Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where the sea and the mountains meet, is one of the most enchanting places in Canada. Carved along the famous Cabot Trail coastline, Cape Breton Highlands is a wonderful combination of forested river canyons and rust-colored cliff edges. Once you visit the forest creatures, camp on a cliff with incredible views, or hike along the various trails, you’ll have an experience like no other.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is situated on northern Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
There are several ways to get to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Two of the main roads lead to the western entrance of the park near Chéticam, while two other options lead to the eastern entrance in Ingonish. One of the most scenic routes in North America, the Cabot Trail, goes around northern Cape Breton and continues for nearly 300 kilometers. Approximately one-third of the route runs within the park’s boundaries.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park became the first national park in the Canadian Atlantic provinces. It covers an area of 948 square kilometers (366 sq mi) and is one of Canada’s 42 national parks.
The park consists of valleys, mountains, rocky coastlines, waterfalls, and the Cape Breton Highlands, a tundra-like plateau. The maritime climate and rugged landscape of the park allow a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal, and Taiga habitats to thrive. This rare mix of northern and southern species cannot be found anywhere else in Canada. Several dozens of rare and endangered plant and animal species can be found within the park.
One of the best ways to explore the park and its beauty is by embarking on its 26 hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs. All hiking trails lead to wonderful panoramic views of canyons, seacoasts, and highlands.
During the season, Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers recreational fishing opportunities in its many lakes and rivers. The most popular species for fishing are native brook and speckled trout. Confirm the season dates and catch limits before fishing in the national park. A permit is required, and a license fee is applied, along with some regulations.
Cape Breton Highlands is home to some of the most superb beaches. You can choose between salt and freshwater or enjoy both at the same location.
Rated one of the world’s top cycling destinations, the Cabot Trail is a must-do for any experienced cyclist. The park offers cycling on some designated trails, including Salmon Pools, Clyburn Valley, and Le Vieux Chemin du Cap-Rouge.
The best time to go to Cape Breton Highlands National Park is during the summer in July and August - the weather tends to be warmer and drier then. Either way, come prepared for a rain shower. If you decide to travel during September and October, you will be rewarded with wonderful autumn colors, but do not forget to wrap up to keep warm. Most tourist attractions are closed during winter since winters on the island are bitter and harsh.
The best way to experience Cape Breton Highlands National Park is by camping! Most campsites are open from mid-May to late-October. There are six front country and one backcountry campsites around the park.
Front Country Campgrounds: