Sightseeing Spots along the Cabot Trail

The Cabot is a trail on the Cape Breton. It is known to be one of the most famous trails all over the world. With breathtaking views all throughout the trail, this trail will make you fall in love with Canada and all that it offers. It will also make you realize the true beauty of nature. Cape Breton Island has been ranked one of the most beautiful islands all over the world and the Cabot trail has won many such titles as well. From the most underrated trails to being one of the best motorcycle trips around the globe this trail should be a must-see for all. This trail is around 298km long at the northern tip of the island in Nova Scotia.

Cabot trail has a lot to offer apart from its scenic beauty. One can indulge in numerous outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing. The Cabot trail is in the form of a loop on the northern tip of the island of Cape Breton. This trail is along the coastline so one can experience amazing views of the ocean throughout this trail. In this article, we will talk about the must-see spots to go along the Cabot trail and also various activities that one can indulge in.

Historical Context

The Cabot trail is named after an explorer who landed on this island in 1497. His name was John Cabot. Many historians argue that John Cabot did not come to Cape Breton but instead landed in Newfoundland. However, the name of this island was changed for tourism purposes. John Cabot was sailing for King Henry VI when he came to this place. The Cabot trail’s construction was completed by 1932 and was then open for use. The Cabot trail also joined numerous isolated fishing villages on the island of Cape Breton.

Geography and Climate

As we already know the Cabot trail is a 300km long road on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. It runs along the coast which offers amazing view and a cool breeze from the sea. The trail goes through rocky areas and hills as well.

The island experiences a maritime boreal type of climate. This climate due to the influence of winds from the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean is more of a moderate type of climate. It is moister and more humid on the island of Cape Breton. Various seasons lead to various climatic changes on this island. During the Spring season the sea ice moves off shore which leads to the hiking trails being free of ice. So for hikers the best time to visit this trail would be during this season.

The average temperature in Spring is around 10°C. The summer season is the best season for any tourist to visit this place. It is lively and fun and this island attracts the most number of tourists in summer. There are variety of activities that a tourist can indulge in during the summer season, from golf to visiting the fishing villages.

The island also has many festivals and events during this time. The average temperature during the summer season is around 22°C. The Autumn season is also one of the most popular seasons for tourists due to the Celtic Colors International Festival which attracts thousands of music lovers to this beautiful and magnificent island.

The average temperature during the season of Autumn is around 10°C. Lastly, the winter season here is cold and chilly. One can indulge in various winter-related outdoor activities like driving a snowmobile to ski. The average temperature during this season is around -10°C. So as you can notice this small island attracts millions of visitors all year round. You should decide what activities you want to indulge in and what type of climate are you more comfortable with before visiting this island.

Flora and Fauna

A part of the Cabot Trail passes through the Cape Breton Highland National Park which has an abundance of wildlife. The park is home to many animals like the black bear and the moose. It also has a freshwater lake. The park is home to over 40 species of animals. The vast ocean adjacent to the park has very rich biodiversity too. Apart from many types of corals and underwater plants it is home to many aquatic animals that can be seen regularly like the pilot whale and harbor seals. The island has over six lakes and the most popular lakes on this island are the French Lake, Jigging Cove Lake and the Warren lake. The island has a plateau that is named after the island which is one of the prominent features of the island. It is a part of the Appalachian mountain chain. It also has many rivers and river canyons.

High season festivals begin in May and end in October. The Celtic Colours International Festival is a must attending festival which is held each October, which highlights hundreds of Celtic musicians across the Cape Breton and around the world. Between May to October, there are food, sporting, music, hiking, and other cultural festivals take place along the Cabot Trail.

In winter, you can enjoy snowmobiling, skiing, ice-skating and many more. Due to low temperatures and cold weather conditions, many of the ponds or small lakes freeze during winter. This provides a good place for ice-skating Victoria country Winter ActiveFest happens in March and February. There is an endless outdoor adventure that is possible around the Cabot Trail, while those in winter activities, one can try kayaking, swimming, boat-tour, hiking and water sports on sea-shore.

After a long full day of the drive, exploration, adventure, and trekking, everyone needs rest and relaxation, for that purpose they need accommodation, various kinds of accommodations are available on the Cabot Trail from cottages to tents to motels and five-star resort suites which will offer a comfortable place for a restful night. One can easily find accommodation in Pleasant Bay, Baddeck, Ingonish or Cheticamp.

Best attractions along the Cabot Trail

Apart from the scenic beauty of this entire trail and the magnificent views of the ocean, this trail has a lot more to offer than just it’s a view. There are many thrilling outdoor activities that one can indulge in from fishing to hiking. There are many other places throughout the trail that one should visit. I will list down the top attractions along the Cabot Trail. Make sure to visit all these places! Start your trip from the village of Baddeck and visit all the exotic and fun attractions that are along the Cabot Trail. Finally, end your trip at Baddeck where you can relax and unwind before leaving this beautiful place.

Baddeck

This beautiful village is a must see during your trail. You can also begin your trail from this village. Baddeck is a small village on the island of Nova Scotia. The word Baddeck was derived from another word called “Abadak” which means a place with an island close by. You can learn all about the inventor of telephone Alexander Graham Bell as there is a Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site at Baddeck which offers a glimpse at his life and all that he did.

The village attracts many visitors each year and it also hosts the annual Celtic colors international festival. It has many sailing trips that one can choose to go for. There are also many historic buildings in this village, some of them are Gilbert H. Grosvenor Hall which is the town’s old post office and the Victoria County Court House which as the name suggests is a courthouse. There are many rooms that you can book at this village to rest and relax before your journey.

Skyline Trail

This beautiful trail towards the end of the Cabot trails provides a view of the magnificent Cabot trail from the top of the mountain. It is a pleasant trail and a fun and exciting experience with your family and friends. The beautiful and vast Atlantic ocean that you can see from the top of this trail will take your breath away! There are a variety of animals that can be seen throughout this trail from moose, bald eagles to bears.

For those who are fond of hiking and wanted to do it on Cabot Trail, the Skyline Trail is going to be the best place for them. It is a place located a few km away from Pleasant Bay. The Skyline Trail is mostly flat, but due to distance, it takes more than two hours to complete the whole track. The area includes a wide variety of wildlife, important among them include whales, eagles, and bears. At the height of 250 meters there exist a French Mountain from where you can easily see the beautiful backdrop of Cabot Trail. The scenery during sunset worth watching.

Mackenzie Mountain

These are huge mountain ranges that are named after Canada’s second Prime Minister- Alexander Mackenzie. These mountain ranges offer a variety of activities from skiing to hiking. They also have a mining town which is named as Tungsten. The highest mountain in this range is the Keele Peek at a height of 2972m.

Cape Breton Highlands

These Cape Breton highlands are a part of the Appalachian mountain chain and they are surrounded by water from almost all sides. This is a plateau that forms the northern part of the island of Cape Breton. These highlands are covered with deciduous forests that support a variety of plant and animal life. The Cabot trail goes around the coastal perimeter of these highlands offering scenic and amazing views.

Ingonish Beach

This is one of the most beautiful beaches along the Cabot Trail. It offers amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and has crystal clear blue water. The view from this beach will leave you mesmerized with the beauty of this entire island of Cape Breton. This beach is approximately sixty kilometers from the village of Baddeck. Ingonish has a harbor and ferries as well which the tourists can use. The eastern entrance of Cape Breton Highland National park is in Ingonish. There are various Ingonish whale watching tours that you can go for. This beach is the perfect place for you to spend some quality time with your family and take some memorable pictures.

South Harbour

South Harbour is a small community on the island of Cape Breton. During your road trip, you should definitely visit this small but beautiful place. The place is calm and peaceful, there are hardly any people seen on the harbor. It is a great place to unwind and take a short break from your trip. You can sit on the beach and enjoy amazing sunsets that will leave you mesmerized.

MacIntosh Brook

This is a small empty area surrounded by mountains which makes it a great place for camping. It is located in the Grande Anse Valley and has a hiking trail. There are many small tours that are organized that the tourists can go for and experience the true beauty of nature and all that it offers. The 15-minute walk in the forest will make you love nature even more and the trail will lead you to a beautiful, gushing waterfall.

Pleasant Bay

This piece of paradise is known as the whale watching capital of the island of Nova Scotia. There are numerous boats that once can choose from and hire and head out in the ocean to explore ocean life in more detail. There is also a Whale Interpretive Centre that will give us a detailed insight into these huge and mesmerizing creatures of the sea. This place is one of the best places for your kids to learn new things as well as enjoy and have fun.

Other fun activities that you can indulge in

Kayaking:

Cape Breton has many kayaking tours that one can indulge in, from day tours to night tours under the full moon, this will only make you love this beautiful island more. Kayaking offers amazing views of the coastline, sea and the peaks!

Celtic Shores Coastal Trail:

This approximately 90km trail is amazing for cycling and walking. All through the trail there are numerous beaches, hotels and restaurants that you can visit to relax and enjoy the view.

Whale Watching:

Many places like the pleasant bay offer amazing whale watching tours that are a thrilling experience and one should definitely not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Fishing:

Whether it’s tuna or salmon you can do go for fishing at a variety of places where you will find different kinds of fishes that will enhance your whole experience of this tour.

Beaches:

This beautiful island of Cape Breton has beautiful and magnificent beaches with crystal clear water. While planning your Cabot trail make sure to take out time to visit these beaches and swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mary Ann Falls:

These beautiful falls are a must-visit during your Cabot trail. You can take a dip and relax in the cool water or just walk around the falls and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Cheticamp

This is a larger town along the trail. A village is a gateway of the Cheticamp in Cape Breton, where visitors can take a break and do camping in a tent. Here you also find a lot of accommodation and itinerary. Another few places – which are worth taking a look are:

Dancing Goat:

It is a kind of cake or restaurant which is famous for its freshly baked muffins and cappuccinos. Whale Cove Cemetery: If you don’t give attention there is more likely to miss this place which lied close to Margaree harbor. You get more chance to spot a whale here.

Margaree Harbour:

It is a Laurence’s General Store in Margaree Harbour, you can take a small walk through this small Cape Breton Island village. Groovy Goat Farm: In front of Groovy Goat Farm and Soap Company is a shop filled with many fragrant soaps made from the farm’s goats milk, you are even welcome there to back bacon where pet goats use to live.

St. Anns Bay Artisan Shops:

Along the Cabot Trail you will pass by several small cute arts and crafts shops, selling handmade pottery, glassware, iron, etc. It is the best place to get a souvenir!

People can participate in various kinds of festivals Cabot Trail, like musical events, kitchen parties. You’ll feel like local while attending all these functions. Here you can enjoy fabulous local seafood at great restaurants available all around. One of the specialties of Cabot Trail that is easily available in all of the restaurants along the way is ‘Lobster’, as fishing is done in many places on the Trail only. Along with Lobster, Crab, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, and mackerel all are also available in the restaurant’s menu at many places.

However, the best way to enjoy is doing outdoor camping in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. For getting a super unique experience, one can stay a night in one of the cocoons in Ingonish, but for this either you have to do the prior booking or have to get on a waitlist because nothing is more memorable than sleeping in a thin canvas between great outdoor.  

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