canadian national parks

10 national parks to visit in Canada this winter

National parks in Canada make for a truly epic nature adventure this winter. So, you might want to consider skipping the pricey flights overseas and instead pay a visit to the wonders in our own backyard. 

Canada has a stunning range of 48 national parks and national park reserves from coast to coast, and they each have their own exceptional attributes that make them worth a trip.

Snow-topped mountains, grizzly bears, crystal-clear freshwater lakes, elk and moose — what could be more beautiful and exhilarating (not to mention Canadian)?

Kootenay National Park

Camp in style, relax in the Radium Hot Springs, or discover some prehistoric fossils at this national park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Its Burgess Shale fossil site is one of the oldest known in the world containing soft-part imprints.

This natural playground in B.C. is somehow often overlooked in favour of bigger parks nearby, like Banff, but has many of the same attractions (and more), so don't sleep on it.

Kluane National Park

Yukon's Kluane National Park is a slice of nature's untouched dominion in Canada's wild north. Float past towering glaciers, fly over the country's biggest icefield, or visit Canada's tallest peak, Mount Logan, for a truly unique experience you can't get elsewhere in the country. 

Banff National Park

Between the mountains and glacial lakes that are seemingly everywhere you look in Banff, Alberta, this national park is known for its jaw-dropping scenery.

But in the winter months, Banff's most enticing feature is its skiing and snowboarding: Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village being three of the top ski resorts in the world, collectively providing dozens of square kilometres of slopes within an hour's drive.

Fundy National Park

This park in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick is the perfect place to experience the Canadian Maritimes year-round. Camping, hiking, kayaking, and a view of the world's highest tides are just some of the experiences on offer.

You can even stay in an adorable little yurt in the middle of the Acadian forest! In the winter, temperatures are more mild than other parts of the country, and park admission is free.

Riding Mountain National Park

This protected park at the top of the Manitoba Escarpment boasts a distinctive mix of eastern deciduous forest, rolling grassland, and boreal forest, meaning it has an extra diverse array of flora and fauna.

Visitors can explore the area through hiking and cycling, or by learning about its rich Anishinabe history.

Gros Morne National Park

This park in Newfoundland and Labrador has every different kind of landscape you can imagine: coasts and beaches, mountains and fjords, dense forests, and even sandy cliffs — called the Tablesands — that look like something from Mars.

The views from the park's eponymous summit are absolutely unparallelled, and well worth the hike up.

Nahanni National Park

Five hundred km west of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories lies this gigantic 3o,000 km² park brimming with alpine meadows, picture-perfect waterfalls, granite cliffs, collossal mountains, and the namesake South Nahanni River to at its heart.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Canada, Virginia Falls, which rush around the iconic Mason Rock.

Pacific Rim National Park

This small (and young) national park, on the southwest shore of British Columbia's Vancouver Island, is ideal to visit during the winter because it rarely gets below zero degrees. Hop between the many Broken Group islands, hike on a rainforest trail, or go seakayaking and whalewatching.

Having only been established in 1970 and having a footprint of only 511 km², Pacific Rim makes for a very special — and perhaps unlikely — addition to any list of national parks to explore.

Jasper National Park

This 11,000 km² park in Alberta joins Banff, Kootenay and Yoho to comprise the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site due to its glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, mountains, limestone caves, and many other valuable geographical and geological features.

Jasper is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve, making it one of the best places in the world to catch a dreamy, unhindered view of the stars.

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Famous for its hidden grotto, shipwrecks, and waters so turquoise-green that they look tropical, every Ontarian knows that Bruce Peninsula National Park is a great weekend getaway in the summer — but it still offers a spectacular adventure in the winter months, too.

The park, along Georgian Bay about four hours outside of Toronto, has fall and winter camping, along with hiking, snowshoeing, and other seasonal activities among its snowy forests and cliffs.

Cross country skiing is also permitted on all of Bruce's trails, and visitors can snowmobile on designated Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club routes in the area.

Lead photo by

Alec Favale at Banff National Park

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Travel

Canada is getting a massive new resort that pays homage to Indigenous culture

Burnaby Mountain park in Canada is home to the Playground of the Gods

The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan are a slice of the Wild West

Mingan Archipelago national park reserve is home to the largest group of monoliths in Canada

Ouimet Canyon has breathtaking fall colours and an unreal lookout bridge

This tiny Scandinavian cottage in the Canadian forest is the ultimate getaway

The Parkhurst Ghost Town is an old logging outpost hidden deep in the Canadian forest

The Eastern Townships in Quebec look absolutely breathtaking in the fall