After 25 years of trying, officials in Canada have managed to stitch together a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that stretches across the breadth of the country from coast to coast.
With a total length of 14,000 miles, the Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail, is now the longest hiking route in the world. By way of comparison, the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine is a mere 2,200 miles.
Canada's truly epic pathway, which has been in the works since 1992, has more than 400 sections and goes through 15,000 towns and cities. It required millions of dollars in funding from the federal and provincial governments, plus private donations, to build trails and make signs. Years were spent coordinating with politicians and landowners to close gaps in the network.
Given the inevitably cobbled-together nature of the enterprise, it shouldn't be surprising that it's not perfect. The route was originally conceived as an off-road trail from start to finish, for instance, but there are long stretches—more than 5,000 miles altogether—where you have to hike or bike beside car traffic.
Organizers say they hope to improve the experience over time as municipalities add more off-road options.
In the meantime, you can map your own trek across Canada at the Great Trail's helpful website.
Pictured above: a portion of the trail in Tottenham, Ontario
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