Very Challenging
Difficulty level
Activity (Bike)

Canada, Nova Scotia: Cabot Trail Bike 3-Day Challenge

A very challenging 3-day version of the usual 5-day Cabot Trail ride, suitable for high distance, high-endurance cyclists.

“Simply amazing – the incredible views, sounds of nature, and the smell of fresh air and ocean all combined to make this the most exhilarating and personally rewarding holiday.” – Beth J.


  • It’s a must-do trip for touring cyclists. The loop nature engenders a wonderful satisfaction, and this is one of Freewheeling’s most popular rides.
  • This version is designed to appeal to very strong cyclists. There are long, hard days as you turn what is usually a five-day ride into a three-day challenge to do the entire Cabot Trail.
  • For the fifth straight year, Cape Breton Island has been ranked #1 island in Canada in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. The Island was also ranked #10 on Travel + Leisure’s list of the 25 Best Islands in the World.
  • The simple beauty of cycling between mountains and sea, in a remote island setting not on the way to anywhere.
  • You may see whales from the shore. Moose in the highlands, and eagles in the sky.
  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park - a natural treasure.
  • The Markland Inn – a spectacular place far from crowds.
  • Abundant fresh seafood.



Click here to learn about our difficulty rating system.

This is a spectacular ride, with full days of long-distance cycling on hilly terrain. Electric bikes are available if you prefer to make things easier. Road bikes are suitable. Hybrid/fitness bikes are the most popular. The riding surface is almost entirely paved and traffic-shared, with very few short gravel sections.

Daily Distance:

  • 1: Introductions.
  • 2: Baddeck to Cheticamp. ~84km.
  • 3: Cheticamp to Dingwall. ~78 to ~145km.
  • 4: Dingwall to Baddeck. Up to ~145km.

(Click image to enlarge)

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Start: Halifax, The Lord Nelson Hotel, 13:00, day one, for an optional transfer (included), or at your first inn in Baddeck.

Finish: Cycling finishes mid-afternoon on the last day, normally in Baddeck. Freewheeling shuttle gets you back to Halifax usually by about 19:30pm.

Meal inclusions: Listed for guided trips only, please see dates & pricing section for accurate inclusions per support level.

Please contact us to arrange alternate meeting and departure plans, if necessary.


DAY 1:


An optional transfer departs Halifax at midday. Otherwise, meet late this afternoon at your first inn (a good place to park your vehicle for the week if you’re driving yourself).

Meal Inclusions: Dinner.

Lynwood Inn, Baddeck.

DAY 2:

Baddeck to Cheticamp. ~84km.

Ride over Hunter’s Mountain to the Margaree Valley, down the East side of that beautiful river valley to its mouth, then through the Acadian region to the waterfront town of Cheticamp, where you can stop for dinner and the night in prep for tomorrow’s two big climbs – a challenging day of cycling through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, with two ‘mountains’ each of about 430m/1400 feet.

Meal Inclusions: Breakfast, Dinner.

Maison Fiset House, Cheticamp.

DAY 3:

Cheticamp to Dingwall. ~78 to ~145km.

The scenery today is awe-inspiring; the ascents are long, and the descents…ahh, the descents! If only they’d go on forever. When you reach Dingwall, if the hills haven’t done you in, there is an option for greater distance – up to 70km round trip toward Meat Cove and back.

Meal Inclusions: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Markland Inn, Dingwall.

DAY 4:

Dingwall to Baddeck. Up to ~145km.

Cycle the scenic route between Cape North and Neil’s Harbour, stopping for a short hike at spectacular White Point, where eagles often soar over spouting whales. Stop for lunch in Ingonish, then enjoy a nicely undulating ride along the East Coast after climbing over Cape Smokey. Your transfer back to Halifax leaves by 3pm, with the aim of being in Halifax by 7pm, and will pick you up along the route if you haven’t yet made it to Baddeck.

Meal Inclusions: Breakfast.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2024 / 2025 DATES:

Please contact us for your preferred date

Don't see what you want?

(Inclusions & pricing are listed below)


GUIDED: C 2565 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 4 days, 3 nights, 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners, luggage handling, transfer from Halifax to Cape Breton and back, support vehicle and full-time guide/driver, maps, route instructions, hybrid bicycle rental, park and other entry fees, 15% sales tax.

Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.

SELF-GUIDED: C 2395 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 4 days, 3 nights, 3 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, your transfer between Halifax and Cape Breton if necessary, maps, route instructions, on-call emergency support, hybrid bicycle rental, 15% sales tax.

Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.


Bike Rentals:

Hybrid: Included

Flat bars. Trek FX3 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.

Upgrade to Road: 150

Drop bars. Trek Domane AL5, SL5, or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag (no rack/bag on carbon frames).

Upgrade to E-bike: 300

Flat bars. Trek Verve+ 2 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. If this is not provided by your credit card or elsewhere, please let us know and we can provide recommendations.


The best time to enjoy this tour is mid-June to mid-October.

  • Spring daytimes warm up to 10 to 20 °C (50 to 70 °F) by mid June. Note that seasonal businesses may still be closed, or on off-season hours, until late June.
  • Summer, mid June to mid September, is normally 20 to 25 °C (70 to 80 °F). Freshwater and saltwater swimming is encouraged.
  • Autumn, mid September to mid October, daytimes 10 to 20 °C range (50 to 70 °F). Nights can be chilly, but rarely down to freezing. Mid-October is the best time to see spectacularly colorful fall foliage.


If you fly: The best option is to fly to Halifax (YHZ). We meet you at your inn in Halifax, for a transfer (four hours) to Cape Breton Island with the Freewheeling shuttle. We depart Halifax 8am, day 1. Halifax’s downtown core is located about half an hour from its airport. Taxis are readily available; Maritime Bus offers an airport express shuttle ($40 roundtrip or $22 one way); and Halifax Transit provides hourly departures on its MetroX bus service ($4.25 fare).

Second option: Fly to Sydney (YQY). Arrange your own transport (taxi or rental car; one hour) to first inn.

If you drive: Meet at your first inn, 17:00 day one. It is 400km from Halifax, 1500km from New York, and 2000km from Toronto. You can park at the inn for the week.


Cycling finishes mid-afternoon on the last day, normally in Baddeck. Freewheeling shuttle gets you back to Halifax usually by about 19:30pm. It is best to fly out the following morning. Contact us for hotel recommendations.


If you have one day:
Rent a car (we can drop you at Halifax airport on day 6), and visit Wolfville, from where you can experience the highest tides in the world by car or on a 4-hour hike, visit wineries in the Gaspereau Valley, or just enjoy the rural university town.

Join us for a day trip kayaking on the South Shore, or rent a bike from our HQ and ride the Aspotogan loop.

If you have several days:

Extend your trip without leaving Cape Breton Island on the 6-day Cape Breton Hike experience.
Join one of our other rides in Nova Scotia, or the adjacent provinces, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland .

We recommend the following accommodations in Halifax for before or after your tour; please let us know if we can assist with reservations:

• The Lord Nelson, 1515 South Park Street Ph: 902-423-6331 or 800-565-2020
• Prince George Hotel, 1725 Market Street Ph: 902-425-1986 or 800-565-1567
• The Halliburton Inn, 5184 Morris Street Ph: 902-420-0658 or 888-512-3344


This is one of the world’s greatest rides; one that all touring cyclists should have on their “must-ride” list! The beautiful coast – the most dramatic in Nova Scotia - meets the breathtaking highlands in ways that make you appreciate both to the fullest, and the scenic magnificence of the paved trail can be truly savoured at the speed of your bicycle. The landscape and the people may demonstrate to you why Nova Scotia’s name means New Scotland. You will ride through the valley of the Margaree River, rich with salmon and its pursuit. You can choose to linger at the famous Highland Links if you prefer golf to cycling, and on some days you can expand your rides onto beautiful wooded trails, or to find swimming holes beneath waterfalls. The cycling, although manageable by most cyclists (and van-supported for the rest!), includes some challenging sections – especially on day three with two 1400ft climbs. Combining such awe-inspiring scenery and out-of–the-way charm with comfortable inns and exceptional cuisine makes this loop ride an exquisite experience you simply have to add to your list!