Canada’s ‘Great Trail’ Is Finally Connected

In 1992, three Canadians, inspired by their country’s 125th birthday celebration, thought up a crazy plan. What if they could connect all of Canada’s hiking trails, footpaths, rail trails, and boardwalks into one giant mega-trail that snaked from coast to coast?

It’s now 2017. Canada has celebrated its 150th birthday. And on August 26th, those three dreamers—along with the thousands of volunteers who helped clear brush, fix planks, put up signs, and do all the other little tasks that make wilderness passable—celebrated the coast-to-coast connection of what they’re calling the Great Trail.

The trail can be used for biking, hiking, and horseback riding in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. “First you build it, then get people using it and then it becomes an icon that will hopefully last forever,” Paul LaBarge, one of the original founders.

The path stretches 24,000 kilometers, or nearly 15,000 miles, criss-crossing southern Canada before forming a huge loop in the Northwest. A quarter of this length is water—wetland and river routes where hikers will have to trade boots for boats.

It’s also over five times as long as the West Coast’s famed Pacific Crest Trail, and over six times as long as the Appalachian.

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