Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island: Address, Phone Number, Cabot Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Cabot Trail
4.5
Hiking Trails • Scenic Drives
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One of the most magnificent loop drives in North America treats visitors to the spectacular scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,777 reviews
Excellent
1,355
Very good
309
Average
93
Poor
16
Terrible
4

TravellinDaveHead
Toronto, Canada331 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
Chose to drive Cabot Trail in one day, which for us (not campers, not really hikers either) was perfect. Leaving Sydney at 8am we drove the trail counter-clockwise. I had read that it’s a bit nerve-wracking for drivers to go this way, but I felt extremely comfortable the entire time, there was never a time I felt nervous at all. In fact, I would recommend counter-clockwise as you get to enjoy the scenery much earlier in the trip rather that driving through noting but trees for the first 2 hours if you go clockwise. We never felt rushed, traffic was light, and we took advantage of nearly every lookout point. Some of the views are just breathtaking. Considering it took us 9 hours from start to finish, which also included a restaurant stop in Cheticamp, it was a leisurely 9 hours. It wasn’t like we were stuck in the car all day, we got out and walked around a lot. Now, if you do plan to do any hiking at all, you will definitely need more than 1 day. 1 day is fine for a drive around, but there’s so much more you can see and do if you allow yourself more time. Definitely glad we did it! I think doing that same drive but later in October when the leaves have changed colour would be spectacular.
Written September 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

gniteIrene
Toronto, Canada618 contributions
Sep 2021 • Friends
We drove the Cabot Trail counter clockwise from our motel outside of Baddeck. I was a liitle fearful before we set out, as I thought it would be a white knuckle drive like The Amalfi Coast in Italy. My fears did not materialize, as this was not the least bit “scary” as the road was wide, there were guard rails along the coast and there was very little traffic on this warm and sunny day. We never stopped until we reached Lakey’s Point, although there were look out points before our stop. We stopped to hike Franey Trail(excellent), White Point and Skyline Trail and were on the road for a total of 11 hours.
The sweeping views of the rugged coastline, green rolling hills, Atlantic Ocean on the east and Gulf of St. Lawrence on the west are stunning- but sadly, there just aren’t a lot of these views. For this reason, I was a little underwhelmed as I had been led to believe that the entire Cabot Trail was breathtaking. I am glad I was finally able to experience driving the Cabot Trail and see the breathtaking sights that I did see and would certainly recommend this drive to others. However, for those who have driven a lot of mountain/coastal roads out west or in other countries, they may be underwhelmed.
Written October 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AMsays
Thornhill, Canada3,484 contributions
Aug 2021
The Cabot Trail is named after Giovani Cabotto who landed in Cape Breton in the 15th century. I did the Cabot Trail+ in a 12-hr frenzy, driving 525 km over 7 hours. The trail is only 300 km long, but I went off the beaten path many, many times to see UNESCO Biosphere Reserves Bras d’Or Lake and Fundy and Canadian National Historic sites of Marconi (Florence) and Bell (Baddeck). There are phenomenal views, lush vegetation, scenic lookouts, twisting roads and steep inclines to add to the adventure. I did parts of the Skyline Trail and Cape Breton Highland National Park. I looked for whales at MacKenzie Mtn. Lookout (didn’t see any). I found great chocolate at Cabotto, pricey wine at eileanan breaghaa winery and disappointing fish and chips at Meat Cove. All in all, a tiring but very fulfilling day. You can do it all but you just need to plan and prioritiize….
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

puckstopper31
Edmonton, Canada690 contributions
Apr 2022
As per other reviewers, was scenic but expected more from the hype. We also recommend driving counter clockwise for better views and ease of pulling off to viewpoints. Very very little open in the towns along the way…some places nothing at all thus suggest you do during the summer..other thing was going counter clockwise let’s you get into Cheticamp about lunchtime. Roads (pavement ) were excellent to good to poor to seriously bad.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

NormLWat
Waterloo, Canada826 contributions
Aug 2019 • Couples
What an experience full of beautiful scenery, terrific hiking, and east coast hospitality. The trail takes about 4.5 hours to drive without stops however, plan to be there over a couple of days so that you can enjoy the area. Take a hike (skyline is beautiful and takes a couple of hours), fit in a beach visit, and ensure you stop at the museum,bar of look out vistas to take in the amazing views.
Written July 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

traveljean11
Ottawa, Canada54 contributions
Sep 2021
I suppose this drive might be spectacular if you are used to the desert (for example). But if you have driven along heavily forested and waterside ( big lake or ocean) roads then this is really not so spectacular. There are only a few spots on this drive where the view was jaw dropping. If you happen to be in the area, it would be worth doing the drive but for me, it wasn't worth making a special trip to NS and then driving all the way over to this side of the province just to do the "world famous Cabot Trail"
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

inmyflipflops
Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso231 contributions
Aug 2021
This scenic drive should be planned out well and your stops prioritized if you only have one day but you should not miss doing this drive if you are in Cape Breton. Make sure your car is in good condition and test your brakes. There is a lot of steep and winding parts. If you have kids, make sure you pack a lot of snacks and drinks. Make sure you have bathing suits and hiking shoes at the ready. Part of the trail goes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park so make sure you visit the website to choose a trail or two to hike. My daughter and I hiked Skyline in the late afternoon and it was marvelous. You should also take time for Ingonish Beach on the eastern side or Margaree Harbour Beach on the western side of the island. There are also great choices for meals and shopping on the route. Breakfast at Dancing Goat in Margaree is highly recommended. The Chowder House in Neil's Harbour should also not be missed. Going off trail a bit and heading to Meat Cove at the northernmost point of the island is worth it for the dramatic views.
Written September 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cgbtruck101
Barrie, Canada859 contributions
Jul 2021
For those who love to drive or for those who love natural beauty, the Cabot Trail has it all and more. You begin at sea level (either from the Boularderie side or the Margaree side) and progressively drive up... and up... and up... until you are inundated with phenomenal views of the ocean, Cape Breton's coastline and more.

There isn't just coast though; as you progress more into the middle of the trail (in the north), you are bombarded with minute after minute or lush greenery, which can look like something out of Jurassic Park or southeast Asia. Speaking of, near Ingonish, there is a lookout that if you showed someone who didn't know any better, they could think it was a coast of Thailand, Vietnam, something of that nature; just brilliant.

The drive itself is fun, provided there aren't any unpleasant people on the road (I had a man brake-check me twice and give me the finger, even though I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary) and you will need to go through the checkpoint for the National Park, but (like Banff) if you aren't planning to stop and just drive the trail, you can just pass through.

The Western part of the drive is the most-lovely, in my opinion and it is the part of the trail seen in many postcards/promotional material for the trail; pictures do not do it justice. Again, if you are on Cape Breton, you owe it to yourself to come to the Cabot Trail.
Written August 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HikerTraveler
East Hartford, CT281 contributions
May 2022
We visited in May and found that we had much of the park and Trail to ourselves. WONDERFUL! Must see stops include Ingonish Beach and Skyline Trail. We went counterclockwise and enjoyed great views. Counted 4 gas stations open. There are a number of Park bathrooms/outhouses that are rough, but useable. Allow yourself a full day, that way you can stop and picnic or hike a favorite trail.
Written May 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MarcoNorthPolo
Lunenburg, Canada105 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
We’ve done the trail before years ago, so we knew what we were in for. Unfortunately, it was rainy and really foggy for the first half of the trip so nothing could be seen. As we reached the top it became clearer and we were able to see much more. We stopped at most of the pull offs in order to take come photos.
On a rainy foggy day you are just driving on the road with nothing to see. When it’s sunny or clear, there are world class views.
Written July 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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