canadian Rockies, the park’s stunning lakes and waterfalls, pass through it’s beautiful forests and experience this UNESCO Heritage Site from the saddle. With great climbing, trails in valleys, the park’s alpine scenery can be enjoyed by riders of all levels. There are backcountry riding options so overnight wilderness rides are also possible. The park also have a number of scenic paved roads so if you prefer tarmac enjoy the vistas on smooth rubber.
8) Prince Edward Island National Park in Prince Edward Island
Boasting a beautiful two-way bike path that follows the Gulf Shore Parkway, cyclists can enjoy this small coastal park on two wheels. Enjoy the beautiful red sandstone cliffs, lighthouse, beaches and dunes.Longer rides can head inland away from the park or follow Prince Edward Islands endless coast.
9) Georgian Bay National Park in Ontario
With 15 km of mountain bike trails in Georgian Park National Park, riding is a great way to spend the day visit on Beausoleil Island in Muskoka. The Huron, Christian and Georgian trails allow cyclist to explore the park which sits on Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. After the ride find a nice spot and go for a swim in the lakes refreshing water.
10) Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan
The rolling forested landscape of Prince Albert National Park can be explored by road or mountain bike. Road cyclists can ride the scenic tarmac of Highway 263 which passes through the town of Waskesiu. With places to stop for scenic views and Sandy Lake to swim at post ride it’s a great way to enjoy out in the park.Kingsmere road heads out further into the wilderness also passing a number of nice lakes along the rolling hills. With over 100 km of mountain bike trails, cyclists of different levels can expect to find a route that suits them well whether an all day adventure or a short ride to a nice spot to stop for a swim or to wait to spot some of the local wildlife.