The 7 Best Bicycle Touring Routes in Canada
The second largest country in the world with plenty of natural wonders, history and peaceful countryside, perfect for cycling in Canada.
The seven best bicycle touring routes in Canada:
Cape Breton National Park – Located on an island on the northern end of Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Provinces the region offers some of the friendliest music loving people in the world. Your bicycle touring takes you on the 300 km (185 mile) coastal road with much uphill climbs and corresponding down hills. And yes, expect great views of the rugged coastline. Visiting nearby attractions of the Louisbourg Fortress and the Alexander Bell Historic Site can easily double your distance.
Confederation Trail – Located on Prince Edward Island this 270 kilometer (168 mile) rail trail goes from tip to tip on a hard packed surface. Many who are bicycle touring take the quiet roads and extensions to create a circle route. Expect to see lighthouses, quaint harbors, wonderful beaches and even perhaps the Anne of Green Gables show.
Montreal to Quebec City – Starting from the historic Old port in Montreal follow La Route Verte 5 eastward. This is part of over 4,000 km (2,485 miles) of signed bikeways in the province. Your route takes you along the north shore of the St. Lawrence through Trois-Riveres to Quebec City. Thinking of a circle route, then head on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River through the Eastern Townships for a longer return. This signed route includes both paved and hard packed sections.
Waterfront Trail – Starting in Niagara expect to take a week while bicycle touring to the Quebec border and perhaps on to Montreal. Along the way see historic forts in Kingston and Niagara-on-the-Lake; orchards; Lake Ontario; the great city of Toronto and plenty of small lakeside towns.
Icefields Highway – this route starts in Banff and heads north to Jasper National Park through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. Besides the big horn sheep and elk expect to see the Columbia Icefields and many waterfalls. Of course the real reason is to see the mountains on either side of you. The highway has paved shoulders and do expect a major climb along the way.
Golden Triangle – there are many routes through the Canadian Rockies. This is a short route starting in Banff with an extreme climb over the continental divide to Golden in British Colombia. At least there are paved shoulders during the hard climb. You return via other mountain roads to complete the triangle. Other popular options include heading south to Waterton Lakes/Glacier National Park in the US or north to Jasper.
Gulf Islands – these islands sitting between Vancouver and Victoria are made for exploring. You will have arrived by ferry and will be staying in a bed and breakfast. Visit the quaint towns art galleries, it is a different lifestyle on the islands.
If you are not a great planner there are guided tours of all the routes listed above. If you are considering bicycle touring in Canada consider these routes as a great introduction to the country.