10 Hikes Rich with History

Each trail has its own beauty, whether it’s a spanning view off a peak or a calming lookout over a river. But some hikes carry history that simply adds to the scenery surrounding them. Many hikes in Canada have deep-rooted Indigenous stories behind them—while others contain haunting ruins from natural disasters. As you tackle these trails, hiking on historical ground adds another layer of meaning to the adventure. Here are 10 hikes in Canada rich with history.

Canso Bomber Ruins Trail, Tofino, BC

Distance: 7.6 km
Time: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 236 m

As one of the most popular hikes in Tofino, BC, this hike will lead you to a Second World War bomber plane that crashed in 1945. All 12 of the passengers survived the disaster, but the remnants of the plane remain on the forest floor, now covered in graffiti.AllTrails

Grotto Canyon Trail, Exshaw, AB

Distance: 7.1 km
Time: approx. 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 342 m

This moderate hike located just 90 kilometres west of Calgary in the hamlet of Exshaw, AB, leads you to caves with ancient pictographs believed to be up to 1,000 years old. Overflowing with Indigenous history, Grotto Canyon Trail encompasses the detailed past of those who have come before us.AllTrails

Path of the People, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, SK

Distance: 2.1 km
Time: approx. 30 minutes
Elevation Gain: 28 m

Short and relatively flat, this prairie hike takes you through an Indigenous history lesson with multiple information signs on First Nations people, the land and the story of the valley. Encountering teepee rings, buffalo jumping sites and a medicine wheel, this is the perfect hike for anyone looking to learn about Indigenous history.AllTrails

Lake Superior Coastal Trail, Lake Superior Provincial Park, ON

Distance: 61.6 km
Time: multi-day
Elevation Gain: 1,137 m

This difficult, multi-day hike bordering the coast of Lake Superior bears fading pictographs made from red ochre on a towering crystalline granite cliff. If the distance is a bit too lengthy for your taste, you can simply take a 15-minute walk to the Agawa Rock Pictographs by parking just off Highway 17 near Sinclair Cove. This area is one of the most visited Indigenous archaeological sites in Canada.AllTrails

Myra Canyon Trail, Myra Bellevue Provincial Park, BC

Distance: approx. 20 km
Time: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 544 m

Originally built in the early 1900s as a rail corridor, the well-maintained Myra Canyon Trail takes you over 18 trestle bridges near Kelowna, BC. Twelve of those bridges burnt down in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire but were quickly rebuilt by BC Parks and volunteers for hikers and bikers to enjoy. Multiple plaques along the trail detail the history of these bridges, allowing you to learn as you walk.AllTrails

Carmacks Ridge Trail, Carmacks, Yukon

Distance: 5.3 km
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 23 m

This short, relatively easy trail travels along the Nordenskiold River, eventually leading to an abandoned log building and an Indigenous cemetery that carries ancestral history. As most of the trail sits on a flat ridge with expansive views, this trek is perfect for snowshoers in the winter months.AllTrails

Turtle Mountain Trail, Crowsnest Pass, AB

Distance: 7.2 km
Time: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 956 m

This out-and-back trail peaks the mountain known for the deadliest landslide in Canadian history. In 1903, 110 million tons of rock crashed down onto Frank, AB, but what remains of Turtle Mountain still welcomes experienced hikers to challenge it. On the hike, you will see the century-old boulders covering the town below, and you can visit the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre afterwards to learn about the deep history of the landslide.

Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail, Bathurst, NB

Distance: approx. 140 km
Time: multi-day
Elevation Gain: 3,141 m

This long, strenuous route follows the Nepisiguit River and is one of the longest thru-hikes on the East Coast. The Pabineau Mi’gmaq First Nation community helped create this trail, and hikers can find Indigenous history throughout the entire trek. Various teepees and log cabins can be found along the trail for shelter, and noticeable trail markers designed by a Mi’gmaq artist guide the hiker along the right path.AllTrails

North York Creek Plane Crash Trail, Castle Provincial Park, AB

Distance: approx. 20 km
Time: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 718 m

Tucked in the western corner of Alberta, this hike leads to the remains of the 1946 plane crash of the Royal Canadian Air Force Dakota. To honour the seven soldiers who died in the accident, hikers are asked to be respectful of the wreckage as they explore.AllTrails

Pothole Trail, Rockwood Conservation Area, ON

Distance: approx. 2.5 km
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 104 m

Along this scenic route, you will find the ruins of the Rockwood Woolen Mill, also called the Harris Woolen Mill Ruins, established in 1867. The towering stone structure had many uses during its time—including a 24-hour blanket factory for soldiers in the First World War—until it ceased operations in the 1930s.AllTrails

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