Skyline Trail – Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Skyline Trail – Cape Breton Highlands National Park

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: (return) 7.5 km (4.7 mi), (loop) 9 km (5.7 mi) 
Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
Elevation: 290 – 405 m (950 – 1330 ft.)
Main trail suitable for most skill levels. Boardwalk with steps at headland. Rugged back loop.

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

Open from mid-May until mid-October. A park pass is required for hiking or use of other services in the park. Check in at the Parks Canada Visitor Centres in Ch├ęticamp (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.

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