A gap year in Canada can offer numerous outdoor adventures

Thursday, 6 October 2011 2:06 PM

If you're seeking lots of exciting outdoor adventures while on a gap year, there is perhaps nowhere quite like Canada.

And as it is the world's second-largest country, you will certainly have plenty of space to get out and explore. Indeed, by choosing to spend some - if not all - of your gap year in Canada, you'll get the opportunity to try your hand at a wide range of exhilarating pursuits and activities.

This will certainly be the case if you choose to visit one of the North American country's 42 national parks during your gap year abroad that are dotted all over Canada.

One park that you may be particularly inclined to visit is Yoho. Situated on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, this park is some 507 square miles wide so there are plenty of opportunities to have outdoor adventures.

Here you'll find snow-topped mountains, dramatic waterfalls and roaring rivers, so you can be confident of seeing some amazing scenery when visiting Yoho on your gap year. Indeed, Yoho is named after an indigenous Canadian word expressing awe - so you will certainly find that it lives up to its name.

And while there are plenty of sights for you to see, there are perhaps even more ways that you can keep active. Cycling, rafting, and fishing are just a selection of the activities that you can partake in here, while the park also has more than 400 kilometres of hiking trails to navigate.

Similarly, Jasper National Park will offer you plenty of opportunities to have memorable outdoor adventures while on a gap year.

Established in 1907, not only is it one of Canada's oldest national parks, but it is also among its largest and you'll find 1,000 kilometres of purpose-built hiking trails, as well as 300 kilometres of multi-use trails that are ideal for biking and horseback riding. Other activities you can do here during the summer include mountaineering and fishing.

If you're visiting the park in the winter, however, there are still plenty of things for you to enjoy, downhill snowboarding and cross-country skiing are just two of the activities that you can get involved in. Although for something that is really adrenalin-pumping, you may want to give waterfall ice climbing a go.

No matter when you decide to head to Jasper, you'll have the chance to get back to nature, with bears, mountain goats, coyotes and moose among the wide range of creatures that you can spot here.

Alternatively, if you're looking to go on an adventure-filled trip through Canada, but are in need of gap year ideas, you should definitely lend some thought to visiting Banff National Park. Located on the eastern slopes of Alberta's Rocky Mountains, this is Canada's oldest national park and offers visitors the chance to go scuba diving and hiking, among other activities.

Make sure that you also visit Lake Louise. Nestled in the heart of the park, this beautiful stretch of water is surrounded by mountains and by taking a canoe trip across the lake you'll be able to get a full appreciation for the mountain scenery.

However, you will also find that there is the chance to enjoy outdoor activities in the heart of the country's biggest cities.

This is certainly the case should you visit Vancouver, and given the metropolis's location on the coast of the Pacific Ocean here you can try your hand at sea kayaking and windsurfing, as well go on whale-watching boat trips. But if you'd prefer to stay on dry land, head to Stanley Park, where you can walk the 6.2-mile seawall, as well as go cycling and rollerblading.

With so many opportunities to have exciting outdoor adventures, spending your gap year in Canada is sure to be an experience that you will never forget.

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