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Local hikes across Canada you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic

From the feedback we have received on some of our recent postings we know some of you are going stir crazy. So we asked around and your fellow travellers sent in places you can go to stretch your legs, take an invigorating walk and enjoy nature.

While we applaud people taking the opportunity to go outside, we would like to take a moment to remind you this is not for those in self-isolation or quarantine. And it goes without saying how important physical distancing is. If we all practice this, the pandemic will be more manageable so that we can all travel again. This article in the Globe and Mail has some sensible advice.

Please also check with the relevant authorities for local conditions and trail closures and dress, prepare and act accordingly.

Nova Scotia: hikes along the Fundy shore

Starting on the East Coast, Allan from Halifax shared some of his favourite hikes. "Kenomee Canyon is a world-class hike and only 30 minutes from here. My second favourite are the spectacular hills and woods just above the Fundy shore in the Economy River Wilderness Area. Anywhere along the Fundy shore, as long as you pay heed to the tide tables, is great for hiking: Margaretsville, Morden, Harbourville, Canada Creek, Long Beach or Bramber (pictured) are all within 90 minutes from Halifax".

Montreal - inner-city & river-side hikes

While all national parks in Quebec are closed, people in Montreal are looking for more local options. Marie-Joëlle tells us she "loves Parc Lafontaine" (pictured). She also recommends the bike & walking path in Verdun-Lasalle which follows the river: "The path takes you to Parc des Rapides, a favourite of mine. The birdwatching is awesome".

Ottawa - Gatineau and west of the city

Jason in Ottawa loves going out to Gatineau. "The Wolf Trail is a 9km loop with a fantastic lookout. I also like the Lusk Caves but they are often water-filled". In the city Jason recommends little-known Mud Lake: "It is a mild hike with lots of birds and good accessibility by public transit. It feels like you are out in Algonquin though!" Another local favourite is the Jack Pine Trail in the Greenbelt. "Very popular and a huge hit for people with young kids. The chickadees eat right out of your hand!"

Toronto - ravines, rivers & escarpment

Only a few weeks ago I had dinner with friends and since we had a fresh dump of snow I decided to strap on my skis to get there (pictured on arrival). It is how I rediscovered Toronto's fabulous ravine system. Imagine you can walk (or ski) all the way from Warden and Eglinton via Warden Woods, Taylor Creek and the Don Valley, to Eglinton and Bayview, a distance of 12 kms, all in the city's parks and ravines. The Rouge, Humber, Credit and Etobicoke Creek valleys all offer great hikes. Further out of town, and recommended by several readers of this blog, is the Bruce Trail, a gem of a long-distance trail which Adventure Coordinators proudly supports through volunteer work and tree planting projects. Adalbert in Toronto specifically recommends Rattlesnake Point, Kelso, Crawford Lake, Silver Creek, and Terra Cotta Conservation areas. (Update on 27 March: Halton Region conservation areas are closed to the public; the Bruce Trail Conservancy has asked people to refrain from using the trail)

Meanwhile, Amanda from Ajax tells us over to the east side of Toronto, the Ajax Waterfront trail is 100% off-road. "And for something more wild, I love the Seaton Trail in Pickering.

Edmonton - the valley and out of town

Caroline in Edmonton was happy to share some ideas as she had been thinking about local hikes after she had to cancel her trip abroad. "Edmonton's River Valley and Elk Island are obvious choices, but I really like Lost Lake Trail in the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. There are several other beautiful trails in the same area. The trails are groomed for skiing so quite walkable in winter". Another favourite is the Devon River Valley Trail.

Calgary - wildlife & foothills

Aida in Calgary has her favourite trails within the city: Nose Hill Park, Fish Creek, Glenmore Reservoir and Weaselhead, all of which offer opportunities for wildlife viewing. "Outside of the city is Glenbow Ranch, with fab views. One of my favourites. And of course the Kananaskis (pictured) offer endless possibilities and spectacular views".

Vancouver - time your hikes

Anne sent in some popular hikes in Vancouver but adds one needs to time a hike as trails can get busy and distancing is important. "The hiking trails through the forest in Pacific Spirit Regional Park see few hikers. The Semiahmoo Trail in South Surrey is often quiet but it is very much a suburban walk. Then there are regional parks in the Fraser Valley like Campbell Valley and Aldergrove Lake while on Vancouver's north shore you can hike to Rice Lake or do the Lynn Headwaters Loop".


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