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Trans-Canada Trail V The Great Trail

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Mark Manley:
Can someone explain to me the difference between the two above trails or are they the same thing? I have looked both up and find conflicting information ranging between a great way to cross Canada mostly or entirely on traffic free trails to a dreadful commerical scam, yes that word was used, where you have to pay for maps and some of it is on busy and dangerous roads or trails that are shared with motorcycles and atv's.
Any links to ride reports or people's first hand experience would be appreciated, as with many things there seems to be a lot of opinion out there from keyboard warriors who have not actually ridden it which is basically useless.

They are the same thing. "The Great Trail" is just the Trans Canada Trail organization's new branding. It sort of puzzles me why they did this because it just confuses people.

The Trans Canada Trail is misunderstood conceptually, it isn't a great way to cross Canada, it's a way to connect Canadians. People need to understand the semantics of that — it's a shared facility that is imagined to stretch out to every province and territory. It is impossible to ride it end to end because significant portions of it are water trails. It's an idea that someone cycling a pathway in Ottawa is connected to someone kayaking in Thunder Bay or hiking in Banff or dog-sledding in Whitehorse because it is (or will be) a contiguous (but terribly meandering) line. You kinda have to be Canadian to get it :) Maybe that's why they're focusing on calling it the "Great Trail" because "Trans Canada" implies you can ride it coast to coast.

If you're bike touring, stick to the tried and true routes like the Yellowhead, the Trans Canada Highway, Route verte, etc., and when you stumble across part of the Trans Canada Trail from time to time, hop on and off at your convenience, but don't expect it to be all suitable for touring.

Mark Manley:
Thanks for your reply geegee,
Good information that is not plain to see elsewhere, I will look up your alternative suggestions as I am considering a long tour in North America.

I do wish some organization would map out a cycling route across Canada.  I hear that parts of the TCH are magnificent, and parts are suicidal.  I understand that it's a big undertaking, but I'd seriously consider a cross-Canada tour.  As it is, I'm very wary of very busy roads with no shoulders.

Have you checking in Endomondo? There are so many trails marked which I've used in Europe.


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