Length: 9.5 km (5.9 mi) return
Hiking Time: 3+hr
Type of Trail: natural surface
Uses (no snow): walking
Uses (snow): snowshoeing
Facilities: outhouses, water, picnic tables, benches, camping, firewood, cooking shelters, interpretive panels, garbage canns
Dog Uses: on-leash required
Gov’t Topo Map: 11F14 (Whycocomagh)
Rating (1-5): 4 [steepness, rugged terrain, navigation]]
Trailhead GPS Reference: N 45 57 59.0 W 61 06 18.2
Access Information: From the Canso Causeway, drive 50 km (31 mi) toward Sydney on Highway 105. Turn left onto Provincial Park Road. The trailhead is just after the campground entrance, about 500m/yd, opposite the Department of Natural Resources district office.
Introduction: Meaning “Head of the Waters,” Whycocomagh is the Mi’kmaq word for the area surrounding Salt Mountain, and a large First Nations community lives across the bay from the park. Settled in 1812 by Highland Scots, the new community retained its Whycocomagh name despite the colonists nostalgic fondness for reminders of their past, as Cape Breton place-names such as Glencoe, Skir Dhu, and Loch Lomond suggest.
The Salt Mountain Trail is a short, but challenging, walk, for the summit is 230 m (750 ft) above Bras d’Or Lake, requiring a steep climb indeed. This trail’s proximity to Highway 105 makes it a pleasant diversion for those passing by who want to stretch their legs and enjoy a marvelous view. Hiking just the Highlander and Salt Mountain trails is about 3.5 km (2.2 mi): tough but worthwhile.
Adding the Scout Trail more than doubles the distance, and because of the rugged, hilly terrain, more than doubles the effort required. This section is not recommended for novices.
Cautionary Notes: Wildlife. Steep climbs. Cliffs. Rugged terrain. Ticks.
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.