Lonely Planet Writer

Canada set to complete world's longest recreational trail system in 2017

Canada is set to complete the longest recreational trail system in the world next year: a 24,000-kilometre path that can be used for walking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and more, through urban, rural and wilderness environments.


The Great Trail, previously called the Trans Canada Trail, is a multi-use trail that is designed to link the vast country’s three oceans, each of the provinces and territories, and 15,000 communities. The trail system will likely be useful for people looking to get outside and enjoy the nature nearby as the path is located within 30 minutes of 80% of Canadians. However, trying to actually use it to get from coast to coast will be reserved for those with a lot of time and who are skilled in multiple outdoor activities as 26% of the trail path is on waterways.

At this point, 87% of the trails are connected across the country. The not-for-profit organisation behind the trail was created in 1992 and is aiming to complete it by 2017, which is the 25th anniversary of the trail and the 150th anniversary of Confederation. However, with 3200 kilometres left to go, in areas with difficult terrain, organisers note that it is a “bold and ambitious goal”.

A photo posted by Trans Canada Trail (@tctrail) on Sep 6, 2016 at 11:28am PDT

“Canada is home to the greatest trail in the world. Our epic trail of trails was created by thousands of dreamers, can-doers, volunteers, friends and partners sharing the same audacious goal of connecting our country”, states the website.

While the project is designed to link up and create trails, the different sections are owned and operated by a variety of organisations, locally, provincially and nationally.