Organization: Parks Canada
Walking in the Highlands
Hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park – the chance to intimately explore the complex environment of northern Cape Breton Island.
We have 28 different trails ranging from short, 20 minute family strolls to challenging overnight adventures. Most are level, however a few climb the mountains, threading the crests that motorists see from the lookoffs below. Some hug the rocky shoreline letting you smell and touch the sea, while others explore the mystery of our rich river valleys. Whatever your interest and physical ability you will find a trail to suit your tastes.
Weather, Equipment and the Bugs
July, August and September are the best months for hiking. In May and early June, highland trails can still have up to one metre of snow.
After a rainfall there may be wet or boggy sections on some of the trails. You should choose your footwear accordingly. When hiking on the plateau (Benjies Lake, John D. Lake and Lake of Islands) and a few of the lowland trails, (Fishing Cove, Coastal, Jigging Cove Brook, and Franey), we recommend comfortable, waterproof hiking boots. For the other trails, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers.
Hikers on the plateau or along the coast should come prepared for weather changes. A small knapsack packed with raingear, a light sweater and a little food is essential.
Don’t forget to bring your insect repellent; blackflies and mosquitoes are common all summer. September’s cooler weather limits the activity of these pesky insects, yet still allows hikers to pleasantly explore our hardwood river valleys.
Choosing your trail
The trail descriptions give details on length, hiking time, conditions and special features found on each trail. TO FIND THE LOCATION OF A TRAIL, NOTE ITS NUMBER. THEN LOOK FOR THAT NUMBER ON THE MAP IN THE MAIN PARK BROCHURE.
Looking for a short trail?
Visitors interested in short, easy walks can choose from: La Prairie, Bog, Lone Shieling and Green Cove trails. Black Rock and the Freshwater Lake Lookout are short but steep in places.
Want to learn more about the park?
Acadians, Scots, sundews, ferns, hawks and dykes – discover their stories and many, many more on our self-guiding interpretive trails: Le Buttereau, Bog, Lone Shieling, Jack Pine, Green Cove, and Middle Head.
The physical version of this product is part of the federal identity archive.