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A Winter Snowshoe Getaway

Story by: Tammy Aucoin & Chris van den Berg

There’s nothing like a fun-filled staycation full of winter outdoor activities. We spent two days snowshoeing, ice fishing, and enjoying craft beer at both Big Spruce and Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins.  So what are you waiting for? Escape with friends and family to Cape Breton for fun in the snow and memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Humes River Falls 

Humes River Falls is a breathtaking waterfall that drops 60ft straight down, but during the winter months it sometimes completely freezes over. It’s an 11 km return hike through various types of forest such as, old hardwood and dense spruce and can be quite the workout with snowshoes. 

Directions: Located off Hwy 105 in Wagmatcook, take Humes Rear Rd and park at the Wagmatcookewey school/baseball field. Take a left, and follow an ATV trail for the first few kms, new signs have been placed to help with directions. The trail then becomes a footpath through the woods that is well marked with flagging tape but be prepared to break trail if no one else has gone in after a heavy snowfall. You’ll have to cross a few brooks so depending on water levels and ice it could be tricky. 

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Charlene’s Bayside Restaurant

After all that hiking at Humes River Falls it was time for some delicious food! There’s nothing better than a hot bowl of Charlene’s famous multi-award winning seafood chowder to warm you up. Don’t say no to dessert as they are all homemade and oh so yummy! We had a piece of the coconut cream pie and a lemon dessert.  Open from 8am to 6pm.  9657 Highway 105 Whycocomagh.

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Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins 

Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins is an ‘Off-Grid’ gem located in Whycocomagh! We can’t say enough good things about this spot. It was so nice to relax by a cozy fire, have a few craft beers at Nova Scotia’s first off grid pub and to be able to step outside and watch a beautiful sunset over Whycocomagh Bay. 

The cabins are extremely clean, have their own barbecue and fire pit and come with a picnic table. The washrooms and shower facilities are in the located in main lodge. Did I mention that everything is off grid?? How cool is that??

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Nicholson Trail

To start day 2, we snowshoed the Nicholson Trail for the very first time. It is one of the newest trails on the island and can be found in Big Baddeck. This 3.5 kms trail, constructed by the Biosphere Northeast Trails Association, takes you in a loop along the Baddeck River, through a spruce forest, is well marked, and is perfect for all ages.  It even has a magical fairy tree!

Directions: Take Exit 9 off the Trans Canada Highway and turn on Big Baddeck Road.  Drive roughly 6kms.  The trailhead is marked with a big bright ‘The Nicholson Trail’ sign.  It is easy to find and has good parking.

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After snowshoeing the Nicholson Trail it was time for us to head home. We throughly enjoyed our time snowshoeing around the Bras d’Or Lake and visiting old friends at Iron Mountain Wilderness Cabins. Remember, with every new trail lies a new adventure.

A couple pose for a photo with the ocean behind them

Tammy Aucoin & Chris van den Berg | Local Hiking Ambassadors

Tammy Aucoin and Chris van den Berg are both Local Hiking Ambassadors and nature lovers who reside in Cheticamp, Cape Breton Island. They are passionate about exploring the island no matter the season and can be found hiking, paddling, snowshoeing or doing any other type of outdoor adventure that allows them to capture its amazing beauty.

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