40 Indigenous-led Outdoor Experiences Across Canada

As one of the fastest growing forms of tourism in Canada, Indigenous tourism often offers the kind of powerful emotional connection and authenticity travellers crave. More than opportunities to explore the landscape or learn about plants and animals, modern Indigenous tourism doesn’t shy away from teaching about the harsh realities Indigenous people have endured.

It may seem like just a canoe ride, a hike to find medicinal plants or an adventure to see bears, but along the way the guides are smashing stereotypes. “Visitors learn about our history, our challenges, the land, animals, songs, stories and food and in doing so, they learn about themselves,” explains Greg Hopf of Moccasin Trails in Kamloops, BC. “Tourism ends up becoming an act of reconciliation.”

There are tons of great offerings across Canada with various levels of immersion into Indigenous culture. Read on for 40 incredible Indigenous-led outdoor experiences across the country:

British Columbia

  1. Paddle the South Thompson River near Kamloops with Moccasin Trails and explore the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people with a local Knowledge Keeper. Spend a couple of hours in a voyager-style canoe and discover how the people of the interior have thrived in this landscape and developed a strong connection to the water.
  2. Explore Kiix̣in, an ancient village that’s dated to over 5,000 years, on a 3.5-hour walking tour through the west coast Vancouver Island rainforest near Bamfield. Huu-ay-aht guides explain how massive log buildings were constructed while weaving together Oral History with modern archeological discoveries.
  3. Fish the mighty Fraser with Indigneous-owned Great River Fishing Adventures out of Chilliwack. From half-day trips to multi-day fish camps, you’ll learn about the Fraser eco-system and history, enjoy the scenery and may even land a few fish.
  4. Learn about the cultural significance of coastal trees like the western hemlock with Talaysay Tours in Vancouver. Guide Candace Campo will explain the tree’s role in her culture. “It’s a tree of 100 uses,” she says, “but it won’t keep you warm in winter.”
  5. Discover the ancient villages Gwaii Hanaas on full day tours aboard 12-person zodiacs or enclosed landing craft with Haida Style Expeditions. Stop at villages and spot bears, sea lions and whales.


  1. Climb the ancient mountains of the David Thompson Corridor near Red Deer with Metis guide Tim Taylor. Girth Hitch Guiding offers Via Ferrata climbing as well as a wide variety of skills courses.
  2. Meander through the boreal forest near Clearwater County and learn about traditional plants and their uses from a Cree perspective with Mahikan Trails.
  3. Immerse in Ojibway, Cree and Mohawk heritage with traditional outdoor skill training including animal tracking, fire starting and natural navigation at Painted Warriors in Mountainview County.
  4. Fish the Bow River in Calgary with Drift Out West Fly Fishing. Cree guide Quinn offers full and half day float trips as well as walking and casting trips in mountain streams.
  5. Hike in the Rockies with an Indigenous guide on a trail that suits your skill level and interests. Family or group hikes include storytelling and Indigenous education with Buffalo Stone Woman guides.
  6. Camp on the North Saskatchewan River and discover the rich history of the Métis settlers to the region by trying your hand at paddling or walking an ancient trail at the 512 acre Cultural Gathering Centre, Métis Crossing in Smoky Lake.


  1. Canoe the rapids of the Roseau River while camping at the ORoseau:RapidsPark/ParcdesRapides in Saint-Malo. Visitors can also explore part of the Métis trade network along the Crow Wing Trail.
  2. Access the outdoors with rentals and mentoring in St Malo. Sayzoons is a unique rental company developed by Métis entrepreneurs to remove barriers for people who want to try new sports and discover the outdoors.
  3. Race along a groomed trail behind a team of huskies. Wapusk Adventures is proud of their Métis heritage and living ‘up North.’ Located in Churchill, at Wapusk you can experience the exhilaration of dog sledding.
  4. See polar bear cubs and their mothers in their natural habitat at Wapusk National Park in Churchill. Wat’chee Expeditions takes visitor into the denning area to learn about the bear’s behavior and life cycle. You may also spot ptarmigans, arctic foxes, caribou herds and wolves. In the Cree language, Wat’chee means “a hill covered with trees in the middle of the tundra.”


  1. Spot eagles and their nests with a Cree/Métis guide while travelling by canoe along the waterways of the Saskatchewan River Delta, near Cumberland House. Aski Holistic Adventures provides a variety of opportunities to get out on the land and challenge yourself.
  2. Discover the northern plains by walking through the landscape where buffalo once roamed while learning about the First Nations communities who gathered in the Wanuskewin area near Saskatoon.


  1. Connect with Toronto’s western beaches on a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) with First Nations sisters Jenifer and Sharon Rudski and their company Oceah Oceah.
  2. Revitalize in the back country in Point Grondine Park in Killarney. Paddle in the wake of the Anishinaabek on a guided tour which includes Indigenous meals, storytelling and the chance to learn Indigenous astronomy.
  3. Embark on a traditional Anishinaabek canoe route where you’ll spot pictographs and see ancient village sites with Wasse-Giizhik Tours in the Georgian Bay, North Channel and Killarney area.
  4. Identify the Indigenous plants of the Carolinian forest ecosystem on a guided tour along the Six Nations Nature Trail in Ohsweken.
  5. Climb the Cup and Saucer hiking trail to a 85-metre-high lookout while learning about local plant life used by the original inhabitants of Manitoulin Island: the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi peoples. Great Spirit Circle Trail offers a range of nature-based and cultural tourism.


  1. Adventure through Innu territory and discover the rich traditions of the Innu people who live on the Essipiunnuat reserve. There are whale watching trips on the St. Lawrence that pass by ancient archaeological sites, plus spots for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, biking and hiking.
  2. Meet Wabush (meaning “hare”), an Innu elder who will introduce you to the Innu way of life in Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes. You’ll learn about traditional activities including hunting, cooking and spirituality.
  3. Cook Innu “banique,” learn about smoking fish and try traditional foods at Uapishka Station in the Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve.
  4. Sleep in the heart of the Unamen Shipu community (located in La Romaine, on the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence River) and take Zodiac outings into the river and guided tours of the community.
  5. Hike across Diana Island (which straddles the Nunavut/Nunavik border and is part of Nunavik Parks) in Quebec’s Ungava Peninsula. Inuit guides will teach you about the lives of the island’s muskox, wolves and Eider ducks while beluga whales and icebergs can be spotted in the distance.


  1. Engage with the Mi’kmaq people of Lennox Island and learn traditional skills such as quill work on birch bark or how to create a hand drum. You can also enjoy a beachside meal of bannock and clams that you’ll learn to prepare alongside your host.

New Brunswick

  1. Cast a line into the Miramichi River system and discover the traditional ways of preparing salmon at the Red Bank Lodge in Red Bank. Guided walks include Indigenous history and lots of wildlife spotting.
  2. Slumber under the stars in Red Bank in a Metepenagiag Heritage Park teepee and learn the traditional Metepenagiag game of Waltes or build a fire and listen to stories of the history of the Mi’kmaq people.

Nova Scotia

  1. Dance the Koju’a, an energetic Mi’kmaq social dance that tests the dancer’s strength and endurance or learn traditional hunting and fishing skills with the Eskasoni First Nation on the shores of Bras D’or Lake.
  2. Camp at Kluskap Ridge RV and Campground on the land of the Membertou, a community of the Mi’kmaq Nation. Take a nature walk, learn a traditional skill or use the area as a base for exploring Cape Breton.

Newfoundland & Labrador

  1. Experience birding in Southwestern Newfoundland from a Mi’kmaq culture and history perspective. Birding by Season heads into boreal forests, along coastlines and into wetlands in search of bird species including the willet, Arctic tern, Caspian tern, horned lark, American pipit and snow bunting.
  2. See Gros Morne National Park through the eyes of the region’s First People. Explore along a game trail and discover the plants and animals that sustain the Indigenous owners of the region.
  3. Follow Inukshuk through the Torngat Mountains and learn about the Inuit culture. Spend your days fishing for arctic char, swimming in a brilliant blue lake, hiking along an ancient trade trail or journeying across traditional hunting grounds.

The North

  1. Mush your own dog team across the Arctic landscape or ride a snow machine and catch sight of a vast herd of reindeer with Tundra North Tours in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
  2. Spend an evening aurora viewing with BDene on the shores of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories with story-telling, Dene history and legends, drumming and samples of traditional foods.
  3. Craft an igloo in Arctic Bay, Nunavut and discover the skills it takes to make a home out of snow and ice with local Inuit. Learn how to travel across the landscape by dogsled, catch fish and get to know your Inuit hosts at Arctic Bay Adventures.
  4. Bike 40 kilometres of singletrack trails on Montana Mountain. The trails were built and are maintained by local Indigenous youth in Carcross, Yukon and include 28 kilometre Mountain Hero, a trail that retraces the steps of a 105-year-old mule trail.
  5. Swim in a crystal-clear Yukon lake while staying at Shakat Tun Wilderness Camp near Allenville. Hike or bike across the landscape, try fishing or take a cultural excursion with your hosts.

PS. Why 40? Because Explore Magazine is Turning 40 Years Old!

In Spring of 1981, the first issue of Explore Magazine went up for sale on newsstands around Canada.

Forty years later, explore is still on newsstands coast-to-coast; we’ve expanded to create a unique subscription box, adventure-focused podcast and a trusted online magazine, drawing in readers from around the world.

Don’t forget to pick up your free e-book copy of the Top 40 Hiking Trails in Canada.

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