Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail
Experience the Cabot Trail
Travel + Leisure magazine has called Cape Breton Island, home to the world-renown Cabot Trail, one of the world’s must-see islands. The natural beauty of the highlands provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and whale watching. And don't forget about motorcycling! The Cabot Trail was featured in USA Today's 10 Best Readers' Choice for Best Motorcycle Trip in 2014.
Hike and camp at Cape Breton Highlands National Park, play a round of golf at the famous Highlands Links, peruse artisan shops along the trail, or just drive and stare as you experience this 300 kilometre (186 mile) highway that offers spectacular coastal views, highland scenery and warm Celtic and Acadian hospitality.
Hike the Highlands
From easy strolls to challenging climbs and views of canyons, highlands and coastlines, the 26 trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park offer something for everyone. One of the most popular trails, the Skyline Trail, offers an eagle’s eye view of the coast from a mountaintop headland. This ‘must-do’ trail can also be hiked at sunset during the Skyline Sunset Hikes that are offered by the Park. Hiking enthusiasts can also indulge in 10 days of activities and guided hikes for all skill levels each September during the Hike the Highlands Festival.
Views from Water
A trip around the Cabot Trail is not complete without seeing the highlands from the water. Go sailing, fishing, or kayaking in Baddeck on the Bras d'Or Lake within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, head out to the Bird Islands near St. Ann’s Bay to see Atlantic Puffins, or hop aboard a whale watching tour. The coastline of Northern Cape Breton is one of North America’s most spectacular kayaking destinations where imposing cliffs, waterfalls, sea caves, and towering arches offer experienced kayakers a rewarding challenge.
Cabot Trail Artisans Road Trip
The Cabot Trail’s dramatic coastal views and highland scenery offer an endless source of artistic inspiration. From potters and glass artisans along the North Shore and galleries in the Highlands, to rug hookers in Chéticamp and woodworkers and jewelers located throughout, many of our artisans create their craft on-site and offer visitors hands-on demonstrations. Immerse yourself in the art by trying glass blowing at Glass Artisans Studio & Gallery. The Cabot Trail Artisans Road Trip is a great place to start when crafting your itinerary.
Cycling the Cabot Trail
For seasoned cyclists craving a challenge, cycle around the Cabot Trail to experience one of the most highly-rated cycling routes in the world. Tackle the terrain with gusto on self-guided adventures, enlist the expertise of a local cycling tour operator who offers assistance and rentals, or take the sightseeing-by-van tour option when the elevation is too challenging.
The Cabot Trail’s natural beauty is only outdone by its rich culture. You’ll feel like a local while attending a ceilidh or kicking up your heels at a square dance. Don’t miss the annual Celtic Colours International Festival, held each October, which features hundreds of Celtic musicians from across Cape Breton and around the world. For hands-on cultural immersion, take part in a milling frolic and kilt making at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s or learn about Acadian history while trying your hand at rug hooking at Les Trois Pignons in Chéticamp.
Dining around the Cabot Trail
When it’s time to refuel on local food, check out the Chowder Trail for a list of restaurants located on the Cabot Trail that are serving up delicious chowders. Expand your foodie knowledge with Chanterelle Country Inn & Cottages’ hands-on experiences, and 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.