History

HIKE CANADA! Hike Canada on the national trail system dedicated to hiking, snowshoeing and backpacking. Well-trodden or rugged, there are 3800km of operable trail with many more tracts of public lands awaiting designation. Once established coast to coast, the trail corridor will offer a contrasting array of heritage of natural landscapes and historic places, and provide passage, habitat, and refuge for wildlife.

From a 1971 meeting of national outdoor organizations and with the slogan “Towards a Foot Trail across Canada”, the National Hiking Trail was launched officially at a ceremony in Ottawa in 1987. Piece by piece, the scenic 10,000 kilometre footpath is growing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and our long-held vision of a natural corridor connecting existing natural-surface pedestrian trail systems with parklands and wild places is becoming a reality.

The Bruce Trail of Ontario, forerunner of Canada’s modern-day trail system, was the pioneer. Completed in the Centennial Year 1967, its aim is to save the Niagara Escarpment and its unique natural features from the threat of development by establishing 700 kilometres of trail along its length. It started on the remarkable relationship grounded on handshake access permission between land managers and the trail organization, enabling public use of the trail. The same principles were adopted by the National Hiking Trail.