Date of Visit: July 26-28, 2017
How we got there: Drove from Mabou, Nova Scotia to Cheticamp, then through the park to Ingonish.
- Cabot Trail – This 300km world-famous scenic drive links the attractions of Cape Breton Highlands. It alternately winds through dense woods and clings to the edge of seaside bluffs. Any trip to this national park will involve time spent on Cabot Trail, so it’s impossible to miss.
- Corney Brook Trail – 4.1 mile (6.5km) out-and-back hike with 570ft (174m) elevation gain. This easy trail passes through shady woods and along a stream to a pretty waterfall.
- Skyline Trail Sunset ranger-guided hike – Definitely the most iconic hike in Cape Breton. We chose the evening ranger-guided hike that arrives at the end point just in time for sunset. Highlights were a moose sighting and the incredible views over the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the terraced boardwalk at the bluff’s edge.
- North Highlands Community Museum – On the way through the park toward Ingonish, we stopped at this small museum on a whim. It covers the culture and history of the distinctive northernmost corner of Cape Breton Island. The nearby Lone Shieling offers another glimpse into local history.
- Franey Mountain Trail – 5 mile (8 km) loop trail with 1,181 ft (360 m) of climb. Ascends through dense woods to a rocky outcrop overlooking pristine valleys and the Atlantic. Some rough patches, but moderate difficulty overall. Hiking clockwise makes the return trip on an easier, but less-interesting service road.
Tips: The many cultures of Nova Scotia are on full display around here. The Cabot Trail passes alternately through areas of French, Acadian and Scottish heritage. Tartans and Treasures is a great store for people with Scottish background to pick up some souvenirs.
Next time: Hike the Mica Hill trail. Wilderness camping at Fishing Cove. Visit remote Meat Cove at the northern tip of the island.