Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail.
Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail.

Experience the Cabot Trail

The natural beauty of the highlands provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as motorcycling, golfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and whale watching. Hike and camp in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, play a round of golf at the famous Highlands Links, peruse artisan shops along the trail, or just plain enjoy the nature as you drive this 300 kilometer (186 mile) highway that offers spectacular coastal views, highland scenery and warm Celtic and Acadian hospitality.

Cape Breton Island

Explore Cape Breton Island – The Cabot Trail by Dave Culligan

Cape Breton Island, ranked as one of the top Islands in North America by Travel + Leisure magazine and is home to the Cabot Trail. You may want to check your brakes before heading to Cape Breton as the world-renown Cabot Trail, with its dramatic coastal views and highland scenery, can be rather steep. Not to mention you’ll absolutely want to stop a lot while on the island.

Hiking the Cape Breton

  • Skyline Trail: Nova Scotial's Cabot Trail.
    Skyline Trail: Nova Scotial’s Cabot Trail.
  • Hike in the Cape Breton Highlands: Explore 26 hiking trails in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs – all leading to panoramic views of canyons, highlands, and coastlines. Don’t miss the annual Hike the Highlands festival that takes place over 10 days each September in the Cape Breton Highlands. Hikers from around the world come to Cape Breton Island to participate in guided hikes, evening activities, and more.
  • Hike 10 trails in one day: This Parks Canada hiking challenge in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park welcomes visitors to experience 10 shorter trails while discovering a variety of habitats – Acadian, Boreal, and Taiga. The park’s staff can help you choose the right trails for you. Once you finish, bring the list of your completed trails, along with photos, back to the park’s centre for a souvenir.
Crab a picnic lunch from the charming Keltic Lodge before you head out on your adventure.
Grab a picnic lunch from the charming Keltic Lodge before you head out on your adventure.
  • The Skyline Sunset Hike at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the Cabot Trail is recognized as one of Destination Canada’s Signature Experiences. The trail guide will lead you out to the top of a mountain headland to one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the province that overlooks the Cabot Trail and the ocean at sunset.
  • Hike the Lighthouse and Old Town Trails in Louisbourg which offers impressive views of the Fortress of Louisbourg and its rugged coast. The 2-kilometre Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail starts at the Louisbourg Lighthouse and winds through forests and wetlands, along the coast where soldiers once stood guard protecting Louisbourg Harbour. The nearby 2.25-kilometre Old Town Trail lies just outside the fortress walls, with interpretive panels telling the story of the people who once lived and worked there.

10 Great Outdoor Adventures

North River Kayak Tours- Cape Breton Island.
North River Kayak Tours- Cape Breton Island.

Golf Cape Breton

New Cabot Cliffs course.
New Cabot Cliffs course.

It has been written that Cape Breton is a “magical island,” which National Geographic says contains one of the world’s great drives. Over the years, this Nova Scotia island has become known for offering some of the best, most intriguing, and exciting golf in all of North America.

Names like Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs ‐ two of the most recognized courses to have opened anywhere in recent memory ‐ sit on the west coast of Cape Breton, while the venerable Highlands Links, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016 and is perennially ranked among the best in the world, is situated to the north. Rounding out the great golf in Cape Breton is Bell Bay in the seaside town of Baddeck, and Le Portage in the charming town of Cheticamp.

Golf Digest: World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses: Cabot Cliffs #9, Cabot Links #43 and Highlands Links #87

Art & Musical Lovers Paradise

Blazin’ Fiddles live at Celtic Colours

  • Celtic Colours International Festival: Dozens of concerts, an extensive line-up of community events, and a nightly Festival Club will leave you feeling like a Caper in no time.
  • Great Hall of the Clans at the Gaelic College, St. Ann’s Take a hands-on approach to discovering our Celtic heritage by joining in a kilt making, milling frolic, or step dance.
  • Celtic Music Interpretive Centre: Take an interactive journey through samples of song, stories, dance, and bagpipe and fiddle music. Interpretive media displays let you try your hand at a fiddle tune or learn how to stepdance.
  • Take in a cultural performance at Strathspey Place in Mabou. At this state-of-the-art performing arts centre, Cape Breton’s rich diversified culture is celebrated through Celtic music and the music, dance, and folklore of the Acadian and First Nations communities.
  • Delve into the arts at Inverness County Centre for the Arts. This fine arts centre showcases the works of local and international artists in its gallery, music studio, and shop.
  • Craft Your Wedding Rings: create a special memory by crafting your own wedding bands working one-on-one with a Jewelry instructor to shape, mark, and shine your rings at Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design.
  • Centre de la MiCareme: Celebrated by local Acadian communities for centuries, try your hand a mask-making or rug-hooking.

Historical Escapes

  • Adventure is waiting for you at the Fortress of Louisbourg.
    Adventure is waiting for you at the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Places To Eat

Pictou Lobster Carnival
Pictou Lobster Carnival

When it’s time to refuel on local food, check out the Taste of Nova Scotia Seafood Trail for a list of restaurants located on the Cabot Trail that are serving up delicious seafood dishes. Looking to expand your foodie knowledge? Reserve your spot at one of the Chanterelle Country Inn & Cottages’ hands-on experiences. For a culinary hidden gem, reserve a table at The Bite House in Baddeck, which has been featured in The New York Times and on the Cooking Channel. If liquid sustenance is what you seek, ‘hop’ over to the Good Cheer Trail and visit Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza for full-flavoured, organic microbrews.


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