Hiking in Canada. Don’t forget the eTA

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Banff National Park. Photo by clement fusil on Unsplash

When people think of a holiday, their heads are filled with images of pristine white beaches or sightseeing in popular cities. And for good reason, as most guides on the internet tend to suggest activities like that. But travellers that want to keep things simple, or that just enjoy walking, should consider spending a holiday hiking. And few countries are better for this than good old Canada.

Canada is the ideal destination for a walking holiday or tour for a reason. The natural sights of Canada are perhaps unmatched in the whole world. The country is the second-largest in the world, larger even than the United States. Only Russia boasts a larger landmass. But unlike the densely populated USA, most of Canada is made up of unspoilt nature. The country boasts impressive natural features such as the enormous Rocky Mountains, vast national parks such as Banff, Gros Morne and Jasper, or the rainforests on Vancouver Island. In short, Canada has something to do for everyone.

The most beautiful hiking spots in Canada

Jasper National Park. Photo by Davi Costa on Unsplash

Canada has countless of beautiful hiking locations, and naming them all would span several pages. But most people agree that the best walks are had in the national parks the country is famous for.

The two best known national parks are probably Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. These parks are both located in the Rocky Mountains, not very far from each other. They are connected by the Icefields Parkway, a road that runs along several national parks in the Rocky Mountains.

In the parks you will find azure lakes and mountain peaks, rising 2,500 to 3,700 metres into the sky. The downside of this is that everyone knows about these locations. Because Banff and Jasper are very popular with tourists, it can be very crowded at times, somewhat ruining the image of untouched nature.

An alternative for travellers who prefer a smaller and quieter national park is Mount Revelstoke National Park. Here, you can experience much of the same as you would in Banff or Jasper, without running the risk of the tranquillity being disturbed by loud tourists.

Mount Revelstoke National Park (source: todocanada.ca)

The three parks have different routes and trails for day hikes or multi-day hikes. There are options for experienced hikers and mountaineers, but also for less experienced hikers and even people travelling with children. All you need are a pair of proper hiking shoes and a positive attitude, and you’re sure to have a blast walking through Canada’s beautiful natural landscapes.

Applying for the eTA Canada

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Before leaving for Canada, it’s always prudent to get your paperwork in order. Travellers arriving in Canada by plane must always apply for an eTA Canada or a visa (Electronic Travel Authorization). The only exceptions to this rule are people arriving by land or by cruise ship, and people with the Canadian nationality. They can travel without a visa or eTA.

Travellers who qualify for an eTA are always advised to apply for an eTA, and not for a visa for Canada. This is because the eTA is cheaper, easier to apply for and quicker to obtain than a visa. For a hiking holiday, an eTA Canada is generally sufficient and you don’t need to apply for a visa. Check here if the eTA is suitable for your hiking holiday in Canada

With an eTA, you can stay in Canada for a maximum of 6 consecutive months. This travel authorisation is valid for 5 years from the moment of approval and can be used for multiple trips. This means that you can return to Canada again without any problems if the hiking holiday was to your liking. In that case, make sure that your passport details are still the same. If you received a new passport in the meantime, the old eTA will become invalid and a new application must be submitted.

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