13 Best National Parks in Canada

As the second-largest country in the world only beaten by Russia in size, Canada is incredibly diverse, with countless multifaceted landscapes.

The country boasts about 328,000 km² of reserved nature land, unspoiled by development.

Canada was one of the first countries to establish a National Park in the world, you can bet you’ll find some of the very best parks in North America here.

Although most people gravitate towards the bustling cities in Canada, there is much more to explore if you dare to venture further into the wilderness.

If you’re a nature enthusiast, here’s a list of the best National Parks in Canada that you don’t want to miss.

1. Banff National Park, AB

moraine lake view banff

If you’ve seen postcards of Canada then you’ve seen Banff, one of the most beautiful national parks in Canada.

Banff National Park was accidentally discovered by railway construction workers in 1883 and was the first National Park to be established in Canada — the 4th in the world.

The park is native to a number of hot springs, glaciers, and some of the tallest peaks in the country.

The best of Banff features attractions such as Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, and one of the best hot springs, Banff Upper Hot Springs.

With its scenic drives, epic hiking trails, lush camping grounds, vibrant turquoise blue lakes, and world-famed ski slopes, Banff National Park is the perfect choice if you’re planning a getaway that will bring you closer to nature.

What’s more, Banff is season proof — you can plan your visit here during summer or winter.

Some other popular activities include kayaking, canoeing, and exploring archaeological sites — activities that make it a firm favorite for most outdoor fanatics.

2. Yoho National Park, BC

Takakkaw Falls waterfall in Yoho National Park

Between Kootenay and Banff National Parks, Yoho is without a doubt one of the best British Columbia National Parks, boasting snow-capped mountains, massive waterfalls, and thundering rivers.

Besides being the second oldest National Park in Canada, Yoho is also the smallest among the four national parks that encircle the British Columbia / Alberta borderline.

Yoho National Park is famed for its breath-taking scenery, epic hiking trails, over 28 peaks standing over 3000 m, plus it’s host to the second-highest waterfalls in Canada.

The turquoise waters and scenery are reminiscent of some of the famous lakes in Banff National Park.

Getting to Yoho is super easy since the renowned Trans-Canada Highway runs through the Park.

If you’re staying in BC, this is as good as it gets!

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3. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, BC

pacific rim national park Rainforest

Pacific Rim National Park is located along the pearly Vancouver Island’s west coast and here you’ll find old-growth rainforest trails, stunning beaches as well as picturesque coastal scenery.

The park was established in 1970, stretching over 500m² from Port Renfrew in the south to Tofino in the north.

Interestingly, this natural wonder is made up of three varied regions: the Broken Group Islands, Long Beach, and the West Coast Trail, each boasting a unique vibe and attracting different types of vacationers.

Long Beach is loved by surfers and storm-watchers. The Group Islands with over a hundred islets is a common ground for campers, while the West Coast Trail is a treasure to adventurers ready to explore the tough terrain for days.

Whether you’re a coastline lover or an adventure junkie, you’ll find an activity to suit your preference in this massive Canadian National Park.

4. Jasper National Park, AB

Patricia Lake Jasper national park
patricia lake, ab

Often overlooked immediately by its world-famous neighbor, Banff, Jasper National Park can definitely be considered one of the best national parks in Alberta.

Perched between the towering Canadian Rockies, this National Park oozes a quaint ambiance and is a clear winner for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway.

This spectacular alpine domain is among the top National Parks in Canada and comes with a variety of amazing activities to see and do.

Undisturbed by civilization, the charming town of Jasper boasts jaw-dropping scenic spots all around.

Occasionally, you’ll even encounter wild animals crossing the roads!

5. Gros Morne National Park, NL

western brook pond gros morne national park

Gros Morne is by far the most captivating natural feature found in Eastern Canada.

Stretching 1,805m², this UNESCO World Heritage Site comes second among the largest National Parks in Atlantic Canada.

With glacial-carved landscapes graced with stunning fjords, barren sea-floors, dramatic valleys, and dense forests, this park is definitely worth your attention.

Despite the unforgiving shift in climate, you’ll find thousands of different species of plants and animals that have braved all odds to create a thriving ecosystem here.

In addition to exploring the wilderness, some other popular activities here include swimming, fishing, hiking, boat excursions, and rock climbing.

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6. Fundy National Park, NB

hopewell rocks Fundy National Park

From cascading waterfalls and roaring tides to the dense wilderness and rich wildlife, Fundy National Park is undoubtedly the only scene that sums up all the major highlights found in New Brunswick.

The Bay of Fundy is the most visited destination in the Park.

Why, you ask?

It’s home to the largest tides in the world!

With over 120 kilometers of hiking and walking trails weaving through valleys and forests, there are loads of thrilling adventures to discover if you’re keen to leave the beaten path.

You can rent a canoe or just go for a swim in the stunning Bennett Lake. When the day’s over, set up a camping tent to enjoy a tranquil night in the peaceful park.

7. Bruce Peninsula National Park, ON

Grotto Cave Bruce Peninsula National Park

From its limestone coastline to beautiful backcountry hikes, Bruce Peninsula in Ontario is the ultimate playground for outdoor lovers.

It’s possibly one of the best Canadian National Parks if you love nature and is home to the largest marked hiking trail in Canada, Bruce Trail.

Soak up the sun while enjoying the water sport activities, explore the hidden caves and grotto, and make your way up the rugged trails — you’ll be rewarded with extraordinary cliff-top scenery.

The park is located on Georgian Bay on the southern tip of the Niagara Escarpment and it’s particularly known for the cliffs that tower above the turquoise blue waters of Lake Huron.

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8. Ivvavik National Park, YT

If you’re dreaming of a trip to a lesser-known destination, Ivvavik National Park would be a great choice.

Depending on which way you look at it, it may be an inconvenience for most people since the park is not easily accessible.

The best way to get there is to fly a charter plane into the small quaint town, which is the main reason why the park gets only a hundred visitors a year.

Nevertheless, this provides a great opportunity for an authentic cultural experience, unexploited trails, and rich wildlife encounters.

Be sure to visit Firth River, the oldest river in Canada.

If you’re looking for an adventure in the Arctic, this should be on the top of your Canadian parks list.

Since there are no wifi or cell signals, this is one place in the world where you can completely disconnect.

A good or bad thing, that’s up to you to decide!

Fun Fact: In the summer you’ll get 24 hours of daylight 😲

9. Nahanni National Park Reserve, NT

Situated close to the Yukon border, Nahanni is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top National Parks in Canada that has remained relatively low-key, most likely because it’s not easy to get to.

But with loads of things to do and see here, this park is a terrific camping destination.

The most popular feature of the park is the massive South Nahanni River.

This river weaves its way to Virginia Falls plunging approximately 90 meters down the waterfall — almost twice the height of Niagara Falls!

The park is also home to lots of sulfur hot springs, dense forests, and sloping mountains.

The varied landscape means diversity in wildlife — from grizzly bears to moose and wolves, the opportunity of spotting wildlife in its natural habitat are unrivaled here!

10. Waterton Lakes National Park, AB

Prince of Wales Hotel Waterton Lakes

Located at the southwest tip of Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park shares its borders with British Columba on the west and the United States on the south.

In addition to incredible opportunities for hiking and biking, Waterton Lakes National Park offers visitors a great balance between nature-filled activities and a bustling fun-filled town.

When you’re ready to take a break from the mountains and forests, head to the town of Waterton.

You’ll have the chance to go on a shopping spree at local boutique stores, relax with an afternoon cup of tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, or enjoy a gastronomy experience at one of the many available restaurants.

11. Auyuittuq National Park, NU

Auyuittuq National Park

Auyuittuq National Park is located in Northern Canada and is one of the most striking places on Earth dominated by rugged granite peaks, massive glaciers, and thundering rivers.

Auyuittuq will tick all your boxes if you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities against a dramatic backdrop.

Apart from hiking the famous Mount Thor, Mount Asgard, and dozens of other peaks, you can try your hand at snowmobiling, dogsledding, and skiing if you visit during winter.

Akshayuk Pass, a 97-km travel corridor winding through the park, is popular with adventurers who visit this park.

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12. Prince Edward Island National Park, PE

Covehead Lighthouse Prince Edward Island National Park

If coastal landscapes are your cup of tea then add this to your bucket list!

The Atlantic Ocean crashing against red-hued cliffs and sand dunes make for some of the best views in P.E.I. National Park.

Spend the day on one of many beautiful red-sand beaches or take a trip back in time and visit Green Gables, a 19th-century farm made famous by the novel Anne of Green Gables.

13. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NS

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the best National Parks in Eastern Canada.

Located in Nova Scotia, this park is one of the rare ones where you’ll get vast ocean and high-reaching mountains in one landscape.

You’re going to want to take your time at this park — it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with a surplus of hiking trails and panoramic views of the ocean.

Best of all, crowds here are minimal so you can enjoy some quiet time getting lost in nature.

Visit during the fall when the leaves are changing colors, mother nature will reward you with one of her finest works of art.

Highlights include Cabot Trail, an incredibly breathtaking trail with scenery you’ll only find in Canada.

Final Thoughts

Canada’s National Parks are unlike anywhere else in the world.

From coast to coast, every park has something unique to offer, whether its outdoor activities, captivating historical sites, or remarkable scenery.

Take your time immersed in nature — kayak through pristine blue glacier lakes surrounded by the striking Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Spend the day skiing or snowboarding at some of the world’s finest ski resorts and recharge in a steamy hot spring.

Hike some of the world’s best trails with rewarding panoramic views.

This is what Canada is all about!