Skip to main content

Length: 30+km (18.8+mi) total
Hiking time: 1-8+hr
Type of Trail: natural surface, compacted earth
Uses (no snow): walking, biking*, ATVs*
Uses (snow): snowmobiling*, snowshoeing
Facilities: interpretive panels
Dog Use: off-leash permitted

Gov’t Topo Map: 11K03 (Lake Ainslie)
Rating (1-5): 4 [steepness]

Trailhead GPS Reference: N 46 08” 31.6’ W 61 26” 48.2’

Access Information: In the village of Mabou, turn off Highway 19 onto the Mabou Harbour Road. Drive 5 km (3 mi), turning right onto the unpaved Mabou Mines Road. Continue 7 km (4.5 mi) to the bridge at Mill Brook, just past the last house and clearing. Either park here, or continue about 500m/yd on the other side up the deeply rutted small hill and park at the Mabou Post Road Trailhead sign, without blocking the road.

Introduction: The Mabou Highlands form a rounded knoll 15 km (9.5 mi) long by 8 km (5 mi) wide reaching an elevation of 335 m (1100 ft) at the north end and 320 m (1050 ft) at the south. Formed of highly erosion-resistant, metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic rocks, the surface is highly dissected and the sides deeply eroded. Many trails in the Mabou Highlands are quite challenging, requiring strenuous climbs to reach the best viewing sites.

These same Mabou Highlands were also once the home of many industrious Scottish families, who cleared the hills and grazed sheep on their grassy slopes. Now, save for a few cottages, the area lies mostly deserted and forest has reclaimed the ravines. The former cart tracks connecting long abandoned farms have become a network of challenging trails, courtesy of the volunteer Cape Mabou Trail Club. By 1998, twelve different trails totalling more than 30 km (18.75 mi) of maintained paths were available.

Cautionary Notes: Wildlife. Hunting permitted. Steep climbs. Motorized vehicles in some sections. Poison Ivy. Cell Phone reception is generally available at higher elevations. No reception ravines, under thick foliage, and on most inland sections.

Ratings are designated from 1 to 5 indicating suitability for all fitness and experience levels, with 5 being suitable only for experienced and very fit outdoor people. Novices should only choose level 1 and 2 hikes, and work their way up. Level 4 and 5 hikes have indicators associated with their ratings.

Nearby Things To Do

Island Sunset Resort

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

Trip Advisor Rating 96 Reviews

Region: Canada’s Musical Coast

Community: Belle Côte

Island Sunset Resort is nestled in Belle Côte on the historic mouth of the Margaree River on the breathtaking Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Is...


Duck Cove Inn

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

Trip Advisor Rating 65 Reviews

Region: Cabot Trail

Community: Margaree Harbour

18 motel units (D,T,S; ground-floor for easy access or with balcony), 4-pc bath, radio, SaTV. Licensed A/C dining room 7:30–10am, 5:30–8...


Mabou Village Gallery

Region: Canada’s Musical Coast

Community: Mabou

Original landscape paintings, photography, limited-edition prints and archival reproductions. Gallery in operation for 40 years. The drivewa...


The Mull Café & Deli

Region: Cabot Trail

Community: Mabou

The Mull is one of the most popular fully licensed dining establishments on the western side of Cape Breton Island. Choose our air condition...


Related Stories

Fill out our Survey for a Chance to Win!

Answer a few short questions and enter to win a prize valued at $500 Canadian.

Take Survey