From unceded territories to a remote base camp to a downtown haven. Inuit lore, Haida storytellers and sacred places. Luxury tour buses, open-seas zodiacs, or your own two feet. Choose a park, commit to the journey, and change your perspective.

By Jane Burgess

 

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Challenge rating: step into nature

Hike the Athabasca and Maligne Valleys, rediscover ancient trails in the “Shining Mountains”, climb the “Backbone of the World”. With your Métis guide, be transformed for a few hours, retracing the footsteps of the Rocky Mountains’ First Nations and revering the sheer beauty and sacred places of the Stoney Nakoda People. — jaspertourcompany.com

 

Nahanni National Park & Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories and Alberta

Challenge rating: sheer size

From Yellowknife, through North Slave, Dehcho and South Slave regions, to Nahanni and Wood Buffalo Parks, take days to soak in the northern boreal plains the Dene have walked for millennia, spotting bison, eagles, whooping cranes, bear and moose. At night, look up and see a true Dark Sky, you can almost touch the stars, or at least dance with the Northern Lights. Now that’s something to cross off your bucket list. — bucketlisttour.com

 

The Torngats, Torngat Mountains National Park, Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador

Challenge rating: Remote, spiritual

Follow centuries of Inuit footsteps and Inukshuks through the subarctic Torngat Mountains, feel the spirits of Sallikuluk, then hike and swim at Silluak. Craggy peaks, glacial fjords and icy bergs along the Labrador Sea reveal polar bears and caribou. A traditional Inuit homeland, Torngat Mountains National Park is remote: you need to fly to northern Labrador, boat to the base camp, and coordinate with Parks Canada staff. The payoff? Wild nature, spiritual awakening and appreciation of the Inuit’s inextricable link to the land. — thetorngats.com

 

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Challenge rating: See it to believe it, four seasons in a day!

Spot rare Sitka deer, the biggest black bears in North America and unique flora, marvel at the ancient poles and longhouses of SGang Gwaay Ilnagaay village and hear the stories of the Haida when you visit the Islands of the People. Haida Style will fill your visit to this United Nations World Heritage Site with sea air, wilderness and Indigenous Culture. — haidastyle.com

 

Nunavik Parks: Pingualuit, Kuururjuaq, Tursujuq, Ulittaniujalik National Parks, Nunavik, Québec

Challenge rating: Free your inner nomad

Trek the edge of the bluest meteoritic crater lake and gaze across a treeless, moon-like tundra in Pingualuit, follow the Koroc River, by kayak in summer and by back-country ski, dogsled or snowmobile in winter, to Ungava Bay in Kuururjuaq, trace 4,500 years of human spirit, ingenuity and subsistence among Cree and Inuit archaeological sites in Tursujuq, track the now-endangered George River Caribou along the same paths weathered by the Inuit and Naskapi Peoples, explorers and traders in Ulittaniujalik. Stretched above the 55th parallel in Québec, Nunavik Parks may offer too much for just one adventure. —www.nunavikparks.ca

 

Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

Challenge rating: recognize what’s sacred

Traditional totem poles, hidden lakes, and sacred red cedars. In Vancouver’s Stanley Park, surrounded by sea, walk through northwest coast trees and plants, with your Indigenous Cultural ambassador. Hear the stories and learn that everything here has been a resource for food, medicine, art and technology for generations of the Skwxu7mesh Uxwumixw Coast Salish People. — talaysay.com

 

Point Grondine Park, Killarney, Ontario

Challenge rating: expand your culture

Join a traditional pow wow, compete in an ice fishing derby, canoe the ancient routes along Georgian Bay, and immerse yourself in the Cultural lifestyles and Traditions of the Anishinabek People of the Three Fires Confederacy—the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi of Wiikwemkoong. Just five hours north of Toronto, Canada’s only officially recognized Unceded Indigenous Territory welcomes you. — grondinepark.com

Jane Burgess

Jane Burgess is an award-winning producer, writer, and content strategist who specializes in travel and tourism, current affairs and niche subjects such as wellness, Star Trek and regional recipes.