Trans-Canada Trail

Trans Canada Trail Near Tottenham, Ontario

The Trans Canada Trail is a patchwork of interconnecting segments that not only crosses Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but also reaches to the Arctic Ocean.  The southerly portion of the trail crosses Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, with a detour through Prince Edward Island, then tracks along Canada’s southern border as far as Manitoba.  From there it heads northwest across Saskatchewan and Alberta to Edmonton.  The trail splits near Edmonton with a northerly loop across the Northwest or Yukon Territories (your choice, or a loop) reaching all the way to  the Beaufort Sea north of the tiny community of Inuvik.  The southerly route from Edmonton goes to Calgary and, again, closer to the southern border and westward to the Pacific at Victoria, British Columbia.  Here’s a map to offer some perspective:

Trans Canada Trail Map

 

 

Hiking the Trans Canada Trail

If you were to travel the entire trail, you would cover over 15,000 miles!  The trail is about 80% complete using national and provincial funding as well as private donations.  It is truly a national project connecting 400, existing trails that are individually managed by volunteer trail groups or government entities.  Large segments are rail-to-trail conversions.  Along the way hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, skiers and snowmobilers will eventually find a series of small pavilions offering shelter and water.  The plan is to have the trail fully connected by July 1, 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.  Here’s a short video that offers a glimpse of the trail being groomed for cross country skiers in the Yukon Territory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBYptuD2M10):

 

One Woman’s Journey

Sarah Jackson, 24, dipped her toe in the ocean near Victoria, British Columbia, in June of 2015 and headed eastward with the idea of hiking all the way to St. John’s in Newfoundland by the fall of 2016.  Her through hike is not entirely continuous as she travels away from the trail and takes extended breaks from time to time, always returning to the point she left the trail to continue onward.  By April 12, 2016, after 201 days on the trail she had covered 4245.9 km (2638.3 miles) about 35% of her trek.   According to her SPOT page, that seems to have some gaps, she is currently in Yorktown, Saskatchewan, but her latest report said she was on day 108 near Morden, just southwest of Winnipeg

MSR Elixir 2 TentClearly Jackson has some hiking and camping background, however, to get in shape for this adventure,  she just set off on the hike with her 50 pound backpack.  She started at around 9 miles a day and now can hike over 25 miles a day.  She says, “I don’t have a set-in-stone time frame, and listen to my body when it tells me to slow down, or to rest. I have built up endurance gradually.”

She is sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-op that provided her with some winter gear.  Other than that her 70L Gregory DEVA backpack contains a variety of supplies.  Among them:

All of these are great choices.  You can find her complete list of supplies at her “Inside My Pack” post.  For more on Jackson and her journey see:

And, finally a video celebrating her completion of 1,000 miles on the trail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc8ZTGwKxII):

Conclusion

Clearly the Trans Canada Trail can be an experience of a lifetime, but it also passes near 1000 communities where residents can enjoy smaller pieces of it on a daily basis.  If you happen to be nearby one of these segments it’s time to discover your piece of the trail.

Credits

  • Scenic Bridge on the trail in Nova ScotiaHeader Photo: The Trans Canada Trail near Tottenham, Ontario by Michael Gil
  • Harris Cox is a PCT Volunteer Because :  Trans Canada Trail Charitable Organization
  • MSR Elixer 2 Tent: MSR
  • 100 Miles on the TCT: Sarah Jackson
  • Scenic Bridge Photo by Dennis Jarvis

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