Cabot Trail Nova Scotia
Dodge the heat and head north to Nova Scotia to explore the beautiful landscape of Cape Breton Island. Here we’ll follow the Cabot Trail along the rugged coastline of western Nova Scotia before heading north through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Named for explorer John Cabot, the Cabot Trail twists and turns through this sparsely populated corner of Canada. We’ll visit small fishing towns and scan the breathtaking views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean for a chance to see whales, which congregate in the area’s rich sea.
Join us this summer for a self-contained adventure on some of the most scenic roads in the world!
"I most enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. Everyone was so easy going, and it was great to get to know all different kinds of people."
Day 1. Sydney, Nova Scotia, 0 miles.
Once a large steel town, Sydney is now a sleepy maritime city in northern Nova Scotia. This will be our jumping-off point to the Cabot Trail where we’ll meet the group and our tour leader before checking out the harbor and exploring this quaint town. Be sure to inspect the world’s largest fiddle, located on the waterfront.
Day 2. Sydney to Whycocomagh, 60 miles.
We’ll head out from Sydney along the shores of Bras d’Or Lake (“Arm of Gold” in French), an inland sea ringed by picturesque hills. Or, as Canadian author and yachtsman Silver Donald Cameron describes it, “A basin ringed by indigo hills laced with marble. Islands within a sea inside an island.” We’ll stay at the base of Salt Mountain just off the water, and for anyone looking for a quick hike the 2.6 mile loop offers great views.
Day 3. Whycocomagh to Margaree Forks, 43 miles.
We’ll make our way to the Cabot Trail today, and on our way passing Lake Ainslie and riding on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail on our way to Inverness. From Inverness, we are officially on the Cabot Trail, named for explorer John Cabot, who landed on this remote coastline in 1497. The route is regarded as one of the most scenic roads in the world and we’ll overnight alongside it in the small town of Margaree Forks.
Day 4. Margaree Forks to Petit Étang, 44 miles.
With prevailing winds hopefully propelling us north, we’ll keep the Gulf of St. Lawrence on our left most of the day as we scan for whales. Today’s ride delivers us to the edge of 366 square mile Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Various hiking trails in the area will give you the chance to spot moose, bear, seabirds, and other wildlife that call this rugged land home.
Day 5. Petit Étang to Dingwall, 43 miles.
Today will be a challenging and rewarding day as we climb from the coast today into the heart of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. If the climb doesn’t take your breath away (it might, it’s a good one!), the views certainly will. We’ll pass through the small town of Pleasant Bay before our second big climb of the day, then make our way back down to the coast. Tonight we’ll sleep well with our tents facing the Atlantic, a perfect spot to watch the next day’s sunrise.
Day 6. Dingwall to Ingonish Beach, 30 miles.
We’ll wake up early and be one of the first people in all of North America to catch the sunrise as we get ready to get back on the bike. On today’s ride, we’ll venture through Cape Breton Highlands as the Cabot Trail Road follows the hilly coastline. We’ll pass through Neils Harbour where you can check out the Neil’s Harbour Lighthouse and have the chance to take in the sights of numerous coves along the shore. We’ll overnight near Freshwater Lake and have the opportunity to take a stroll down the popular Middle Head Hiking Trail.
Day 7. Ingonish Beach to New Harris, 45 miles.
We’ll continue down the East Coast of Cape Breton as we turn toward the last leg of our loop. We’ll enjoy another stunning climb and memorable descent out of the Cape Breton Highlands before passing through a few tiny towns along the Atlantic as well as Cape Smokey Provincial Park. We’ll take the short Englishtown Ferry before we turn in for our last night on tour on the shores of the Great Bras d’Or and celebrate fantastic riding on this great corner of Canada.
Day 8. New Harris to Sydney, 36 miles.
We’ll make our way back to Sydney, the economic hub of Cape Breton Island, and bid one another farewell after an unforgettable week on the Cabot Trail.