Canada: Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island Hike

Six nights; seven 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.


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, 17:00, day seven.

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/or 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
Auberge des Pecheurs, or
Silver Lining Inn 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 day of hiking before a musical supper at the Red Shoe Pub. BLD
Same Lodging

Day 7

Celtic Shores Coastal Trail. Distance to suit you, up to 30km.

Trains used to ply the route from Inverness and Mabou, across the Canso Causeway, carrying coal and lumber to mainland markets. It followed the Mabou River Valley, past the beaches at Port Hood, and along the coast on a beautiful hillside. The trains are long gone, but the railbed remains as a gorgeous walking trail. Your last day takes advantage of this – a nice long, level day of walking to a picnic lunch and a transfer back to Halifax by day’s end. BL


Route expectations:

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.

Best months to visit:

June (spring flowers), July & August (warm weather, whales), September (cooler and quiet), and October (cool, quiet, spectacular Autumn foliage 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 couple of fantastic hikes to polish of the week - one along the path cut into the side of the coastal hills at Sight Point, and another on the new Celtic Shores Coastal Trail. This is a full week of Cape Breton magic, but we guarantee you will leave wanting more! See why Cape Breton Island has been chosen as one of North America's Top 5 Islands by Condé Nast Readers' Choice Awards!

Map & Elevations

Click here for the elevation profile

Day # Daily distance
~ 4km
Up to 10km
Up to 14km
Up to 21km
Up to 17.5km
Up to 16km
Up to 30km

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


US 3125 C 3695 (per person, double occupancy)

7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, ground transportation including transfers from/to Halifax, guide/driver support, relevant maps and trail notes, 15% sales tax

US 2525 C 2995 (per person, double occupancy)

7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, luggage handling, daily ground transport including transfers to/from Halifax relevant maps & trail notes, 15% sales tax

Self-Supported Drive & Hike

US 1495 C 1785

7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, relevant maps and trail notes, car rental recommendations, 15% sales tax

Single room

US 675 C 795

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.