5 hiking cities in Canada and U.S.

So many cities on the lip of wilderness offer urban hikes, as well as nearby treks in the wilds


Charlottetown, P.E.I.


Migrating parabolic dunes await at Greenwich in Prince Edward Island National Park. After a 60-km drive from Charlottetown, stroll six kilometres of beaches. Back in the capital, costumed guides offer historical walking tours of Canada’s birthplace and almost 11 km of trails.

Ottawa, Ont.


Twenty minutes north of Ottawa in Gatineau Park, 165 km of hiking trails beckon. Drive to Champlain Lookout, then hike two kilometres of forested trails to Western Lodge—watch for white-tailed deer and bald eagles. In Ottawa, explore Parliament Hill and then drop down to the Rideau Canal locks and Bytown Museum. Meander along the Ottawa River, returning to “The Hill” via the Library and Archives Canada.

Vancouver, B.C.

331 Photo by Su-Laine Yeo Brodsky.

Vancouver’s iconic Lions—twin peaks overlooking the city—provide an energetic 16-km hike, just an hour from downtown. Rewards along the Lions Binkert Trail include views of the city plus the Gulf Islands, scented cedar forests and alpine meadows strewn with rocks. Or, visit Richmond (Vancouver’s neighbour) and stroll through its lively night market.

Fort Myers/Sanibel Island, Fla.

332 Photo courtesy of Lee Country Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Enjoy wildlife—namely spoonbills and alligators—in “Ding” Darling National Refuge, Sanibel Island. Beachcomb for shells next to the Fort Myers Beach pier after visiting Sanibel’s Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

Palm Springs, Calif.

333 Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

Marvel at the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) in Mojave Desert’s Joshua Tree National Park. Trek along the 4.1-km Mastodon Peak Loop and spy one of the world’s largest inland seas, Salton Sea. In Thousand Palms, head to Coachella Valley Preserve’s Thousand Palms Oasis’s boardwalks that lead to a shady, cool palm oasis.

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