There are a few things we all know about Canada’s Great Trail: it’s a network of trails stretching across the country, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a point of pride for all Canadians. But we bet there are a few facts about this coast-to-coast-to-coast route that you weren’t aware of before today. We’ve rounded up some little-known tidbits to keep you on your toes.
1. Crossing Canada on The Great Trail would take over two years
We did the math! If you’re thinking of channelling your inner Sarah Jackson and embarking on a cross-country trek, consider this: the journey from one side of Canada to the other along The Great Trail would take a total of two years, two months and one week to complete, based on travelling 30 km per day. Better strap on those hiking boots tight!
Credit Greg Skuce, Yukon Government
2. The longest waterway section of The Great Trail spans a whopping 1,659.5 km
Best known for being Canada’s longest river, the Mackenzie River also represents the longest water route in Canada’s famous network of trails. Flowing from the Northwest Territories through Yukon, it’s also an awe-inspiring way to experience The Great Trail by boat — as long as you’ve got some serious paddling experience under your belt.
Photo By Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce
3. It’s where you’ll find one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America
Once construction is complete on the Columbia River Skywalk — the bridge is set to open to the public at the end of 2016 — The Great Trail will officially be home to one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. Located in Trail, BC, the bridge will be 305 metres long, suspended between two 100-foot towers.
Photo By TracyLeigh
4. It’s also home to the world’s longest free ferry
Ferry fiends, here’s something to add to your travel bucket list. The water trail running from Balfour to Kootenay Bay in BC, holds the world record for the longest free ferry ride. The scenery is worth the trip alone, taking passengers on a 30-minute journey surrounded by towering mountains.
Photo By Easton Elliott
5. Its highest elevation tops out at 2185 metres
The Great Trail stretches across rivers and lakes, flatlands and tall peaks. Its highest point can be found along the Kananaskis Country Trail in Alberta, where you can climb all the way up to 2,185 metres — that is, if your legs can handle the hike.
Photo By davebloggs007
6. Ontario boasts the longest stretch
Come 2017, Ontario will have one more thing to boast about — beyond the Toronto Blue Jays — the fact that it’ll have the longest section of The Great Trail, at 5,200 kilometres. That’s more than the combined sections of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador!
Photo By Michael Gil
7. It’s a labour of love
The creation, organization and maintenance of The Great Trail is a community-based effort. From local organizations and municipalities across the country to provincial and territorial authorities, public and private landowners, and national agencies, it’s up to Canadians from coast to coast to coast to champion their sections of The Great Trail.
Photo By Sheri Terris