Do you live in a major city and are curious about opportunities for getting off the roads and onto the trails? All of Canada’s major cities offer numerous trail options of varying length and difficulty. In each case we’ve picked one that’s a decent length to get you started, and we have no doubt you’ll soon find your own favourites.
There are also some helpful websites with helpful info on crowdsourced trails, such as alltrails.com. Many outdoor stores and trail gear brands have blogs with user info. Note: be prepared to share some of the more urban trails with families and dog-walkers.
Long Lake Park Reserve Loop Trail is a 3.7K woodsy loop along the western bank of Witherod Lake and the eastern shore of Long Lake, featuring several small hills. It’s a short drive from downtown Halifax. Take a dip if you like, but be aware there are no washroom facilities.
Parc du Mont-Royal is a 6K loop on Montreal’s famous mountain, offers great views of the city, and is particularly good if you like a step/stair workout, since there are 400 stairs to the summit. You’re never too far from a good post-run café au lait. Fun fact: the park was designed by the same architect who designed NYC’s Central Park.
Gatineau Park, just across the provincial border in Quebec, has plenty of options of varying difficulty and duration (alltrails.com lists 44 different trails), such as the 3.4K out-and-back Trail #26.
Beltline to the Brickworks is a 5.2K point-to-point, entered from the the former CP rail line’s Eglinton Ave. West/Allen Road entrance (accessed at west end of Wembley Rd. due to construction on Eglinton). The trail runs between some of the city’s more affluent backyards and the Mount Pleasant Cemetery and into the Evergreen Brickworks via the Moore Park Ravine, where you can stop for a coffee before heading back up to your start point.
Edgemount Ridge is a 9.7K loop trail through Nose Hill Park in the city’s NW quadrant. Enjoy the scenic views of the city and mountains.
Burnaby Lake Park Trail is a preserved riparian trail (i.e. adjacent to a river) near Burnaby, east of downtown Vancouver. It’s a decent distance, flat, well maintained and great for birdwatching, without ever being far from civilization. Plus you won’t have to dodge cyclists, since bikes are not allowed. There is some variety in terrain between paved paths, gravel, and boardwalk.