Canada: Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island Hike


Five nights; six days of hiking, exploring the best trails of Cape Breton Island on foot.

“The guides were superb; among the very best we have had in our 12+ tours with different companies.” - Kathleen S. & Manfred K.





Itinerary


Start: Halifax, The Lord Nelson Hotel, 09:00, day one, for 3½ hours transfer to Baddeck. Please contact us to arrange pickup from other Halifax locations, or Halifax Airport at 09:45. To skip the long transfer, consider a one-way flight to Sydney, and a one hour taxi to Baddeck.


Finish: Halifax, The Lord Nelson Hotel, 19:00, day six.


Day 1

Introductions - Uisge Bhan Falls (4km) and Alexander Graham Bell Museum

Meet in downtown Halifax at 09:00, or the airport at about 09:45, for a 3 ½ hour transfer to Baddeck. If you prefer to avoid the drive from Halifax, you can fly one-way into Sydney, then taxi one hour to Baddeck. After lunch you will visit Uisge Bahn Falls. Gaelic for “white water”, and pronounced “Ish-ka Ban”, this one-hour walk leads you through a quiet hardwood forest to a misty 50 foot waterfall. Afterwards, transfer to Baddeck to visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. LD (Meal inclusions shown for guided trips only)
Silver Dart Lodge, Baddeck.

Day 2

Cape Smokey, Mt. Franey (6km) and/or Middle Head (3.8km)

Today's hikes take you into Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Your first hike today is to the top of Mt. Franey from which, on a clear day, the view of Ingonish and the Atlantic are spectacular! Middle Head is a pleasant walk out a rocky headland with amazing views of Cape Smokey and Ingonish Island. BLD
Keltic Lodge, or

Castle Rock Country Inn, Ingonish Beach

Day 3

Mica Hill (8km) and White Point (2 to 6km)

Wind through the Acadian forest - a mixture of spruce, birch, hemlock, maple, oak, pine, ash and beech trees, as it climbs to a windswept plateau. The 360 degree views of the Aspy fault, coastal villages far below, and the mountains along the most northern tip of Cape Breton, are breathtaking. The pinnacle is also home to remarkable outcrops of quartz and mica. After a picnic lunch, explore the gorgeous coastline of White Point, and reflect on the unknown sailor whose grave is in this beautiful place. A late afternoon transfer takes you to Dingwall and your coastal resort overlooking a four-mile beach. BLD

Markland Inn, Dingwall.

Day 4

Fishing Cove (12km) and Skyline Trail (9km)

Today’s hikes are some of the finest of the Cape Breton Highlands. One descends to an idyllic cove with beach, waterfall, and meadow, far removed from anything but its own natural beauty. The other takes you along boardwalks and trails to an expansive vista, from where we often see whales, moose, and eagles, not to mention cyclists conquering the climbs of the Cabot Trail far below. Finish in the Acadian town of Cheticamp. BL
Maison Fiset, or

Pilot Whale Chalets, Cheticamp.

Day 5

Acadian Trail (8.5km) or Salmon Pools Trail (9km), followed by transfer to Mabou

Today's hike takes you high above the Chéticamp River for panoramic views of the Acadian coastline, the Chéticamp River valley and the park's highland interior. The trail honors the pioneers of Chéticamp who settled here more than 300 years ago. After hiking, you will transfer one hour to the musical hotbed of Mabou, where the delights include the Rankin Family’s Red Shoe Pub. Traditional musical entertainment is a nightly occurrence here, but first, we will dine at the only single malt whisky distillery outside Scotland. BD

Duncreigan Country Inn, Mabou; or

Glenora Inn & Distillery, Glenville.

Day 6

Sight Point (up to 16km)

Just wait ‘til you see this hike! Cut into the edge of a hill that tumbles all the way to the sea, the path along Sight Point has been known to leave hikers giddy with excitement, and maybe vertigo. This is the part of Nova Scotia that most reminds us of its namesake: Scotland. You may even see some sheep illustrating the area’s heritage. In any case, you will be amazed at the expansive sea views as you explore this trail – a good morning of hiking before transferring back to Halifax by day’s end. BL




Description



Note about the route:

Hikes are on paths and trails in provincial and national parks, in wilderness settings. Others are on private land, including the Cape Mabou Trail System; Freewheeling Adventures supports the efforts of this private club with donations based on your participation. National Geographic named Cape Breton Island one of the world's top 20 places to see.

Best months to visit:

June (spring flowers), July & August (warm weather, whales), September (cooler and quiet), and October (cool, quiet, spectacular maple colours).



Cape Breton Island has inspired musicians, artists, and inventors since it was first settled by Europeans centuries ago. You are likely to feel similarly inspired, as you follow these spectacular trails along coastlines, through valleys, and to viewpoints with the ability to make you breathe deeply and appreciate the magnitude of the beauty in such special places. You will walk to a delightful waterfall outside Baddeck, where Alexander Graham Bell chose to settle because of its simple natural beauty, and will visit the museum to learn about Bell’s astonishing discoveries. You will then follow the coast to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, to enjoy the best trails of this profoundly stirring area, where coastal hills meet the sea on both East and West coasts. Then it is on to Mabou, a quiet village that at first glance belies the abundance of musical talent enjoyed there. You can visit the only single malt distillery outside Scotland, before a fantastic hike on your last day, along the path cut into the side of the coastal hills at Sight Point. This is a full week of Cape Breton magic, but we guarantee you will leave wanting more!




Map & Elevations




Click here for the elevation profile



Learn more

Spend some extra time in Halifax including a visit to the Titanic gravesites.

Add a day or two of sea kayaking on Nova Scotia's South Shore.

Take a trip through time at one of Nova Scotia's 28 provincial museums or spend some time at a national historic site.

Contact us for hiking, cycling, paddling, or multisport extensions.

"Prior to our trip, we spent a week doing a road trip - Halifax, Lunenburg, Annapolois Royal, Wolfville...Lunenburg was wonderful, as was Mahone Bay. Annapolois Royal was also wonderful." - M. Himes


Mavis says: "I especially liked Sight Point and Fishing Cove. I would pass on the Bell Museum, and shorten the Louisbourg trip to the guided tour." - We will make changes to reflect this for 2018




Costs

US 2395 C 2775

(per person, double occupancy, includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, ground transportation including transfers from/to Halifax, guide/driver support, relevant maps and trail notes)

US 2195 C 2565

(per person, double occupancy, includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, luggage handling, daily ground transportation including transfers from/to Halifax, trail notes and relevant maps)

Single Occupancy

includes 15% tax

US 555 C 635

Self-Drive

includes 15% tax

US 1195 C 1395

(per person, double occupancy, includes 6 days of activity, 5 nights of lodging, 5 breakfasts, trail maps, and written directions.)

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice. 15% sales tax included.

X

Custom or Private Tours

Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!



Here are some terms:

Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked. If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group. Ask for changes to the itinerary.

We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.