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The Cabot Trail

Nova Scotia

Bagpipe music, kilts, forts and rugged highlands: Nova Scotia — ‘New Scotland’— is like a piece of Scotland wedged along the Canadian coast. Grab your car or bicycle and explore the rugged coastline and experience the Celtic culture along the magnificent Cabot Trail across Cape Breton.

Explore the Cabot Trail
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The 298-kilometre-long Cabot Trail snakes its way through a relatively undiscovered part of Canada. About a third of the trail crosses the spectacular Cape Breton Highlands National Park, a wilderness area that covers roughly 1000 square kilometres in the north of Cape Breton. The rugged mountain area, home to deer, lynx, beavers, bears, moose and otters hugs the ocean.

The route is popular with motorists and motorcyclists, but cyclists, hikers and sea kayakers can also explore to their heart’s content along the route.

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Outdoor adventure paradise

The Cabot Trail offers many activities in the refreshing and invigorating mountain and sea air. Cape Breton Highlands National Park features 26 hiking trails. The most popular is the Skyline Trail, which offers daily ‘sunset hikes’.

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The waters of the Atlantic Ocean also provide numerous experiences: in addition to spotting magnificent sea birds, the region is also famous for whale watching. Take a sea kayak tour for a closer look at the spectacular seaside cliffs and paddle through deep sea caves.

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Golf classic

Among the wilderness of the Cape Breton Highlands you will find a perfectly manicured patch of green: the 18-hole Cape Breton Highlands Links golf course. Inaugurated in 1941, this legendary course is among the most beautiful in Canada, nestled between the mountains and the dramatic cliffs that lean over the Atlantic Ocean.

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The architect of this golf course designed it as a tribute to the sport's Scottish roots. The seventh hole resembles Killiecrankie, a famous gorge in the Scottish Highlands, and the fourth hole has the fitting name of ‘Heich O’ Fash’, or ‘A Pile of Trouble’. Other holes also feature Celtic names and include many references to Scotland and Celtic culture.

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    Lobster and more

    It is almost mandatory for visitors to Nova Scotia to indulge in at least one scrumptious lobster meal. Lobster Suppers on the Cabot Trail in Baddeck has been serving the delicacy for over a hundred years.

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    This family restaurant has been in business for six generations and was founded when the first Montgomery arrived here from Scotland. In addition to locally caught lobster, the restaurant serves Atlantic salmon grilled to perfection on an open fire, and plump and juicy Cape Breton mussels, also highly recommended for seafood lovers.

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      Art trail

      Over the years many artists and artisans have made their home here, inspired by the natural beauty of the Cabot Trail. Visitors are always welcome to peruse the studios and art galleries.

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      In St. Ann’s you can see the weavers of the Gaelic College create unique custom-made kilts. In the town of Tarbot, photographer and sculptor, Gordon Kennedy, displays his stunning photographs and intriguing metal sculptures. Or stop by the Colouratura Art Gallery, housed in a former church, to admire a collection of works by local artists.

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        Celtic Festival

        The Celtic Colours International Festival, an annual nine-day festival in October, draws hundreds of Celtic musicians from every corner of Cape Breton and the rest of the world.

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        The event offers 52 concerts, as well as dance performances, communal dinners and other cultural events. The festival is set against the decor of the magnificent autumn scenery. This year the festival will be held from 11 to 19 October.

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