Insight /

Canada

Canadian Wilderness Experiences

Canada is truly blessed with sensational natural beauty from the peaks of the Rockies, its rugged coastline, dense forests and wide-open plains. Interact with Canada’s incredible natural spaces in our round-up of wilderness experiences.

SEA KAYAK SAFARI

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Whales & Wilderness Glamping in British Columbia

Immerse yourself in the watery world of remote Swanson Island overlooking Blackfish Sound, cradled between the mountains and Vancouver Island. The island will be your home for the next five nights, sleeping in spacious and comfortable tents surrounded by soaring fir trees, spending your days exploring by kayak the channels, bays and small islands that make up Broughton Archipelago.

With a kayak guide, each day takes you on a new adventure, characterised by pristine coastal landscapes, clear-as-glass water and marine life as you paddle to sheltered bays and tiny islets, perhaps enjoying a privilege encounter with a humpback or orca whale. You may see black bears foraging at the shoreside; look out for deer, river otters, dolphins and porpoise too. Come back to camp for curated meals that draw from your local environment, such as responsibility sourced lingcod fillets served with vegetables from the garden. Enjoy the hot tub with views over the tranquil Blackfish Sound before bed.

“Spend your days paddling the mirror-like surface of the Blackfish Sound and catch sightings of porpoises, dolphins, sea lions and whales.”

Good To Know

A certain level of fitness is required to get the most out of this sea kayaking trip, which sees you paddling for four-to-six hours a day, although the pace can be tailored to you. This outfit are also mindful of their pristine environment and ensure they have a positive impact on it, becoming certified Biosphere Sustainable and donating 1% of their profits to environmental causes, among other endeavours.

DUDE RANCH LIFE

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Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, British Columbia

Despite Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort’s size – a 300-acre private estate found within over 10,000-acres of rugged land in the heart of British Columbia – the retreat only takes a maximum of 16 guests. So, this enormous outdoor playground will be very much yours to explore and discover, sleeping in either the main log ranch house, a canvas cabin or comfortable tent.

The emphasis at Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort is indulging in time-honoured pastimes rooted to cowboy culture and Indigenous people. You might spend a day panning for gold, flyfishing for rainbow trout or learning about the wilderness survival of the St’uxwtews – Bonaparte Indigenous community with an expert woodsman. Thrill-seekers will love the challenge of hiking to the top of Marble Mountain, a gentler trek takes you to waterfalls through wildflowers or enjoy a lazy float on a tube down the river. Horses play a big part in life here – and with their own herd of ranch horses, saddle up for a day of equestrian adventure learning western horsemanship and galloping the grasslands.

“Surrounded by snow-dusted peaks, embrace this vast wilderness with hands-on activities on an authentic dude ranch in the heart of British Columbia.”

Good To Know

This would be an incredibly memorable family holiday. With a huge range of activities, adults and children alike can challenge themselves away from the distractions of modern life, learning new skills, bonding in the great outdoors and spending quality time together that will be remembered for years to come. Staying at the resort would also be an ideal stop on a classic Canadian rainforest to Rockies road trip, starting in Vancouver and on to Banff and Jasper.

THE TRAIL LESS TRAVELLED

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Self-Guided East Coast Trail

In Canada’s most easterly province, Newfoundland, embrace the freedom of a self-guided walking holiday along unspoiled coastal pathways where nature thrives, wildlife flourishes and coastal culture runs deep. This independent nine-night hiking trip allows you to take the pace at your own speed, while enjoying all-natural surroundings including stepping foot on the most easterly point of North America.

Over the course of eight days, walk between 8km and 16km a day, traversing a variety of coastal hikes that afford views onto towering cliffs, deep fjords, dense greenery, dramatic sea-stacks and ocean caves. Keep your eye out for whales at sea, clifftop puffins and wheeling migratory seabirds. Stroll through coastal communities, characterised by clapboard houses and friendly residents such as Quidi Vidi and its famous microbrewery and seafood restaurant and Petty Harbour to admire the legacy of the province’s maritime history, the old lighthouse. A highlight of the trip is the huge sea arch at Berry Head; on a sunny day admire its reflection in the Labrador Sea.

“Canada’s most easterly province, Newfoundland is made up of dramatic sea views, plentiful marine life and unspoiled nature – perfect for exploring on a hiking holiday at your own pace.”

Good To Know

Take advantage of Newfoundland’s warm hospitality on this trip, where you will stay in simple hiker’s cabins or characterful B&Bs. Even better, your luggage will be transferred to your next lodging meaning you won’t need to carry your bags. Everything is thought through in terms of your itinerary, so lifts are waiting where needed and you have support for reassurance. So, although you’ll walk alone, you’ll still be taken care of.

BEAUTIFUL ISOLATION

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Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland

Situated on the rugged coastline of eastern Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn is a place of startling contrast. Remote yet accessible, wild but also artfully tamed, barren but full of biodiversity, with stark architecture that meets homely comfort, Fogo Inn may take a surprising hold on you. Ideal for couples and those wanting to find connection in wild landscapes, it’s truly one of a kind.

Soak up the thrashing ocean views at every turn, in constant flux with undulating icebergs in winter and bobbing with pods of whales in summer. The lichen-covered rocks are where you’ll walk every day, perhaps gathering berries in season, spotting puffins or aquatic birds. Offshore, Little Fogo Islands are a wealth of flora and fauna and underwater, cod teem in numbers easily fished for your supper. Back home, take a sauna or enjoy a hot tub or simply sit in front of floor-to-ceiling windows in bedrooms dotted with artisan craft and heritage weaving, watching the light change over the ocean and awaiting wholesomely crafted menus of local food, seafood and edible plants.

“In this sub-arctic climate, Fogo Island Inn envelopes you in a world of wild landscapes, homely comfort, innovative architecture and cultural discovery.”

Good To Know

Fogo Island Inn is a beacon of sustainability – respect for nature is paramount alongside the local community, supporting local suppliers, employing local staff and using 80% of ingredients from Fogo Island. Zita Cobb, owner of Fogo Island Inn also set up Shorefast, a charity that helps build cultural resilience on the islands.

GAZE AT GRIZZLIES

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Knight Inlet Lodge, British Columbia

Deep in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia lies Knight Inlet Lodge, a unique and remote resort that floats on the calm water of the inlet. Vast tracts of temperate rainforest surround Knight Inlet, home to Indigenous peoples, wild bears, whales, seals and wolves within its ancient forests, pristine rivers, glacier-fed waterfalls and craggy peaks.

Once you’ve settled into your floating home, the main draw here is naturally the great outdoors with several different ways to immerse yourself in this unspoiled wilderness. Take a cruise through Knight Inlet, marvelling at the steep rock faces and gushing waterfalls, learning about Indigenous folklore. Walk through old-growth forests on carpets of moss and discover wildlife big and small, breathing the purest air imaginable. Enjoy panoramic views from a raised boardwalk or gently sea kayak a sheltered cove. In the summer, Knight Inlet is one of the few places in the world where you can combine both whale and bear watching, see bears feed on salmon at the shore’s edge and then admire orcas gathering in the Johnstone Strait.

“One of the few places in the world where you can spot both whales and bears on the same day, the floating lodge of Knight Inlet is an unsurpassed location for wildlife lovers.”

Good To Know

Owned by an Indigenous partnership of five First Nations, Knight Inlet Lodge is deeply invested into the region, and paired with a profound knowledge of the Great Bear Rainforest, Knight Inlet Lodge are environmental stewards and strongly advocate for sustainable fisheries and wildlife management policies.

LUXE WILDERNESS

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Sonora Resort, British Columbia

Sonora Resort benefits from not only a remote and pristine environment deep in nature but is also a very well-equipped retreat that caters well to families, coming with a pool, tennis court, putting green and fly-fishing ponds. Rustic and authentic yet also high-end, this Relais & Chateaux property is an excellent entry point to explore the coastal wilderness around the Pacific Ocean.

Days spent at Sonora include all manner of nature-immersed activities. An eco-adventure kayak or boat trip is a great way to experience untamed wilderness. Spot bald eagles and sea birds swoop to pluck fish from whirlpools. See steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoises and Pacific white-sided dolphins frolic and feed. Come summer, killer whales frequent the channels surrounding Sonora Island. You could also lift off in a helicopter glacier tour or fly fish in a pristine river. Make time to appreciate the stillness of your environment – evenings are for hot chocolate around the fire, under a star-filled sky.

“Surrounded by dense pine forests and opening out onto a sprinkling of islets amid British Columbia’s Discovery Islands, Sonora Resort is a high-end entry into unspoiled wilderness.”

Good To Know

With a wide range of accommodation, all types of travellers are welcome at Sonora. Couples can enjoy the solitude of an ocean suite with a ‘soaker’ tub while large multi-generational groups can happily enjoy the Sea Lion Pointe House villa which sleeps up to 10 and has an art-filled communal space, a games room and rooftop hot tub.

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