You Can Now Hike, Bike, and Paddle Across Canada

It's now the longest trail in the world
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2017 11:00 AM CDT
World's Longest Hiking Trail Now Open in Canada
The newly-completed trail spans 14,000 miles.   (Canada's Great Trail)

It is now possible, for anyone with the time and the inclination, to hike, bike, and paddle your way across Canada on a single, coast-to-coast trail. It's been about 25 years in the making, reports the Smithsonian, but now the world's longest continuous trail boasts 432 sections that span 14,000 miles and traverses 15,000 communities. A whopping 477 groups came together to help get it done, and people cut ribbons and held scavenger hunts at more than 200 parties to celebrate the path's completion, which coincides with the year Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. "Come on world, come see what Canada has to offer," project president Deborah Apps says.

Not everyone is partying, though, per Maclean's. There's still work to be done to make the trails friendly to pedestrians, cyclists, and paddlers, and you must be all three to complete. And some say the trail is being sold as something it isn't. That's because just 32% (about 4,900 miles) of the trails are off-road. Some 5,400 miles share roads with cars, while another 3,800 miles are waterways and 1,100 miles are hybrid trails that allow all-terrain vehicles. There's also been local resistance. In stretches of Alberta, for instance, private landowners didn't want tourists suddenly flooding a path through their properties, so some sections are far from straight. One cyclist currently biking the route goes so far as to call the Great Trail name "propaganda," while the organization admits it is a work in progress. "Our priority was to get it done," says a trail co-founder. (More bike trail stories.)

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