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Winter Hiking Trails of Whycocomagh

By Skylar and David

Winter is here and it’s the perfect time to get outside and explore our snowy Island! With countless places to hike, snowshoe, ski, sled, skate and snowball fight Cape Breton is truly a winter paradise. We’re going to share some of the best winter hiking trails to be found at the head of the Bras d’Or Lake in the village of Whycocomagh. Wer think this is the perfect place to experience the beauty of a Cape Breton winter. So let’s take a look at some dog-friendly trails you’ll find just off Highway 105.

1. The Skye River Trail

This is like walking through a snowglobe. Home to a “Tree of a Thousand Faces”, peaceful river views, snow canopied pathways and the most picturesque bridge, this 30-minute loop trail that is part of Waycobah First Nation. I recommend this trail for families with kids or for someone that is simply looking for a new place to walk the dog. This trail is part of The Great Trail system that runs across Canada. And I have to mention that jut after a snowfall it feels like you were swept off to Narnia!

The Skye River Trail

2. Lower Whycocomagh Provincial Park

This picnic park by the beautiful Whycocomagh Bay is a great place for a leisurely winter snowshoe with the whole family. The parking entrance is plowed in the winter but the actual park road is not. This makes for a great little hike along the snow-covered looped road complete with a neat staircase down to the water, picnic tables, and lots of opportunities to bird watch. From the water you can look over to Waycobah & Whycocomagh without having to hike up to a challenging lookoff.  Take your camera and look for a bald eagle we’ve spotted resting on the ice.

Lower Whycocomagh Provincial Park

3. Salt Mountain

Located in the Whycocomagh Provincial Park, the park is closed during the winter months but there are places to park your vehicle at the bottom on the park road and hike up using the yellow and blue trail system. This is a short hike with not one, but several incredible lookoffs. Don’t let the 2.5km loop fool you as it is a very steep climb and definitely helps to have snowshoes in the deep mountain snow. At the top you will experience breathtaking panoramic views of the Bras d’Or Lakes, surrounding mountains, and a bird's eye view of the Waycobah & Whycocomagh communities. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for soaring eagles. Every time we have visited this trail, we have seen at least one eagle at the top. Don’t have time to hike to the top? Enjoy a short snowshoe around the park road or tobogganing down the snowy hills.

Salt Mountain

4. Miles Doyle Falls

Located on the River Denys Road just outside of Whycocomagh this hike leads to a lovely icy waterfall. Park along Highway 105 beside River Denys Road and follow the flagging tape to to the waterfall. This road is groomed for snowmobiles so it’s easy to hike, but you do have to listen to approaching snowmobiles and give them the right of way as they pass. Have you ever experienced an ice-covered waterfall? It’s amazing. Bring a thermos and take it in!

Miles Doyle Falls

5. Whycocomagh Lookoff

This lookoff is also located on The Great Trail, you can find this moderate winter hike near the . Whycocomagh Fire Department on Johnson Lane.  Just follow the groomed snowmobile trail out to a fantastic view. With two benches at the top and a panoramic view of Whycocomagh Bay, it is a great location to take in a sunrise or sunset and to witness snowmobiles zooming by. In the evenings you can watch as the houses in the village light up with the snowy ridges of Salt Mountain as the backdrop. We have yet to visit on a starry night but I can only imagine how incredible the view of a calm winter night sky must be from here!

Whycocomagh Lookoff

Skylar and David

Skylar and David are a Cape Breton & Scottish couple that love calling Cape Breton home. If they’re not whipping up baked goods they can be found outside with their dog Indie seeking places to hike and explore. They enjoy challenging hikes, waterfalls, camping under the stars and sharing their adventures.

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