Canada is the second-largest country in the world by total area, covering 3.85 million square miles. And about 1.5 million square miles of that is wilderness. So, it should come as no surprise that this northern country features enormous and stunning parks and recreational paradises.
Check out the eight largest national parks in Canada and discover their locations, geographic features, and activities.
1. Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo is the largest national park in Canada, featuring 17,275 square miles in Northeastern Alberta and the Southern Northwest Territories. This national park protects a significant area of the northern boreal plains and its ecosystem, which includes herds of wood bison, whooping cranes, and caves systems. Wood Buffalo National Park also contains one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world. People from around the world visit this area for camping, swimming at Pine Lake, canoeing, and hiking.
2. Quttinirpaaq National Park
Located on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Quttinirpaaq National Park is the most northerly and second-largest park in Canada, covering 14,585 square miles. The region features massive glaciers, ice caps, and polar deserts. It also contains the highest mountain in Nunavut, Barbeau Peak. Adventurers come to the park for hiking, skiing, climbing, camping, and glacier trekking. And you can witness wildlife, like muskoxen, peary caribou, and Arctic wolves.
3. Sirmilik National Park
The Sirmilik National Park is also located in Nunavut in the Qikiqtaaluk region and covers an area of 8,600 square miles. The park sits within a vast chain of Arctic mountains and features many islands, glaciers, valleys, and red-rock hoodoos. The park also has abundant wildlife, including narwhals, beluga whales, polar bears, Arctic wolves, walruses, and caribou. Visitors can hike, camp, ski, kayak, and view wildlife.
4. Auyuittuq National Park
Also known as “the land that never melts,” Auyuittuq National Park is on the Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island in Nunavut. It is the fourth-largest national park in Canada and covers an area of 8,290 square miles. You will find landscapes, such as ice fields, glaciers, steep fjords, and river valleys. And visitors can enjoy hiking, climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and backcountry camping. Wildlife can be quite scarce in this area due to low vegetation, but you might find lemmings, red foxes, snowy owls, beluga whales, gyrfalcons, and snow geese.
5. Ukkusiksalik National Park
South of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, the Ukkusiksalik National Park covers 8,064 square miles and is the fifth-largest national park in Canada. Its geographic features consist of rolling tundra, coastal mudflats, a reversing waterfall, and over 500 archaeological sites. In this area, you will find polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, seals, and peregrine falcons. Along with guided trips and backcountry camping, you can also hike, ski, climb, and mountaineer.
6. Tuktut Nogait National Park
The Tuktut Nogait National Park is in Canada’s Northwest Territories, specifically the northeast corner of the mainland. This park covers 7,000 square miles of barren ground, steep canyons, rolling hills, rivers, and waterfalls. Due to its remoteness, most recreational activities are prohibited in certain areas of the park. The people who do visit often paddle or hike. This national park is home to caribou, muskoxen, grizzly bears, Arctic wolves, wolverines, lemmings, and Arctic chars.
7. Aulavik National Park
Covering 4,700 square miles, Aulavik National Park is the seventh-largest national park in Canada. It’s located on Banks Island in the Northwest Territories and features landscapes such as rolling hills, seacoasts, river valleys, badlands, and polar deserts. Like most of the national parks on this list, Aulavik is very isolated, featuring limited emergency services. But you can hike, paddle, camp, and fish at your own discretion.
8. Wapusk National Park
While it’s officially Canada’s 37th national park, Wapusk is also the eighth largest in the country, covering 4,431 square miles. You will find this park on the Hudson Bay shores south of Churchill, where one of the largest polar bear populations in the world exists. The park transitions from boreal forest to Arctic tundra, and the main activity in the area is polar bear viewing, which you can do with a guided tour.
The Largest National Parks in Canada: A Recap of the Top 8
|Rank||Largest National Parks in Canada||Size|
|#1||Wood Buffalo National Park||17,275 square miles|
|#2||Quttinirpaaq National Park||14,585 square miles|
|#3||Sirmilik National Park||8,600 square miles|
|#4||Auyuittuq National Park||8,290 square miles|
|#5||Ukkusiksalik National Park||8,064 square miles|
|#6||Tuktut Nogait National Park||7,000 square miles|
|#7||Aulavik National Park||4,700 square miles|
|#8||Wapusk National Park||4,431 square miles|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dancestrokes/Shutterstock.com
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