5 Canadian National Parks to Visit this Winter

by Travelbag on 10 November 2017, 11:11AM

A holiday in Canada in winter might sound a brutal affair. Extreme even, when you consider that temperatures in large parts of the country dependently plummet to -30 degrees Celsius. Hardly a winter wonderland if your eyes are frozen shut.

You might reckon these acute conditions to be endurable only by thrill seeking skiers, snowboarders, caribou and the likes. You’d be wrong. Coniferous forests, handsome mountains and frozen expanses of beryl blue lakes in deserted valleys come into their own in the winter. Plus this is the last chance to take advantage of 2017’s free entry policy.

Read on to discover our top picks of Canada’s National Parks for this winter and search flights to Canada to see how much you could save.

 

Dark Skies Above Bruce Peninsula

Crowded in the summer (it’s a three and a half hour drive from Toronto), Bruce Peninsula is desolate come winter time. Home to some of North America’s oldest trees, barred owls, black bears and massasauga rattlesnake, the 156 square kilometres of this park is also a dark zone. Activities are limited to hiking and snowshoeing in the winter (October 30th – April 27th) but the main event is the majesty of the night sky – Bruce Peninsula has been a dark sky zone since 2004.

 

Polar Bear Cubs at Wapusk

Between November and February, female polar bears give birth to a blind litter of 1-3 cubs that typically weigh 0.9kg (the weight of a pineapple). In late February, female polar bears bust open their winter chambers to begin the journey down to the sea ice. Wapusk National Park encompasses the maternity dens of some 1,000 bears, its terrain of boreal forest, arctic tundra and considerable expanse of peat bog arranging ideal nursery territory. Arrive from late February onwards when the bears start emerging but also look out for wolves, arctic foxes and caribou.

 

Hot Springs in Kootenay

Get your kit off at the Radium Hot Springs. It might be -6 degrees Celsius at this time of year but you’ll never know it once sunk in the 39 degree Celsius pools. You might think that the steam rising from the natural springs would provide added warmth but the opposite is true – the evaporated water cools very quickly in the cold air to create hives of complicated ice structures on overhanging foliage. If you arrive to Kootenany in November you’ll hear the bone crunching collisions of big horn sheep rut. Herds descend on the village of Radium (you’ll have a decent chance of actually seeing a male contest) and return to the mountains to lamb in spring.

 

Ski Across Glacier National Park

Glide past valleys gauged by ice on its retreat north 12,000 years ago in Glacier National Park. The ski season runs from November to April and you’ll zip past trees cocooned in their winter snow jackets and pit stop to see waterfalls frozen solid in their tracks. Now is the time to go and see Canada’s great glaciers – scientists studying them estimate they will have disappeared by 2030, if current climate patterns continue.

 

Backcountry Camping Mount Revelstoke National Park

If you’re looking to amplify that feeling of remoteness in the Canadian wilderness, check out the Caribou Cabin in the southwest of Mount Revelstoke. There’s a wood stove and firewood, six foam sleeping mats and the 15 bucks a night fee includes your wilderness pass. Hike the 1.2 kilometres of the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, named after the odour of the yellow carnivorous plants that grows in the valley wetlands. It’s an early riser and blooms in late winter – one of the first plants of the year to emerge.

 

Safety

Visiting wild and remote places in the Canadian winter increases the risk of hypothermia and pneumonia. Be sure to check local weather conditions with a ranger, always check into a National Park so that you are registered in the case of a search and rescue and do your homework so you know what equipment you are likely to need.

 

Click here to book your holiday getaway to Canada today, or visit us in store


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