5 Unexpected National Parks to Visit This Spring
Looking for adventure? Look no further than Canada’s beautifully diverse national parks. No matter the season, there’s a park that will offer not only stunning scenery, but also unique experiences — from luxurious camping to snowshoeing. And in 2017, all Canadian National Parks are free to visit, so be sure to check a few off your list and find more information about the Discovery Pass here.
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and explore. And there’s no better place to do it than at one of Canada’s National Parks. From trails worth exploring, to fresh flowers budding, here are five parks to visit as the weather warms up.
Alberta: Elk Island National Park
Elk Island Park was created in 1906, becoming Canada’s first wildlife sanctuary. In 1913, Canada’s Dominion Parks Service established Elk Island as Canada’s 6th and only entirely-fenced national park.
Just 40 minutes from Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is the perfect escape from the city hustle. The big draw here? Bison and elk of course! There’s also a festival and geocaching if you’re looking for something lively, as well as Parks Canada classics like hiking, camping, kayaking, sailing, and more. Discover more activities available in this amazingly diverse park here.
Ontario: Point Pelee National Park
Located 30 miles south-east of Windsor, Ontario, Point Pelee National Park of Canada is one of the country's smallest national parks, and yet this tiny green oasis attracts approximately 300,000 visitors each year.
More south than Northern California, Point Pelee is just as stunning (in our humble opinion). A lush, forested oasis, this park is perfect for a getaway. Head into the greenery during the Festival of Birds, where visitors can witness the migration of several species of birds. Or, set out on a wildflower walk, where you can explore the colors of the wildflowers that bloom every spring. Looking for something low-key? Have a picnic, paddle the wetlands, or explore the trails.
Saskatchewan: Prince Albert National Park
To see one of Canada's few remaining populations of free ranging plains bison within their historic range, follow the road signs to the west side of Prince Albert National Park.
Just under three hours outside of Saskatoon, you’ll be transported to stunning wilderness in Prince Albert National Park. Tucked in a boreal forest, become one with nature as you’re surrounded by towering trees, free-ranging plains bison, and all sorts of other wildlife. In the park, you can lounge on the beach (when the weather heats up), canoe, cycle, and even explore the town of Waskesiu within the park itself.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Torngat Mountains National Park
From the Inuktitut word Torngait, meaning “place of spirits,” the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for thousands of years.
Rugged wilderness and breathtaking vistas are what you’ll find in this Newfoundland and Labrador park. Because this park is fairly remote, the sprawling fields and jagged mountains seem untouched. In the spring, popular activities are camping and hiking, and there are plenty of spots to do both. Other top contenders are photography and wildlife watching, which you’ll find no shortage of through the expanse of this almost 4,000 square mile park. Just remember to register when entering the park so the rangers can keep track of those exploring.
Northwest Territories: Aulavik National Park
Aulavik is considered a polar desert. The total annual precipitation for the park is approximately 300 mm, one third of which falls as rain during the summer.
Located on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, this rugged and fairly remote park is home to a variety of landscapes that are sure to please any adventurer or photographer. Picture fertile valleys, polar desert, rocky coastline, and badlands.You can hike, camp, and even canoe or kayak (though you’ll need to access the park by air to go, or book with an outfitter). Keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of unique northern nature and wildlife too, like the Arctic fox, as well as archeological artifacts.
Canada is home to 46 national parks, and these are just a few of our favorites. Perfect to explore in all seasons, find more outdoor inspiration on Parks Canada’s website.