The best extreme and adrenaline-filled Canadian activities


Woman flying over Niagara Falls

A helicopter flying over Niagara Falls
Image credit: Hubert Kang, Destination Ontario

With its mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and forests, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that Canada is home to some of the best extreme and adrenaline-filled activities you can find.

If you are a bit of a thrill-seeker or you are in the mood for an adrenaline rush, then Canada is filled with such activities. From walking around the top of the CN Tower to bear-watching in the wilderness, there are plenty of activities you can check off your bucket list during your Canada holidays.

Extreme activities to try in Canada

•CN Tower EdgeWalk

•White water rafting

•Bear watching

•Experience Niagara Falls in a jet boat or on a zipline

•Bobsleigh on an Olympic Track

•Zipline at Grouse Mountain

•Try heli-skiing

CN Tower EdgeWalk

CN Tower Edge Walk
People enjoying the CN Tower Edge Walk
Image credit: Kevin Arnold, Destination Ontario

For many people, merely peering down from the CN Tower’s sky-high glass observation decks is enough of a thrill, but adrenaline junkies can go on the CN Tower EdgeWalk.

It is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk as you’ll be walking 116 floors above the city of Toronto and this activity is the first of its kind in North America.

You can go on a 90-minute trip and can even lean over the side of the building and enjoy the unrivalled views of Toronto.

Becki Rendell, who is the founder of the travel blog Meet Me in Departures, said: “EdgeWalk opened to the public on August 1, 2011, and is considered the CN Tower’s most thrilling attraction in its history. Feel your heart pound as you walk around the top of the tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 storeys) above the ground!

“Visitors walk in groups of six, while attached to an overhead safety rail via a trolley and harness system. Push your limits, as you lean back over Toronto with nothing but air and jaw-dropping views of Lake Ontario below.”

ALSO READ: Frequently Asked Questions About Toronto

White water rafting

A family whitewater rafting down the Ottawa River
Family whitewater rafting on Ottawa River.
Image credit: OWL Rafting

There aren’t many more thrilling experiences than white water rafting, and Canada is blessed with the fact there are lots of locations across the country where you can try it.

Québec is one of the most popular destinations for white water rafting as you can head to the world-famous Jacques-Cartier River which is 35 minutes from Québec City or the Red River, an hour from Montréal.

Alternatively, you can go white water rafting down the Ottawa River as it has excellent flows from May to September. The rapids are rated as Class III to V, but at any water level, the Ottawa River provides some of the best white water rafting in Ontario.

If you are looking to take part in an extreme activity, then enjoying the thrill of speeding down rapids with friends or family, bumping over the challenging currents as water sprays through the air is something you have to try.

Bear watching

Grizzly Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest
Grizzly bear walking through the sedge grass near the shore in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Image credit: Destination British Columbia

Bear watching is not only a thrilling experience as you get up close to these majestic animals, but it is one of the most popular activities you can try in Canada.

British Columbia is the king when it comes to watching grizzly and black bears try to catch salmon, as well as the province being home to the elusive Kermode bear, also known as the Spirit bear. In fact, you can find half of all Canada’s grizzly bears in this province alone.

There are lots of bear watching Canada holidays you can go on and you can stay at resorts like Knight Inlet Lodge and be guided by experts to help increase your chances of spotting the bears in Canada’s wilderness.

With one of the longest bear-watching seasons in the world, running from April to October, you will have plenty of opportunities to see them.

What makes Canada the king for bear spotting is the fact you can also see polar bears in Churchill in Manitoba in October and November. You can get up close to these giants on a Tundra buggy tour and the guides will tell you all about these spectacular animals.

ALSO READ: The Bear Necessities of Canada: An Insider’s Guide to Bear Watching

Experience Niagara Falls in a jet boat or on a zipline

People on a zipline at the Niagara Falls
People on the MistRider zipline at Niagara Falls
Image credit: Destination Toronto

Niagara Falls is a must-visit for anyone visiting Canada, but whilst there are lots of leisurely activities you can enjoy around this iconic waterfall, there are plenty of activities that thrill-seekers can dive into as well.

There are whirlpool jet boat rides that take like-minded thrill-seekers through the mighty Class 5 whitewater of the Devil’s Hole Rapids and the swirling waters of the whirlpool. On top of the heart-racing rapids, you will learn about the history of the area as expert guides will point out attractions along the route and will talk to you about how soldiers fighting in the War of 1812 followed the route you go on, although without the boats you will be riding in!

There are other extreme activities you can try at Niagara Falls and this includes ziplining by the falls. The zipline takes you on a breathtaking ride into the gorge, as you fly down 670 metres (2,200 feet), soaring past the American Falls and landing atop the falls’ observation deck at the base of the Horseshoe Falls.

This is an activity that Cam & Nicole Wears, the travel writers behind the Traveling Canucks blog, recommend trying:

“If you’re looking for a heart-pumping adventure you should definitely check out the MistRider Zipline to the Falls. The zipline starts at the Grand View Marketplace and travels down the gorge towards the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

“The line is 2,200 feet long (670 metres) at speeds of 70 km per hour (40 miles p/h). This is a guided experience. Kids aged 13 and younger must go with a responsible adult. Minimum age is 7 years old.”

ALSO READ: 48 hours in Niagara Falls

Bobsleigh on an Olympic Track

A bobsleigh on the Olympic track in Calgary
Bobsleigh team on the Olympic track in Calgary

If you have a need for speed, then you can bobsleigh down an Olympic track. Back in 1988, Calgary played host to the Winter Olympics and the Olympic Park continues to attract adrenalin junkies from around the world to careen down its bobsleigh, skeleton and luge tracks.

Whilst the track is still used for high-performance training, you can enjoy bobsleigh runs with a trained professional steering the bobsleigh or luge.

If you are visiting Calgary in the summer months, you can enjoy downhill karting on a purpose-built track. There are more than 50 twists and turns covering a distance of over 1,800 metres, which is completely downhill.

ALSO READ: 48 Hours in Calgary

Zipline at Grouse Mountain

If you are in Vancouver, one of the best adrenalin activities you can enjoy is ziplining at Grouse Mountain.

You can experience a five-line tour through the treetops of Grouse and Dam Mountain. There is even a dual-line circuit where a guide will take you around a route for two hours and will see you reach speeds of around 40mph.

The zipline route also offers you some spectacular views over Vancouver and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Try heli-skiing

Heli-skiing in Revelstoke
Group of heli-skiers being picked up by a helicopter at Revelstoke.
Image credit: Destination British Columbia, Blake Jorgenson

If you’re a strong or advanced skier and want to try something even more extreme, then you should try heli-skiing for the first time.

Heli-skiing is a guided experience that is often led by qualified mountain guides, and skiers will be taken to the top of a run by a helicopter where there are no ski lifts or resort fences. It will be just you, some friends, and acres of untracked powder in front of you.

There are lots of destinations where you can try heli-skiing, but the Canadian Rockies is one of the best places. You can try this extreme sport at Kootenay, Revelstoke, and Gothics in the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges to name just a few.

This article explores some of the amazing extreme and adrenaline-filled activities you can enjoy in Canada, varying from the speed of a bobsleigh ride to the quiet of watching wild bears at salmon-filled rivers. If you need information about the different activities you can include as part of your holiday or the best flights to Canada, then our experts will be on hand to answer your questions.

For more articles like this, check out the blog section of our website.

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