Walking on Cape Breton Island

Walking on Cape Breton Island

Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) has inspired musicians, artists, and inventors since it was first settled by Europeans centuries ago.

If you experience the island, you are likely to feel similarly inspired, as you discover spectacular trails along coastlines, through valleys and to magnificent viewpoints. This new walking tour follows trails in wilderness settings in provincial and national parks, as well as some on private land, including the Cape Mabou Trail System.

National Geographic named Cape Breton Island one of the world’s top 20 places to see. This tour offer a full week of Cape Breton magic, but we guarantee you will leave wanting more!

The daily walks range from just 4km up to an optional 20km (for the really avid walker) with accumulative daily ascents of 70 – 500 metres, led by experienced, expert walking guides. The terrain can be demanding in sections but achievable for walkers with average fitness, and poses no difficulties for regular walkers.

Tour Highlights

• Nova Scotia’s capital city, Halifax
• Baddeck, and the Alexander Graham Bell Museum
• The outstanding beauty of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park
• Scenery of coastal hills meeting the sea on both coasts
• The quiet village of Mabou, which hides an abundance of musical talent
• Glenora Distillery – the only single malt distillery outside of Scotland

*** Those participating on this walking tour must be able to complete up to 13 km of walking.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1: Depart

We fly to Halifax and transfer to our central hotel.

Day 2: Uisge Bhan Falls / Baddeck (Walk 4km with very little ascent / 3 hrs driving)

We meet our walking guides and transfer to the town of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island. After our included lunch we’ll visit Uisge Bahn Falls - Gaelic for “white water”. This short walk leads us through a quiet hardwood forest to a misty 50-foot waterfall. Back in Baddeck we visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, then check in to our Baddeck hotel for a 2-night stay.

Day 3: Baddeck to Louisbourg Loop (Walk up to 10km with 100m ascent / 3 hrs driving)

We begin at the Fortress of Louisbourg where we’ll discover why this French fortress was built, how it functioned, and why it failed. Then we’ll hike the Lighthouse Trail to Gun Landing Cove and those who wish may continue to Lorraine Head. The lighthouse here is one of the best preserved and most beautiful in North America. Despite its beacon, this ruggedly beautiful coast has caused many shipwrecks, including the Asterisk - an Irish vessel bound for Québec that wrecked in 1816, claiming 500 lives.

Day 4: Ingonish (Walk up to 11 5km with 300m ascent / 1 hour driving)

Today's hikes are in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The first hike is to the top of Mt. Franey from which, on a clear day, the view of Ingonish and the Atlantic are spectacular! Middle Head is a lovely walk out to a rocky headland with amazing views of Cape Smokey and Ingonish Island. We overnight in Ingonish.

Day 5: Dingwall (Walk up to 13km with 300m ascent / 1 hour driving)

We walk through the Acadian forest - a mixture of spruce, birch, hemlock, maple, oak, pine, ash and beech trees, and we climb to a windswept plateau. The 360 degree view of the Aspy fault, coastal villages far below and the mountains along the most northern tip of Cape Breton are breathtaking. The pinnacle here is also home to remarkable outcrops of quartz and mica. After a picnic lunch we explore the gorgeous coastline of White Point and reflect on the unknown sailor who inhabits the grave here. Our overnight is at a coastal resort in Dingwall overlooking a four-mile beach.

Day 6: Cheticamp (Walk up to 9km with 200m ascent / 1 ½ hrs driving)

Today offers some of the finest walking in the Cape Breton Highlands. The Skyline Trail follows boardwalks and trails to an expansive vista from where we often see whales, moose and eagles. We finish in the Acadian town of Cheticamp where we spend 2 nights.

Day 7: Acadian Trail (Walk up to 20km with 300m ascent / very little driving

Today's hike takes us high above the Chéticamp River for panoramic views of the Acadian coastline, the Chéticamp River valley and the park's highland interior. The trail honors the pioneers of Chéticamp who settled here more than 300 years ago.

Day 8: Cheticamp to Mabou (Walk up to 10km with 200m ascent / 1 hour driving)

Today will be a hike to remember! The trail along Sight Point cuts into the edge of a hill that tumbles all the way to the sea, and provides once-in-a-lifetime expansive sea views. This is the part of Nova Scotia that most reminds us of its namesake - Scotland. A more leisurely option is available - walking along the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail between Glendyer and Southwest Mabou. We spend the evening at the musical hotbed of Mabou, where the delights include the Rankin Family’s Red Shoe Pub, which features nightly traditional musical entertainment. You can also visit the nearby single malt whiskey distillery - the only one of its kind outside Scotland.

Day 9: Mabou to Halifax (3 hour driving)

This morning we transfer to Halifax where we will bid our guides farewell. Before doing so, they will provide details on how to enjoy our free afternoon in the city. We recommend visiting the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – the gateway into Canada for one million immigrants, then explore eclectic shops, galleries and ships including the last of the WWII convoy escort corvettes. Discover the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market - the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America, or learn about the local seafaring history at the Maritime Museum which includes displays on the city’s link to the Titanic disaster. Our Farewell Dinner will be at a restaurant in the city centre.

Day 10: Home

We fly home with Air Canada.


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Tour Dates & Prices
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Cost per person: $5197
For Prices and Inclusions


See what our value added tours include!
Home pick-up and drop-off (from most Canadian cities).

All airfare and all airport taxes.

Carefully selected accommodations).

All gratuities (for hotels, drivers, guides & cruise staff).

Most meals.
Insurance for cancellation and health while outside Canada.
Services of one of our cheerful experienced Tour Managers.

All prices guaranteed in Canadian funds.

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