Moderate
Difficulty level
Hiking/Walking
Activity (Hike)
6 Night, 7 Day
Duration

Canada, Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Island Hike

six nights; seven days of hiking, showing you 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

WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Hike many trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where coastal hills meet the sea.
  • Cape Breton Island inspires musicians, artists, and inventors.
  • Visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck.
  • Walk to a quiet waterfall outside Baddeck.
  • Learn about the Grand Derangement in the Acadian village of Cheticamp.
  • You may see whales from the shore, moose in the highlands, and eagles in the sky.
  • Rest in Mabou, a quiet village that at first glance belies the abundance of musical talent enjoyed there.
  • Visit the only single malt distillery outside Scotland.
  • Abundant fresh seafood.
  • 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 believe you will finish it wanting more!

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.


Moderately challenging hikes on wilderness trails, in the national park and in wilder places. You will need to have good footwear, and be capable of walking up to 10km on hilly terrain with a small backpack to carry your lunch, etc. We can provide walking poles. Groups of eight or more are sometimes split into two to accommodate varying abilities.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions, ~3km
  • DAY 2: Up to 18km
  • DAY 3: Up to 10km
  • DAY 4: Up to 21km
  • DAY 5: Up to 20km
  • DAY 6: Up to 17km
  • DAY 7: Up to 20km

Cape Breton Island Hike – Elevation Profile

 


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.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions, Uisge Bhan Falls ~3km, 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)

Broadwater Inn; or, Lynwood Inn; or, Silver Dart Lodge; Baddeck

2

Franey Mountain ~8km, Middle Head ~4km, and/or Cape Smokey ~10km

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

3

Mica Hill ~8km and White Point ~2km

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

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 House, or, Auberge des Pecheurs, or , Silver Lining Inn, Cheticamp

5

Acadian Trail ~9km and/or Salmon Pools Trail ~11km, 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

6

Sight Point up to 17km

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

7

Mabou to Port Hood on Celtic Shores Coastal Trail up to 20km

Today’s trail offers easy terrain with very minimal grade. Likely a welcome change after some of the week’s hillier days! You will start on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail in Mabou and make your way toward Port Hood. This trail was once a rail line that was home to the famed Judique Flyer- a coal fired train that ran the sixty-mile rail line and carried residents, visitors, soldiers and all the necessities of life to the communities along it. BL

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

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

Guided: C 3795 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, luggage handling, ground transportation including transfers from/to Halifax, guide/driver support, relevant maps and trail notes, 15% sales tax


Self-Guided: C 3095 (per person, double occupancy)

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


Self-Drive: C 1845 (per person, double occupancy)

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


Single Occupancy: 795


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • Jun 25-Jul 1
  • Jul 9-15
  • Aug 13 – 19
  • Sep 3-9
  • Oct 1-7

2023 Guided dates:

  • Jun 25-Jul 1
  • Jul 9-15
  • Aug 6-12
  • Sep 3-9
  • Oct 1-7

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


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, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. 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.

More Reading:


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!