Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the most popular area for hiking and camping. It has wild moose, coyotes, black bears, valleys, mountains, and waterfalls. The best part about this park is there are many activities to do other than hiking and camping such as sightseeing, geocaching, swimming, fishing, weddings, cycling, golfing, picnicking, kayaking, and surfing. Located at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, this massive park (with an area of 948 km²) has a great number of trails. Some people come to see whales which can be spotted along the park’s Skyline Trail.
The best time to visit is July and August when the park offers full visitor services, but the park and its visitor centres (one in Ingonish and one in Chéticamp) are open from mid-May to mid-October.
The service fee to enter the park for an adult is $7.80 per day, or you can purchase a seasonal pass for $39.20 (2015 prices). An early bird pass is available for $19.60 if purchased between November 1 and June 30. For senior, youth, and family/group pricing, check out the Parks Canada site for more information. In addition, there are facilities you can use for camping at a fee. If you plan on fishing, you can also purchase a permit.
Port Hawkesbury Community Trails
Port Hawkesbury trails are located at the southern point of Cape Breton. Together they add up to about 10 km of trails that bring you through softwood forests and gently flowing streams. It’s a relatively easy trail that may appeal casual to avid hikers. There are numerous rest stops along the way inviting you to absorb in the amazing scenery.
Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail
The Louisbourg lighthouse trail is a 2.6 km stretch that starts the the lighthouse and is relatively well-groomed. But you should be careful with this hike because there are many areas close to cliffs and some areas where the trail disappears, leaving you to follow a rugged coast. We don’t recommend going when the weather gets bad because the rocks can get very slippery when wet. On a beautiful day, the Louisbourg lighthouse trail offers a great hike and many photographic opportunities.
Cabot Trail – Haunted Hike
If you feel like scare, check out the haunted hike offered at Cabot Trail. It is offered every Thursday nights in July and August. The hike starts at the parking lot of Ingonish Beach and delivers many spooky tales of this area. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit any park visitor centre or campground kiosk.