Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Hike the wild coastline and explore quaint Acadian villages of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton
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Highlights

  • Hike the wild coastline of Nova Scotia's iconic Cabot Trail
  • Explore quaint Acadian villages, rich in history, dotting Cape Breton's coastline
  • Enjoy malt whiskey and daily Scottish music at the Glenora Inn & Distillery
  • Feast on fresh-caught lobster, snow crab and mussels from the Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Look for moose, whales and wildflowers on the Skyline Trail and Franey Mountain

Hike the stunning landscape of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, exploring by car and on foot and stopping at trailheads along the Cabot Trail and throughout Highlands National Park.

Upon arrival in Halifax, enjoy a picturesque drive up to Baddeck for a waterfall hike, lobster supper and optional evening sail. Continue up to Ingonish Beach for a two-night stay at the Keltic Lodge, allowing plenty of time to soak in the panoramic views and nearby trails. Drive the coastal route to White Point, a memorial for an unknown sailor and seaside hike for spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Continue west to Cheticamp, for scenic views of the St. Lawrence seaway and hikes along the Skyline Trail.

Strap on your boots for more hiking adventures and whale watching opportunities before heading to Glenora Inn & Distillery, an old-world inn with daily whiskey tours and nightly traditional Ceilidhs (Scottish) music.

Day 1: Arrive Halifax

Upon arrival at the airport, rent a car (we can arrange this as an add-on) for a thirty minute drive to downtown Halifax.


Check in to your hotel and head to the waterfront boardwalk, passing unique shops, bustling restaurants and graceful tall ships. Enjoy a stroll through the Public Gardens, explore the oldest farmers market in North America or visit the Titanic and Maritime Museum for captivating memorabilia. Halifax boasts more pubs per capita than any city in Canada, so make sure to stop for a cold brew and ale-battered fish and chips, a local favorite.


Overnight: Halifax


Day 2: Drive to Baddeck & Hike Uisage Ban Falls

After breakfast, drive north to Baddeck, a quaint shire town in Victoria County (approx. 4 hours).


Pick-up a packed lunch or head straight to the Uisage Ban Trailhead (Gaelic for “white water”) for a beautiful hike to a 50-foot waterfall. Enjoy walking along a shaded path through forest comprised of maple, birch and beech trees. Take a rest at the waterfall, admiring the deep stream valley and narrow walls of the 500-foot gorge tower, before heading back.


Drive back to Baddeck and check in to your B&B. If desired, head to the wharf to join an evening sailing tour aboard the Schooner Amoeba for an education narrative and wildlife viewing of Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lakes (approx. 1.5 hrs, additional costs apply).


Hike: Uisage Ban Falls (Easy, 2.5 miles, 1 hour, out-and-back)


Overnight: Baddeck


Day 3: Drive to Ingonish Beach & Hike Warren Lake and Franey Mountain

From Baddeck, drive the Cabot Trail up to Ingonish Beach, the eastern entryway to Cape Breton Highlands National Park (approx. 1.5 hours).


Warm up your legs with a relaxing trail hike around the shoreline of Warren Lake, the National Park’s largest lake. Get an early start for greater chances of viewing moose, bears and a variety of birds native to the area.


Take it up a notch with a hike up Franey Mountain. The spectacular views at top make this hike a must do and well worth the challenge. Walk through forest until reaching wooden stairs, the steeper section of the hike. Turn back at any point along the trail or hike up to the summit (1,400 ft. above sea level) for priceless views and world famous panoramas.


Head back to the Keltic Inn to swim in the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or to play an 18-hole round of golf.


Hike: Warren Lake (Easy, 3 miles, 1.5 hrs, loop)


Hike: Franey Mountain (Moderate to Challenging, 5 miles, 2.5 hours, loop)


Overnight: Ingonish Beach


Day 4: Drive to White Point & Hike Middle Head and White Point Trail

Depart from the Keltic Inn on foot to the Middle Head trailhead located only a short distance from the parking lot.


The trail follows a long, narrow peninsula separating two ocean bays, and ending on headland cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Smokey and Ingonish Island. Keep eyes peeled for seabirds, seals, whales and eagles in the distance.


Veer off the Cabot Trail for the coastal route to White Point (approx. 30 mins), leaving the National Park and entering Neil’s Harbour. Stop by the Chowder House for lunch and continue onward to White Point Trail for an amazing seaside hike. Circle back to Ingonish Beach, stopping off at any antique shops, goat farms (for hand-made goat’s milk soaps) or points of interest along the way.


Hike: Middle Head (Easy, 2.5 miles, 2 hrs, loop)


Hike: White Point Trail (Easy, 3.5 miles, 2 hrs, out-and-back)


Overnight: Ingonish Beach


Day 5: Drive to Cheticamp & Hike Benjie’s lake, Bog and Skyline Trail

Today, you will drive from the east side of Cape Breton to the west side, overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Before reaching Cheticamp (approx. 2 hours), stop-off at three incredible, yet diverse, hiking trails along the way. Located only a few blocks apart, start with the hike to Benjie’s Lake for views of moose, boreal forest and birds. Head over to the Bog Trail for a short loop along a level wooden boardwalk to view beautiful wildflowers, particularly orchids. Continue on to the famed Skyline Trail, one of the park’s best hikes and a local favorite for the perfect conclusion to this hiking day.


Drive down to the Acadian town and Francophone enclave of Cheticamp. Check into your B&B or join a whale watching tour to view whales, dolphins, seals, eagles and wildlife near Pleasant Bay (not included).


Hike: Benjie’s Lake (Easy, 2 miles, 1.5 hrs, out-and-back)


Hike: Bog (Easy, 0.3 miles, 15 min, loop)


Hike: Skyline Trail (Easy, 5 miles, 3 hrs, loop)


Overnight: Cheticamp


Day 6: Hike Acadian Trail & Drive to Glenville

This morning, take the road to southern Cheticamp and the start of the Acadian Trail. Enjoy a steady climb for panoramic views of the plateau, river canyon and Gulf of St. Lawrence. Continue driving south for a late afternoon arrival to Glenville and the Glenora Inn & Distillery (approx. 1 hour).


Spend the rest of the afternoon roaming the grounds or joining a distillery tour and whiskey tasting (Daily 9AM-5PM, additional costs apply). Head to the restaurant and pub for lively Ceilidhs music and signature dishes influenced by traditional Nova Scotian culture (reservations in advance are highly recommended).


Hike: Acadian Trail (Moderate, 5 miles, 4 hrs, loop)


Overnight: Glenville


Day 7: Onward Travel

Depending on your travel arrangements, enjoy a late morning and hearty breakfast before journeying onward for the final stretch of the Cabot Trail drive.


Accommodation

We specifically hand-picked your accommodations in comfortable and charming inns and B&Bs to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay while exploring Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. 


All accommodations are located along the driving route and offer a warm welcome to tourists and hikers. Additionally, each offers individual character and welcoming hospitality.


Solo Travelers & Single Rooms

This trip is based on two people sharing a room. If you’d like separate rooms, a single supplement is required.


If you would like to request a twin room (same room with two separate beds), please notify us during booking so we can request this option.


Due to the amount of tourists traveling the area and having access to a car, this trip is also available to solo hikers (a solo supplement is required).


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning and served buffet style or chosen from a menu. Most breakfasts include a hot dish (eggs, pancakes or waffles), coffee, tea, yogurt, granola, fruit and baked goods.


Lunches and dinners are not included in this trip, so you can choose from nearby options. For lunches, we recommend finding a market to create a picnic or packed lunch to take with you on hikes. Or you can choose to dine at local cafes located in towns and along the driving route. For dinner, you can dine at local restaurants all within a short walking distance from your night’s stay.


Extra Nights

You can easily request to add extra nights during this itinerary. For further details, please ask us at the time of booking.



 




Waverly Inn

Welcome to the Waverley Inn, located in downtown Halifax and walking distance from major attractions, restaurants and the waterfront. Enjoy the relaxed, casual and friendly Victorian style atmosphere, where hospitality is considered a home away from home.


 

 

 


 

 

 




The Waters Edge Inn

Situated in historic Baddeck and conveniently located a few blocks from town, enjoy overlooking the picture-perfect harbor and stunning vista of the Bras d’Or Lakes.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Keltic Lodge

Sitting high on top of the peninsula, this historic 1950’s Lodge offers fantastic views, newly renovated guestrooms, an on-site restaurant, 18-hole golf course, swimming pool, spa and is only a short distance from the national park.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Maison Fiset House

The Maison Fiset House is an elegant retreat on the magnificent Cabot Trail. Built in 1840 and situated in the heart of Cheticamp, enjoy exquisite accommodations with magnificent views of the highlands, harbor and ocean.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Glenora Inn & Distillery

Located among scenic glens and highland hills, this old-world inn doubles as a malt whiskey distillery and traditional lodge of Scottish heritage and Gaelic culture. Being a destination in and of itself, enjoy a tour of the distillery, tasty creations and daily Ceilidhs music.

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week from June to
September. Depending on the weather, this trip can be
extended into the first two weeks of October. Please let us know at the
time of booking if you prefer an early October departure.


We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalized to ensure availability for specific dates. 


When To Go?

The best time to visit Cape Breton is during the summer months of July and August and the fall months of September and early October.


July and August are the months when weather is warmest and driest, making hiking, driving and outdoor activities most enjoyable. September and October offer stunning autumn colors and changing foliage, creating very dramatic scenery when hiking, driving and exploring.


No matter when you decide to come, travelers should come prepared for rain showers or cooler weather at any point.


Navigation

Navigating is easy using the Macs Adventure Navigation App. Your daily hikes will be mapped in the app with GPX tracks, route notes and turn-by-turn directions. All of these resources are available to download for offline use, which means you won’t need cell service or Wi-Fi (which are often unreliable or unavailable on trails within the national park).


Written turn-by-turn driving directions are included in the app; although the drives are straightforward, you may still consider using a GPS device while in the car. You will also have 24/7 Macs Adventure telephone support.


Experience, Fitness & Grade

This tour is graded easy to moderate with five days of hiking and a maximum distance of 8 miles. Daily hikes average around 3-7 miles (3-6 hours) along dirt nature trails or wooded boardwalks and stairs.


Although the trails are maintained by the park or local organizations, there is always the possibility of encountering washed out, overgrown or of muddy conditions. Almost


all trailheads have parking lots with plenty of space, while only a few have pullouts or space to park on the side of the road. Distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.


Daily trails have been hand-selected by the Macs Adventure team and chosen for their level of difficulty, scenic qualities and high rank within top trailheads, so you can enjoy the best of the region. Due to the flexibility of this trip, you can always skip a hike or turn around whenever desired.


Note: Wildlife safety, cell service availability, and other trip specific information will be outlined within your pre-departure information pack.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advise and a packing list on what to bring. This includes warm and cold weather gear, hiking boots, rain gear and lots of other specifics.


Please be prepared by packing all the necessary items for a comfortable trip. If you have any questions about what to take, we'd be happy to share our own top tips and advice. 


National Park Pass

While hiking within Cape Breton National Park, a parking pass will have to be purchased upon arrival. Booths will be set-up at entrance stations to prompt you to purchase your pass before parking, or you can stop by the visitor’s center along the route. You can purchase each day’s pass all at once or per day if preferred. Costs are $7.80 CAD per person via cash or credit card. For more information click this link and visit the national park pass section found within the pre-departure information pack.


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit our travel insurance page by clicking this link.

Getting to Downtown Halifax

By Air


Halifax Stanfield International Airport has flights from international and national destinations.


Rental Car


Upon arrival to the airport, follow signs pointing you in the direction of the rental car agency to pick-up your rental car. Budget, Enterprise and Hertz are some of the many agencies available should you need to rent a car from Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Driving to downtown Halifax takes about thirty minutes from the airport.


Getting from Glenville 

You can return your car and fly from the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, located on Cape Breton (approx. 2 hours).


Alternatively, you may want to drive back to Halifax or continue on to additional Nova Scotia destinations. Rental cars can be returned at Halifax Stanfield International Airport or in the center of downtown Halifax itself. We suggest arranging your preferred drop-off location during pick-up. 


Included

  • 6 Nights at charming historic B&Bs and inns
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Hand-picked daily hiking trails
  • Turn-by-turn directions and route notes
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • 24/7 US telephone support

Excluded

  • International flights
  • Car Rental
  • National Park Pass
  • Sailing, whale watching, tours or other optional activities
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Additional nights before, during or after the trip
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities and tips

Extras

  • Extra Nights in Halifax, Baddeck, Igonish Beach, Cheticamp and Glenville
  • Single Room Supplement
  • Solo Supplement
  • Room Upgrades (only where applicable)

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalized as this destination is extremely popular in the summer months. Please note you can start this tour on any day of the week.

What if I can't hike a section?

Daily trails have been hand-selected by the Macs Adventure team and chosen for their easy to moderate level of difficulty, scenic qualities and high rank within top trailheads, so you can enjoy the best of the region. Due to the flexibility of this trip, you can always skip a hike or turn around whenever desired. 

What do I do if I become ill during my trip?

If you become ill and are not up for hiking, that's Ok. If you need medical services, you'll find information in your pre-departure information packet or you can ask for assistance at your B&B. As always, 24/7 support from Macs Adventure is only a phone call away.

How is cell service in the park?

Cell service and Wi-Fi is available at each overnight accommodation, within nearby towns and at trailheads outside the National Park. However, while hiking within Cape Breton Highlands National Park, cell service is unavailable. As always, it is best to prepare in advance should you lose service at any point, specially when downloading routes for GPS driving directions and trail navigation. Information regarding which trails pertaining to this itinerary will have limited, or no service, will be outlined within the pre-departure information pack to help you prepare. Otherwise, enjoy being fully immersed in nature and in your present surroundings!


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Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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