This guide is perfect for planning your trip to the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia! It covers the best hikes to go on, and best things to do while visiting, along with a helpful map of our route!
Let me just start off by saying, we had NO idea how beautiful Eastern Canada was. I feel like everyone knows about BC and the mountains, or Toronto, but how could a place as gorgeous and untouched as Cape Breton not be more popular?! Nova Scotia was our third province that we stopped at after New Brunswick and PEI on our road trip, and it took our breath away!
Just for context we had a rental car (you NEED a car – it is very rural and there is no easy access to buses/ubers, etc). We were coming from North Rustico in PEI and it was about a 5 hour drive to the village of Baddeck, which is considered to be the beginning or end of the famous Cabot Trail (depending on which way you drive around – it’s a large oval). Baddeck is where we started!
Here is a map for reference:
*Keep in mind Cape Breton Highlands is a National Park so there are some fees when you enter, unless you have a park pass! More info on pricing can be found here*
WHERE WE STAYED
Baddeck: Normally we always go for the AirBnB options, but we found a cute place called Ceilidh Country Lodge with good reviews that was very inexpensive with breakfast included (great selection!). This was our home base for the time we were there.
Many people also choose to camp at different locations along the trail. Some great stopping points would be: Pleasant Bay, Ingonish, or Inverness.
HOW LONG WE STAYED
We unfortunately were short for time and only had 3 days to explore Cape Breton & the Cabot Trail. We’d recommend staying longer if you can! 5-7 days would be perfect to really get the full experience since it does take about 5 hours to drive around the trail and you’ll be stopping every 20 minutes to look at all the viewpoints and do all of the hikes!
HIKES HIKES HIKES!
- Skyline Sunset Hike – STUNNING! MUST-DO! About 7.5km in total so it suggests 2.5-3 hrs return trip. Not a challenging hike, suitable for all fitness levels. We recommend leaving about 2 hours before sunset to get the best views! Click here for more info!
- Franey – Another must-do! This one is definitely more challenging than the Skyline. It’s about the same distance 7.4km and about 2-3 hours to complete.
- Those were the two we did, and the most popular ones, if you have time here is a list of ALL hikes along the trail!
THINGS TO DO IN CAPE BRETON
- Whale Watching! Check out Capt. Mark’s Whale and Seal Cruise – $55 pp in Pleasant Bay
- Eat at the Coastal Restaurant & Pub in Ingonish! It was featured on “You Gotta Eat Here!”
- Glenora Distillery if you’re into Whiskey! Gorgeous place!
- Live Music / Food at Red Shoe Pub. They have entertainment each night! Listen to some traditional Celtic/Folk music!
- Alexander Graham Bell Museum – National Historic Site
- Eat lobster…and seafood, its EVERYWHERE and amazing! Baddeck Lobster Suppers are all-you-can-eat!
Overall, make sure you do the entire loop of the Cabot Trail –
you won’t regret the views!
S & S
(Have any questions? Comment below! Be sure to follow along on Instagram to see more tips & pics! @thethompsontrotters)