Well Connected: The Trans-Canada Trail

Photo by Dana Meise. Courtesy www.tctrail.ca
Photo by Dana Meise. Courtesy www.tctrail.ca

The name of the Trans-Canada Trail is self-explanatory, but really it’s a patchwork of roughly 400 pre-existing trails that upon completion will stretch nearly 24,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic, through every province and territory.

To date, about 17,000 kilometres of the trail are up and running. Check the interactive map to find a section near you:


Trail sections are owned, operated and maintained by local organizations, provincial authorities, national agencies and municipalities across Canada.

article continues below

The TCT’s goal is to have the whole trail operational by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This means well over 6000 kilometres must still be blazed through mostly wild, unpopulated areas. Given the magnitude of the task, the TCT is asking for donations and volunteers. Details here.

It’s being touted as the world’s longest recreational trail and one can only imagine the positive impact for tourism across Canada. (Consider the international draw of BC’s West Coast Trail, Ontario’s Bruce Trail or Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail, and multiply it by at least a hundred.) Clearly, the potential is enormous. When completed, the TCT’s length and variety of scenery will dwarf other destination trails such as Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

Trail connection continues apace. One recent addition this summer is the Du Gouffre Trail in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, renowned for its alpine skiing. The new section allows for walking, hiking, cycling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and connects the resort town of Baie-Saint-Paul to the Petit Témis Trail, which heads east into New Brunswick. The TCT in Quebec is now 96 percent connected.

Former Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King said, “If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography.” The Trans-Canada Trail is helping to connect all that excessive geography and give it a common thread.