Route along which selected features of history or natural history are explained for the general public. The earliest interpreted trails, some 60 years ago, dealt only with natural history and were called nature trails. Originally, a typical nature trail was an existing path through a natural area, interpreted by means of signs or a booklet. The first interpreted nature trails in Canada were probably those developed in Banff National Park in 1959 at the Hoodoos and Bow Summit.
Hundreds of trails are now found from coast to coast in Canada, installed and run by national and provincial parks, the Canadian Wildlife Service, tourist departments, conservation authorities, museums, universities, schools, botanical gardens and private agencies.
Visitor numbers are often counted to measure use; however, few trails are systematically evaluated, although the Wye Marsh Centre now uses microcomputers to encourage visitors to evaluate all aspects of their visits. Trails can be expected to increase and diversify, and to become more sophisticated as interpreters and audiences use them more extensively. The following is a short list of selected nature trails in Canada:
Dinosaur Provincial Park - Dead Lodge Canyon Nature Trail; Elk Island National Park - Lakeview Trail; Waterton Lakes National Park - Bertha Falls Trail; Wood Buffalo National Park - Lane Lake Trail, Salt River Trail.
Riding Mountain National Park - Arrowhead, Burls and Bittersweet, Brûlé, Ma-u-gun, Oninimik, Loon's Island and Grey Owl trails.
Various trails at Anchorage Provincial Park, Fundy National Park, Grand Falls, Hartland, Les Jardins de la République Provincial Park, Mactaquac Provincial Park, North Lake Provincial Park.
Gros Morne National Park - Berry Head Pond, Green Gardens, Berry Hill, Lobster Cove Head, Southeast Brook Falls and Stanleyville trails.
Nahanni National Park - South Nahanni River canoe trail.
Kejimkujik National Park - Mersey Meadow Trail, Mill Falls Trail; Lake Echo - Echo Look Out Trail; Cabot Trail; Evangeline Trail.
Bellevue House National Historic Park; Fort Wellington National Historic Park; Georgian Bay Islands National Park - Beausoleil Island, Bobbies Trail, Flowerpot Island Trail; Pukaskwa National Park - Coastal Hiking Trail; Queenston Heights; Rideau Canal - Merrickvale Lockstation walking tour, Ecotour; Woodside National Historic Park.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island National Park - Balsam Hollow, Bubbling Springs, and Reeds and Rushes trails.
Meadow Lake; Prairie Wildlife Interpretation Centre - Swift Current Trail; Prince Albert National Park - Boundary Bog Trail, Mud Creek Trail.
Chilkoot Pass Trail; Kluane National Park - various trails.