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Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Krakow, Poland
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Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Hi All,

We are spending 4 or 5 days in the Cape Breton NP between 11-16th of October. We will be staying in Neils Harbour probably (if we find accomodation) and need advice on what sights & hikes to focus our time on. We are not into museums and historical sights but rather the fall colours, magnificent beaches, cute coastal towns and especially hikes with stunning views.

These places we would definitely like to check out: White Point hike, Jigging Cove, Middle Head, Ingonish, Warren lake, Green Cove Look Off, Neil's harbour, Markland coastal beach, Skyline trail. But if I listed anything here that is not worth the trip according to the above criteria, let me know.

Places that we are not sure about:

-Cape Smokey Provincial Park: any hiking possible here?

-Broad Cove Mountain hike: is this worth the trip?

-Meat cove mountain: unable to find information on this one. First and foremost: is the road paved only up until Aspy bay or all the way to the trailhead? (we will be driving a simple rental car, 2WD) Where is the trailhead exactly? How long is the hike and where does it take us?

You might have noticed that we chose only one hike from the Western shore (Skyline trail) - this is because I did not find any other trails that fit the above criteria, however any other suggestions for that area would be more than welcome, too.

On second thoughts, what I am also wondering about is whether we are not making a mistake by narrowing it down to the above areas too much, after all we will just be seeing one small bit of the whole northern part but we have 5 days. Keen to hear about other tips too that might enrich our trip (e.g. Sydney?). After Cape breton we will head back to Halifax, Peggy's cove and Lunenburg for two more days.

Many thanks

Áron

21 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Hi again. I hope someone else can help you as I have only hiked the Skyline and Middlehead Trails.

In case you have not see our Cape Breton link I am putting it below. It contains some links for more information about hiking. You will find descriptions of various trails and their features. You will also find information about other things to see and do.

https:/…Learning.About.Cape.Breton.html

Sydney is a very small city and not all that interesting.

You will be driving the bulk of the Cabot Trail so you will see a fair bit.

Here are some reviews for Cape Smokey Provincial Park. There is hiking and there are views.

Acadian Trail: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review…

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2. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

You didn't mention visiting the Wolfville area which is about an hour from Halifax but I want to mention it as there are two popular hiking trails in that area that offer nice views - cape split and Blomidon provincial park. Just in case you want to do a day trip from Halifax. That area of the province is filled with apple orchards, wineries. Quite nice in the fall.

I'm not the best one to answer questions about cape Breton but I love baddeck, driving the Cabot trail, and the skyline trail hike. Gorgeous.

Edited: 4:32 pm, September 09, 2017
Kingston, TN
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3. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Hi,

You don't mention where you will be driving from when you arrive in Neil's Harbour. Google maps shows a 5 hour drive from Halifax International Airport. During our Sept/Oct 2016 Nova Scotia trip we stayed in Neil's Harbour for 5 nights at vrbo rental # 293671, listed now as “Between the Sea & Sky on Cape Breton Island”. They have a minimum 3 night rental. But after looking at their vrbo site, the calendar shows only the dates of Oct. 10-15 available within your timeframe. We did many hikes on Cape Breton Island. Below you will find a link to my trip report from last year. Reply #7 tells about our stay in Neil's Harbour and has links to the trails we hiked. The link to my review of the Skyline Trail will be in Reply #8. Be aware, the Skyline Trailhead will be a 1 hour and 10 minute drive from Neil's Harbour (according to Google maps), and that does not take into account any delays due to the road construction. And the Acadian Trail would be a 1 hour 22 minute drive away from Neil's Harbour.

My Trip Report from Sept/Oct 2016: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g15496…

I found these websites describing the Meat Cove Mountain Trail:

Trailpeak: trailpeak.com/trail-Meat-Cove-Mountain-near-…

Moosebait: moosebait.com/portfolio-item/…

Edited: 7:17 pm, September 09, 2017
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4. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Great information, TNKaz, Thanks for posting.

Cape Breton Island...
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5. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

With your car , you can reach all the trailheads you mention. You have a long list . I can only tell you what I know based on what I've heard , but most of your hikes are at least 3 hours a day each . You will not be near any of the "Celtic Colours" music venues if you spend all your time in Neil's Harbour . Also you are here after our Thanksgiving weekend , so do not book unless you are near a restaurant , like within 1/2 hour., ask your host Do not plan to drive in the Park any distance after dark . The moose always win . Call Parks Canada in Ingonish . They have a good map with distances and times that maybe they have electronically .

long island, new...
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6. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

We've hiked all 26 trails in the Cape Breton National Highlands Park. The most scenic are often the longest or most difficult. If you are a frequent hiker, in good shape, then you can certainly do the most scenic. On the west coast, that's the Skyline (also the most popular, so go early morning), the Acadian, and Fishing Cove, The Aspy trail is right in the center on the north side. On the east side, do Mica Hill, Broad Cove Mountain, and Franey. Keep in mind many of the trails in CBHNP are short and easy, so you can combine one or two short ones on the same day as a longer one. We picked up the free trails map in the Chéticamp parks office. It's a great reference, only one we needed.

Elsewhere in Nova Scotia, we love Cape Split the best. A lovely, moderate hike with a spectacular view of the Bay of Fundy at the end. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the view.

Krakow, Poland
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7. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Thank you all for your messages, very useful.

maryann-ns, I managed to have a look at your link now (it did not open in the other topic where you posted it). Went through the hiking suggestions and we are now considering to spend some more time on the Western side too as it looks fairly different from the Eastern:

-Arcadian or Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge: looks impressive but might be too steep/long for my girlfriend, will see

-Benjie's Lake, Salmon Pools (at least the initial part), Bog trail: short trips with seemingly nice fall colours around lakes and brooks, we will do at least two of these probably

To be able to do these we are thinking about spending one or two nights in Cheticamp or Pleasant bay. What we cannot find information on is whether there would be any restaurants and/or shops open (to stock up on food) around the 15th of October. Does anyone know that?

TNKaz, having read through your report for a second I considered adding some more places to our list (Cape Forchu Lighthouse, Cape D'Or Lighthouse, etc.) but it is not really on our way :/

Thanks for the links on Meat cove. Looks thrilling but still not sure whether the road is paved, and more importantly it looks winding and generally the kind of road that is not for the insecure driver. Therefore we will sadly have to pass on that one.

Julia, Cape Split we will definitely add to our list somehow. Not yet sure how we will be able to squeeze it in there but it looks like an absolute must!

An additional question. I am leaving to Whistler and Banff in a few days where I will spend some time before NS. No day goes by without people telling me how much I have to be on full alert for bears and how dangerous it can get for a solo traveller... (I will do that leg of the trip solo). That means that by now I got quite jumpy about bears, however can I hope that NS is not so much about them? Is there any wildlife that might be a threat in Cape breton in general?

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8. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Driving at dusk in Cape Breton puts you at risk of hitting a moose. We have brown bears but they are usually not a problem and they do not like loud noise.

Cheticamp is much larger than Pleasant Bay (though still very small) and should have at least one restaurant open. For sure it has a grocery store.

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9. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

You do not have to worry about bears .

My take is that the bears on CB are the black bears and usually run away from humans.

Agree that to drive at night in the park is not good when you do not know the likely moose crossings. You want to be out of the Park by sunset . Careful as Pleasant Bay is not in the park but looks like it is .

I would not do any of the hikes except the Bog if you are alone .

Cheticamp is far more practical than Pleasant Bay and a bit larger . More places to stay and and dine , more options after dark . Cottages are a good option and there a few small motels that fine . By mid October it will be dark maybe by 7 pm so very short days . Depending on day of the week you are there , the best place for pub food and music and local is the Doryman. Don't be deceived by it's plain looks .

Krakow, Poland
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10. Re: Which Cape Breton hikes to choose

Caperbeach, what did you mean by writing "I would not do any of the hikes except the Bog if you are alone"?

Is it about the animals?

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