“Imagine standing on a mountain 1500 feet above above the sea, dark clouds and pale sun competing for your attention. A summer shower has just passed and a fine mist lingers on your face. In the valley below, a rainbow rises toward you, arching so close you can almost reach out and touch it. Out at sea, beyond the mountains, whitecaps are coaxed to life by an offshore breeze that’s beginning to blow. This is the Cabot Trail.” - Travel Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island lies off the northeastern coast of Nova Scotia, 6,500 square kilometers of unspoiled natural beauty. Coastal vistas, wilderness trails, beaches and pastoral vignettes make Cape Breton an amazing landscape to see. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park alone encompasses 950 square kilometers of coastal wilderness with four mountains, twenty five hiking trails, dozens of picnic parks and beaches, and many opportunities for adventure, Cape Breton style. In the center of the island lies Bras D’or Lakes, a salt water lake system that stretches 80 kilometers and offers crystal clear waters, secluded bays and inlets, and a natural setting for thousands of species of birds, plants, and wildlife. The Cabot Trail winds nearly 300 km (185 miles) through the beautiful highlands and plateaus of Cape Breton. A loop trail, you can begin or end your journey at a number of different points. The scenery is great either way.
Named for the famous explorer John Cabot, the Cabot Trail winds around the rocky splendor of Cape Breton’s northern shore, ascending to the incredible plateaus of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This magnificent highway is carved into the sides of mountains that rise high above the shimmering waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Look offs offer unforgettable vistas of Cape Breton’s rugged coastline, where pods of whales can often be seen just offshore and bald eagles soar aloft on the ocean breezes.
Wonderful Waterfalls and Spectacular Hiking
The scenery of Cape Breton includes fabulous waterfalls waiting to be discovered by hikers and explorers of almost all abilities. If hiking is your passion with a waterfall at the end as your prize, the Cabot Trail through St. Ann’s to North River is for you. The moderate to difficult 18km (11mi) hike, round trip, is well worth the effort when you arrive at the 33 meter (100ft) waterfalls. It is about a six hour hike round trip. Other than that, there are other great waterfalls and many, many more hiking trails to explore. Just in The Cape Breton Highlands National Park there are over 25 hiking trails. For more information click here. Touring time of The Cabot Trail is about 4 hours however we recommend spending at least 2 to 4 days here.
The coastal climate is temperate and, of course, changeable. The summer weather, though, is generally ideal for traveling and relaxing, daytime temperatures usually run in the mid to high 20′s Celsius (low to mid 80′s F) and evenings are almost always cooler and refreshing. Ocean breezes are common, early morning fog along the coast is the norm, and sunshine is abundant. There’s a saying in Cape Breton: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, it’ll change.” It’s true.
Click here to check the weather in the Ingonish area today.
Did you know??
Celtic Colors International Festival, Cape Breton’s annual island-wide nine day extravaganza, in October is the largest Celtic music and culture event of its kind in North America. The festival draws music lovers and renowned Celtic performers from around the world. www.celtic-colours.com
While there are many great artisans to discover in Cape Breton, St. Ann’s Bay is known for it’s professional artisan community. Here you can find one of a kind gifts. To check out the Cape Breton Artisan Trail Map just go to: http://www.capebretoncraft.com/
Take a look at a few of these amazing artisans near The Maven Gypsy:
Leather Works www.leather-works.ca
Sew Inclined www.sewinclined.ca
Glass Artisans Studio/Gallery www.glassartisans.ca
Wildfire Pottery www.wildfirepottery.ca
Piper Pewter Inc www.piperpewter.com
IronArt & Photographs www.ironart.ca
Gaelic College Kiltmakers www.gaeliccollege.edu