The Longest Hiking Trail in the World Will (Almost) See You Now

How's seven straight Appalachian Trails sound?

September 6, 2016 9:00 am

Consider your vacation plans for the next few years sorted.

Canada is about to complete the longest car-free path in the world: the 14,913-mile “Great Trail,” aka the Trans Canada. For those keeping score, that’s just under seven Appalachian Trails, 5.6 Pacific Coast Trails or 570 consecutive marathons.

It’s capital-L Long.

It is not, specifically, a single point-to-point trail, meandering as it does between Canada’s Arctic far north, Pacific Coast and the Maritimes, crossing each of the country’s 10 provinces along the way. Rather, it’s meant to be a kind of super-highway connecting tons of shorter existing trails — a job at which it has, apparently, not always made a success.

“On the face of it, it seems like a dream come true,” one user carped. “The reality not so much … Some [trails] are ‘Oops, you have to use the highway for 35 kilometers because…canyon.’” Another chief concern is the inhospitable weather that will shut down the trail during winter months, though snowmobilers will find plenty to like. 

The Great Trail was inspired by Europe’s growing network of long-distance cycling and walking trails, and it comes at an opportune moment, as North American travelers look closer to home for their vacation destinations following the string of attacks across France and Germany this past year. It’s worth remembering, though, that safety, even in Canada, is far from guaranteed


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