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 Canadas 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 Canadas social media channels for information and updates on the status of all Parks Canada places.
This breathtaking trail winds through Acadian mixed forest and stunted taiga as it climbs to the windswept plateau. It offers 360° views spanning the barrens, the dramatic Aspy fault, coastal villages far below and mountains reaching the most northern tip of Cape Breton. Continue along a narrower footpath to Mica Hill’s remarkable outcrops of quartz and mica. Explore a small side loop past Paquette Lake on your return.
Trailhead: Take the Paquette Lake road and park at the lake
Significant Feature: Highlands taiga, mica outcrops
Length: 7.9 km (4.9 mi) return; 8.4 km (5.2 mi) with loop
Hiking Time: 34 hours
Elevation: 260400 m (8501345 ft.)
Trail Rating: Moderate
GPS Co-ordinates for Trailhead (in decimal degrees):
Lat: 46.834629 Long: -60.434124
Open from mid-May to mid-October. A park pass is required for hiking or use of other services in the park; park entry fee applies. Check in at the Parks Canada visitor centres in Chéticamp (16 Visitor Centre Rd., situated on the west side of the park) or in Ingonish (37637 Cabot Trail, on the east side of the park) to obtain passes, information on visitor safety and any other information you may need, including a trail location map.
For your comfort and safety:
– Do not approach, disturb or feed wild animals.
– Take along appropriate clothing rapid weather changes often occur on the plateau or along the coast.
– Carry water with you, especially for longer trails, climbs or open barrens.
– Bring insect repellent as black flies and mosquitoes are common all summer.
– Mountain bikes are permitted only where indicated, for public safety and protection of the environment.
– Stay on boardwalks to protect fragile vegetation.
– Do not throw food or scraps along the trails or roads.
– Read “Keep it Wild, Keep it Safe” brochure, available at park visitor centres and on the Parks Canada website.