Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Address City
Cape Breton Highlands National Park Ingonish Beach
Province Country
NS Canada
Postal Code  
B0C 1L0  
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the Maritimes most beautiful areas. Located at the eastern edge of Nova Scotia the park sits on a plateau which falls off precipitously into the Atlantic Ocean. Renown as a cyclists route, the park is also a hikers haven and for experience kayakers one of the east most intriqueing paddles. This wilderness also accomodates mountain bikers and in the winter backcountry and cross country skiers.  
The ever famous view of the road, wrapping its way around Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Location: The main road through the park is a broad arc which sweeps from one side of the peninsula to the other providing two main entrances. In the northwest enter at Cheticamp in the south east entry is at Ingonish Beach. Cape Breton is actually an island (does it qualify if it has a causeway) so all traffic passes through the Canso Causeway. From Halifax take the 2 to Truro, then the 104 to the causeway, then follow the 19 if your going to Cheticamp or the 105 if your entering by Ingonish Beach.

Season: All year-round

Size: 950 square kilometers

Backpacking: There are 41.8 kilometres of backpacking trails in the park along two seperate routes, one on either side of the park.

Fishing Cove: Expert, 16km return, linear. The trail is a steady descent from highway 19 (the Cabot Trail on the Cheticamp side of the park) through a deep incision into the plateau, that leads to the beautiful rugged coastline along the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. Nestled in the cove, this is a superb campsite and a great hike but if your not in shape, don't forget, its a climb all of the way out.. You can complete this trail in 4 to 6 hours. You must register for backcountry camping in the park. A 1:50,000 topographical map of the whole park is available for a fee from the park office.

Lake of Islands: Expert, 25.8 return, 8 - 9 hours return. The trail is a steady climb from highway 19 (the Cabot Trail on the Ingonish side of the park) to a plateau and the Lake of Islands backcountry camping area. On your way in about 0.4 km into the hike is a path that branches off to a lookoff which is worth the detour. There is no longer a backcountry campsite along the trail. A 1:50,000 topographical map which covers the whole park is available from the park office for a fee.

Hiking: There are over 20 hiking and walking trails in this 950 square kilometer park and are over 150 km of trails.

Cape Smokey Trail: Intermediate, 11km. This is a trail near national the park, with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the highlands. The trail should take about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Coastal Trail: Intermediate, 11km. Following along the granite headlands the trail gives you views of Neil's Harbour to the north and Black Brook Beach to the south. The trail should take about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Corney Brook: Easy, 8km. A linear trail that takes you along the brook of the same name to a beautiful waterfall. The trail should take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to complete.

Franey Mountain: Intermediate, 6.4km, loop. The trail is a loop trail that climbs to the top or Franey Mountainan an over all elevation gain of 366 meters. At the top you will be treated to a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding area making every step of the way worth while. The trail should take about 2 to 3 hours to complete.

L'Acadian Trail: Intermediate, 9.6km, loop. The trail starts at the Cheticamp Campground and climbs steadily several hundred meters to a lookout with a panoramic view of the coastline. It follows Robert Brook for half of its length. The trail should take about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Le Buttereau Trail: Easy, 1.9km. This is a self-guided interpretive loop along the coast, where you'll be treated to great birdwatching, nature viewing and if you timing is right spectacular sunsets, but don't get caught out after dark. The trail should take about 40 minutes to complete.

Pollett's Cove: Intermediate, 19km return, 8hours, 366m elevation gain. Once a small settlement, Pollett's Cove is said to be one of the most beautiful places in Canada. Pleasant Bay.

Skyline Trail: Intermediate, 7km, loop. This is a spectacular trail that leads you to Headland Cliff, where you often see whales spouting in the distance. Along the trail watch for moose, bear as well as a host of land and sea birds. The trail should take about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Tous de Saumon: 13km. This is a spectacular trail that leads you to Headland Cliff where you might well see whales spouting in the distance. Along the trail watch for moose, bear as well as a host of land and sea birds. The trail should take about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Mountain Biking: There are three trails that permit mountain biking. Trous de Saumons: which is a 13km return, Lake of Islands: 25.8 km return and Clyburn Valley: 9.2 km there and back.  
Bike camping is one of the great ways to experience Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Backcountry and Cross Country Skiing: There are 70 km of groomed trails and 66 km of ungroomed trail in the park. The Acadian Trail, just outside the park has over 500 km of ungroomed trails (this trail is multi-use).  
A view looking south into the middle of Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Snowshoeing: You can snowshoe anywhere in the Park. If you plan on venturing any distance off the Cabot Trail you should check in with Park staff. (Please, no walking on groomed ski trails.)

Winter Camping: Winter camping is permitted in the park. Ingonish and Cheticamp Campgrounds have pit privys, kitchen shelters and water. Cheticamp connects with Trous de Saumons and Campground ski trails.

Kayaking: The area is exceptional if you have expert skills or have hired a good guiding company. The area is very challenging with open ocean and sheer cliffs make landings difficult or impossible. Of course the exceptional natural beauty, the endless areas for exploration and the nature viewing including whale watching make it a superb area for paddlers.  
A water fall at Black Brook Beach in
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Front Country Camping

Cheticamp Campground: 162 sites (not all with fireplaces), 37 serviced. Some sites in this wooded area have wheelchair facitilies. The campground has showers and washrooms. The campground is located just inside the Cheticamp entrance.

Corney Brook Campground: 20 unserviced sites. Swimming in the ocean showers are available at the Cheticamp campground 10km from Corney Brook.

MacIntosh Brook: 10 unserviced sites. Showers are available at Cheticamp campground 50km (30min.) away.

Big Intervale: 10 unserviced sites. This is a forested campground and showers are available at Cheticamp campground 100km (1hr.) away. Just about halfway between the two park entrances.

Broad Cove: 256 sites (not all with fireplaces), 83 serviced. Some sites in this partially wooded campground have wheelchair facilities and the campgrounds have showers. the campground is north of the Ingonish entrance.

Ingonish: 90 unserviced sites. This open campground has showers and access to the ocean just a short distance away for swimming. Just outside the Ingonish entrance to the park.

Backcountry Camping: Fishing Cove see the backpacking section.

Group Camping: Robert Brook has a group camping area. Qualified groups should inquire with the park about reservations.

Reservations can be made through the parks website via Parks Canada Camping

Note: Dogs are allowed in the park. Pets must be leashed and kept under control at all times and must not interfere with wildlife or with the enjoyment and safety of other visitors.
The Park protects 950 sq km of magnificent highlands and coastal wilderness. Approximately one-half of the world-renowned Cabot Trail is located within the park.

Cape Breton Island
Cabot Trail

Towns and Villages
Cheticamp - Northwest Park Entrance
Ingonish Beach - Southeast Park Entrance

Major Centers

Accomodations and Restaurants
Le Gabriel Restaurant and Lounge - Cheticamp
Lauries Motor Inn - Accomodations and Whale Cruises, Cheticamp
Wabo's Pizza - Cheticamp
Ingonish Chalets - Ingonish Beach
The Island Inn - Ingonish Beach

Les Amis Du Plein Air - Outdoor Recreation in Cape Breton
Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia
My Maritime Trip - Personal Page

Climate Info: Ingonish Beach
Official Site:
Parks Canada
Nova Scotia Tourism

All web site contents copyright 1995-2003 by White Cat Media


Press here if you have arrived at this page without
the navigation bar on the left