ADV Touring By Region: Best Routes In Canada

ADV Touring By Region: Best Routes In Canada

With a total area of nearly 10 million square kilometers (or 6.2 million miles), Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass.

For a country that big, it’s no surprise that Canada is also an adventure rider’s paradise. When you think about it, only a small percentage of Canada has actually been developed – which leaves the rest of the land open to adventure touring (within reason, of course).

What makes Canada great from an adventure touring standpoint is that there are likely still routes that have yet to be discovered.

However, we’ve put together a few here that will satisfy even the most discerning rider. In fact, this list only has three entries.

Why so few? Because, as you’ll see, each of these entries can be broken up in to sections, each providing a spectacular ride on its own. When put together, they make up a truly incredible ride.

So, if you’re wondering where to go on an adventure ride in Canada, read on.

Trans Canada Adventure Trail 

The Trans Canada Adventure Trail takes the already long Trans Canada Adventure Highway – which spans 5,000 miles and crosses all 10 Canadian provinces – and makes it even longer by nearly doubling it in length.

How? By avoiding paved roads and major cities whenever possible. Here you’ll find all kinds of terrain, which also means you’re in store for some epic riding and enjoying parts of Canada you won’t find in a guidebook.

With that in mind, it’s worth pointing out that there will be times when you’ll be in desolate areas with few people. So keep fuel stops in mind and a tool kit handy, just in case. For the most part, however, you won’t be far from civilization.

The trail can be broken down into six sections which loosely take you through the six largest provinces from east to west. You can tackle individual sections of course, or you can take on the whole thing – be sure to budget enough time either way you choose, as the sights and sounds you’ll experience will be incredible.

Ultimate Canada Route 

If you want to stick to the west side of Canada, the Ultimate Canada Route packs in some epic riding over the course of about 1,600 miles.

Vancouver is both your start and end point and along the way you’ll traverse parts of the Gold Rush trail and makes stops in Banff, Lake Louise, the Kamloops, the Rockies, and the Icefields Parkway.

Like the Trans Canada Adventure Trail, the Ultimate Canada Route can be taken in all at once (budget about two weeks for that), or broken up into segments that range anywhere from 100 miles to nearly 300 miles.

Mount Robson in Canadian Rockies is a sight for adventure riders

If you have to single out only one specific section to ride, then the route from Banff to Mount Robson would be it. It’s 235 miles and includes riding through the Icefields Parkway before heading up to Mount Robson – the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

Vancouver Island

For the truly skilled and adventure-bound riders among us, Vancouver Island awaits. If you take a look at a map of Vancouver Island, you’ll notice it only has one main road, Highway 19.

You’ll also notice it’s on the eastern edge of the island. This makes sense since most of the population lives on the eastern edge of the island, but it also begs the question: What’s over on the west side?

The answer is miles and miles of virtually untapped adventure riding opportunities. There are towns and villages on the west, but they are very small and have only the bare minimum when it comes to amenities. And even that might be a stretch.

However, what these small villages and towns do have are seemingly endless amounts of dirt roads leading to them. Well, technically you’ll find both hard and loose dirt, along with gravel and black sand. Simply put, it’s paradise.

However, be forewarned. Western Vancouver Island is sparsely populated. Be prepared to fix your own motorcycle if something were to happen.

It’s also wise to bring a spare jug of fuel because sometimes the gas stations in town will run out! It can be barren and desolate – and that’s what makes Vancouver Island paradise for the hardcore ADV rider. 

If all you see are three destinations above, then you clearly haven’t explored those three destinations hard enough. Canada is full of excellent riding for the adventure touring rider, and between these three destinations you’re sure to find a part of the country that will truly take your breath away.

Canada motorcycle travel

Covering both of Canada’s coastlines, these trails should fill your adventure bucket and have you rushing to come back for more.

Then again, as Vancouver Island demonstrates, there are still portions of the country open to further exploration by the adventure junkie among us. The north is calling, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Wherever you go, enjoy all the beauty Canada has to offer.