List of National Parks in Canada

canoe lake louise summer

Majestic Lake Louise is part of Banff National Park (Photo credit: Banff Lake Louise Tourism)

Guest post by Paige McEachren

Canada is known for what seems like boundless landscapes in its 10 provinces and 3 territories. Growing up in Newfoundland, I didn’t truly appreciate all the natural beauty. Many Canadians are used to living in or near nature – probably because Canada has parks and natural habitats in EVERY province and territory. There’s a whopping 47 National Parks and over one thousand Provincial and Territorial parks in Canada!

National parks in Canada are focused on protecting the natural ecosystem of the park. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t wanted there. It’s the opposite, actually. People are encouraged to explore and learn about Canada’s natural spaces. If you’ve never been, here’s a list of all Canadian National Parks in alphabetical order.

List of National Parks

Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve (Labrador)

Aulavik (Northwest Territories)

Auyuittuq (Nunavut)

Banff (Alberta)

Bruce Peninsula (Ontario)

Cape Breton Highlands (Nova Scotia)

Elk Island (Alberta)

Forillon (Quebec)

Fundy (New Brunswick)

Georgian Bay Islands (Ontario)

Glacier (British Columbia)

Grasslands (Saskatchewan)

Gros Morne (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (British Columbia)

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (British Columbia)

Ivvavik (Yukon)

Jasper (Alberta)

Kejimkujik (Nova Scotia)

Kluane (Yukon)

Kootenay (British Columbia)

Kouchibouguac (New Brunswick)

La Mauricie (Quebec)

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve (Quebec)

Mount Revelstoke (British Columbia)

Nahanni National Park Reserve (Northwest Territories)

Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve (Northwest Territories)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (British Columbia)

Point Pelee (Ontario)

Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)

Prince Edward Island (Prince Edward Island)

Pukaskwa (Ontario)

Qausuittuq (Nunavut)

Quttinirpaaq (Nunavut)

Riding Mountain (Manitoba)

Rouge National Urban Park (Ontario)

Sirmilik (Nunavut)

Terra Nova (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Thousand Islands (Ontario)

Torngat Mountains (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Tuktut Nogait (Northwest Territories)

Ukkusiksalik (Nunavut)

Vuntut (Yukon)

Wapusk (Manitoba)

Waterton Lakes (Alberta)

Wood Buffalo (Alberta/Northwest Territories)

Yoho (British Columbia)

Canada’s most visited National Park

Last year Canada’s National Parks and Historic sites welcomed over 27 million visitors. A good percentage of those visitors are hanging out in Alberta. Over 4 million people visited Banff National Park in 2017, making it Canada’s most visited National Park. A close second, almost 2.5 million checked out Jasper National Park.  Rounding out the top three of Canada’s most visited National Park list is the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.

list of national parks

Views of Banff townsite from Mount Norquay (Photo credit Banff Lake Louise Tourism /Paul Zizka Photography)

This Quebec National Marine Conservation Area is one of only four in Canada dedicated to protecting a purely marine environment. Located where the Saguenay River meets the Saint Lawrence River, it’s a prime spot for whale watching, as many different species are drawn here, looking for the rich food supply that’s created where the two rivers mix.

What is Canada’s first National Park?

Perhaps it shows my age, but when I think of a National Park, my mind goes to Yogi Bear and Jellystone Park. It’s probably because Jellystone was based on the first National Park in the world: Yellowstone National Park in the good old US of A. The oldest National Park on the planet, Yellowstone was created in 1872, by a bill passed by Ulysses S. Grant. It wasn’t long after, in 1885 that Canada created their very own first National Park – Banff. Originally called Banff Hot Springs Reserve and later the Rocky Mountains National Park, Banff National Park still remains one of Canada’s most popular parks.

national park canada

Views and camping spots like this are what keep people coming back to Banff National Park (Photo credit: Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka Photography)

Banff National Park

So now you know we can’t really talk about parks in Canada without giving special consideration to Banff National Park, now can we? Originally set aside to preserve its sulphur hot springs for public use, today, Banff National Park continues to draw crowds from all over the world. Many come to check out Lake Louise, one of the most Instagrammable locations in Canada.

Banff National Park is just over an hour’s drive from Calgary and stretches 240km. At its northern peak, you’ll find Jasper National Park, Canada’s second most visited park. At the south end of the park, you will find the town of Banff, home of the Castle in the Rockies AKA Fairmont Banff Springs and the largest municipality living inside a Canadian national park. The town is very focused on tourism and is popular with tourist wanting to enjoy the mountains, skiing, campgrounds, resorts and 1,100km of hiking trails.

If that wasn’t enough, Banff National Park is also home to seven national historic sites including Banff Museum Park, Cave and Basin, Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin, Howse Pass, Skoki Ski Lodge and Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station.

Alberta National Parks

Since Banff was created in 1885, Alberta has added four other National Parks: Elk Island National Park, Jasper National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park. Together these parks protect Alberta’s unique wildlife including bison, swift foxes, peregrine falcons, grouse and burrowing owls. These Alberta National Parks also make up Alberta’s portion of Canada’s seven Mountain parks, which are hugely popular with locals and international travellers.

Elk Island National Park

Bison were brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to Elk Island National Park.

Canada’s Mountain Parks include Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier. Considering the Canadian Rockies are found on the border of Alberta and British Columbia, it’s not surprising all seven Mountain Parks are found in those two provinces. With world renowned winter skiing (in Banff and Jasper) and picture perfect Lake Louise, it’s no shock these Parks are busy year-round.

What is the smallest National Park in Canada?

National parks cover a lot of land in Canada. To be precise, they cover 303,571 km² or about 3.0% of the total land area of Canada. Some parks cover a bit less, like Canada’s smallest National Park: Georgian Bay Islands National Park at 13.5 km². It’s closely followed by Point Pelee at 15.2 km². The small size is impressive when you realize this park is made up of 63 small islands or parts of islands in Georgian Bay. Both these two National Parks – the smallest in Canada, are situated in the province of Ontario.

Largest national park in Canada

Georgian Bay Islands National Park seems even smaller when compared to Wood Buffalo’s 44,741 km². Not only is Wood Buffalo National Park the largest National Park in Canada, it’s one of the largest in the world. Located in Alberta (and boarding the Northwest Territories), Wood Buffalo tends to do everything on a large scale. It’s home to world’s largest wood bison population. It’s the birthplace to North America’s largest bird – the Whopping Crane. And if you’re interested in spotting the largest braver dam in the world, look no further than Wood Buffalo, the largest national park in Canada.

Parks Canada Pass

In order to take part in all the great things our national parks have to offer, you must have a valid Parks Canada Pass in order to enter the park. You can get an annual or seasonal admission passes for specific national parks. But if you plan on visiting more than one park, or bigger parks like Jasper or Kootenay, then you’ll want a Discovery Pass.

The Discovery Pass gives you access to history, nature and all things park-ish from coast-to-coast. You get unlimited access to 80 Parks Canada places including a variety National Historic Sites. The Discovery Pass costs $67.70 for an adult, but you can get a family pass of $136.40 for up to 7 people – as long as you’re all crammed into one vehicle. This may seem like a lot at first, but you have to remember it’s valid for the year and is cheaper than a one-time family trip to a theme park. Did I mention children 17 and under are FREE?? There aren’t many things in life that are free these days, so I consider this a win!

Personally, I don’t mind contributing towards our environment and protecting Canadian wilderness. There’s also the added bonus that exploring our national parks keeps kids off screens and delivers fresh air and exercise. All this leads to (finger’s crossed) tired tots who don’t resist an early to bedtime, so parents can have some time for themselves.

What is not included?

It’s important to note that not everything in the park is covered by the Parks Canada pass. The admission to parks and historic sites is included, but extras like camping, accommodations, guided hikes and specialty programs aren’t included. Personalized things like reservation fees, firewood, some special events and backcountry overnight use are also not included. 

National Historic Sites

Your Parks Canada Pass gives you access to more than just our national park’s natural beauty. Your pass gives you access to National Historic Sites found in every province in Canada. If your or your kids are less outdoorsy, these sites are for you.

National Historic Sites are places where big things happened in Canada. You can learn about Canadian history, diverse cultural communities and indigenous peoples across Canada. They can be found in a variety of settings, including archaeological sites, battlefields, heritage houses, places of scientific discovery and more. My daughter, who is a very outdoorsy and athletic child, still remembers that time she got to dig like a real archaeologist at the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site. In addition to being one with nature and bringing history alive, your pass also gives you access to Marine Conservation areas in Ontario and Quebec.

Check out this complete list of all the parks and sites you can visit with your pass. And for more deets on Canada’s National Parks, this is the best book:

Followed closely by:

Discovery Pass Giveaway

Parks Canada and I would like to help you and your family get out and visit Canada’s National Parks. We’re giving away one Family/Group Discovery Pass (up to 7 people in a vehicle), which allows unlimited admission for a year to over 80 Parks Canada places!

To enter

  1. Comment on this post letting me know your favourite National Park or Historic Site in Canada.
  2. Receive an additional entry for following my page: Travels with Baggage on Facebook.
  3. Receive yet another entry for following Parks Canada on Facebook.
  4. All follows and comments must be received before midnight, April 26, 2019.
  5. Open to residents of Canada over 18-years of age.

You may also be interested in reading:

25 Awesome spring adventures in Alberta’s National Parks

Via Ferrata: The wildest trip you can take in Banff National Park

The best spots for Glamping in Alberta

No tent? No problem! Banff’s equipped campsites

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List of national parks in Canada

Disclosure: Travels with Baggage sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers.

By |2019-04-17T09:11:21-06:00March 26th, 2019|Categories: Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |39 Comments

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

39 Comments

  1. Matt McQueen 17.04.2019 at 08:36 - Reply

    My family and I love Banff National Park. We always go to Johnston Canyon, the Banff Hot Springs, and take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain. It’s such an amazing place to visit and it’s so close to home.

  2. Leslie Price 17.04.2019 at 08:49 - Reply

    My favourite park is Banff National Park also referred to as “my happy place”

    • Jessie Machell 17.04.2019 at 13:38 - Reply

      Banff, absolutely love Banff in all its beauty & entirety.

  3. Lorraine 17.04.2019 at 09:11 - Reply

    We love to travel the Icefields parkway in Banff and visit Peyto lake. Just amazing views everywhere you go.

  4. Paige McEachren 17.04.2019 at 11:27 - Reply

    My daughter read this story and now she is insisting we check out the marine conservation site in Quebec .. oh and wants to try to see one site in every province!

  5. Samantha Plett 17.04.2019 at 11:29 - Reply

    We’ve only been to 4 (AB & SK) – time to up our travel game!

  6. Erin Paterson 17.04.2019 at 11:30 - Reply

    So Lucky to have Banff National Park in my backyard! Only 60 mins to the Gateway ❤️🏔

  7. Ninu Lammens 17.04.2019 at 11:41 - Reply

    Being from calgary (born and raised) my fave is banff/lake louise! Lake louise is SO beautiful, among the most gorgeous color lake in the world I’m sure!

  8. Melissa 17.04.2019 at 11:43 - Reply

    We love Jasper National Park!

  9. Jennifer Conlin 17.04.2019 at 11:53 - Reply

    We love Banff and Lake Louise so much! So blessed to have them just a short drive away! We would love this! We have never been to Jasper if you can believe it! It is on the list this summer.

  10. Darci 17.04.2019 at 11:53 - Reply

    I’ve been to Banff and a few others I wold love to see Nunavut and farther north

  11. Dianne Hammel 17.04.2019 at 12:02 - Reply

    LOVE Banff and everywhere around it! Would LOVE to WIN and Share with My Family!!

  12. Charlotte goss 17.04.2019 at 12:12 - Reply

    Banff! This year i hope to go to lake lousie

  13. Mathilde 17.04.2019 at 12:18 - Reply

    I love Yoho National Park especially the Lake O’Hara, this is the most gorgeous place I have ever seen

  14. Karen 17.04.2019 at 12:35 - Reply

    I was lucky to live and work in Banff for 8 years, but my favourite is Jasper in the winter.

  15. Marla 17.04.2019 at 12:49 - Reply

    I really would like to visit all of these Parks in Canada. My favourite would be Lake Louise

  16. Cara Thomas 17.04.2019 at 12:57 - Reply

    I have been longing to go to Jasper National Park. My husband and I have been talking about a road trip at some point so perhaps this is the year! Canada has so many beautiful National Parks that I can’t possibly choose a favourite, but Jasper is top on my list of parks soon to become one of my favourites! And thank you so much for posting this list. It reminds me that there are so many beautiful places in Canada that I still have yet to see. I feel lucky to live in such a wonderful and beautiful country and I can’t wait to explore even more.

  17. Isabelle Hainault 17.04.2019 at 13:59 - Reply

    I love going to Jasper. Since we moved it is not as close anymore but I am planning to go again sometime.

  18. Cathy L Brown 17.04.2019 at 14:26 - Reply

    We have been to Banff, but Jasper is on our bucket list.

  19. Gina bergman 17.04.2019 at 15:34 - Reply

    Love hiking in banff

  20. Disney Smyth 17.04.2019 at 18:02 - Reply

    I’ve been lucky enough to visit several of these parks.. we have an awfully beautiful country to call home!

  21. Tanya Koob 17.04.2019 at 19:44 - Reply

    Jasper will always have my heart. Even got married here.

  22. Julie Valenzuela 17.04.2019 at 20:21 - Reply

    I love Banff! It’s so close to my hometown (Calgary) that’s it’s an awesome day trip with friends or family anytime of year!!

  23. Carole D 17.04.2019 at 23:40 - Reply

    My favourite park is Banff National Park!

  24. Monika 18.04.2019 at 04:09 - Reply

    Huh. Although I’ve pursued exploring provincial parks, it occurs to me I’ve not spent much time in National Parks (with the exception of student research work in Point Pelee for 2 summers). I’ve stepped foot in Banff and Pukaskwa on a cross country trip, but I need to, and want to, get out there much more and do some hiking and camping! Goal Set!!

  25. Lee-Ann J 18.04.2019 at 08:30 - Reply

    I love Jasper!

  26. Judith Loewen 18.04.2019 at 10:27 - Reply

    Love Alberta’s parks!!

  27. Lisa Goodmurphy 18.04.2019 at 11:06 - Reply

    Prince Edward Island National Park is a favourite of our family – we’re returning to PEI this summer for the first time in 5 years and can’t wait to spend time in the park!

  28. Stephanie Mayo 18.04.2019 at 17:51 - Reply

    Canada really is full of incredible National Parks. And to pick a favourite is tough! You mentioned a few great ones in Ontario and I have to say my favourite is Bruce Peninsula National Park! It’s home to epic views, natural wonders that will make your jaw drop, and some of the best hiking in Ontario!

  29. Jennifer 20.04.2019 at 06:04 - Reply

    I would love to travel and see Banff in Alberta. Thanks for the chance to win!

  30. Steph 20.04.2019 at 07:57 - Reply

    Lake Louise!

  31. Sabrina Haslimeier 20.04.2019 at 08:31 - Reply

    Banff has always been my favourite. I’d love to explore some of our other amazing parks.

  32. Sarah 20.04.2019 at 08:50 - Reply

    Wow, what glorious and amazing parks ❤️💜

  33. Jonnie 21.04.2019 at 23:17 - Reply

    As much as I love Banff and Jasper, Elk Island is my favorite because it’s so close to home and a bison sighting is almost a guarantee every time we go. We visit at least a dozen times a year.

  34. Zahra Premji 22.04.2019 at 08:17 - Reply

    Living in Calgary, Banff is my favourite national park, because it is close and offers a variety of activities to do in any of the seasons.

  35. Josh S 22.04.2019 at 09:13 - Reply

    Grey Owl’s Cabin in Prince Albert National Park. I have done all the steps to enter. Thanks!

  36. Maritess S 23.04.2019 at 11:08 - Reply

    My favourite park is Banff National Park.

  37. Carol 25.04.2019 at 21:34 - Reply

    Jasper

  38. gary blaney 25.04.2019 at 21:36 - Reply

    Spent some time in ’85 in Terra Nova NP, still my favourite

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