In honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Canadian government is giving free access to all of Canada’s national parks, national marine conservation areas, and national historic sites with the 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass. And my pass arrived in the mail today!
I have no idea how I’m going to use it. I’m not familiar with many Canadian national parks. I’ve never been to a Canadian national park. But with the arrival of my pass, I’m beginning to research some parks to visit this year. These are my top dream picks so far. It would be amazing to get to all three of these this year and maybe a few more!
Glacier National Park of Canada, British Columbia
The hikes in Glacier National Park are challenging, but rewarding. The terrain was carved by glaciers and there are still glaciers to see here. The views from the summit of Balu Pass include glaciers, icefields, and, in late summer, fields of wildflowers. But Balu Pass is also grizzly bear territory, which, honestly, scares the crap out of me even though I grew up playing in woods filled with black bears. Some of the best views of glaciers are apparently from the Glacier Crest Trail, so that’s at the top of my hiking wish list.
I imagine a trip to Glacier National Park would be similar to my trip to the Aran Islands: hearty breakfast, three to five hours of hiking, lunch, a nap, and a late dinner with a beer.
Thousand Islands, Ontario
Considering that I lived in northern New York for over a decade, the Thousand Islands are one of my most egregious travel oversights. However, Thousands Islands is just a seven hour drive from Pittsburgh, so it’s a relatively easy trip that I could plan at the last minute, which makes it highly likely to happen this year. I could also see my family enjoying staying in an Airbnb near Thousand Islands to relax around the campfire and explore somewhere new, too. That puts this trip high on the list if they get on board because we love taking summer family vacations in the woods.
Doesn’t this boathouse on it’s own island look like a fun place to stay? It’s in New York, but so close to the Canadian border it would be easy to visit Thousand Islands National Park.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Whenever I think of Saskatchewan, I picture snow, so this would be an ideal trip for the early part of next winter. I’d like to finally try cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Prince Albert National Park even has a disc golf course that can be accessed on snow shoes in the winter, which makes me think my husband would adore this trip. And after all that time in the snow, I’d like to curl up by a fireplace with a coffee and a Saskatoon berry pie made with local berries stored from summertime.
And in the winter, there’s also the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights, which would be incredible. I’ve never seen them before and can’t wait to see them someday.
Get the Parks Canada Discovery Pass
This pass is available to anyone, so if you’re planning a trip to Canada this year, go order your pass here: Parks Canada Discovery Pass.
It takes about six weeks to arrive in the mail if you’re in the U.S.
Where would you go?
There are 148 locations included in the Parks Canada Discovery Pass. Check them out at Parks Canada. Let me know where you’d like to go in the comments below!