Follow these themed routes to discover amazing stories, scenery, sweets and more!
1 YUKON: SILVER TRAIL
The Klondike Gold Rush looms largest in Yukon’s mining history, but the discovery of massive silver deposits brought the territory more sustainable development. Between Whitehorse and Dawson City, the Silver Trail is dotted with quaint museums in the towns of Keno and Mayo, and crisscrossed by rugged hiking trails and paddle-able waterways.
2 B.C.: NANAIMO BAR TRAIL
Though their Vancouver Island origin story is lightly disputed, there’s no arguing with Nanaimo bars’ absolute deliciousness. Nanaimo, B.C. has dozens of cafés, bakeries and restaurants serving the creamy, chocolaty dessert. Indulge in the classic recipe, then try the deep-fried version at Pirate Chips restaurant, or a Nanaimo bar cocktail at The Grand Hotel.
3 NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: WATERFALLS ROUTE
Watch for waterfalls along the Mackenzie Highway, north of the Alberta–N.W.T. border. The 400-km circuit traverses a rugged landscape with some epic cascades. Alexandra Falls in Twin Falls Territorial Park and Lady Evelyn Falls near Kakisa are among the most accessible, but plan on going deeper into the region’s numerous parks too.
4 ALBERTA: COWBOY TRAIL
Rodeos and ranches abound on this route from the plains northwest of Edmonton to the foothills of the southern Alberta Rockies. There are many chances to experience the cowboy way: Learn the ranching ropes at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, browse First Nations wares at the historic Bragg Creek Trading Post and bite into legendary beef jerky in Longview.
5 SASKATCHEWAN: RED COAT TRAIL
Cruise the path of history on this highway, which follows the North-West Mounted Police’s 1874 march west from Manitoba to what’s now Lethbridge. Fort Walsh National Historic Site is a must-visit for Mounties buffs. A section of the road is also known as the Ghost Town Trail: It passes through 32 mostly deserted Saskatchewan communities.
6 MANITOBA: BABUSHKA TRAIL
The story of Manitoba’s Ukrainian settlers is still told in the municipalities around Riding Mountain National Park. Drive the 365-km loop to spy exquisite Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic churches, plus heritage sites like the Wasyl Negrych Pioneer Homestead—an amazingly well-preserved Ukrainian farm site. Museums in Rossburn, Sandy Lake and Dauphin also tell the stories of early Eastern European immigrants. Fuel your exploration with perogies, cabbage rolls and more from local restaurants.
7 ONTARIO: BUTTER TART TOUR
Multiple locales claim supremacy in Ontario’s best-butter-tarts battle (the first known recipe dates to a circa-1900 cookbook published in Barrie, Ont.). But for sheer breadth it’s hard to beat the Kawarthas Northumberland region, about 100 km east of Toronto. Four different tart trails take you past pristine lakes, serene pastures and through pretty towns, with dozens of stops along the way for some of the sweetest, gooiest little pastries imaginable.
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8 QUEBEC: LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL
Quebec’s Gulf of St. Lawrence shoreline is dotted with more than 40 historic lighthouses—reminders of la belle province’s seafaring culture. Driving to see them all can take two weeks or more; better to choose a shorter loop (in the Gaspésie, for example) and build in some time for activities like whale watching.
9 NOVA SCOTIA, NEW BRUNSWICK & P.E.I.: LOBSTER TRAIL
Get your fill of crustacean culture by driving the coasts of Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Colourful fishing communities like Shelburne, N.S. and Shediac, N.B. (the lobster capital of the world) boast many chances to chow down while learning about Maritime life. On P.E.I., ask about summertime lobster suppers, a tradition for more than 50 years. At these friendly affairs, you can get to know locals while indulging in the day’s clawed catch.
10 NEWFOUNDLAND: VIKING TRAIL
The 1,000-year-old Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is the big draw near the end of the long, lone highway up Newfoundland’s northern coast. In spring, the route is also awesome for iceberg spotting. Hop on an “Iceberg Alley” boat tour out of Quirpon or St. Anthony, or get even closer by paddling a sea kayak. Don’t be surprised if a humpback swims by to say hello.