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Skyline Trail

19685 Cabot Trail


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Note: Due to COVID-19, the visitor experience at Parks Canada places will be different than it has been in the past. To help maintain physical distancing on the trail, please note that parking at Skyline Trail will be limited. 

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 and follow Parks Canada’s social media channels for information and updates on the status of all Parks Canada places.

Trail highlights:

  • Hike this easy, flat, looping seven-kilometre trail.
  • Learn along the way with the help of on-site interpretive panels.
  • Discover the local wildlife and take in an impressive view of the Cabot Trail.
  • Overview

    A dramatic headland cliff overlooks the rugged coast from the end of this level trail. You can enjoy an eagle’s view of the Cabot Trail as it winds its way down the mountain and vehicles look like toys. Watch for whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the viewing decks. Moose, bald eagles, bears and numerous boreal birds live in this habitat. Be cautious with children around the cliffs and give moose a wide berth. The headland plants are very fragile and easily damaged by trampling, so stay on the boardwalk. Dogs are not permitted here as they disturb wildlife, especially moose and bear. 

    Trailhead: On the Cabot Trail on the top of French Mountain 

    Significant Feature: Headland cliff, ocean

    Length: 6.5 km (4 mi) return; 8.2 km (5.1 mi) loop

    Hiking Time: 1.5–3 hours

    Elevation: 290–405 m (950–1330 ft.)

    Main trail suitable for most skill levels. Boardwalk with steps at headland.
    Trail Rating: Easy

    GPS Co-ordinates for Trailhead (in decimal degrees):
    Lat: 46.737691 Long: -60.880377

    Park is open year-round but full visitor services are only
    available from mid-May until 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:

    – Stay on boardwalks to protect fragile vegetation.

    – Dogs are not permitted on the Skyline Trail as they disturb wildlife, especially moose and bear.

    – 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 not permitted on the Skyline Trail for public safety and protection of the environment.
    – Do not throw food or scraps along the trails or roads.
    – Read “Keep it Wild, Keep it Safe” brochure, available at park visitor centres.

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