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Cape Breton Highlands National Park


16 Visitor Centre Rd (West Entrance)

902-224-2306

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Highlights

Note: Due to COVID-19, the visitor experience at Parks Canada places will be different than it has been in the past. The health and safety of visitors, employees and all Canadians is of the utmost importance.

Parks Canada is asking visitors to comply with recommendations from Nova Scotia public health authorities by wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, and by respecting recommended social distancing measures at all times.

Parks Canada’s network of protected places is large and diverse. Visitor access, services, and even opening dates may vary across Cape Breton Island and Canso depending on local circumstances. Please visit pc.gc.ca/ns and follow Parks Canada’s social media channels for information and updates on the status of all Parks Canada places. 

Park highlights:

  • Explore this original national park of the Atlantic provinces and feel the wonder of its rare ecosystem.
  • Travel one-third of the Cabot Trail within the park, which covers an impressive 948 square kilometres.
  • Discover a rich variety of flora and fauna.
  • Be amazed by the gorgeous ocean and mountain views.
  • Overview

    Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Parks Canada has suspended access to some of our trails and other outdoor settings in Cape Breton Highlands National Park until further notice. Please visit http://parkscanada.gc.ca/capebreton for updates. We ask that you plan ahead by checking the Parks Canada web site regularly.

     

    For your safety, at all times, avoid all places, green spaces, day use areas and trails that are closed.

     

    Please note, the visitor experience will be different than it has been in the past as we adapt to COVID-19.

    One of Canada’s most enchanting places, where the mountains meet the sea. As you hug the world-famous Cabot Trail coastline, you’ll wind through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where lush, forested river canyons carve into the ancient plateau, edged by rust-coloured cliffs. The cool maritime climate and rugged landscape of the park permit a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats, plants and animals. This special mix of northern and southern species is not found anywhere else in Canada. Within the park, several dozen species of rare or threatened plants and animals can be found, as well as old growth forests of international importance. Small populations of arctic-alpine plants left over from the last ice age can also be found here.

     

    There are numerous viewpoints scattered along the Cabot Trail, giving visitors ample opportunities to pull safely off the road to take pictures, observe wildlife, or learn about a special aspect of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In particular, the look-offs at French, North, and MacKenzie mountains offer unforgettable vistas of the rugged coastline, fishing boats in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and purple-hued Cape Smokey. Keep your eyes open for moose and bald eagles. You might even catch sight of a minke or pilot whale breaching the waves in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    Outdoor Experiences


    Hiking


    One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Park is by exploring the 26 hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs—all leading to panoramic views of canyons, highlands, or seacoasts.  Visit the Parks Canada Visitor Information Centres in Cheticamp or Ingonish Beach to pick up a trails map.

    Gone Fishing

    Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers recreational fishing opportunities, in season, on its many lakes and streams. The most sought after species is the native brook or speckled trout. 

    Before fishing in the national park, anglers should call ahead and confirm season dates and catch limits. There is a permit and licence fee applied, along with equipment restrictions. Regulations differ in most cases from those for fishing in provincial waters outside the park. Visitors can get updated information from Parks Canada at the warden office by calling 902-285-2582.

    For more information on fishing in Cape Breton Highlands National Park visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/cbreton/activ/peche-fishing

    Swimming

    Cape Breton Highlands is home to a variety of superb beaches. Choose between salt or freshwater, or even enjoy both at one location. The Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of St. Lawrence and our tannin-rich brooks and lakes offer a wonderful variety for the water enthusiast. 

    For more swimming adventures, visit our website. 

    Cycling

    Rated one of the world’s top ten cycling destinations by Lonely Planet, the Cabot Trail is a must-do for experienced cyclists. The Park also offers cycling on several designated trails, including Clyburn Valley, Salmon Pools, and Le vieux chemin du Cap-Rouge. For more information, visit our website.  

    Visitor Centre locations
    West entrance (Chéticamp): 16 Visitor Centre Road, GPS coordinates N46 38.784 W60 57.029
    East entrance (Ingonish): 37637 Cabot Trail, GPS coordinates N46 38.450 W60 24.233

    Parks Canada’s knowledgeable staff will launch your adventure by providing an itinerary tailored to your needs and interests. Along with your park pass and map, get safety tips and informed suggestions on activities and places to discover.  If travelling with young adventurers, ask about Parks Canada Xplorers and Club Parka activities.

     

    In Chéticamp, stay connected with Wi-Fi, and visit the nature bookstore to pick up field guides, local cultural history books, and gift items. Charge up at our electric vehicle charging stations.

    In Ingonish, check out the interactive map to help you plan your visit, and take a little something home from the official Parks Canada merchandise.

     

    For those who want to sleep under the stars, without the fuss, Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers oTENTik units at Cheticamp Campground, Broad Cove Campground and Ingonish Beach Campground.

    #KeepitWild

    Please be responsible and join with us in caring for our environment. Take your garbage with you, keep wildlife at a safe distance, and stay on designated trails to protect fragile plant life. 

    Nature, other visitors, and future generations will be thankful for your stewardship. 

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