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Nova Scotia Hiking: Cape Breton Island

7 Days & 6 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • 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.
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What To Expect

This tour is graded easy to moderate, with daily average hiking around 3-7 miles (3 to 5 hours). Enjoy hiking along hand-picked trails to stunning vistas, waterfalls or natural delights within the national park or coastal trails. Trails are signed, well-maintained, traveled frequently and near the road for ease of navigation and parking. Each night, drive to nearby villages to stay at historic B&Bs and inns influenced by Irish and Scottish settlements.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

Ideal if you have an interest in:

Coastal & Island

Inspiration:

  • New
  • Classic

Activity Level & Terrain

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.

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

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.

Accommodations

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 number of tourists travelling 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.

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
  • Room Upgrades (only where applicable)

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 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.

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week from June to October.

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

Getting to the Start

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.

General Information

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.

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. 

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

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Halifax Day 2 Drive to Baddeck & Hike Uisage Ban Falls - 2.5 miles 2.5 miles / 2.6 km Day 3 Drive to Ingonish Beach & Hike Warren Lake and Franey Mountain - 3 miles 5 miles / 8 km Day 4 Drive to White Point & Hike Middle Head and White Point Trail - 2.5 miles 3.5 miles / 5.5 km Day 5 Drive to Cheticamp & Hike Benjie’s lake, Bog and Skyline Trail - 5 miles 4.5 miles / 7.5 km Day 6 Hike Acadian Trail & Drive to Glenville - 5 miles 5.4 miles / 8.7 km Day 7 Onward Travel

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